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Field Education

Welcome to the California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) School of Social Work Field Education Program. Field Education is integral to achieving the goals of the BASW and MSW Programs at CSUSB, including the Pathway Distance Education and Title IV-E program options. All of the School’s Field Education components meet the Accreditation Standards of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Purpose of Field Education

Field education is considered the signature pedagogy for social work. The intent of field education is to integrate the theoretical and conceptual contribution of the classroom with the practical world of the practice setting. It is a basic precept of social work education that the two interrelated components of curriculum—classroom and field—are of equal importance within the curriculum, and each contributes to the development of the requisite competencies of professional practice. Field education is systematically designed, supervised, coordinated, and evaluated based on criteria by which students demonstrate the Social Work Competencies as defined by the Council on Social Work Education.

There are a wide range of field agencies that CSUSB utilizes to place students. Each year students are placed in over 80 different agencies as far north as Barstow, as far east as Indio, as far south as San Diego, and as far west as Los Angeles, while continuing to provide services to our local partners in the Inland Empire. The Pathway Distance Education Program also offers placements in Northern California and at times outside of the state. Sites vary in social work practice areas including: mental health, medical social work, child welfare, school based counseling, adult protective services, gerontology, forensic social work, and criminal justice.

Structure of Field Education

There are three sequential field work courses that run concurrently with practice classes each year at both the BASW (one year of field work) and MSW level (two years of field work). Field work courses consist of three components: 1) field practicum, 2) field seminar, and 3) field events. Through field practicum, field events, and field seminar, students will be able to demonstrate the knowledge and level of competence necessary to enter professional practice.  The field experience and classroom learning should be mutually reinforcing in all curricular areas: research, human behavior, social policy, and practice with individuals, groups, organizations, and, communities.

Each student has one placement for foundation year and one placement for advanced year. Field experiences are designed to build upon one another in developing a competent practitioner.  They are also intended to give the student an opportunity to learn about more than one agency’s organization and culture and therefore gain a more comprehensive perspective of social work practice. Students are placed under the supervision of an approved agency employee who is their Field Instructor. The Field Instructor meets weekly with each student for a minimum of one hour of supervision.

A Faculty Field Liaison from the University visits the student and the Field Instructor at the agency each semester. Students attend a monthly seminar with the Faculty Field Liaison to integrate field learning.