The purpose of field education is to provide you with the opportunity to practice and integrate advanced-level social work values, knowledge and skills, including the development of a professional “self” and professional identity as a social worker.
The field education placements are conceptualized as an educational course rather than a work term. That is, courses are graded (pass/fail) by an agency-based qualified field instructor assigned to teach each student, and a field advisor assigned to support each student and instructor. The workload of field education is controlled to facilitate an emphasis on learning.
Master of Social Work (MSW) placement agencies or teaching centres consist of social agencies/organizations selected and approved by our Field Education office. These centres are mostly located in towns/cities within a 150-kilometre range of Kitchener-Waterloo. Commuting to placement is expected and, as a result, flexibility regarding the geographical location of a placement is required. Many agencies require that you have access to a car while on placement.
You are assigned to a placement for an interview based on the requirements of your MSW program and of the agency. Your interests in particular types of work or agencies are also taken into consideration when matching you with an agency for an interview; however, this is not guaranteed because placements are competitive. The Field Education office also considers new placement opportunities that you propose within the appropriate time frame.
The timelines for field education courses are structured and sequenced to reflect course requirements and program progression. The following timelines also ensure that you attend the required seminars and workshops that are part of the field education course, and that you complete your program requirements in a timely manner.
|Days||Months||Time in Placement|
|Foundational Field Education: Three days a week and four days a week||Monday to Wednesday and Monday to Thursday||January to March and April to May||462 hours of placement|
|Advanced Field Education: Three days a week||Monday to Wednesday||September to April||546 hours of placement|
|Advanced International Field Education: Five days a week||Monday to Friday||September to December||546 hours of placement|
|Part-Time Foundational Field Education: Two days a week||Negotiated||September to July||462 hours of placement|
|Part-Time Advanced Field Education: Two days a week||Negotiated||September to June||546 hours of placement|
Employed part-time students must make arrangements with their employers for time off to attend placements during the agency’s and instructor’s business hours on required weekdays. Placements are not offered during evenings and weekends. A minimum of 14 hours (seven to eight hours a day) over a two-day period is required.
Professional and qualified instructors teach you in the field. Field education instructors typically hold an MSW degree and are recognized as “our faculty in the field.” Instructors have a minimum of two-years post-master’s experience as well as formal training.
Field education courses are covered under student fees. There are no extra charges through the university. However, while on placement, you are usually expected to pay for expenses such as police checks, mileage and parking. Students and instructors are not paid. Placement agencies may cover your mileage costs while on agency business; however, this varies with agencies.
Humankind has not woven the web of life.
We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.
— Chief Seattle, 1854
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