Field Education

BASW and MSW Field Education Information

Field represents the heart of Social Work education. Internships provide the opportunity to apply the theoretical learning gained in the classroom to real world situations with clients, colleagues, organizations, and communities. At San Francisco State University’s School of Social Work, we are committed to serving historically oppressed and disadvantaged populations utilizing strengths and systems-based modalities. Our placement process is student-driven and students are supported in choosing individually tailored internships within a wide variety of settings. The School has internship agreements with over 300 public and private non-profit social and human service agencies.

The internship should prepare BASW and first-year MSW students for urban generalist practice that addresses the needs and aspirations of disadvantaged and oppressed communities.  This model stresses the principles and processes common to all social work endeavors and students are required to have practice experiences at a variety of levels (e.g., individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities).

For second-year MSW students, the internship should build on the generalist practice model while focusing on areas of specialization. You may review the Field Manual for further descriptions of the BASW and MSW programs at http://socwork.sfsu.edu/content/field-education-manual.

In order to serve as a placement site in our field education program, the agency must meet the requirements specified under the following sections titled “Agency Requirements” and “Field Instructor Requirements.”

Agency Requirements

  • The agency must be a legal entity with legitimate entitlement to provide the services that it is offering. The agency must be a public agency or designated as a non-profit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation.
  • Agencies must certify a policy on non-discrimination as related to students, staff, and clients based on gender identity, sexual orientation, age, race, ethnicity, marital status, physical ability, political persuasion, country of origin, and religious affiliation. The agency must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act or be making reasonable efforts to do so.
  • The agency is required to identify the specific disadvantaged or oppressed constituencies that it serves and offer services consistent with the mission of the School of Social Work.
  • The agency, board, and staff must be willing to accept students for field-based learning. This acceptance includes an understanding that the emphasis will be on the educational process and not solely the completion of agency tasks. Thus, students should be treated as learners and not as paid employees.
  • The agency should have a field education policy that includes both the designated field instructor(s) and a general outline of the educational process to be followed in the student's training. Agencies should accept the responsibility for submitting the Field Instructor Information Form and resumes for all of the MSW-level staff being considered as field instructors.
  • The agency agrees to provide individual supervision by an approved field instructor for a minimum of one hour a week per student. In addition to individual supervision, group supervision is also encouraged.
  • The field instructor is provided with the necessary administrative support for supervising a student. This includes time for preparation and follow-up, time to meet with the faculty field liaison, time to complete the mid-year and final progress reports, and time to attend meetings on campus.
  • The agency has a wide enough variety of services to provide the student with opportunities to utilize a variety of roles (e.g., counselor, advocate, broker, case manager, group facilitator, community organizer, etc.).
  • The agency must practice according to the values and standards of the NASW Code of Ethics and design learning agreements based on the CSWE Educational Policies and Accreditation Standards Core Competencies. 

Field Instructor Requirements

In order to be considered qualified to supervise interns from San Francisco State University’s School of Social Work program, the prospective field instructor must have the following:

  • An MSW degree from an accredited graduate school of social work with a minimum of two years post-master's experience in urban oriented practice with oppressed and disadvantaged populations and a minimum of one year of experience in the agency in which the intern is to be placed.  
  • Demonstrated competence in the relevant areas of social work practice.
  • Demonstrated ability to motivate, support, and enhance the student's knowledge and practice skills and competencies.
  • Commitment to providing weekly supervisory sessions and additional informal support, including time to observe students directly.
  • Willingness to participate in campus-based events related to field education.

Field Instructor Responsibilities

Field instructors are expected to carry out the following tasks in association with their supervisory role:

  • Develop a learning agreement, in collaboration with the student and School of Social Work faculty field liaison, based on the CSWE Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards Core Competencies, addressing specific educational activities and objectives to be met through the internship process.
  • Provide at least one hour of individual supervision per week, which can be supplemented by group supervision.
  • Create and maintain appropriate space and facilities within the agency for the student to meet the identified learning objectives.
  • Hold periodic conferences with the faculty field liaison about the student’s learning process and other relevant topics.
  • Alert the faculty field liaison as early as possible about any challenges associated with the internship process. Consult with the faculty liaison and/or the field director before taking action related to those concerns (e.g., dismissing a student from the agency).
  • Inform the faculty field liaison and/or field director about any changes at the agency with a potential impact on the internship process.
  • Submit the mid-year and final progress reports to the School by the due dates indicated on the appropriate field calendar.
  • Attend the Field Instructor Orientation at the start of the fall semester and as relevant, any other group meetings, workshops, committee meetings, etc.

Agency Application Procedures

Once you have confirmed that your agency meets the above-mentioned requirements, please type out and submit in Word the Field Agency Application and the Field Instructor Information Form, which are posted on the School’s website. These forms will provide information about:

  • The services offered by the agency
  • The constituencies served
  • The professional profile of prospective field instructors
  • The qualities that you would be looking for in an intern

 

Please feel free to provide any additional information that you consider relevant to the placement process.

Upon approval of the agency as a field education site, information about the placement will be posted on the School’s field database. Students and faculty will have access to this information while exploring and selecting appropriate internship sites.

Approval as a potential internship site does not guarantee interns since there are more eligible agencies than students at the School; however, all approved agencies will be available for student review and selection. Agencies should ensure that their contact information is up-to-date so that students are able to contact the appropriate individuals during their internship search. The agency will be contacted as students become interested in the site as a placement. Agencies are also urged to return student inquiries in a timely fashion as students are typically considering a variety of options and working within a limited timeframe to secure an internship. 

All field education policies, procedures, and calendars are posted on the School’s website and further information about the field education program is included in the Field Manual.  Other questions about the field education program and site selection process can be directed to the School of Social Work’s field director, Christine Scudder, LCSW, at cscudder@sfsu.edu or 415-405-0942