Selection Criteria

A field practicum site is selected based on the site's ability to provide students with opportunities to:

  • Practice social work with individuals, families and communities, including groups and larger organizations for Generalist Field students, and advanced practice opportunities for Specialized Field students
  • Engage in social work practice that is consistent with the values, ethics, principles and theories of social work and the mission of West Chester University Graduate Social Work Department
  • Learn through assignments and activities so that the student can achieve the competency behaviors identified for each semester of field practicum
  • Practice non-discrimination with regard to gender, sexual orientation, race, color, ethnicity, age, religion, or disability in providing services
  • Provide orientation to the site services, procedures, human resources policies and guidelines, including safety policies and procedures
  • Provide a qualified Field Instructor who has adequate time to supervise the student and meet with the faculty liaison; Completion of the Seminar in Field Instruction series is strongly encouraged for new Field Instructors


Responsibilities of the Field Site

  • Interview, select and accept students for field placement who are determined by the site to be appropriate
  • Provide qualified Field Instructors who have the MSW degree and preferably two years of post-graduate professional experience
  • Provide orientation to the student on the social work site, its mission, purpose, functions and services, including safety policies and procedures
  • Allow the Field Instructor adequate time to prepare for and provide a minimum of 60 minutes of individual student supervision weekly, to complete in collaboration with the student mid- and final semester evaluations, to attend field instruction information sessions and seminars conducted by the Program and to meet at least once per semester with the Faculty Field Liaison and/or Director of Field Education
  • Provide adequate space and learning opportunities for the student to gain appropriate social work practice experience
  • Sign an Affiliation Agreement with WCU indicating acceptance of designated responsibilities


Responsibilities of the Field Instructor

  • Assume primary responsibility for the student's field learning experience
  • Develop assignments that assist in meeting the student's learning objectives, ensures the quality of services and protects clients
  • Provide consistent, scheduled, in-person, Field Instruction/supervision at least one hour per week that includes administrative, educational and supportive supervision
  • Orient the student to the social work site, its mission, purpose, function and services within the community including safety policies and procedures
  • Collaborate with the student to
    • Assess learning needs
    • Develop the student's Learning Agreement
    • Periodically review the Learning Agreement to monitor the student's progress
  • Review and comment on the student's process recordings (two required in Generalist/1st field, optional for Specialized/2nd field) and other writing such as reports and documentation of services provided
    • Provide ongoing, mutual and continuous evaluation and feedback of the student's work with clients, development and demonstration of competency behaviors, and respect for social work values and ethics
    • Collaborate, review and discuss with the student the mid-semester and final evaluations
    • Provide feedback to the Faculty Field Liaison regarding the student's development and demonstration of competency behaviors, and respect for social work values and ethics
    • Alert the Faculty Field Liaison by phone, email or request for a meeting regarding any problematic behaviors or other issues that arise between liaison site visits
  • Attend program's orientation session for Field Instructors to become familiar with the MSW curriculum and the processes of field instruction
  • Complete the Seminar In Field Instruction (SIFI) series offered by WCU Social Work or by another accredited social work program
  • Collaborate with the Director of Field Education to:
    • Develop the site as a field practicum setting
    • Process an Affiliation Agreement
    • Complete a Field Instructor Application
    • Recommend the number and types of students the site can accommodate


Employment-Based Field Placements

Employment-based field placements may be approved by the Director of Field Education if the workplace is able to offer the student:

  • New assignments different from the student's role as an employee, which will meet the student's learning needs
  • A Field Instructor who has an MSW and is someone other than the student's work supervisor
  • A signed Affiliation Agreement  with West Chester University
  • To maintain the integrity of the student/Field Instructor relationship, dual relationships should be avoided. For example, the student and field instructor should not be friends or socialize outside of the work environment.

The student, in consultation with the employer, must submit a written plan to the Director of Field Education for review.

To ensure that all parties are in agreement about the employment-based field practicum and that there will be no conflicts of interest between a student's field practicum assignments and work assignments, or between a student's Field Instructor and work supervisor, the plan must be signed by the:

  • Student
  • Student's employment supervisor
  • Proposed Field Instructor and proposed Task Supervisor (if applicable)
  • Director of Field Education

The proposed plan must be submitted to and approved by the Director of Field Education prior to the start of the semester. The plan is also submitted to the student's Faculty Field Liaison as an attachment to the student's Learning Agreement.

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