Senior Requirements for Enrollment in Field Placement
Prior to acceptance into senior level courses, faculty will review students’ grades, volunteer field evaluations and commitment to pursue Senior Field Placement including a Suitability Rating Scale. To enroll in senior classes, students must demonstrate social work skills, values, and ethics in supervisory practice and academic settings. Academic and non-academic performance requirements are defined in the Student Social Work Handbook. Non-academic standards measure a student’s “likely performance as a social work generalist practitioner.” Termination from the program is based on the student’s failure to demonstrate professional conduct and behavior consistent with the values and ethics of the profession. However, knowledge, skill, and value expectations are all academic in a professional program.
To enroll in any senior course (SWK 4200: Social Work Practice III, SWK 4300: Integrative Seminar and SWK 4610/4620: Field Placement in Social Work), students must have a cumulative 2.5 GPA; receive a C- or higher grade in all social work courses except professional electives and must maintain a 2.5 overall GPA in all social work courses. Students will not be enrolled unless all these requirements are met. In cases where student performance is poor in the senior year upon departmental review, students not meeting the above criteria may enter SWK 4200: Social Work Practice III on a probationary basis with approval by the advisor and the department. Field placement is subject to the availability of appropriate learning experiences in approved agencies mutually acceptable to the student and the department, with approved field instructors who have interviewed and accepted the students.
Grading Policy for SWK 4610 and 4620: Field Placement in Social Work: Senior Field Instruction is graded with letter grades A-F. The Agency Field Instructor is charged with completing an evaluation after each course. The Director of Field Education is charged with assigning the final grade.
In pursuing employment or graduate education the field instructor’s and faculty liaison’s written evaluations are very important. In the field placement students should be concentrating on achieving practice competencies necessary in generalist social work practice.
Responsibilities of the Social Work Student
Request an interview and complete the Screening and Selection process with Director of Field Instruction to become a candidate for the Social Work Department. Discuss professional interests and goals with faculty during junior year.
Conduct self consistent with professional social work values and follow through promptly with appointments for screening interviews at selected agencies.
Attend mandatory field work meetings when invited.
Once the learning contract has been completed, arrange a weekly schedule of field work cooperatively with the supervisor, adjusting the hours to allow for mutual needs. Students are permitted to work day, evening, and weekend hours, but may not receive credit for night work (12 a.m.-6 a.m.). Since students are required to be in placement for 500 hours, students will usually spend 32 hours per week at the agency.
Take responsibility for reporting to work at the appointed times and notify the field supervisor at the agency promptly if a problem arises. A pattern of repeated irresponsible tardiness and/or absence may result in removal from placement. Observe the rules and policies that guide the agency programs and operations, including confidentiality issues, promptness, reliable and responsible general conduct and appropriate dress. Prepare agendas of questions and topics to discuss at regularly scheduled (weekly) sessions. Click here to view readmission or reassignment procedures.
Read literature assigned by Agency Field Instructor for further understanding of the agency programs. Other staff persons may provide supervision when the field supervisor is not available or when the field supervisor delegates task supervision to another staff member.
The student is expected to keep written process recordings and log of hours submitted digitally weekly. Log is discussed and initialed by the agency supervisor and submitted to the Field Director. After the completion of 250 hours, the student documents skills and responsibilities on the Internship Performance Plan. The same procedure is done at the completion of 500 hours for the final evaluation. The Agency supervisor determines the level of accomplishment by meeting with the student and completes the evaluation section of the Competency Rubric. Regarding the Senior Project, the student discusses topic(s) with instructor, who may recommend seeking approval from the Agency Director.
Fieldwork Policies and Procedures
Exemptions from Fieldwork Policy
There are no exemptions from any fieldwork hours based on prior work experience. In conjunction with the Accreditation Standards of the Council on Social Work Education (revised 2008), our policy states: “Academic credit for life experience and previous work experience shall not be given, in whole or in part, in lieu of the field practicum or of the courses in the professional foundation areas.” Field Placement hours and practice courses are not transferable from non-accredited Social Work Programs. Other courses transferred from non-accredited must have syllabi approved by the Social Work Program Chair before transfer credit is given.
