The School of Social Work is well-known for its model of field education. Its strength lies in the fact that it is an educationally-directed, hands-on learning experience wherein students develop their social work practice skills in an agency setting. Faculty, community social work practitioners, and students partner in ways that are designed to best prepare students with the skills and expertise needed for a successful career in social work.
Students in the BSW, Full-Time MSW, and Part-Time MSW programs are placed in Field Units and then are placed in social work practice settings tied to that Field Unit. Field Units provide a conceptual base for practice as well as a supportive environment to learn, critique, and consult.
- Field Units are organized around a social problem area, field of practice, or a client population. Each unit has a range of field placement agencies and settings appropriate to its theme.
- The field education experience for Generalist Practice MSW students is designed to provide a generalist practice perspective and direct practice experience. The focus is on learning and applying analytical and intervention skills within an ethically based, problem-focused approach. Such an approach affords opportunities for a variety of system interventions within a particular practice situation.
- Advanced Generalist Practice MSW students' field education experience shifts its focus to advanced practice skill development and provides an integrated way to link field experiences with course work in the context of the student's specialization and focus area.
- Field faculty have scholarly as well as professional involvement in their particular areas of expertise; many have made influential contributions to social work practice.
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. See the Field Education Handbook in the Student Resources pages for the link to order and pay for the background check online.
For additional resources on field units, the agencies they work with, and field course expectations see the Field Education Handbook, found on the Student Resources pages. Field unit availability may vary from year to year because of curriculum needs, personnel changes, or funding. Please be aware of deadlines and other Important Dates for the Field Program, also found in the Field Education Handbook on the Student Resources pages.
Audrey M. Conn
Clinical Associate Professor; Director of Field Education
What’s your role in field? As the Director of Field Education I am responsible for the policies and practices of the Field Education Program.
What’s your favorite thing about field? One of my favorite things about field education is the opportunity to engage and partner with students, agency supervisors, and field faculty as agents of change. I also enjoy staying in contact with students after graduation and hearing about the many ways our alum impact their communities as practicing social workers.
What’s your (current) favorite poster in the SSW? The many pieces of artwork by my daughter that beautifully decorate my office :) Also, the Foster Care Awareness poster on the 2nd floor.
Clinical Assistant Professor; Associate Director of Field Education
What’s your role in field? As a member of the Field Office, I oversee field education for the Part-Time MSW Program (Madison and Eau Claire sites). This means that I support the field faculty, address programmatic and student concerns, and plan field events like the Agency Supervisor Workshop, Field Keynote Address and Field Orientation.
What’s your favorite thing about field? I love to feel the energy and excitement at graduation when students’ effort and hard work has culminated in such a tremendous accomplishment!
What’s your (current) favorite poster in the SSW? My favorite poster at the Eau Claire site is the photograph of an African-American girl drawing with chalk on a sidewalk! In Madison, there is a colorful hand painted mural that reads “be the change you want to see in the world.” Both of these are my favorites because I find them inspirational, colorful and bright!
Field Program Assistant
What’s your role in field? I get the required field forms out to students and assist with processing the student forms and field education documents. I help coordinate agency supervisor information, affiliation agreements, and field events. I also assist with information regarding background checks and help the field office provide CEU certificates for participants attending SSW sponsored events.
What’s your favorite thing about field? The people I work with are wonderful and I enjoy seeing the student's learning through the various projects and programs that they work on in field education. My favorite thing is to see all of the agencies and supervisors that our students work, and I especially like being able to help out the wonderful field faculty and staff with any helpful information regarding field forms and events.
What’s your (current) favorite poster in the SSW? I think my favorite is the painting by the elevator on the 1st floor (with the quote "be the change" coming out of the school) and the Tamara Grigsby quote as you leave the building.
I don't know why, but I also like the posters with the people and quotes, (Ghandi, Elenor Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela...), but maybe that's just because I take the same way around the building to leave and see it every day.