Social Work Field Education

Social Work Field Education


“Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others,” — Martin Luther King Jr.

Field education is at the heart of social work education and is an important component of the BSW program at Bloomsburg University. As educators we strive to provide students with diverse opportunities in their field placements so they can integrate meaningful experiences into their lifelong learning process.

What to Expect

The BSW program is designed to utilize generalist practice to prepare social work students for entry-level social work practice. Field Education is an essential component of the BSW curriculum. Paired with the academic learning from various social work courses, the field education internship along with the senior integrative seminar class assists students to integrate academic classroom learning with real life agency experiences. Identified as the “signature pedagogy” of social work (CSWE, 2008, p.8), field education serves as the primary conduit in which all social work curriculums content is integrated. This integration of learning supports the transition from student to the beginning level social work practitioner.

Overall, field education is a collaborative partnership between Bloomsburg University, the student, and the field internship agency. Students are carefully matched with a field education internship that meets both their educational needs and their interests. BSW student interns may observe, participate in, or conduct interviews/ assessments with clients or client systems, develop and implement treatment goals/plans, provide case management services, conduct collateral interviews, attend staff/ treatment team meetings, participate in committees, assist in research, program development, evaluations, special projects or grant writing. The specific types of tasks will vary based on the type of agency and the availability of opportunities.

In the field education internship, each BSW student intern is able to explore and individualize their personal and professional social work experiences in order to attain a beginning level of social work practice competence. Prior to their internship, it is recommended that each student discuss with the Coordinator of Field Education their interests and desire to explore various learning opportunities.

Evaluation is an important tool to assess competence. All BSW student interns will be evaluated based on the 10 core competencies and 41 practice behaviors identified previously. Both the BSW student intern learning agreement and the end of the year BSW student intern evaluation will detail tasks related to these competencies as well as evaluate the competency level of the BSW student intern at the completion of their internship (See Learning Agreement and End of Year Evaluation in Forms).

The Basics

The Field Education faculty and staff consist of the Social Work Program Director, the Coordinator of Social Work Field Education and the Field Liaison. Although most, if not all, commonly asked questions could be clarified by reading field education manual, if at any time you experience any concerns, issues, or questions, feel free to contact any of us for clarification or direction. Contact information for the Social Work Program Director, Coordinator of Field Education and the Liaison can be found on this website.

Each BSW student intern is required to complete a block internship placement of at least 400 hours prior to graduation. This is most commonly completed in the last semester of classes prior to graduation. Internships are only completed in either the fall or spring semesters. There are no Internships offered over the summer.

Taken concurrently with the internship credits, a student intern will also attend an integrative senior seminar class, which is held weekly for a 2.5 hour block of time. This seminar class is typically held on Mondays and taught by the Coordinator of Field Education.

Each field internship site/ agency is required to have a current affiliation agreement with the Bloomsburg University Academic Internship Office. Affiliation agreements remain current for five years, after which they will need to be updated and re- established with the field internship site/ agency. Here is a current list of agencies with affiliation agreements.

In order to proceed to acquire an agency internship field placement, prospective student interns will need to meet the following criteria: (1) agreement from social work faculty that student is ready to commence Field Education, (2) successful completion of all social work prerequisite courses; successful completion of the 80 hour introductory Practice Experience and, (3) successful academic accomplishment (a grade point of 2.2GPA is the acceptable minimum). (See Field Education Application Process Link)