The Value of Field Internship
Field internship is an integral part of the learning process. Field is often the most meaningful part of the social work curriculum for students. It is challenging because it represents a real test of skills, commitment, and knowledge. It is when students first assume professional responsibility for intervening in clients' lives. This is where the student has the opportunity to apply theories, techniques, and concept learned in the classroom to a direct practice; by means of hands-on experience. This is also where they begin developing their personal persona in the service delivery process. Field identifies a student's strengths/ or weaknesses and allows them to gain the necessary skills, knowledge, and values in order to succeed in the social work profession.
Eligibility for Field Instruction
Students are responsible for becoming familiar with the requirements of the Social Work major as described in the Coppin State University catalog. To qualify for a field placement, students must:
- Complete SOWK 210, SOWK 260, SOWK 379 and SOWK 388 with a grade of "C" or better by the end of the spring semester prior to beginning field work.
- Have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.50 by the end of the semester preceding your placement. For example, by the end of the spring semester preceding fall placements, or by the end of the fall semester preceding spring placements.
- Be able to graduate within three semesters of beginning field work.
- Submit all application materials by March 15 for fall placement and October 15 for Block Placement, including an acceptable resume and profile of experiences and learning needs.
- In addition to meeting the above requirements for field instruction, students must have demonstrated responsible, professional conduct at Coppin State University prior to beginning field work. This includes, but not limited to:
- The student having a record of regular class attendance;
- Punctuality with respect to class arrival and the timely submission of course assignments;
- Personal comportment consistent with the high standards of the social work profession.
Questions and Answers
What is field placement?
Field Placement provides students with the opportunity to integrate the knowledge, skills, and values learned in the classroom setting with the practical experiences that are provided at social service agencies.
What is the field process?
All social work students will be notified by e-mail regarding a field interest meeting. This is where the field process will be explained and you will be given an opportunity to ask questions regarding field internship. Students are required to submit an Application for Field Placement to start the process. Applications cannot be faxed or mailed to the Field Education Office. Students may be matched with agencies / and or particular client populations they would like to work with (provided such agency is available).
How is time spent in the field?
Students are required to spend 16 hours per week in an internship over two academic semesters which comes to approximately 480 hours. There is no variation regarding time spent in the field, you must spend 16 hours and two (2) full days a week in field if you are a day placement. Most students are at the agencies during the day on a Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday schedule. Evening students may work partial hours any day of the week except Sunday, but must complete 16 hours a week as well.
Field starts in the fall and continues through the spring semester. As of January '09 students may also start field in January. These students will complete field by the first summer session which is a block placement.
Can my placement be arranged for evenings or weekend hours?
The University cannot guarantee field placement on either weekend or evening hours as most agencies do not have available supervision after 5:00 p.m. The University has a limited number of student placements with non-traditional hours. You will need to plan ahead and save leave time with current employers. Consider finding a job that has evening hours. Once again, there are few field placements with evening hours.
Who is considered a field instructor, a field liaison and task supervisor?
A field instructor must have a MSW and at least 2 years of postgraduate professional social work experience, and a license in the state of Maryland. The Field Instructor will supervisor, monitor and evaluate interns in their fieldwork, overseeing the entire range of field experience.
The Field Liaison is an employee of the Department of Social Work who provides a link between the student and the agency.
The Task Supervisor is not required to hold an MSW degree, although they are expected to have experience with the agency. Their role is to work with the student directly on a daily basis regarding specific tasks, client services, and agency operations.