Students planning to enter field internships submit their applications early in the semester in which they are enrolled in SOWK 4320 (Social Work Practice II) or in the semester prior to the final semester of their senior year. Students must have completed all required major and general education core courses before entering field education. A minimum overall grade point average of 2.25 and a grade point average of 2.5 in social work courses is required at the time of application. If it is discovered that a student has misrepresented the completion of these requirements, they will be removed from the field placement and the student will be subject to disciplinary action. Students are interviewed by the Field Director(s) to explore interests and share information. Internships are finalized by the Field Director(s) during the semester preceding the term of the field experience.
Students are required to purchase professional liability insurance through the Department of Social Work. This is a blanket policy which applies to all social work students in their internships.
The Field Director(s) reviews the application packet for completeness and evaluates the student's qualifications for entering field experience. By approximately midterm of the semester, prior to the field experience, the Field Director(s) begins the process of arranging the internship. During this process, it may become necessary for the Field Director(s) and the student to meet several times to finalize the internship. It is not always possible nor educationally sound to place students in their choices of agencies; therefore, alternate possibilities are explored carefully with those students affected.
After an area of interest has been agreed upon by the student and the Field Director(s), initial contact with the prospective agency is made by the Field Director(s). The agency is provided with pertinent information regarding the student, including: academic achievements, work experiences, career plans, autobiographical data submitted with the Application for Field Experience, and any other information deemed to be helpful in making the placement decision.
Students are notified by the Field Director(s) of the agency’s willingness to serve as a field internship site. The student is then responsible for arranging a pre-placement interview with the Field Instructor in the prospective field experience agency. In this interview, both the student and the agency Field Instructor discuss the objectives and expectations of a field experience in that particular agency. They also discuss the student's reasons for selecting the agency and his/her knowledge of the agency, the agency’s clientele, and the roles of the student and agency staff. The agency Field Instructor may explore areas of concern from the student's application packet to determine the student's suitability and "fit" with this particular agency. The student may explore concerns regarding career goals and the suitability of the placement in pursuing those goals. In general, the pre-placement interview should serve to assure an optimum field experience for the student and provide an early educational assessment of the student for the agency Field Instructor. Confirmation of the internship is made during the interview if both student and agency staff concur regarding the suitability for placement.
Some agencies will require additional information related to the student before they are able to offer an internship. Immunization records, a criminal background check, and a drug screening are examples of such requirements. Students are altered to this information by the Field Education Office when possible. If a student is not comfortable complying with this information, they are encouraged to discuss this with the Field Education Director(s).
Students participate in a departmental field orientation prior to their placement within the agency. The orientation is designed to equip them with the necessary information for a successful internship and covers topics such as: roles and responsibilities, expectations, professionalism, learning styles, safety, supervision, evaluation, and classroom assignments.