Field education

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“Social work covers such a broad spectrum. The variety is truly staggering. So much of what we do has to be seen. Through their field experiences, I see students every day becoming more comfortable with themselves as practitioners, more confident in their skills, and I see their eyes open to all of these avenues for them to explore.”

– Joe Craig, field instructor and program coordinator, The Mill House, Community Brain Injury Services

Committing to the experience

For nearly a century, the School of Social Work has built our identity around the strong community ties that shaped our earliest years. Our centralized field education office helps to keep those bonds strong by reaching out to new organizations, training field instructors and facilitating educational opportunities at home and abroad, making it a model for social work field education in the 21st century.

With more than 500 community partners throughout Richmond, the state and beyond, we expose our students to a wide range of social work perspectives, environments and communities that can sharpen their skills as practitioners and help them find the right fit for those skills. Our partners include:

  • The Daily Planet Inc., a private non-profit with a mission is to provide integrated quality health services to those at risk of or experiencing homelessness. Services include Safe Haven, a residential program placing 20 seriously mentally ill homeless individuals in a safe and supportive environment.
  • Hunter Holmes McGuire Veteran Affairs Medical Center, which serves more than 200,000 veterans coming from 52 cities and counties. Service areas include substance abuse, geriatric, extended care, mental health, suicide prevention and homelessness.
  • ROSMY, which provides support, education, advocacy and opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth ages 11 to 20. The program provides weekly support groups, a 24/7 youth support hotline, youth leadership training and community outreach and education.
  • United Methodist Family Services, which serves emotionally and behaviorally challenged children. The agency offers a network of innovative services including 24-hour intensive treatment, treatment foster care, adoption, in-home family services, school based services and a variety of support services for at-risk children and their families.
  • Commonwealth Catholic Charities, an organization with programs including therapeutic foster care, home care, mental health counseling, domestic violence services, homeless services, refugee assistance, and emergency services.

Whether they serve with state agencies, assisted-living facilities, community housing organizations or social advocacy groups, our students don’t simply observe social workers in action. They put their passion to use, try the techniques they learn in the classroom in a real-life setting and experience the everyday demands and rewards of social work.

Through this blend of classroom and hands-on experience, our students develop a deep commitment to the profession’s ethical underpinning, which recognizes each individual’s implicit worth and dignity. They also develop the skills needed to understand and evaluate their professional experiences.

No two days in this profession are the same, and yet each experience informs how social workers approach the next. By taking the time to reflect upon these encounters, and by developing the tools for meaningful self-reflection, our students commit not only to best practices, but to the ongoing development of themselves as professionals.

Dates to keep in mind

2015-16 dates to keep in mind

These key dates affect field education placement. Policies regarding field hours, holidays and inclement weather are included in the Field Manual.

Fall 2015

August 24

M.S.W. foundation field orientation

8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., University Student Commons, Richmond Salons I-II

Required for M.S.W. Program foundation students entering field education in fall 2015, spring or summer 2016

 

Week of August 31

Field placement begins

 

Oct. 12-16

Mid-semester evaluations due (verbal)

 

Oct. 19

Spring 2016 Field Applications due for all B.S.W. and M.S.W. students beginning field placement in spring 2016

 

Nov. 17

B.S.W. junior field orientation

2:30-3:30 p.m., location to be provided

Required for B.S.W. junior students entering field education placement in spring 2016

 

Nov. 23-27

Holiday – no field*

 

Dec. 4

Field evaluations due

 

Dec. 11

Last day field for fall semester

 

*The School of Social Work Office of Field Education calendar does not mirror the VCU holiday calendar. Any hours missed outside of those listed as a holiday on this calendar must be made up by the student.  Field placement attendance is expected during the UCI World Road Cycling Championships (Sept. 21-25).

 

Spring 2016

Week of Jan.11

Field placement begins/continues

 

Feb. 8

Richmond Field Fair Day

10 a.m. - noon, location to be provided

Required for M.S.W. students entering concentration field placement in summer, fall 2016 or spring 2017

 

Feb. 16

Summer 2016 field applications due for all B.S.W. juniors and M.S.W. foundation and concentration students

 

Feb. 23

Fall 2016 field applications due for all B.S.W. seniors and M.S.W. concentration students

 

Feb. 29- Mar.4

Mid-semester Evaluations due (verbal)

 

March 6-13

Spring break – no field*

 

April 5

B.S.W. junior field orientation

2:30-3:30 p.m., location to be provided

Required for B.S.W. students beginning placement in summer 2016

 

April 22

Spring semester evaluations due to field liaisons

 

April 29

Last day of field instruction for B.S.W. and M.S.W. students

 

 

*The School of Social Work Field calendar does not mirror the VCU holiday calendar. Any hours missed outside of those listed as a holiday on this calendar must be made up by the student.

Join our efforts

The field of social work opens opportunities for students, faculty and agencies to get involved in their local communities. New agencies interested in offering placements for field instruction should register through this form.

August 24

M.S.W. foundation field orientation

8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., University Student Commons, Richmond Salons I-II

Required for M.S.W. Program foundation students entering field education in fall 2015, spring or summer 2016

 

Week of August 31

Field placement begins

 

Oct. 12-16

Mid-semester evaluations due (verbal)

 

Oct. 19

Spring 2016 Field Applications due for all B.S.W. and M.S.W. students beginning field placement in spring 2016

 

Nov. 17

B.S.W. junior field orientation

2:30-3:30 p.m., location to be provided

Required for B.S.W. junior students entering field education placement in spring 2016

 

Nov. 23-27

Holiday – no field*

 

Dec. 4

Field evaluations due

 

Dec. 11

Last day field for fall semester

 

*The School of Social Work Office of Field Education calendar does not mirror the VCU holiday calendar. Any hours missed outside of those listed as a holiday on this calendar must be made up by the student.  Field placement attendance is expected during the UCI World Road Cycling Championships (Sept. 21-25).