Thank you for visiting our site to learn more about Social Work Field Education at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). Both the MSW and BSW field education programs at MTSU offer robust, experiential learning opportunities in a variety of settings and populations. MSW students will complete a 900-hour practicum experience while BSW students complete a 425-hour practicum.
Located in the center of Tennessee and approximately 30 miles from Nashville, MTSU has a variety of diverse partnerships with agencies and organizations to ensure quality learning opportunities for students in the field.
The BSW and MSW programs each have a designated Field Coordinator who oversees agency recruitment and approval, student placement and field progress, and the execution of the nine core social work competencies in field placement.
Field Education at MTSU
What is the purpose of field education and why is it important?
The purpose of the field practicum is to provide an educationally directed practice experience for the social work student. The field experience provides opportunities for social work students to apply the knowledge and skills gained in the classroom to real life interactions with clients. Students can observe the benefits and challenges of working within various organizational settings with diverse client populations. Through this experience, students become socialized to the profession and can deepen their understanding of the profession’s values and ethics as well as its commitment to social, economic, and environmental justice.
The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) has identified field education as the signature pedagogy of social work education:
“Signature pedagogy represent the central form of instruction and learning in which a profession socializes its students …. In social work, the signature pedagogy is field education… 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. It fosters a learning environment where anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion are valued.” (CSWE,2022).
Am I qualified to become a field instructor?
- BSW students will need to receive weekly field instruction from a social worker with a BSW, MSW, or higher level of licensure. The MSW student will need weekly supervision from someone holding an MSW or higher level of licensure in social work. This individual will need to have worked for two years post-graduation.
- The social worker will need to have been employed at the organization longer than 6 months.
- Ability to supervise and instruct students
- Acceptance of the BSW and MSW social work educational model
- Commitment to work cooperatively with MTSU SW Department
- Demonstrate professional social work values, knowledge, skills, and behaviors.
Does my agency meet the criteria to become a field education site for students?
- Agency’s philosophy of service compatible with values and ethics of social work profession
- Services provided by agency must be appropriate for meeting social work competencies
- Appropriate supervision available to students with a supportive culture for student learning
- Agency provides adequate workspace and equipment for student
- Agency provides orientation to student
- Agency has no discriminatory practices
- Agencies willing to work in partnership with MTSU Social Work Department
What is the time commitment for Field Instructors?
Field Instructors are required to provide at least one hour of scheduled supervision to the student each week.
Inquiry Form for Potential Agency Partners
If your agency or organization would like to become an official partner with the MTSU Department of Social Work and offer field education opportunities to students, please complete the following inquiry form. If you are unsure about the criteria to become a field instructor or approved partner, please review the information under the FAQ section.