he Social Work program recognizes the value of academic learning within a social work setting. Social Work students at the University of Saint Francis have the opportunity to apply and adapt classroom learning in real-world social work agencies through two field practicums. The first is a junior practicum that will require 75 hours in a field agency, and the second is a senior practicum that requires 400 hours in a field agency.
In field education, generalist social work students use engagement, assessment, intervention and evaluation skills to work with individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and political entities. Field learning tasks provide students with opportunities to experience culturally competent social work practice and apply the ethical principles and values of the social work profession. Critical thinking is developed through weekly supervision meetings with the Field Instructor and attendance in weekly seminar classes at the university. In the end, the students refine their professional identities as they become self-directed, responsible decision makers who apply generalist social work knowledge, values, and skills.
Field education is the signature pedagogy of social work education; therefore, the classroom and field experience have equal importance within the social work curriculum design. Field education provides unique practical learning opportunities that complement theoretical and conceptual curriculum taught in a traditional or web-based classroom. During the field experience, the agency and community becomes the learning environment, and the Field Instructor becomes the teacher. Field learning occurs through two simultaneous, interrelated processes. First, students apply and adapt classroom learning to generalist social work field experiences. Second, field instructors interact with, dialogue with, and supervise the students as they engage in generalist practice roles and activities. Therefore, structured and supervised field learning in community-based agencies connects and integrates generalist social work theory and practice. In the end, the goal of field education as a signature pedagogy is to transition and socialize the students to the role of a competent, generalist social work practitioner.