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MSW Field Practicum

The Field Practicum is an integral part of the MSW and represents the culmination of graduate social work education. The master’s curriculum prepares graduates for advanced social work practice in an area of concentration where practice is addressed in greater depth, breadth, and specificity. MSW students complete two distinct practica experiences that are consistent with the program’s goals and objectives—a foundation practicum placement and an advanced practicum placement. These two experiences will allow students to integrate and apply the knowledge, values and skills of advanced generalist social work practice in real world settings under skilled supervision. These internships allow the student to apply the knowledge and skills of a generalist social work perspective to practice with systems of all sizes along with developing professional skills for practice in clinical settings. The practicum may be the most critical component of graduate professional training because it is here that students learn to identify with the purposes, values, and ethics of the profession. It is in the practicum where students integrate empirical and practice-based knowledge and develop their professional competence.

The practicum experience is enhanced through integrative seminars that provide the opportunity for students to share their experiences, work toward increased competency, and receive additional knowledge that complements and supplements their academic and professional experience. The seminar also prepares students for professional employment. In the seminar, students keep learning journals and complete a variety of written assignments that reinforce specific learning goals. Goals for the integrative seminar include an appreciation for the range of roles in advanced generalist practice, integration of empirical and practice-based knowledge, understand and accept professional supervision, and maintain appropriate boundaries in supervision and in practice.

MSW Field Practicum Team

Team Member
Position
Email
Diane Calloway-Graham, MSW, Ph.D., CSW
Practicum Director
Logan Faculty
Carl J. Sorenson, MSW, LCSW
 Practicum Coordinator/Liaison
Brigham City Faculty
Carl.sorenson@usu.edu
Susan Egbert, MSW, Ph.D., CSW
MSW Part-Time Program Coordinator
Practicum Coordinator/Liaison
Kaysville Faculty
susan.egbert@usu.edu
Sean Camp, MSW, LCSW
Practicum Coordinator/Liaison
  Tooele Faculty
seancampmsw@gmail.com
Les Harris, MSW, LCSW Practicum Coordinator/Liaison
Vernal Instructor
les.hccs@gmail.com
Jan Thornton, MSW, LCSW Practicum Coordinator/Liaison
Price Faculty
jan.thornton@usu.edu
Jenifer Evers, MSW, LCSW Field Practicum Liaison
Moab & Blanding Faculty
jenifer.evers@usu.edu
Karen Flessner, MSW, CSW
Socail Work Program Coordinator
Logan


Overview of the Field Practicum Requirements

Curriculum & Admission
  • Foundation Field Curriculum

SW 6400 Foundation Supervised Practicum I & Integrative Seminar (4 credits)
SW 6450 Foundation Supervised Practicum II & Integrative Seminar (5 credits)
SW 6475: Block Foundation Supervised Practicum & Integrative Seminar (9 credits)

  • Advanced/Concentration Field Curriculum

SW 6900 Supervised Practicum III (6 credits)
SW 6950 Supervised Practicum IV (6 credits)
SW 6975 Advanced Practicum & Integrative Seminar (12 credits)

Required Practicum Hours. The MSW program expects students to complete a total of 974 hours of field practicum over the course of the foundation and advanced field experience. During the foundation component, students complete 426 hours (16 hours per week and 240 hours each semester) in the field agency and 24 hours of professional seminar for a total of 450 hours. The advanced portionincludes 500 hours (20 hours a week and 262 hours each semester) in the field agency and 24 hours of professional seminar for a total of 524 hours. Students will track their weekly hours and supervision meetings each week and will be required to turn in documentation once a month via Canvas. The MSW field practicum is a concurrent experience and agency/student contracts are binding through both semesters. Students cannot complete their hours early.

Admission Requirements. Only those MSW students who have met the specified criteria for field practicum are admitted to the foundation and advanced field experience. All applicants admitted to the MSW program are admitted to the foundation field experience. To continue in the advanced field experience, students must successfully complete, with a C or better and a 3.0 average, the entire foundation curriculum.

Professional Integrative Seminar. The field experience is enhanced through professional integrative seminars at both the foundation and advanced levels. The integrative seminar provides students with an opportunity to tie the field practice experience to the academic program. It also facilitates the transition to the professional role of a social work practitioner. Students meet regularly in the integrative seminar for the duration of their field placement. Students keep learning journals and complete a variety of written assignments that reinforce learning goals related to field practicum. The purpose of the integrative seminar is to provide the opportunity to share experiences, work toward increased competency, prepare for professional employment, and receive additional knowledge that complements and supplements the academic and professional experience.

