Frequently Asked Questions about Field Placements
- When and how do I apply for a field placement?
Students eligible for field placements will receive an email with field application instructions. Applications are completed through our data management system, Sonia.
- How does the field office determine where I will be matched?
Student/agency matches are determined by the student’s field coordinator based on location, agency availability and the student’s field application, requests/learning needs.
- How many field placement hours are required and how are the hours scheduled?
Students are required to complete 240 hours per semester (Fall and Spring); advanced standing students complete an additional 120 hours during Summer semester. Students are in the agency approximately 16 hours per week, typically during normal business hours, and create their individual schedule in collaboration with their field instructor. Occasionally evening/weekend hours are available or required by the agency.
- May I be placed where I work?
Yes, employment-related placements are an option for students working full-time (32 or more hours per week), whose employment provides appropriate learning opportunities. Employment-related options are not available for Advanced Standing students.
- May I be placed in the community where I live?
Yes, efforts are made to match students as close to the community of their choice as possible given agency availability.
- 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 field coordinator.
- How does the pre-placement interview process work?
When an agency match has been identified by your field coordinator, the Field Office will send the agency contact person a match email with your resume for review. You will also receive a match email with instructions, the name of the agency, contact person and placement confirmation form. Students are responsible for initiating contact with the agency to schedule a pre-placement interview with the contact person or their designee as soon as possible after they receive the match notification email. The purpose of the interview is to determine the goodness of fit between the student and agency. The placement confirmation form includes a checklist of topics we ask you and the agency to use 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 you or the agency decline the match, sign and return the confirmation form to the Field Office and contact your coordinator immediately to determine next steps for being re-matched to another agency.
- May I interview at several agencies before selecting my placement?
No, students are matched with one agency at a time.
- 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
- What orientation is required?
All students entering their first field placement are required to review the online orientation modules located on the Field Education webpage prior to interviewing at an agency. In addition, all students entering their first field placement are required to attend an in person field orientation prior to the start to their first semester in field. You will be notified of dates, times and locations via MSU email. Undergraduate students receive additional field orientation in their integrative field seminar.
- Exactly who is the field instructor? Field liaison? Field coordinator?
The field instructor is usually an employee of the field placement agency. 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 coordinator is a full-time MSU employee who is responsible for developing placement sites, matching students to agencies, supporting field liaisons, and facilitating field review meetings if problems arise.
- What is the purpose of the integrative field seminar and how does it work?
All students in field education 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 for Fall/Spring semesters and 5 hours for the Summer semester. With guidance from the liaison, the integrative field seminar group participates in determining the meeting content, schedule and location. Undergraduate students meet with their liaison weekly as a part of their field education course (SW 494 A and B).
- What is a learning evaluation tool (LET)?
The Learning Evaluation Tool (LET) is a personalized educational tool that outlines the activities the student will complete and be evaluated on each semester in order to meet the School’s competencies. Students, in collaboration with their field instructor, determine the specific activities. Students are then evaluated on these activities to determine competence and the course grade.
- 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 rates the student’s level of competence for each competency and writes a narrative evaluating the student's performance based upon the learning agreement. Students are graded using a pass/no grade system. Graduate student’s field instructor recommends a grade which is reviewed by the liaison who then recommends a grade to the field coordinator who submits grades to the Office of the Registrar. Undergraduate students field instructors recommend a grade to the SW 494 instructor who is responsible for assigning the final grade.
- 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 resolve issues while supporting students and agencies in the process.