Field education has long been considered the heart of social work education. Most students report that their learning comes together in the field and that they have grown more comfortable and confident as they worked with "real" clients in "real" agencies. Field education provides the student with client work where they can actually utilize the knowledge, skills and values taught in the classroom. Students work with helping professionals in the agency and are able to watch and learn from them. All students are assigned a social work field instructor so that they can talk about the application of classroom knowledge to field experiences.
Each semester, students are placed in not for profit, government and other human services agencies primarily in Northeast Tennessee within 50 mile radius of University or campus location where the student attends. Students are exposed to a variety of career possibilities and share information about their internship sites and their experiences in weekly seminars. Some of the agencies in which students have field experience are detailed here: Agency and Program list.
Field sites provide opportunities for students to receive hands-on experience working with individuals, families and small groups. Students also have some opportunities to see how large groups and communities can be served by social workers.
BSW interns complete 430 hours over two semesters. MSW Foundation (1st year) students are in field for 16 hours per week in both the fall and spring semesters for a total of 480 hours. MSW Concentration (2nd year) students are in field for a total of 600 hours over one year. There are several options for structuring this field experience. All MSW internships are completed concurrently with classes. Specific objectives and assignments for both programs are detailed in the BSW or MSW Field Education Manuals.
Pam Davison coordinates placement of BSW students.