Field Directors

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  • 1.  What if a student cannot locate or be matched to an agency?

    Posted Apr 22, 2024 13:06

    Hoping that everyone is navigating the end of another busy semester!

    What is the responsibility, if any, on our program to locate an internship for an undergraduate student?

    We currently have a student who has completed a round of three interviews where none of the agencies are willing to host this student for the upcoming Fall semester. We are currently planning to have the student go on a second round of interviews. However our question is simply this: Are we obligated to find the student an internship? Is there language that we could incorporate in our program manual that outlines the process for students who are not successful in locating an internship after multiple rounds of interviews?

    Many thanks!

    Meg DeJong-Shier, DSW, LMSW
    Asst. Professor
    West Texas A&M University

  • 2.  RE: What if a student cannot locate or be matched to an agency?

    Posted Apr 23, 2024 09:24

    We have language in our field handbook that says:

    Unable to Secure Placement: Students having interviewed and been rejected from three agencies for placement due to documented concerns regarding the student's presentation or readiness will be required to meet with their academic advisor, the FED and the BSW/MSW Program Director, and/or the situation and student may be referred to the appropriate committee for an Academic Review.  

    We haven't had this come up often, but this does allow us to refer to an academic review where a larger committee can determine next steps, which could include delay of degree plan, counsel out of the major, or something else. I have also had a situation where after one interview, we received feedback from the agency about some unprofessionalism. We had a meeting with the student and their advisor and then referred to student to meet with our career services office to practice interviewing skills before we would rematch her with a new site to interview with. We do also have a deadline for students to have their placements confirmed in order to go into field for the upcoming year, so that would be another possible angle, if they have interviewed multiple places and have not been able to secure a placement in time, that could also lead to a potential change or delay in degree plan.

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

  • 3.  RE: What if a student cannot locate or be matched to an agency?

    Posted Apr 23, 2024 16:13

    I think the program's responsibility depends on the reason the student was turned down by three agencies. In our area, we have multiple high-demand sites where students could be turned down because they weren't the best fit and there were lots of applicants, but not out of real concern about readiness. If that is the case, then the student needs to keep searching. If the student was turned down because the interviewers had concerns, I would take three rejections as an indication that the student isn't ready to enter practicum and needs some form of remediation/alternate advancement plan. 

    We used to have policy language that said students might not be allowed to enter practicum if they are turned down after three interviews, but I removed it because so many students experience that without also having readiness concerns. I'm considering developing a new policy and process because the interview process is a time to assess student readiness. I'm curious what other programs do for this!

    Sarah Witry
    Clinical Asst Professor, Practicum Education Director
    University of Iowa
    Iowa City IA

  • 4.  RE: What if a student cannot locate or be matched to an agency?

    Posted Apr 23, 2024 20:52

    Hi Meg. We have similar language in our handbook:

    Unsuccessful Internship Interviews
    If a student has one or more unsuccessful internship interviews and the practicum team receives feedback relevant to:
    ● the student's presentation of self,
    ● assessed readiness for an internship, or,
    ● appropriateness of internship choice or concentration in relation to required previous experience the student will be invited to meet with a practicum team member to discuss the feedback.
    Following this discussion, if it is determined that additional supports are required in an internship, or that a student has not demonstrated an ability to integrate
    relevant feedback which must be addressed prior to continuing the matching process, a student may be asked:
    ● to develop a Plan of Assistance, or
    ● to participate in a Performance Review
    This process may include a recommendation to select a different concentration or degree path.

    Julie Kates, MSW, LCSW
    Associate Professor of Practice
    Director of Field Education
    School of Social Work
    Portland State University

    Pronouns: She/Her/Hers