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Being a Golden Hawk means more than just cheering on our (really good) varsity teams – it means being a student who cares about your community, who works hard in the classroom, and who takes advantage of all the learning opportunities that can happen outside the classroom, too.


MSW Field Placements

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.

MSW Field Placement Request Form

MSW Field Instruction

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:

  • Conducting field visits with new agencies to establish placement settings which ensure a quality field program;
  • Providing field instructors with a clear understanding of the practice concentration objectives;
  • Setting minimum field practice goals and criteria for student evaluations;
  • Offering seminars and courses to assist field instructors with their teaching skills;
  • Providing continuing education programs in new or advanced areas of practice; and
  • Supporting, initiating, and maintaining contact with field instructors and students through field advisors.

Appointment of Field Instructors

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.

Field instructors:

  • Are employed by agencies, or teaching centres.
  • Have a Master of Social Work (or its equivalent) for advanced or foundational placements, or a Bachelor of Social Work for foundational placements.
  • Have at least two years post-Master of Social Work full-time work experience.
  • Completed at least one year of employment at the agency.
  • Complete the beginning field instruction training for new instructors or an equivalent. Instructors make a commitment to accept a student during the time they are taking this training or the calendar year following it.
  • Are supported by their agencies to undertake this responsibility.

Responsibilities of Field Instructors

Major responsibilities of the field instructor include the following:

  • Reception and orientation of students upon arrival;
  • Become familiar with the educational philosophy and curriculum of the faculty;
  • Link theory and practice within the student's learning experience;
  • Develop the learning plan with the student;
  • Provide practice assignments based on the learning plan;
  • Observe students in the placement setting with regard to professional practice;
  • Schedule individual supervision on a weekly basis, for a minimum of 1.5 hours per week in individual sessions, in order to teach practice values, knowledge and skills;
  • Allow the student the necessary time for participation in concurrent courses offered during the field placement (note: courses are not offered on placement days);
  • Make use of field advisors as appropriate; and
  • Complete and submit midterm and final evaluations as requested by the faculty. Evaluation guidelines are available to help facilitate planning for an evaluation meeting.

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.

Recognition of Field Instructors

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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