Field Instruction I (SWRK 3605) consists of a minimum of 300 and Field Instruction II (SWRK 4605) consists of a minimum of 400 hours of work in a practice setting approved by the School of Social Work. Considerable flexibility is permitted to students and their agency-based Field Instructors to determine appropriate work schedules. This may result in the field practicum being offered in a block (3, 4 or 5 days per week) or concurrently (2 or 2-1/2 days per week) throughout the session. Practicum settings must be approved by the field coordinator and learning contracts (including work schedules) are approved by an assigned Faculty consultant. Given the range of agency requirements and student priorities, learning contracts and work schedules differ, but all are subject to the mutual consent of the parties concerned. Fieldwork I and II are graded by the assigned faculty consultant on a satisfactory/fail basis.
While engaged in field practice, students are expected to abide by all School, University and professional codes of conduct. In addition, students are required to respect the particular standards of the field placement setting and the policies and procedures outlined in the Field Education Manual.
Many students in the program are individuals with experience in social services related fields. For students with a minimum of two years full-time experience in social services, the program offers challenge examinations which, if passed, constitute credit for SWRK 3605 and up to 6 credits of upper SWRK/SWLF electives.
The field placement is often considered by students to be a highlight of social work education. It represents considerable investment on the part of students and signifies their readiness to begin the transition from classroom to practice and the transition from student to social worker. The field placement also represents a significant change in how the courses are taught. The method of instruction shifts from classroom instruction to a practice-based team approach
The practice-based team approach necessarily widens the focus of the course. While the principal members of the Field Education Team are the Student, the Field Instructor and the Faculty Consultant, there are other players who are key in the field placement experience. This is the point at which the field placement setting and the clients they are mandated to serve enter into the educational process. The School of Social Work, through the Field Education Program, must ensure there is responsible consideration of the rights and needs of all parties