Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work & Criminal Justice
Varner Hall, Room 518
371 Varner Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4485
(map)
(248) 370-2420
fax: (248) 370-4608
socansw@oakland.edu

Social Work
512 Varner Hall
(248) 370-2371

Field Education

We believe Field Education is the heart of social work. Field Work courses are an integral part of the total social work education program at Oakland University. Historically the profession of social work has considered field work a primary means of providing students the opportunity to integrate knowledge, value and skills. In field work settings (practicums), students learn by doing. Students are placed in social and human service agencies to gain practice experience working with individuals, groups, families, and communities. They also gain and contribute knowledge related to organizational policy and administration, and to legislation related to populations and funding of social service organizations. Students are expected to apply research knowledge and skills such as reviewing literature related to the field of practice, data gathering regarding client progress, needs of a population, and program outcomes. 

These field work opportunities enable students to apply and integrate previous and current learning. Opportunities are available for students to develop knowledge of professional practice at multiple system levels and with a variety of cultural, ethnic, racial, gender and age groups. 
Info For
Students
Supervision
Students are assigned to a BSW or MSW field instructor for supervision and instruction. They must meet with their field supervisor for one hour per week at minimum. Students are also assigned to a faculty field liaison who oversees the learning experience and assists the student and field instructor in designing appropriate learning activities and in integrating practice theory and practice skills.

Field Learning Plan
An individualized learning plan in the form of a Field Learning Agreement is developed in the beginning of the fall semester jointly between the student, the field instructor, and the field liaison. Its purpose is to identify the learning opportunities and practice experiences that will enable the student to address the goals of the course and to demonstrate the competencies upon which the student will be evaluated.

Field Seminar
Students participate in a field seminar led by the field liaison. The field seminar provides an opportunity for students to broaden their knowledge about community resources, about a variety of models for practicing social work, and to gain consultation on practice issues.

Important Resources and Contact Information
For more information contact Stephanie Brandimarte, Director of Field and Student Services Social Work Program at (248) 370-2502, fax (248) 370-4608 or  brandima@oakland.edu.
Address: 512A Varner Hall, Rochester, MI 48309.

Student Forms Agency Forms
Pre-Field applicationRequest an intern (prospective)
Field application Request an intern (current)
Learning PlanAgency application
Confirmation of student placement 
Safety review plan 

Info For
Field Instructors
Field work allows our students to expand their education beyond the classroom. Field instructors help BSW students apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom in a real-world setting.

The Field Instructor is a Bachelor's or Master’s prepared social worker, with at least 2 years of post degree experience, employed by the agency who is responsible for overseeing the supervision of the student in the field. In addition to providing direct supervision, the Field Instructor is responsible for assuring that the agency provides the student with necessary resources including space, telephones, computers, etc. for performing assignments.

Since the primary goal of field instruction is to help prepare entry level professionals for beginning generalist social work practice, rather than agency service, the primary role of the Agency Field Instructor is educational.

In some situations, students may be assigned to an experienced task supervisor who does not meet CSWE standards as a field instructor, but who helps coordinate the day to day activities of the student. In these cases, close communication is expected between the task supervisor and the field instructor of record, who is responsible for overall supervision and evaluation of the student.

The responsibilities of the Field Instructor are to:
  • Submit the necessary paperwork required for approval as an agency/Field Instructor;
  • Attend the Field Instructor’s orientation meeting and become familiar with the Program’s curriculum and field education program;
  • Interview and approve the student for placement at the agency;
  • Orient student to the agency, its policies and procedures;
  • Facilitate the integration of the student in to the agency;
  • Assist in the development and implementation of the student’s Learning Plan;
  • Design and implement learning experiences that meet the objectives of the program and the student’s professional goals;
  • Provide regular and consistent field instruction supervision with the student (a minimum of one hour weekly);
  • Consult formally with the Field Faculty liaison at scheduled agency visits and informally as the need arises;
  • Inform the Field Faculty Liaison should any concerns about student performance in field arise;
  • Regularly evaluate the student’s field work performance and provide ongoing feedback to the student; and
  • Complete the evaluation forms at the end of each term, consulting with the Field Faculty Liaison in recommending a final grade.