Overview of the Application Process. Selection student practicum sites is through an application process that begins at admissions to the MSW Program in the preceding spring (for full-time students) and in the spring semester of their foundation year (for part-time students). Students must meet all program criteria to be eligible for placement in field.

Block Placements. A block internship is an alternative to the concurrent field plan. The block placement allows students to complete a field internship in the summer through additional hours per week over a concentrated period of time. Students may submit a written request for a block internship with the Practicum Director six weeks before the semester in which the internship would take place. These types of placements are limited. Requests for block internships are considered on an individual basis, taking into account both personal and educational issues. The Practicum Director or appropriate field team member will discuss the block practicum option with the student. If approved, the following steps will be taken to arrange the placement:

  • The practicum director and/or field team recommends a student to an agency and provides

  • the agency with the student’s resume.

  • The student makes arrangements with the designated agency for an interview.

  • The practicum director and/or field team contacts the practicum site and confirms the

  • placement by sending a confirmation letter with a copy to the student.

  • The placement is finalized upon agreement of all parties involved (program, student, agency)

  • and when the field placement agreement form is completed.

Academic Requirements for Block Placements.
Foundation year students must complete all the required foundation courses prior to doing a block placement internship. The block internship is only during the summer semester; students complete 30-35 hours a week over 3-4 months, for a total of 426 hours in the agency and 24 hours in the professional seminar.

Advanced students must complete all the required advanced courses prior to doing a block placement internship. The block internship is only during the summer semester; advanced students complete 32-40 hours a week over 3-4 months, for a total of 500 hours in the field agency and 24 hours in the professional seminar. Advanced students complete their placement in the summer following the completion of the advanced curriculum.

Placements outside the area. Arrangements for placement outside local area of the program will be approved only under exceptional circumstances. Students should have completed all of the course work required for the admission to the field practicum. Students should arrange their schedule to interface with program supervision protocols and complete the integrative seminar. Access to the agency must be in a reasonable location for the field practicum education team to interface accordingly.


MSW EMPLOYMENT-BASED PLACEMENT POLICY. In order to be responsive to students who continue in full-time human service employment, the social work program permits employment-related placement opportunities for those who meet the appropriate criteria. An employment-related placement is defined as a field education arrangement in which the student completes her/his foundation OR advanced placement experience in the agency in which she/he is currently employed. In no case will a student be permitted to complete both foundation and advanced field experiences at his/her place of employment.

The student and the agency are responsible for meeting the following criteria in order to obtain written approval of an employment-related placement from the Practicum Director:

The agency field instructor must meet all appropriate program requirements and must have the formal qualifications as designated by the social work program practicum policy (see Social Work Program Field Practicum Manual).

The designated field instructor must provide educational supervision for a minimum of one hour per week.

Additionally, except in rare circumstances associated with rural field placements, the field supervisor will not be responsible for supervising the student’s employment-related activities. In those rare cases where the employee’s supervisor must also act as the agency field instructor, the Social Work Program will provide tandem supervision to ensure that student assignments and field education supervision differ from those associated with the student’s employment.

The Agency must meet all the appropriate criteria associated with the field experience, as stated in the Social Work Program Field Practicum Manual.

Field education in employment-related placements must conform to all the standards and policies as specified in the Social Work Program Field Practicum Manual. Additionally, there can be no overlap between the student’s employment responsibilities and his/her practicum responsibilities and learning activities. The student’s Learning Contract must designate different and more advanced practice activities than those in which the student participated as an employee. The program does not give field credit for duties and tasks for which the student is being or has been paid as a regular employee.

A student who desires an employment-related field experience option should approach agency personnel and the social work program practicum director or faculty advisor for initial approval and permission to pursue the employment-related option. If approved, the student submits the Employment-Related Plan complete with appropriate agency signatures. All regular field education policies and requirements apply including the formal learning agreement and evaluations.


Background checks. Background checks are required by most agencies. All students need to complete the expected forms in the agency before beginning their internship. During the student interview process it is important to find out all requirements for paperwork including medical testing. Conducting background checks is the responsibility of the agency and the student. If an agency is not able to pay for these additional requirements, then payment is the responsibility of the student.