Paid Fieldwork: Policy on Placement at Student’s Place of Employment
Most fieldwork positions are not paid positions. Paid field placements are permissible. However, a paid placement must meet all of the criteria for fieldwork and students must be able to fulfill the objectives for fieldwork within the paid placement. Emphasis must be on fieldwork as a learning experience rather than as paid employment. Approval and supervision is made by Director of Field Education.
It is the policy of the Social Work program that students complete field course requirements in agencies where the student has never been employed or is not currently employed so as not to dilute the integrity of Field Education.
However, in special circumstances, the Director of Field Education may grant an exception to this policy if the following conditions are met:
- a. The agency must be diverse enough to offer educational experiences that broaden the student’s knowledge base and degree of expertise beyond traditional job tasks and assignments.
- b. The agency must be formally affiliated with the Carthage Social Work Program.
- c. The agency must have an employee, who is not the student’s work supervisor, qualified under the Social Work program policies, provide field instruction to the student.
- d. Field assignments in the agency must have an educational focus, must differ significantly from the student’s current or past job assignments, and must be in a different (i.e., separate) program area.
- e. The agency must submit written documentation that explicitly addresses points “a” through “d” above, and that clearly delineates release time provided the student for completion of field course requirements.
The College does not require students to do fieldwork during holidays and exam week. However, an agency may request that students work during these periods; clarification of the nature of the fieldwork will determine the student’s responsibility to the clients during these periods. The Agency Fieldwork Instructor and student will negotiate the number of hours the student is to make-up. The students are responsible for informing their Agency Fieldwork Instructor of their schedules.
Changing Agency Placements
Students normally remain in the same placement for the entire year, beginning in SWK 4200: Social Work Practice III and ending in Field Placement: SWK 4610 and 4620. However, unusual circumstances may arise which will necessitate a change in agency placements. A change may be initiated by the Director of Field Education, Fieldwork Instructor, or student. If students feel their placements need to be changed for any reason, they must discuss this with the Director of Field Education, who will discuss the situation with the Fieldwork Instructor and the student. Director of Field Education will then initiate the change of placement if necessary.
Recourse for Grievances
If a student has a grievance related to field work, she/he should first discuss the matter with the person immediately involved. In the next step, the Director of Field Education should be included in discussions. If the student is dissatisfied, she/he has recourse to the Social Work Program Director. If the grievance is still unresolved, she/he has recourse to the grievance procedure as outlined in the Carthage College Community Code and essential standards of practice behavior.
Criminal Background Check
The State of Wisconsin passed a Caregivers Act in 1998. Students should be aware that this law requires criminal background checks for students seeking a field placement, and for graduates of a social work program seeking employment in a social service agency. The list of specific crimes that may bar interns from field placement (or may bar graduates from social work employment) is in a state of flux, and is currently being developed. Agencies typically require authorization for Background Checks to be completed prior to any work with clients. If you have questions contact the department chair.
The Social Work Department uses certifiedbackground.com, a program that costs $73.
Carthage College provides liability insurance coverage for students in internships.
Immunizations and Health Concerns
Students should update all immunizations prior to a field experience. Some field agencies may require or offer such immunizations prior to entering a field placement. The student should be prepared to pay for any part of the cost not covered by his/her health insurance.
Harassment or Discrimination Involving Field Placement
Carthage College seeks to create and maintain an academic environment in which all members of the community are free of harassment and discrimination of one’s basic civil rights. Policies are outlined in the Carthage College Community Code. These policies also apply to students in field education. Any incident should be reported to the college Director of Field Education. If necessary, the matter will be directed to the Social Work Program Director for appropriate action under college policy. Students are encouraged to obtain a copy of the harassment policy from a prospective field placement. If no such policy exists within a particular placement, the Program will strongly urge one to be developed.
Policy on Individuals with Disabilities
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability and protects qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination in educational programs. The law also requires that covered entities provide qualified individuals with disabilities with reasonable accommodations that do not impose undue hardship.
The Social Work Program of Carthage College is committed to providing all admitted students with opportunities to take full advantage of the college’s educational opportunities. Students with disabilities who wish to request accommodations in the field placements should contact the Director of Field Education. The Director of Field Education will work with the student and the field placement agency to coordinate reasonable accommodations that do not impose any undue hardship on the program or the agency. Students should also request accommodations on the admission application.