A significant part of the Master of Social Work (MSW) learning experience happens outside of the classroom. All social work students are required to complete work placements in the field, allowing them to integrate the skills they learn in school and develop their identities as professional social workers. The success of the MSW Field Education program relies heavily on field agencies that dedicate their time, resources and staff to the education of social work students.
The Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University has established connections with over 700 agencies across Southern Ontario as well as a number of international agencies.
Field instructors play a key role in the development of the next generation of social workers. The instructor attempts to teach complex skills within the respective concentrations, model professional behaviours, and facilitate the growth and development of values and ethics in the student.
The Faculty of Social Work relies on agency-employed field instructors for all field placements. At all times the students and instructors are accountable to the agency administration for the service responsibilities and to the university for the educational requirements and procedures. It is expected that the instructors attend meetings or committees required by the agency to provide for realistic involvement in agency administration.
The Faculty of Social work is committed to supporting field instruction as follows:
The Field Education Office works closely with all field instructors and help orient them towards their role and responsibilities a few months before the start of any placement. This includes assessing the instructor's interest and suitability considering Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) and Faculty of Social Work policies and requirements, and conducting a field visit.
Major responsibilities of the field instructor include the following:
The Master of Social Work Field Education Manual provides more details regarding the instructor’s responsibilities as a teaching supervisor towards the faculty, and teaching centre.
Experienced field instructors receive special recognition for their instruction of students via an official title. Instructors who have completed ten or more placements and have made special contributions to the Field Education program at Wilfrid Laurier University are invited by the Master of Social Work Field Coordinator to apply for the title associate field education professor (part-time).
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