School of Social Work

Field Education

MSW Field Education Coordinator: Deborah Ronk, LMSW
BSW Field Education Coordinator: Kathleen Scheuerle, LMSW


Field Education Philosophy

In keeping with the most recent practice standards as outlined by the Counsel of Social Work education the Grand Valley State University School of Social Work recognizes the centrality of field education curriculum in addressing both foundation and advanced practice competencies at the MSW and BSW level respectively.       

Field education curriculum provides students with an experiential and imitative learning opportunity to explore and use Social Work ideas, concepts and behaviors first encountered in the classroom.  These learning opportunities are designed to further develop professional social work identity, self reflection and self awareness, and practice competence in each student.   In each semester of field placement students develop concrete and measurable activities that address specific practice behaviors using the learning contract and assessment tool.  The development and monitoring of these activities requires the collaboration of the student, the agency based field instructor and the university based faculty liaison.  This model of collaborative competency based field education is implemented at both the BSW and MSW level. 

Additional emphasis on the integration of coursework into the practicum is provided by the guided seminar coursework, providing students with the opportunity to actively reflect on the connection between classroom theory and agency application. Furthering the centrality and integrative nature of the field experience is the use of tenure and tenure track faculty actively engaged in teaching. Faculty ensures the reciprocal nature of the field practicum on courses and the field experience.      

The School of Social Work is responsible for developing supervised student practice opportunities that allow for this integration of competencies and coursework in our communities.  The field office is responsible for monitoring and reporting on aggregate student progress in practice so as to affect the development of curriculum that more fully prepares students for the realities of competent day to day practice.   Field faculty works closely with directors of the BSW and MSW programs to review student preparation in courses and provides ongoing feedback regarding student and field instructor progress in attainment of competency in assigned professional practice behaviors. 

Field Education Handbook

For further information on all policies and procedures related to BSW and MSW field education, please review the GVSU School of Social Work BSW or MSW  Field Manuals.

Page last modified January 8, 2013