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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
June 27, 2016

Canadian Excellence

Field Advising

The Field Advisor (FA) provides a connection between campus and practicum learning for the intern and practicum setting. The FA is a social worker who has worked in the field for a minimum of 5 years, and has experience working with students.

The Field Advisor is assigned to a group of students, and provides a connection between campus and practicum learning for both the intern and the practicum setting.


Field Advisor responsibilities:

>† Assist agencies and instructors to feel positively connected with the Faculty of Social Work.
>† Establish and maintain an atmosphere of trust, supportiveness and openness with Practicum Instructor and intern.
>† Ensure early in the placement those practicum goals as required by the curriculum will be met.
>† Ensure that specific intern educational needs and/or problems in learning are being dealt with.
>† Act as a contact person from the Faculty of Social Work for agencies, instructors, and interns to address questions, procedures,
††† and possible problems, should they occur, in a collaborative manner.
>† Provide students with an individual resource person (if needed); and offer students a regular support group experience
††† throughout the placement.
>† Review internsí written evaluation reports and, if required, address problems when identified (with instructor and student).
>† Initiate and implement ĎStudent-in-difficultyí procedures in situations where the Practicum Instructor has identified that the
††† intern is not meeting expectations, in collaboration with the Practicum Coordinator.
>† As well, the Field Advisor will assist with and monitor the placement as to whether it meets the studentís learning needs and
††† expectations of the FSW.
>† Provide relevant support for practicum instructors and other agency personnel.
>† Conduct field visits and group seminars.

Contacting Agencies

Field Advisors are expected to connect with students as well as Practicum Instructors via email or phone within the first three weeks of placement. Regular communication with students and Practicum Instructors prior to each evaluation is also expected in order to provide any support needed towards the studentís practicum.

Field Visits

At least one field visit is required for any new agencies, full-time and part-time first year students, new Practicum Instructors, advanced standing students, or any other agencies indicated by the Practicum Office.

Please ensure that the first field visit for new agencies, full-time & part-time first year students and new Practicum Instructors takes place during the first six weeks of placement.
Field visits for advanced standing students take place within the first term.

Group Seminars

Field Advisors are expected to conduct three group seminars with all students who are completing their first placement and advanced standing students. The seminars are intended to bring the students together to address any concerns, such as ethical dilemmas, and issues around their learning needs.†

Cohort Responsibilities

Year One Interns and Advanced Standing Interns: The Field Advisor holds 3 scheduled seminars throughout the practice term with his/her cohort of interns in order to discuss any practicum issues which are of interest to the group. One visit is made to the agency to assist with such issues as developing intern assignments, evaluation concerns and generally 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 or intern.

Year Two Interns: For this shorter placement, Field Advisors contact the agency via phone/email and are available to visit with the intern 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 practicum office. The visit will take place earlier in the term in order to assist and support this new setting.


It is most important that the Practicum Instructor initiate discussion with the Field Advisor as soon as he/she feels an intern is experiencing problems. This makes it possible for the Field Advisor and Practicum Instructor to work together to assist the intern early in the practicum placement while there is still enough time to resolve the difficulty. Special procedures have been established to address Student-in-Difficulty in the practicum placement.

Students & Practicum Instructors: Should there be an issue that you are not able to resolve at the placement†please contact your assigned Field Advisor right away.

Field Advisors initiate and implement "Student-in-difficulty" procedures in situations where the Practicum Instructor has identified that the intern is not meeting expectations. Intern-in-difficulty procedures are also initiated to report any conflict that arises between a student and the Practicum Instructor, or when an intern identifies learning issues or challenges within the placement.

Please follow this procedure to inform the Practicum Office of any "Student-in-difficulty" issues:

1.†† Initiate a conversation with the student or Practicum Instructor to discuss the issue.
2.†† If appropriate, and if the issue is not resolved, initiate a meeting with the Practicum Instructor and student to discuss the
††††† issue
3.†† Document all notes in a detailed report that outlines any conflict or student in difficulty situations. The report must include:
††††††† a.† Declaration of student-in-difficulty;
††††††† b.† Identification of issues;
††††††† c.† Outcome of meeting & shared understanding of how the issue will be resolved;
††††††† d.† Goals to be achieved for successful placement completion;
††††††† e.†
Timeframe for follow up, and timeframe for studentís placement.
4.†† Please contact the Practicum Coordinator via email and include an attached copy of the report.

5.†† If issue is not resolved, see Practicum Termination Process.

Related Information Title Type
2015 Student-in-Difficulty Process Flow Chart Document