The University of St. Thomas

School of Social Work

Undergraduate Field Programs

Undergraduate Field Programs

Undergraduate Field Education

Social Work, as an applied discipline and profession, requires emphasis upon planned field education as a vital component of the educational process. Students at the junior level are required to complete 200 hours for their field placement experience and seniors complete 400 hours in the field. Students are generally required to select different agencies for the Junior and Senior years to ensure a broad and varied experience in the field. All placements are conducted under supervision of agency-based field instructors. This aspect of a student’s education is often a major determinant in the student’s future effectiveness as a social worker. Throughout the field program, continuous and intensive involvement provides students with a continuity of contact with the social work profession. Familiarization with routines and procedures helps students identify and develop a sense of belonging with the agency, professionals, clients, and delivery systems. Each student has on-going supervision from agency staff and faculty to address a variety of issues and needs such as progress, obstacles to growth, observations, and the application of academic theory in a “real world” setting.

The BSW field program at St. Catherine University and University of St. Thomas provides support and resources to enhance the quality of field instruction for all individuals involved. Material in this website is intended to strengthen the partnership between student, the field instructor and the School of Social Work, and to better achieve the objectives of the field education program which are that students will be able to demonstrate the following:

  1. Behave and communicate as a professional maintaining appropriate boundaries.
  2. Apply strategies of ethical reasoning and professional values to arrive at principled decisions.
  3. Tolerate ambiguity in resolving ethical conflicts. 
  4. Make decisions, act, and communicate about the fit of various types of knowledge with practice situations in the context of seminar consultation and field experiences.
  5. Demonstrate effective oral and written communication in working with systems of all sizes (individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities) and colleagues.
  6. Use knowledge of one’s own culture to challenge biases and personal values.
  7. Expand one’s understanding of diversity and difference by learning from clients and identifying their strengths.
  8. Identify the forms and mechanisms of oppression and discrimination in organizations, institutions, and society and how those forms and mechanisms change.
  9. Advocate for human rights and social and economic justice
  10. Identify the value and connection between research and best practice with systems of all sizes (individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities).
  11. Apply the multidimensional concepts of bio/psycho/social/ spiritual/cultural perspective in generalist social work practice situations.
  12. Understand the impact that social and organizational policy and agency delivery systems have on client systems of all sizes (individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities).
  13. Collaborate with colleagues and client systems of all sizes (individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities) in policy action and social change.
  14. Identify gaps in service and employ methods to improve service access, efficiency and effectiveness.
  15. Inform, evaluate, and improve social work practice through use of self-reflection, consultation, and supervision.
  16. Utilize all steps of the planned change process in working with client systems.
  17. Understand the expectation and importance of life-long professional learning and identify strategies for integrating this into practice.