Frequently Asked Questions about Field Placements

  1. When and how do I apply for a field placement?
  2. How does the field office determine where I will be placed?
  3. How many field placement hours are required and how are the hours scheduled?
  4. May I be placed where I work?
  5. May I be placed in the community where I live?
  6. May I arrange my own placement?
  7. How does the interview process work?
  8. May I interview at several agencies before selecting my placement?
  9. How do I determine which field course I should take?
  10. What orientation is required?
  11. Exactly who is the field instructor? Field liaison? Field coordinator?
  12. What is the purpose of the integrative field seminar and how does it work?
  13. What is a learning agreement?
  14. How am I evaluated by the agency/field instructor?
  15. What should I do if I have concerns about my field placement experience?

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  1. When and how do I apply for a field placement?
    Applications for Field Education placements are available HERE. Admitted students eligible for field placements must regularly check their MSU email for further instructions and due dates.

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  2. How does the field office determine where I will be placed?
    Student/agency matches are determined by the field coordinator for each program based on location, agency availability and student requests/learning needs, as outlined in the field application.

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  3. How many field placement hours are required and how are the hours scheduled?
    Students are required to complete 16 hours per week of field placement at least 240 hours per semester they are enrolled in a field course. Students are in the agency during normal business hours (M-F from 9-5), and create their individual schedule in collaboration with their field instructor (see questions # 11). Occasionally evening/weekend hours are available or required by the agency.

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  4. May I be placed where I work?
    Yes, employment related placements are an option for students whose employment provides appropriate learning opportunities. Employment related options are not available for Advanced Standing students.

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  5. May I be placed in the community where I live?
    Yes, efforts will be made to place students as close to the community of their choice as possible given agency affiliation requirements.

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  6. May I arrange my own placement?
    No, field coordinators arrange all placements. You may request a particular agency either on your field application or by contacting your coordinator.

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  7. How does the interview process work?
    When you have been matched to an agency the Field Office will send the agency contact person your resume for review. We will also send you this person's name and contact information via MSU email. Students are responsible for scheduling a placement interview with the contact person or their designee as soon as po ssible after they receive placement notification. The purpose of the interview is to determine the goodness of fit between the student and agency.

    With your placement notification, you will be provided a confirmation form to guide the interview. If both you and the agency agree to the match, sign the confirmation form and return it to the Field Office immediately. If concerns arise about the placement, do not sign the confirmation form and contact your coor dinator immediately.

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  8. May I interview at several agencies before selecting my placement?
    No, students are matched with one agency at a time.

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  9. How do I determine which field course I should take?
    Listing of Field Education Courses by Semester
    Course Fall Spring Summer
    Undergraduate Field SW494A SW494B  
    First Placement Foundation Field SW894A SW894B  
    Advanced Standing Field     SW893B
    Second Placement Clinical Field SW894D SW894E  
    Second Placement OCP Field SW894G SW894I  

     

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  10. What orientation is required?
    Graduate students entering their first field placement are required to attend a one day Field Orientation Seminar prior to going to the agency. You will be notified of dates, times and locations via MSU email. For the Blended Program students this occurs during Summer Institute. For Advanced Standing Program stud ents this occurs just prior to entering placement. For the East Lansing and Flint programs there is a one day required Field Orientation Seminar and a two day required Orientation to the Profession seminar for a total of three days at the beginning of the semester. Students with a BSW are exempt from the two day prof essional seminar. Undergraduate students receive orientation to field education in their integrative field seminar.

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  11. Exactly who is the field instructor? Field liaison? Field coordinator?
    The field instructor is usually an employee of the agency in which you are placed. This person is responsible for your learning at the placement site and provides one hour of supervision per week.

    The field liaison is an MSU employee who is responsible for monitoring your experience at the agency and facilitating the integrative field seminar. The field liaison recommends field grades to the field coordinator. The field coordinator is a full-time MSU employee who is resonsible for coordinating and overseeing day to day operations of the field program including developing placement sites, matching students to agencies, facilitating field reviews if problems arise, and assigning field grades.

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  12. What is the purpose of the integrative field seminar and how does it work?
    All students in field placement are required to participate in an integrative field seminar which is facilitated by their field liaison. The purpose of the seminar is to integrate course work with field experience and support students in problem solving. Graduate students are assigned a liaison group which meets 10 hours each semester. With guidance from the liaison, the integrative field seminar group participates in determining the meeting content and schedule. Undergraduate students meet with their liaison weekly as a part of their field course.

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  13. What is a learning agreement?
    Learning agreements are the unique syllabus for each field course, submitted to the field liaison, and are available on the School's website. Students, in collaboration with their field instructor, determine specific activities within the agency that are consistent with and demonstrate the required practice behav iors of the curriculum. Students are then evaluated on these activities to determine competence. One activity is identified per practice behavior.

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  14. How am I evaluated by the agency/field instructor?
    Each semester, students and their field instructor have a mid-semester verbal evaluation. At the end of the semester, the field instructor writes a final narrative evaluation of the student's performance based upon the learning agreement. A grade on the 4.0 scale is recommended by the field instructor, reviewed a nd approved by the liaison, reviewed and submitted to the registrar by the Field Coordinator.

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  15. What should I do if I have concerns about my field placement experience?
    The first person to speak with is your field instructor. If you are unable to resolve your concerns, then the field liaison is available for support and problem-solving. The liaison keeps the field coordinator informed of the circumstances. When concerns arise, a meeting (called a field review) may be held to res olve issues while supporting students and agencies in the process.