Field and Integrative Seminar
Field instruction is an integral part of the academic preparation of the Master of Social Work program. The field instruction component of the curriculum provides a vital learning experience in professional practice. In the interest of integration of theory and practice, the field practicum is concurrent with classroom instruction. Paralleling the classroom curriculum, learning experiences in the field are designed to provide progression, continuity, and integration in the learning process. The chief objective of field experiences is to provide the student with the opportunity to develop competence and engage actively in professional social work tasks that complement and reinforce classroom learning. Students will be placed, through the Field Instruction Department, in an agency within their geographic area. Students in the Fall cohort will begin Field Placement in their second year. Spring cohort and Advanced Standing students begin their Field Placement in their first Fall semester. .
STRUCTURING FIELD WORK
Regional coordinators/field advisers are responsible for matching students with field agencies. In the foundation year of field placement, the regional coordinator/field adviser pairs the student with an appropriate agency. The regional coordinator/field adviser also contacts the student and refers the student to the agency for an interview. In the advanced year of field placement, the regional coordinator/field adviser meets with the student either face-to-face or via Skype to discuss possibilities for the advanced year of field placement based on the student's preference and experience. The regional coordinator/field adviser will then match the student to an agency and refer the student for an interview. Placements are arranged geographically within a 45 minute to an hour time distance from the student's home or place of employment. Placements have to be outside of the 50 mile radius of Fordham's Lincoln Center, Westchester or Molloy campuses.
The regional coordinator/field adviser acts as a liason between the student, the field placement, and the university. The regional coordinator/field adviser is required to visit the field site once a year, either in person of via Skype to meet with the student and field instructor to review the progress of the placement. Two years of field placement are required at 600 hours per year.
Students may choose a 21-hour per week placement, which typically involves three days during agency business hours, or a 14-hour per week placement, which typically involves two days during agency business hours. If a student needs a flexible schedule, the student is required to complete four hours a week out of their 21 or 14 hours at the agency during traditional working hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Placements can include evening and weekend hours and can be built around the individual's work schedule or family obligation, subject to agency availability. Work-study (a student doing field placement at their place of employment within their working hours) arrangements are made with the student's employer in an agency providing social work services. .
Students are required to participate in an integrative seminar in the foundation year and in the advanced year of field placement. Designed to help students integrate their coursework learning with their experiential learning in the field practicum, the integrative seminar is taught by a faculty member who remains in communication with the students' regional coordinator/field advisers on issues pertaining to the students' field practicum.
Through class discussions, process recordings, case presentations, and reflective journals, students learn about professional social work practice with an emphasis on critical thinking, self-awareness, ethics and values, and culturally responsive practice with an emphasis on human rights and social justice.