In order to prepare a student for "generalist" social work practice, completion of SOCW 401, SOCW 402 (Field Placement I and Seminar I), SOCW 411 and SOCW 412 (Field Placement II and Seminar II) are necessary.
In Social Work Practice: A Generalist Approach (Johnson, 1989), generalist practice is defined as the following:
Practice in which the client and worker together assess the need in all its complexity and develop a plan for responding to that need. A strategy is chosen from a repertoire of responses appropriate for work with individuals, families, groups, agencies, and communities. The unit of attention is chosen by considering the system needing to be changed. The plan is carried out and evaluated (p. 436).
The author also describes the social work process as a "feeling, thinking, and acting endeavor" (p. 13).
The field component allows a student to begin the process of integrating theory, knowledge and understanding derived from the foundation courses in social work and enables the student to apply it to the social service agency setting.
The first field experience provides the opportunities for a student to observe, reflect, recognize and assimilate the knowledge learned in the classroom by beginning to work with clients in a social service agency setting. The second placement then enables a student to integrate these concepts further and demonstrate his or her understanding of social work practice in a field setting working with individuals, families, groups and community.
Academic Requirements for Field Placement I
Students begin their Field Placement I and Seminar in the fall semester of their senior year. The following requirements must be met before students may finalize registration for the Fall semester:
To initiate a request for a field placement in the fall, a student must submit a completed Application for Field Placement to the Director of Field, the preceding spring. These forms may be obtained from the Director of Field who will advise the student of the deadline date for the application and the steps in the process.
Students are required to meet with the Director of Field or another faculty member designated by the Director of Field to discuss possible agency placements. The choice of the field agency is based on the student's area of interest, prior professional experience, professional development and career goals in combination with the requirements or preferences of the agencies. An interview with appropriate personnel from the prospective agency is required prior to the final placement decision.
As a final step in the placement assignment process, the student must complete the field placement checklist which includes confirmation of the field placement by the agency supervisor and the starting date. The completed form must be submitted to the Director of Field before the end of the semester preceding the beginning of the placement.
A student can be denied placement in if he or she fails to meet any of the above requirements. Once placement begins the student is subject to any and all policies outlined in the Field Manual and the Social Work Department Student Handbook. Field Manuals can be purchased at the USI Bookstore.
Academic Requirements for Field Placement II
Students begin their Field Placement II and Seminar in the spring semester of their senior year. The following requirements must be met before registration can be finalized for the spring semester:
The process for the second field placement is generally the same as the process outlined above for the first field placement. Prior to mid-term, while in Field I, the student will meet with the Director of Field or another faculty member designated by the Director of Field to discuss the second field placement, which will begin in the spring semester. The faculty member and student will together: 1) review approved placement agencies; 2) consider student interests and professional development needs and finally; 3) review the requirements and expectations of the prospective agency.
If a student wishes to pursue a field placement not already approved by the Social Work Department, he or she may discuss the possibility with the Director of Field. Any agency the student request be considered must meet the criteria for approved field agencies as listed in the field manual. If in the judgment of the Director of Field the agency may offer a viable field placement option, the agency will be evaluated and work will be done to facilitate the application to become a field placement agency. When all parties (agency, student and Director of Field) have agreed on the field site, the student must then submit the completed Field Placement Checklist found in the Field Manual to the Director of Field by the end of the fall semester.
Failure to complete the required steps may result in a student not being placed during the spring semester. A student may be denied placement in field for failure to comply with any procedures outlined in the manual or by the Field Director during the placement process. Students are subject to any and all policies outlined in the Field Manual and the Social Work Department Student Handbook.