The University of St. Thomas

School of Social Work

Graduate Field Programs

Graduate Field Programs

Graduate Field Education

Social Work, as an applied discipline and profession, requires emphasis upon planned field experience as a vital component of the educational process.  Students at the masters level of social work education spend at least one-third of their total school time in field practica under the supervision of agency-based field instructors. This experience is often a major determination of the student's future effectiveness as a social worker. Field placements are designed to involve the student, field instructor, and faculty field liaison in a partnership of preparation for clinical practice.

Field education is at the heart of social work as its signature pedagogy, and supports the professional development of students, as they integrate and apply the knowledge, values and skills learned in academic courses to actual social work situations.  Through this integration and application, students develop the competencies identified for generalist (foundation/core) and clinical (advanced) practice. 

MSW Field Education Objectives

The MSW field education objectives are organized around five essential areas: agency and community, ethics and justice, self-awareness and communication, practice methods, and supervision and evaluation.  The 13 objectives for both Foundation and Clinical Field Education are outlined below, under each of the five essential areas. 

Foundation Field Education Objectives: 

The Foundation objectives of St. Catherine University/University of St. Thomas MSW field education program are:

Area 1:  AGENCY and COMMUNITY

1. To understand and work within the structure and function of an agency service delivery system and understand how to promote change within the system.

2. To understand the field agency in terms of its history, philosophy, programs, client population, funding, organizational structure, and organizational dynamics. 

3. To understand the role of social work in the agency and its function in multidisciplinary teams.  

Area 2:  ETHICS and JUSTICE

4. To practice in accord with social work values and ethics and examine agency and social policies in terms of social work values and ethics. 

5. To examine factors that contribute to and constitute being at-risk, to understand the dynamics of risk factors, and how group membership influences access to resources. 

6. To apply to practice the strategies and skills of change that advance social and economic justice. 

Area 3:  SELF-AWARENESS and COMMUNICATION

7. To facilitate increased self-awareness and an understanding of how one’s personal values, history, styles, and issues influence practice. 

8. To communicate effectively, in written and oral formats, with a variety of client populations, colleagues and members of the community.  

9. To learn to consult, share information and give support to colleagues and to provide leadership to the profession and the community. 

Area 4: PRACTICE METHODS

10. To apply the knowledge and skills of the generalist social work perspective to practice with systems of all sizes.  

11. To develop knowledge, analytic, and practice skills that are sensitive to client systems that differ in social, cultural, racial, religious, spiritual and class backgrounds, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and age. 

Area 5:  SUPERVISION and EVALUATION

12. To critically examine and evaluate one’s own social work practice in relation to professional social work standards, practice and research literature. 

13. To develop goals and strategies for assessing one’s professional growth and development with emphasis on accountability. 

Clinical Field Education Objectives:

The Clinical objectives of St. Catherine University/University of St. Thomas MSW field education program are:

Area 1:  AGENCY and COMMUNTY

1. To understand and work within the structure and function of an agency service delivery system and understand how to promote change within the system as a clinical social worker.  

2. To understand the field agency in terms of its history, philosophy, programs, client population, funding, organizational structure, organizational dynamics, and relationship to relevant social policies. 

3. To understand the role of clinical social work in the agency and its function in multidisciplinary teams.  

Area 2:  ETHICS and JUSTICE

4. To practice in accord with social work values and ethics and critically analyze agency policies in terms of social work values and ethics. 

5. To critically analyze factors that contribute to and constitute being at-risk, to understand the dynamics of risk factors, and how group membership influences access to resources and clinical practice. 

6. To apply to clinical practice the strategies and skills of change that advance social and economic justice. 

Area 3:  SELF-AWARENESS and COMMUNICATION

7. To effectively use self-awareness and an understanding of one’s personal values, history, styles, and issues toward the professional use of self in clinical practice.  

8. To use communication skills differentially with a variety of client populations, colleagues and members of the community to communicate professional judgments.  

9. To apply skills in consultation, sharing information and giving support to colleagues, and to provide leadership to the profession and the community.   

Area 4: PRACTICE METHODS

10. To apply the knowledge and skills of the clinical social work perspective to practice with individuals, families and groups.  

11. To differentially apply clinical knowledge, analytic, and practice skills that are sensitive to client systems that differ in social, cultural, racial, religious, spiritual and class backgrounds, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and age.

Area 5:  SUPERVISION and EVALUATION

12. To critically examine and evaluate one’s own clinical social work practice in relation to professional social work standards, clinical practice and research literature.   

13. To develop goals and strategies for assessing one’s professional growth and development with emphasis on accountability in one’s own clinical practice.