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Field Education

MSW Field Education

Welcome to the Field Education component of the Master of Social Work Program at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

The social work profession deems field education as its signature pedagogy. As such, field
education is the framework in which students are socialized into the profession of social work
and learn to function as professionals. Field instruction is designed to enable students to apply
and integrate theoretical concepts, knowledge and practical skills learned in the classroom.

Field education in the MSW program requires 600 hours in the foundation year and 600 hours in the concentration year. Field education is connected to the four Theory, Practice and Field courses, two in the foundation year and two in the concentration year. The field education expectations translate to 21 hours a week of fieldwork for all students enrolled in a Theory, Practice and Field course. Field education also includes involvement in Field Seminar on days students are scheduled to be on campus, which is further explained by the Field Education Department throughout the placement process.

MSW Field Calendar 2022-2023 MSW Field Education Manual 2022-2023

Theory, Practice and Field I & II (TPF) are at the core of the professional foundation. One
7-credit course is offered each semester. Three (3) credits account for classroom learning, and 4 credits account for field education.

TPF I trains students in the beginning skills of engagement, interviewing, assessing, setting goals and evaluating intervention strategies with diverse client populations. Students learn to establish a relationship based on collaboration and mutuality. Students will demonstrate beginning knowledge of direct intervention with individuals, families, social agencies, organizations and communities. The Code of Ethics is introduced as the benchmark against which ethical practice is sustained throughout the curriculum.

TPF II introduces a beginning knowledge of short-term, crisis, and extended intervention practice models, including those originating from research evidenced based practice studies, emphasizing self-evaluation. Knowledge of the effects of diversity on human development and social work practice are at the heart of both of these practice classes. Each semester, 300 hours of supervised practice occur in agency placements arranged through the resources of the Field Education Department.

Theory, Practice and Field (TPF) III & IV are at the core of the professional concentration and build upon the content of the professional foundation year.

The goal of TPF III is to help students deepen and extend their assessment and intervention skills in work with individuals and families who face challenges with a range of problems commonly found in an urban environment, including poverty, mental illness, substance abuse, trauma, physical illness and disability. Major theories of practice with individuals and families deepen the knowledge base and skill set of the students. Content related to diversity and oppression is integrated with an understanding of the concepts of privilege and power. The course prepares students to apply theories and evidenced based practices to clients in their field work experience.

TPF IV incorporates all previous Theory and Practice classes with a social justice perspective. Students are instructed in applying advanced skills of ethical reasoning, making ethical decisions, and attending to professional roles and boundaries. Students will demonstrate the ability to use their skills for the good of client systems, securing needed services for clients and acting as a change agent with communities and organizations.

Ramapo
Placement Procedure

First Year Placement:

The process for placement of the student begins once the student has been accepted into the
Master of Social Work Program and has confirmed their intent to enroll (IE) in the TPF sequence that correlates with their academic standing. After the student has confirmed their IE status, they are enrolled in an online field placement monitoring platform where they will be prompted to complete the MSW Field Placement Application and other required tasks. The platform establishes a fee that is directly charged to the student’s bill. Once the field application is completed, the student is interviewed by the Director of Field Education or MSW Field Coordinator who are responsible for developing and coordinating the MSW field placements.

Second Year Placement: 

Students preparing to enroll in TPF III will be prompted to complete tasks on the online field placement monitoring platform. Students should then expect to be contacted by the Field Education Department to coordinate placement interviews as they become available.

Transfer and Advanced Standing students not yet enrolled in the online monitoring system will follow the first year placement process above.

Time Expectation

As the signature pedagogy of social work education, field education in the MSW program
requires 600 hours in the foundation year and 600 hours in the concentration year. Field
education is connected to the four Theory, Practice and Field courses, two in the foundation year and two in the concentration year. These 7-credit courses integrate course content with field experiences and learning.

Supervision

It is expected that the field instructor has an MSW from a CSWE accredited school of social
work, is a licensed LSW with at least two years of social work experience post MSW, has at
least one year of work experience within the agency they are currently supervising a Ramapo
MSW student, and is certified in Seminar in Field Instruction (SIFI).

Supervisor and/or Field Instructor should be available for questions and/or problems. Formal supervisory conferences should be held weekly for approximately one hour. The student and field instructor should come to that conference prepared to discuss the student’s work. The development of an agenda at the beginning of each session can be helpful in accomplishing the goals of the student and Field Instructor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will I do there?

