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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some commonly asked questions. If your question is not listed below, the Field Manual outlines policies and procedures in-depth. If you have questions, please contact your field liaison or the Office of Field Education at or 614-292-7686.

When does field begin and end?

Students should refer to their schedule regarding the beginning and end of practicum. MSW students should have a course plan developed with their advisor outlining their schedule for practicum. The practicum course for BSSW students is SWK 4189 & the course for MSW students SWK 6189 and/or SWK 7189. The first day of practicum is the first day of classes the semester you are enrolled & the last day of practicum is the last day of classes.. Please refer to the Field Calendar for specific start and end dates for the academic year.

How do I document my field hours?

Students document field hours using the Time Sheet form on the Field Database. Time Sheets will be assigned to students at the beginning of their first semester in field. It is up to the student to track their own hours for the duration of the field placement. Review the policies around field hours in the Field Manual and view the database instructional videos more information.

How do I apply for placement with an agency?

BSSW and MSW students will follow a specific process to secure a placement. Please refer to Preparing for Practicum for more information.

Can I choose my field placement?

Students will have the opportunity to select preferred placement agencies. Our team will review the studetn preferences and the student Field Placement Application to match students. Please note, these are preferences only an specific sites cannot be guaranteed. With the exception of “out-of-state” students, students should not initiate contact with agencies to seek placements without approval from a placement coordinator or the Director. For futher information on this policy, please review the Field Code of Conduct.

Can I do my field placement where I work?

Students who are requesting to complete a field placement with their employer should review the Employment-Based Placement Policy and contact their immediate supervisor.  Students can indicate their desire to complete an employment-based placement during the placement process and and Employment Based Field Placement Application will be added to their Sonia Profile. All applications must be reviewed by our team for approval.

Do agencies have specific requirements for students that might impact where I can be placed?

Some agencies require flexible work hours/days, FBI/BCI background checks, specific health tests or screenings (TB test, flu shot, etc.), drug screens, or social work licensure as a prerequisite for placement. Other placements may require students to have a car. Foreign language skills may be helpful.

If I do not have a car, how will I be assigned to a field placement site?

The Office of Field Education takes into consideration whether students have their own car or will require public transportation to their agency. Students who do not have a car are expected to utilize public transportation.

If I commute for classes, can I be placed in an agency near my residence?

The Office of Field Education offers opportunities for placements in several of Ohio’s counties. Students should indicate their preferred county of placement in the Field Practicum Questionnaire. Additionally, students are encouraged to discuss plans to be placed in counties that are outside of their campus area during the placement process.

Can I receive a field placement with all evening and/or weekend hours?

The Office of Field Education takes into consideration students who work part-time, full time, or have other responsibilities during the daytime hours. It is important to note that there are a limited number of agencies that can accommodate evening/weekend hours. Students must understand that evening/weekend field placements cannot be guaranteed.

Will I get to interview at my field placement?

Each student is expected to have a pre-placement interview at their field site before they are accepted for placement. Some agencies are agreeable to phone interviews for students who are unable to interview in person due to geographical distance. Students should consider this a professional interview: dress appropriately and bring a resume.

When do I turn in the Learning Agreement/evaluation?

Initially, the learning agreement is generally turned in at the end of the 5th week of the first semester in field for BSSW, and ASAP/MSWII students and in the 4th week for MSWI students. Please see the Field Calendar for specific dates. Prior to turning in the Learning Agreement, the student and field instructor add learning activities specific to the placement, determine how to assess the newly added activities, and develop target dates for the required and added learning activities.

The evaluation is turned in at the end of the 14th week of each semester in field. The field instructor rates the student’s performance for each learning activity, and for the competency as a whole, in the “evaluation of practice behavior” column. The field instructor also provides a narrative addressing each competency.

Do I develop a new Learning Agreement each semester?

No, only one Learning Agreement is developed during the first semester in field. The only outlier is that MSW I students have a Learning Agreement for their generalist placement and get a new Learning Agreement for their MSW II advanced placement.  If learning objectives drastically change, the student may be asked to update the Learning Agreement. Should a student’s field placement change during the school year, the student must complete a new Learning Agreement.

Do I have to add learning activities to the Learning Agreement or are the required activities enough?

All students should add one to two learning activities for each competency that are specific to the field placement. At the beginning of the placement, we suggest the student start a list of known learning objectives during the course of the academic year. When it’s time to work on the Learning Agreement, add those learning objectives to the most appropriate competency.

Can I put one activity under multiple competencies on the Learning Agreement?

No. While it is understandable that one activity might fit under multiple competencies, students may only place an activity under one competency.

Where can I get help coming up with additional activities for the Learning Agreement?

Students should first talk with their field instructor as they develop the Learning Agreement together. Many field instructors have years of experience working with students and will have great ideas for activities that are specific to the agency/placement. For more assistance, contact your field liaison.

What gets submitted with my Learning Agreement/evaluation?

When students initially create the Learning Agreement, you will submit that for review. When students submit the evaluation at the end of each semester, the Time Sheet and Supervision Log are also submitted at the same time.

Can I change my Learning Agreement if I move from one agency to another?

On rare occasions, a student might change agencies during a placement. In other cases, a student may move from one department to another during the course of the field placement. In these situations, the student may need to update the Learning Agreement, or create a new Learning Agreement, so that the learning activities apply to the new placement setting. The student should work with the field liaison to determine which path, updating or creating, is correct for the given situation.

How do I accomplish the “professional training” activity on the Learning Agreement?

Some agencies offer in-house training that students can attend. If not, the college offers Continuing Education programs and there are many workshops and training events available on campus through various organizations. Students struggling to identify opportunities should contact their field liaison for assistance.

What is the ethical decision-making model activity on the Learning Agreement?

Each semester in field, the student must document their thinking about a placement-related ethical dilemma through the use of a decision-making model. Students may use any model they like, including one from class or one recommended by the field instructor.  Click here for an outline of the Reamer model.

How do I “demonstrate awareness of social media” which is an activity on the Learning Agreement?

Competency 1 includes this Required Activity. Students and field instructors should have a conversation around the use and impact of social media. Items to consider may include: What does it mean to practice in the age of Twitter and Facebook? Can we use social media in our practice? How do we work with all available technologies? Is it OK to be friends with clients on Facebook? What legal and/or liability issues can come up? How do we be professional in communication in a digital world?

Can I read any scholarly articles that I want for Competency 4 on the Learning Agreement?

Students are responsible for identifying the articles and obtaining approval from their field instructor. However, the field instructor may also suggest articles to the student.

Who will sign off on completion of my field placement?

At the end of each semester, the student’s field instructor will sign off on the completion of hours and determine the level of competency for each activity on the Learning Agreement. Final grades will be submitted by the field liaison. If a student works with both a field instructor and task instructor, the instructors will collaborate on the evaluation and narrative feedback on the form.

Will I receive a grade for field placement?

Each semester that a student is enrolled in field, the student will be graded as Satisfactory (S) or Unsatisfactory (U) based on the evaluation of their performance in field. The field instructor evaluates every learning activity on the Learning Agreement using the ratings at the top of the form and those evaluations roll-up into the S or U.