Field is the Heart of Social Work Education
The practicum learning experience is designated as the Signature Pedagogy for social work education by the Council on Social Work (CSWE), the accrediting body for social work programs. Field is where it is recognized that all the knowledge, theories, social work values and ethics are integrated into applied social work practice.
Field education represents the ultimate goal of what motivates a student to undertake the study of social work: to advocate for and make change happen in the lives of individuals, families, communities and society at large. With this education comes the opportunity to practice and to polish the skills that distinguish social workers from other professional disciplines.
Human service organizations open its doors to embrace students who may later be enticed to join the organizational team as an employed practitioner. The memories of students' experiences throughout their practicum linger long after the degree is awarded, while their practicum supervisor leaves a life-long impression as the model of social work practice.
Students, too, make a difference in the organization. BSW and Foundation MSSW students spend 450 hours in organizations and Advanced MSSW students spend 500 hours in organizations.
Students leave a myriad of lasting contributions including newly generated or updated resource guides for ongoing use in providing services to clients; exploration into the best practices for a practice issue of particular interest to the organization; marketing of the organization as students reach out into the community and as they share aspects of their placement site during discussions with peers in their courses; participation in grant applications; provision of client services; and assistance with lobbying for policy changes and funding needs.
The Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville invites you to join with us to work together in the professional development of emerging social work practitioners.
Lynetta Mathis, MSW, LCSW
Director, Field Education