Student assignments will differ depending on the level/focus of the TPF sequence (as described above), the agency, and according to specific student learning needs. Both TPF sequences provide the pinnacle learning experience for students to develop micro practice skills. They are expected to function as a practitioner and not an observer. This does not
mean that we expect them to be using advanced skills in sophisticated counseling, but they
should get the opportunity to work with individuals, families and small groups.

The student is viewed as a part of the agency and attendance at staff meetings, in-service training programs, and clinical team meetings should be expected of the student if these meetings are held on the days the student is in field placement.

The TPF sequences, which run concurrently with the field placements, focus on the
problem-solving model of the helping process. Students are expected to apply the following
concepts to their work with client systems in their field placements, both in their foundation year
and in a more in-depth manner for their concentration year:

  • Engaging with client system(s);
  • Identifying the problem(s);
  • Data gathering – bio, psycho, social, spiritual history;
  • Completing an assessment – summarizing and understanding causation while also considering alternate intervention plans;
  • Developing an action or intervention plan;
  • Contracting with the client system(s);
  • Intervening – in an array of social work roles including: educator, enabler, advocate, broker, counselor, and case manager;
  • Evaluating the interventions;
  • Identifying literature and research studies which justify the intervention method chosen; and
  • Terminating with the client system.

In order for students to experience the “helping process” with a client system, it is necessary for
part of their assignment to be working with an “ongoing” client, an individual, family, or group
experience which extends for several months. It should be understood that at the beginning of
the field placement experience, the student may not have the skill set necessary to intervene with many clients.

How will I know that I am doing the right things at the agency?

During the school year, the professor of your section of the practice course will follow your experiences in the field. In class, all students are expected to discuss fieldwork in relation to the course topics. Your field liaison will maintain contact with the agency to monitor performance and progress.

An individual Learning Contract will also serve as a guide to ensure that you are completing tasks that align with the learning competencies outlined by the program’s accrediting body, the Council on Social Work Education.

When will I know my placement?

After the interview, you will be notified if any further requirements are necessary prior to moving forward. Once all requirements are met, placement letters will be sent to both students and agencies via the online platform. In the student placement letter, students will be provided contact information for the agency discussed during the placement interview. Students will be instructed to reach out to the agency to schedule an interview to secure the placement. Please attend that interview as soon as possible to confirm the placement. Unless you or the field instructor find a major reason why that placement is not appropriate, it is considered confirmed. Agencies also receive a letter notifying them of the potential match. Students should know that this involves receiving the student’s resume. Students should make every effort to have an adequate and updated resume.

Please be aware that an increasing number of social agencies now require criminal background checks and/or fingerprints. These might be at either the agency or student expense.

Students are not placed in competition with other Ramapo students for a placement. Only one student per available site is sent for an interview. Agencies are not placed in competition with each other for a student. Students are sent to one agency at a time for an interview. Please do not ask to interview at several agencies and then expect to pick one. Ramapo College is only one of 15 colleges and universities seeking to place students in these agencies.

Next Steps
  • Read the list of social agencies (Practicum Sites A-Z)
    • The list of social agencies is an inventory of most of the agencies that have been field placement sites in the past, though we do not presently use all of the agencies. Use it as a general guide. Students can also be placed in agencies not on this list. If you have an agency in mind that you would like us to consider, please bring the agency name, telephone number, and name of contact person with you to the interview.
  • Read the NASW Code of Ethics found in textbooks and in the Student Handbook
  • Review the Field Education Manual 
  • Update your resume using the Resume Writing Guide
  • Check your email for notifications from the Field Education Department

Additional Information

Become a Field Agency

Is your agency interested in partnering with Ramapo College to host social work student interns? Please complete the Agency Interest Form to notify a representative of the Field Education Department of your interest. The field team will iniatiate contact with you to learn more about your program and needs.

Field Forms for Students and Field Instructor

Important Documents and Forms

Field Education Information

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Cardacia Davis
Director Field Education Social Work
E-mail: cdavis3@ramapo.edu
Phone: (201) 684-7297
Office: G-203A

Desiree DuBose
Field Educ Coord BSW & MSW
E-mail: ddubose@ramapo.edu
Phone: (201) 684-7205
Office: G-243

Kaetlynn Ayala
Social Work Program Coordinator
E-mail: kayala2@ramapo.edu
Phone: (201) 684- 7017
Office: G-213