Field Education for BSW Students

About the Field Program

A hallmark of social work education is field education, the educationally directed hands-on learning experience students have in the day-to-day world of social work practice. UW-Madison is well-known for its model of field education.

 

Beginning in the fall semester of their senior year, BSW students take two semesters of field education (lectures SW400/401 and a 16-hour-per-week internship totaling 256 hours per semester) along with academic courses SW440 and SW441.

 

Students are placed in Field Units, which are organized around a social problem area or a field of practice. Then they are placed in social work practice settings tied to that field unit. Each unit has a range of field placement agencies and settings appropriate to its theme.  Undergraduate placements emphasize applying knowledge and skills of Generalist social work practice to systems of all sizes. The focus is on learning and applying analytic and interventive skills within an ethically based, problem-focused approach.

 

Read below for descriptions of field unit options, skills and knowledge gained, and types of agencies in which students are placed.

 

 

Social Work Practice in Community Agencies
BSW Field Unit
Full-Time MSW Program Generalist Field Unit
This unit provides opportunities to work with human service agencies and community programs. The practice perspective is generalist social work in direct and indirect services to individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Also available is an opportunity to work in a multicultural agency setting serving persons of diverse ethnic, cultural, linguistic and national backgrounds. The primary purpose of the field placement and seminar is to provide generalist practice opportunities for the development, integration and application of key competencies that are met through measurable practice behaviors. Theory and concepts learned in the classroom are integrated with practice opportunities, fostering the implementation of evidenced-informed practice.

Centro Hispano, Bay View and Goodman Community Centers, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Club, East Madison Community Center, Bridgepoint and Vera Court Neighborhood Centers, UW-Madison Office of Equity and Diversity, Bridge Lake Point Waunona, Goodman, Vera Court neighborhood centers, Center for Families, Dane County Court Appointed Special Advocates [CASA], Second Harvest Food Bank, UW-Medical Foundation, Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin (Briarpatch, YWCA (Girls Inc., House-ability, Third Street programs), Community Care Resources, and Center for Families. Note: not all agencies listed may be able to take students in a specific year. This listing is meant to provide the student with a general idea of possible placements.

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Social Work Practice in Community Mental Health Agencies
BSW Field Unit
Full-Time MSW Program Generalist Field Unit
This unit has been developed for generalist practice year students (BSW and first year MSW students) wanting to learn generalist social work practice in settings providing services to people with serious and persistent mental illness who are eighteen years of age and older. The placement settings include private non-profit mental health agencies, primarily providing comprehensive community support services.

Most of the placements occur in programs of the Journey Mental Health Center’s Community Support Programs (CSP’s) including: Blacksmith House, Cornerstone, Gateway, Community Treatment Alternatives, Yahara House (day services program) and the Emergency Services Unit. Additional placements occur at: SOAR Case Management Services, Chrysalis, Badger Prairie Health Care Center, Tellurian UCAN’s Transitional Housing Program, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, and Mendota Mental Health Institute’s PACT (Program of Assertive Community Treatment), an outpatient program. Placements are tailored to the needs and interests of the students to the extent this is possible.

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Social Work Practice in County Human Services (Dane Co. or Rural Settings)
BSW Field Unit
Full-Time MSW Program Generalist Field Unit
Full-Time MSW Program Advanced Practice Field Unit
This is a county (public) human/social service agency unit with practice including both direct and indirect services with clients, participants and communities. Students are involved in child welfare, child protective services, juvenile delinquency, foster care, institutional reintegration and community social work. Field placement activities include individual and family counseling, child and family assessment, case management, juvenile court services, foster care services, institutional reintegration, group work, neighborhood and community services and overall program planning. Students in this unit may have field placement settings in voluntary community agencies that work collaboratively with the county human services department. Students gain a solid understanding of the place of a county human service agency in the human services/child and family welfare system. Placements provide opportunities to learn, develop and demonstrate competencies through practice behaviors in all or most of the required social work competency areas. Field placements available through this unit are primarily located in Dane and surrounding counties. Depending on resource needs, this unit may include Title IV-E students.

Field placements locations for this county human services field unit may include: Division of Children, Youth and Families, Dane County Human Services, in the following specializations: Access and Initial assessment, Ongoing Services, Child Protective Services, Foster Care, Independent Living, Juvenile Delinquency, Institutional Reintegration, Neighborhood Intervention Program, and Joining Forces for Families (community social work). Placements may also be arranged in voluntary community agencies that have collaborative relationships with county human services.

