Field instructors play a crucial role in the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work field education experience. They provide the students with opportunities to merge previous life and work knowledge with the development of new levels of professional competence.
The overarching objective of field instructors throughout the field placement, across all departments, is to prepare students to enter the social work profession.
Field instructors are supervisors/educators committed to three basic field education components:
- The orientation of students into the professional system of the agency, including, but not limited to, the purpose of the agency, the community it serves, its policies and protocols (particularly risk management & safety) and expectations for professional dress and comportment.
- A commitment to the development of the teacher-learner relationship between the MSW student and the field instructor.
- The development of learning opportunities to expose students to broad and rich case assignments and field experiences, promoting learning and growth.
Field instructors are responsible for providing direct practice experiences consisting of, but not limited to, the following:
- Multi-level practice work: individual, group, and systemic interventions.
- Multiple treatment modalities.
- Assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, intervention, outcomes evaluation and termination.
- Exposure to multi-cultural populations.
- Advocacy, resource referral, community needs assessment, evaluation and documentation.
- Macro skill development such as advocacy, evaluation, fundraising and development, grant writing, program development and others as indicated in the specific department of study.
Field placement, or the field practicum, is a required, unit-earning course, and the field instructor carries the responsibility for planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating students' educational experience based on their progress meeting the CSWE Social Work Competencies.
Field Instructor Qualifications
MSW interns are supervised by field instructors designated by the agency and approved by the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Field instructors are committed to teaching and upholding the values, ethics and competencies of the social work profession, and must meet the following requirements to provide supervision for students in field placements:
- An MSW degree from a CSWE accredited school of social work.
- At least two years of post-MSW work experience.
- Required attendance and completion of a 12-15 hour training for new field instructors conducted by USC or any CSWE accredited school of social work, as approved by the assistant deans and/or the senior vice dean of field education.
- A completion certificate for the new field instruction class from USC or any CSWE accredited school of social work as approved by field education.
To begin the application process for becoming an approved field instructor, the New Field Instructor Information Form must be completed to initiate the approval process. A potential candidate must also make a commitment to meet all documentation, supervision and evaluation requirements of the program, particularly the ability to assess student progress based on the most current CSWE Social Work Competencies.