Field Directors

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  • 1.  Online Field Program

    Posted Sep 26, 2022 10:05
    Good Morning! I was wondering for those that have an MSW online program, how do you go about approving field placements, field instructors, and being able to keep up with all of the different placements in different states and their requirements?

    Natalie Yates
    Grambling State University

  • 2.  RE: Online Field Program

    Posted Sep 27, 2022 14:39
    I am very interested in this information as well. University of North Alabama has a new Online MSW program (we are entering our 3rd year). We are expanding and seeing students enrolled all over the US. Currently I am utilizing spread sheets to keep up with everything; however, we are in the process of purchasing a Field software which I hope will help with streamlining the process. (Sonia is the company we are working with). 

    Kimberly Wright
    University of North Alabama

    Kimberly Wright
    Field Director
    University of North Alabama
    Florence AL

  • 3.  RE: Online Field Program

    Posted Sep 28, 2022 12:58
      |   view attached
    Hi there,
    we are in year 2 of our newly developed MSW program and the first cohort of students just started their field placements (we only start placements in the fall). We are using SONIA as a practicum software program and it has mostly worked well for us and has allowed us to transfer existing processes from our grounded program and establish new ones that meet the online program needs better. The way we go about the vetting process is by a) making clear that students have a strong understanding of what agencies qualify for placement and what expectations we have from agencies and supervisors, and b)  having students complete what we call a Practicum Proposal Form (PPF), and c) scheduling follow up calls with agencies as needed or desired. The PPF is an extensive form we developed in Sonia that has multiple steps. The student starts it and has to complete detailed information about the agency and population served, AFI on site, MSW supervision, roles and responsibilities, schedule etc. Once the student submits it the field team reviews it and then "passes it on" (all virtually through the Sonia platform) to the listed agency contact/ supervisor with a welcome from the School and clear instructions about practicum, purpose of the PPF and next steps. The agency contact reviews and if needed adds to or edits the student info. Once the AFI submits and finalizes the form the field team does a final review with attention to role and responsibility of the student at the agency + supervision structure on site to ensure there are no gaps, red flags, follow up needs. From there we might reach out for a follow up call or zoom meeting. Once the PPF is fully completed the Field Team approves the site and placement and allocates the student in Sonia which automatically sends out workflow emails with required forms, next steps etc. A lot of it is an automized process which helps with efficiency and capacity since we were working with 90 students and 200+ next year. 

    This is the first year we have used the PPF and I have to say it has worked really well (with some exceptions of course). We are discussing some changes but will be sticking with this process. One other  thing to note is that we are also using  this for employment based practicum applications for the students wanting to do their practicum at their job site. It is color coded and again, has worked well and we did not have to add another form or separate process. I am attaching a PDF of the form which looks off as it is not meant to be a PDF.

    I hope all of this makes sense. Please reach out with follow up questions.


    Katharina Werner
    Director of Field Education
    University of Montana
    Missoula MT


    UMSSW PPF.pdf   229 KB 1 version

  • 4.  RE: Online Field Program

    Posted Sep 28, 2022 13:21
    Kat, I appreciate you sharing your form, that's really useful to see. Our process is not quite as automated through our software (Tevera) but I may give that some thought.

    We do a field overview with students 6-9 months before they enter field and give them a lot of info about the types of places they may go, what the requirements are in terms of supervision, agency settings, etc. Then they complete a field application giving us some info about what they want to do, if they plan to do employer based, if they have ideas of where they would like to go, then we review those applications and meet individually with many, but not all students. We tell them to reach out in their communities for potential placement opportunities and then connect us to the agencies once someone tells them yes, or maybe, so we can vet the agencies. At that point, we put them into our Tevera platform, send them a site application and schedule a virtual meeting where we talk through the ins and outs of our requirements, what the setting looks like, supervision, etc. Then we get our affiliation agreement signed and connect the students to the appropriate agencies and supervisors in our system. Many of these are simple and quick, but some take a lot of time.

    One of the things we have encountered is that while most of our online students live outside of our local area, some live in our local area and if that is the case we tend to be more directly hands-on in the placement process, at least for the generalist placement because we do match students in our on-campus program for generalist placements. So when they are essentially competing for our same local placements, we tell them that we will match them rather than have them be more in control of the process.


    Lindsey Rinehart
    Field Education Director & Clinical Instructor
    West Virginia University
    Morgantown WV