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Social Work Practice in Intellectual and Other Disabilities
BSW Field Unit
Full-Time MSW Program Generalist Field Unit
Full-Time MSW Program Advanced Practice Field Unit
This field unit’s focus is on social work with persons with intellectual and other disabilities and their families. Through direct and indirect practice students work with individuals, families, organizations and communities to enhance the quality of life for persons with disabilities. Guided by the principles of normalization, self-determination and inclusiveness, the focus is on creating and strengthening personal and environmental conditions that enable and support people with disabilities to lead satisfying lives in the community. Students complete their field work with community based agencies and organizations supporting people with disabilities and their families. The integrative seminar will utilize group work, faculty, student and guest presentations, multi-media and experiential activities.

Bridges, Birth to Three Programs, Family Support & Resource Center, LOV-DANE, TIES Waisman Outreach Program, Options in Community Living, REM, UCP, Avenues to Community, Wisconsin Developmental Disabilities Board, ARC, Dane County Human Services, Dane County Adult Services Unit, Disability Rights, Creatability Supportive Living, United Cerebral Palsy and Avenues to Community Inc.

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Social Work Practice in Juvenile and Criminal Justice
BSW Field Unit
Full-Time MSW Program Generalist Field Unit
Full-Time MSW Program Advanced Practice Field Unit
The focus of this unit is direct social work practice in juvenile and adult criminal justice community and institutional settings. The unit focuses on helping students conceptualize client typologies related to social responses and interventions including: pre-sentence decisions, probation and parole supervision, institutional interventions, group homes, juvenile community treatment, policy and planning administration. Interventions related to conceptualization of client subtypes, demography of crime and delinquency and violent crime are some of the major content areas for study.

ARC Correctional Services for Women, Attic Correctional Services, Dane County Deferred Prosecution, Dane County Family Violence Unit, Dane County Juvenile Detention and Court Services, Dane County Victim/Witness Unit, Domestic Violence Intervention Services, Operation Fresh Start, VA Hospital, Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin, Madison YWCA, Juvenile Group Homes for male and female delinquent youth, Mendota Mental Health Institute, Sand Ridge Secure Treatment Facility, U.S. Probation Office, Wisconsin Adult Correctional Institutions, Wisconsin Public Defender’s Office (partial list).

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Social Work Practice in Public and Private Child Welfare (for Generalist Practice Year including those in the IV-E Program)
BSW Field Unit
Full-Time MSW Program Generalist Field Unit
Full-Time MSW Program Advanced Practice Field Unit
This is both a public and private social service agency unit with practice including both direct and indirect services to clients. Most students are involved in direct practice which includes services to both voluntary and involuntary clients. Services include group and individual work, case management, client advocacy and case planning. Indirect services may include program planning, administration and evaluation. Placements in the public sector will include both child protection and foster care related positions.

Public agencies may be located in a variety of surrounding counties, both urban and rural. Direct service placements for IV-E students provide skills in Child Protective Services Access, Initial Assessment, Foster Care and Ongoing Child Welfare Services. Field Placements for other child welfare students are varied and could include placements in community centers, family service organizations, wrap-around services or residential treatment programs.

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Social Work Practice with Older Adults
BSW Field Unit
Full-Time MSW Program Generalist Field Unit
Full-Time MSW Program Advanced Practice Field Unit

This field unit provides field placements in a variety of agency, community, health care and institutional settings that primarily serve older adults. All of the field placements deal with issues of aging, community, mental health, policy, and institutions. The primary purpose of the field placement is to provide an opportunity for guided practical experience in social work settings so that students may acquire the knowledge, values, and skills essential for professional gerontological social work practice. This field unit provides opportunities for integrating theoretical content and knowledge with the practice experience. The practice perspective of the aging and mental health unit is generalist practice, which includes a problem-focused generalist approach with a special emphasis on:

  1. direct service to older adults and their families; and
  2. resource development and coordination.

The course will continually analyze material with an ecosystem approach, building an understanding of micro, meso, and macro systems.

Agrace Hospice, Alzheimers Association; Attic Angel Place; Badger Prairie Health Care Center; Care Wisconsin; Catholic Charities; Dane County Human Services Guardianship & Protective Placement; East Madison Monona Coalition of the Aging; Fitchburg Senior Center; the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) at the Veterans Administration Hospital; Jewish Social Service; North Eastside Senior Coalition; Retired Senior Volunteer Program; South Madison Coalition; St. Mary’s Adult Day Center; St. Mary’s Care Center; Oak Park Retirement Community; UW Health Geriatrics Clinic.

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For More Information

For more information on field units, the agencies they work with, and field course expectations, see the Field Education Handbook. Field unit availability may vary from year to year because of personnel changes, funding, or curriculum needs.

 

Social work students should be advised that Wisconsin State Statutes require the State Department of Justice to conduct background checks on all potential field education students prior to the field placement. Information regarding this process is provided to students after they are accepted into the BSW program.


Last edited by portier on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 | Printer Friendly Version