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MSW Field Advisors

To further strengthen and facilitate the process of learning in a field placement, Laurier's Faculty of Social Work assigns a field advisor for each instructor and student during the placement. The field advisor is an experienced social worker employed by the Faculty of Social Work who has worked in the field for a minimum of five years, has experience working with students. The field advisor provides a connection between campus and field for the student and placement setting. Each term the field advisor is assigned to a group of students placed at an agency. To ensure continuity of learning for students in the two-year full-time and three-year part-time program, each field advisor is assigned the same group of students for the foundational and advanced placements.

Responsibilities

Field advisor overall responsibilities include:

  • Assisting agencies and instructors to feel positively connected with the Faculty of Social Work.
  • Establishing and maintaining an atmosphere of trust, supportiveness and openness with the field instructor and student.
  • Ensuring early in the placement those field goals as required by the curriculum will be met.
  • Ensuring that specific student educational needs and/or problems in learning are being dealt with.
  • Acting as a contact person from the Faculty of Social Work for agencies, instructors, and students to address questions, procedures, and possible problems, should they occur, in a collaborative manner.
  • Providing students with an individual resource person (if needed), and offering students a regular support group experience throughout the placement.
  • Reviewing students’ written evaluation reports and, if required, addressing problems when identified (with instructor and student).
  • Initiating and implementing field resolution procedures and placement dissolution procedures in situations where the field instructor has identified that the student is not meeting expectations, in collaboration with the Master of Social Work (MSW) field education coordinator.
  • Assisting with and monitoring the placement as to whether it meets the student’s learning needs and expectations of the faculty.
  • Providing relevant support for field instructors and other agency personnel.
  • Conducting field visits and group seminars.

Contacting Agencies

Field advisors connect with students as well as instructors via email or phone the first day of placement. Advisors also connect with students and instructors prior to each evaluation in order to provide any support needed towards the student’s placement.

Field Visits

The field advisor visits the placement setting and meets with both the field instructor and the student for consultation on any matter pertaining to the student’s education at the school and performance in the placement. At least one field visit is required for any new agencies, full-time and part-time students completing a foundational placement, new field instructors, full-time and part-time students in the advanced standing program, and any other agencies indicated by the Field Education Office.

The first field visit for new agencies, full-time and part-time first-year students and new field instructors takes place during the first six weeks of placement. Field visits for advanced standing students take place within the first six to eight weeks of placement.

Student Meetings and Group Seminars

Field advisors meet with their group of students on the first day of each term. Advisors also conduct three group seminars with all students who are completing their foundational placement and advanced standing students. The seminars bring the students together to address any concerns, such as ethical dilemmas, and issues around their learning needs. Discussions can be focused on topics relevant to the student’s experiences and are often guided by the learning and challenges the students are experiencing in their placement.

Group seminar dates are coordinated by the Field Education Office in consultation with field advisors in advance of the placement term. Students are grouped according to cohort for these seminars and are informed of these dates at the start of the placement term. Field advisors facilitate seminars on the following topics:

  • Professionalism: boundaries, effective problem solving, assertiveness, workplace politics.
  • Ethical Dilemmas: review cases and how they would handle them.
  • Personal Self-Care: reflexive practice, compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, transferrable skills.

Cohort Responsibilities

Students completing the foundational field course and advanced standing students: The field advisor holds three scheduled seminars throughout the practice term with his/her cohort of students in order to discuss any field issues which are of interest to the group. One visit is made to the agency to assist with such issues as reviewing students’ learning assignments, evaluation concerns and to provide any needed information and support. Early visits are planned in the case of a new agency and/or instructor in order to assist and support this new setting. Further visits may be made at the request of the instructor, student or Field Education Office.

Students completing the advanced field course (two-year full-time and three-year part-time): For the second, advanced placement, field advisors contact the agency via phone/email and are available to visit with the student and instructor on any issues that may arise. A visit is expected in the case of a new agency and/or instructor or as requested by the Field Education Office. The visit takes place earlier in the term in order to assist and support this new setting.

Field Resolution Procedure

Field advisors initiate and implement field resolution procedure in situations where the field instructor has identified that the student is not meeting expectations. This procedure is also initiated to report any conflict that arises between a student and the field instructor, or when a student identifies learning issues or challenges within the placement. If issue is not resolved, the placement dissolution procedure may be initiated as per the recommendation of the agency, instructor, or Master of Social Work (MSW) field coordinator.

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