Place of Employment Field Placement Policy
The School of Social Work at Wayne State University determines the content and scope of its curricula. Field education is one of the five required curricular areas of the Social Work degree programs, the course work for which is fulfilled in agency settings. In the joint venture with agencies, the School, through the Office of the Director of Field Education, makes student placements based on policies established within the framework of educational objectives and standards. A process is employed in arranging for the field education course and information is given to students as to the steps in the process. Placements are made within reasonable geographic limits, and consistent with School resources. Agency selection and assignments for individual students are carried out by the Director. Students' interests, objectives and goals, geography, and other factors are taken into consideration. However, ultimate decisions regarding where students are placed are those of the Director of Field Education.
The policy for field placement at the work site for Social Work students, full-time or part-time, is as follows:
- Field work in the place of employment may be requested. Students will not be considered for a work site placement at an agency where they had a prior field placement.
- Field work may be located in the student's place of employment if the student has been employed by the agency for at least six months and suitable assignments can be arranged.
- Suitability of assignments for work site is determined by the Director of Field Education. The Director will use the advice of the Placement Committee in determining suitability.
- Once the work site is approved as the student's field placement, the faculty field liaison is responsible for oversight of the student's educational experience, as well as for all other responsibilities detailed in the Field Education Manual.
- A student shall not be placed for field instruction with any family member or person with whom the student has a quasi-familial relationship, defined as "a close personal or conjugal relationship." Nor will a student be placed for field instruction in any organization in which the student or family members have been clients. To avoid breaches of confidentiality and conflicts of interest, the school discourages placement of students in organizations where family members or quasi-family members are employed, especially in small organizations, where breaches of confidentiality and conflicts of interest are more likely to occur. If an organization refuses to accept a student for these reasons, the school shall comply.
- At any time, the School may discontinue a work site placement if the School's criteria are not being met. Generally, discontinuation of the work site placement may be initiated by the faculty field liaison in consultation with the Director of Field Education. The Director, in consultation with the faculty field liaison and, when appropriate, the MSW Coordinator, makes the final determination regarding the termination of the work site placement.
- At any time, the agency may discontinue a work site placement if there are circumstances that prohibit the student from achieving educational goals, or if the student's employment is terminated.
In addition to the above stated policy, all policies extant in the Field Education Manual and in the Wayne State University Graduate or Undergraduate Bulletin shall apply to field placements in the place of employment.
The process involved in the student initiation of a request for a work site placement and the School's determination of the eligibility of work site as a placement are as follows:
- When a student declares interest in a work site placement, the Office of Field Education (OFE) will send the student the form "Application for Field Placement at Place of Employment" and the document "Policy, Process, and Criteria Relative to Field Education in the Place of Employment" and other related field placement material.
- The Office of Field Education will begin the process of determining the feasibility of the work site placement when the student returns the completed placement material. The application for work site placement must be made within the time lines established by the School which includes submission of all required materials by the student and agency in keeping with field placement deadlines.
- If the work site is approved for placement of the student, the OFE will develop an agreement with the work site, which will include clarifying details about the field instructor and specific learning assignments.
- A student may not apply for a work site placement after they have been assigned a field placement, or has participated in a field placement assignment for all or part of a term or an academic year.
- The School has the right and responsibility to determine the eligibility of the work site as a field placement. This decision is final and not subject to appeal.
Proposals for placements in a student's place of employment will be considered when unique professional training circumstances exist. It is expected that the student will discuss the proposal with the employing agency administrator responsible for staffing decisions, but it is understood that all formal arrangements related to the proposed assignment are made by the Office of Field Education and the agency.
- The work site must meet School criteria for agency participation to be a field site. If an Application for Agency Participation is not on file one must be completed and approved prior to an application for Place of Employment internship being considered.
- The agency must be large enough, with multiple programs in different geographic locations in order to provide the student with a field work experience which is in a unit or program and location which is different from the student's employment assignment. The field work experience must be educationally focused to meet the School's learning competencies, and must be a different set of tasks from those the student performs as a staff member, with different clients from those related to the student's role as an employee.
- A field instructor who is a member of the agency staff must be assigned. The field instructor must meet the approval of the Director of Field Education. The field instructor must have a BSW (supervision of BSW students only) or MSW degree, be licensed in the State of Michigan, have two years of post-MSW experience and been employed by the agency for at least one year.
- The field instructor must have expertise in the areas involved in the field experience. However, the field instructor must be different from the work supervisor and may not have supervised the student in the past.
- The field instructor should be one who does not present a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest such as being a friend or a colleague of the student. An instance where the student is the executive director of the agency or is in a supervisory relationship with staff presents a conflict of interest.
- Proposed internship assignments must differ significantly from present or previous employment experiences in the agency. There must be a differentiation between field work time and job time: time spent in the field experience must be done in documented blocks of time that are differentiated from the job time.
- The field experience must match the goals and objectives for the curricular year field experience as well as the student's concentration (Advanced year students).
- Appropriate agency personnel must sign the student form, "Application for Field Placement at Place of Employment."
- Appropriate personnel must complete and return with required signatures all agency material related to "Field Placement at Place of Employment Agency Questionnaire."
- Place of Employment Agency Placement Plan Questionnaire completed by agency
- MSW Student Place of Employment Application completed by student
- BSW Student Place of Employment Application completed by student
Policies and procedures approved by the Faculty on November 9, 1999; November 9, 2004; March 7, 2016; and November 22, 2021.