A year sequence (may be less extensive for students not majoring in Social Work or Society and Justice) designed to prepare students to become entry-level human service practitioners, the practicum is an intensive field experience in human services and community agencies. The field experience will be supervised by agency field instructors in cooperation with the Director of Practicum Programs.
The student will be expected to spend sixteen hours each week (two full days) in a specified human services agency. Non-majors may enroll in a 3 credit hour practicum which requires them to be in a placement for one day or 8 hrs. per week. Field days are usually Tuesday and Thursday each week but this may also vary.
The practicum director negotiates the selection of practicum agencies and the Practicum Coordinator maintains liaison throughout the year. To qualify, an agency must agree to provide: (a) initial orientation, (b) assist students in developing a learning contract, (c) one hour each week of individual supervision of the student in both direct and indirect services, (d) complete a final written evaluation developed jointly with the students at the end of each semester.
1. To help students translate into practice in a particular setting the concepts and principles taught in the classroom.
2.The learning opportunities are designed to enable a candidate for a behavioral sciences degree to develop and exhibit a professional level of work performance. Students are expected to accomplish this through:
a. Indicating by their performance an internalized sense of professional identity that causes them to (1) think, feel and act in accordance with the values and responsibilities of that profession, (2) analyze and assess their own professional activities, and (3) accept a continuing responsibility for their own professional development.
b. Approaching problem-solving tasks or helping interventions in a way that reflects a spirit of inquiry, a capacity for conceptual thinking, a grasp of the structure of knowledge and theory pertinent to a particular problem, an ability to transfer to a specific situation applicable concepts and principles, and a readiness to seek new knowledge when needed to guide their professional activities.
c. Using in a variety of problem-solving tasks involving individuals, groups and communities, the technique essential to all professional practice. inquiry, analysis, assessment, planning and action to implement change strategies.
d. Using in purposeful professional relationships a disciplined self-awareness and control a genuine concern for people, and understanding of them, their capacities, their problems and the social systems with which they interact.
e. Demonstrating in discussion and field practice, a personal and professional commitment to participate responsibly in efforts to alleviate social problems, improve social functioning, effect social change and contribute to the research and knowledge needed to achieve these objectives.
PRACTICUM PROCEDURES AND ASSIGNMENTS
1. Selection of an Agency Setting
a. The student will complete the Field Placement Preference Form.
b. The student will meet with the practicum director for an initial interview. Thepurpose of the meeting is to assess previous experience, agency choices, andspecific learning goals through discussion of the Field Placement Preference Form.
c. The student will be referred to three agencies mutually agreed upon by the student and the practicum director.
d. The student will set up appointments with each aizency. It is important to realize that negotiating a field experience is a mutual experience for the student, the University and the community agency.
e. After the three agency interviews the student will meet with the practicum director and discuss the Agency feed back. The student will indicate the agency of his/her choice. Every effort will be made to place students in their first choice agency.
2. Developing a Learning Contract
The learning contract is the learner’s agreement with the Agency and University. It is the student’s responsibility to take the initiative in developing this contract, which is comprised of learning and functional objectives. The learning contract is very similar to a job description and will be used as the primary basis for evaluating the student’s performance in the field agency.
This assignment will be discussed in detail during a class session. The practicum. coordinator is available to assist individual students and agency field instructors in the development of contract ob ectives. All materials related to this assignment and required for completion of the contract can be found in the field manual.
3. Keeping a Journal
Beginning the first week of the semester, the students will be expected to keep a written record of their impressions, experiences and insights. This requirement is the primary teaching and evaluative tool, which the practicum coordinator uses, for the objective of translating principles into practice. The main purpose of the journal is for students to identify and explain how they integrate classroom concepts into practical application. This assignment will be explained more thoroughly in class.
Attendance at all practicum-related classroom sessions is required. All appointments with the practicum. director and coordinator must be kept and it is expected that the student will demonstrate independent professional behavior in making appointments on time or contacting the director if rearrangements must be made.
Students are required to fulfill their contractual obligations of attendance at their field agency. If modifications need to be made, they should be negotiated between the student and the field instructor. The practicum coordinator will monitor the student’s attendance with the field instructor.
5. Final Site Visit and Evaluation
At the end of the semester, a final site visit will be made by the practicum coordinator to the field agency. The student, field instructor and coordinator will discuss together the student’s work performance and overall progress, based on the learning contract. This visit- coupled with the written evaluation submitted by the field instructor, constitutes the major feedback and evaluation of the student’s “on-the-job” accomplishments. Procedures and criteria for selection of Practicum Agencies and Instructors.
A. Procedures for selection of Practicum Agencies.
1. Requests for designation of agencies for training of students may be initiated by either the school or the agency.
2. The application requesting social service practice students should be submitted to the practicum director before anticipated student placement can be made.
3. The practicum director will meet with representatives appointed by the agency to coordinate practicum placement between the agency and the University.
B. Criteria for selection of practicum agencies.
1. The agency should be a recognized human service agency with qualified staff who are committed to and willing to provide necessary time for provisions of professional practicum instruction.
2. The agency must demonstrate interest in and commitment to social science education through the following:
a. availability of qualified staff to fulfill practicum instruction assignments.
b. allocation of sufficient staff time to meet regularly with students in provision of weekly practicum instruction.
c. allocation of staff time required for completion of required practicum. evaluation forms and liaison conference.
d. release staff time to allow attendance at practicum meeting with the University Practicum Director.
e. maintain an on-going collaborative relationship with the University and Practicum Director.
C. Procedures for selection of practicum instructors.
1. The agency application form referred to in A-2 above should include the names and qualifications of practicum instructors to be considered from each agency. (The form will be provided by Director of Practicums.)
2. The Practicum Director will collaborate with the designated agency training coordinator in the selection of potential practicum. instructors.
Criteria for selection of Practicum instructors/supervisor.
1. Practicum instructors will have earned a graduate degree from an accredited College or University. (Exceptions to this criterion will be evaluated on an individual basis by the Director of Practicum, and practicum coordinator.)
2. Practicum instructor will have at least two years of experience in teaching, training or supervision. (Exceptions to this criterion will be evaluated on an individual basis by the Practicum Director and practicum coordinator.)
3. Practicum instructor/supervisor will have demonstrated professional competency in their field and method for which they have been designated a practicum instructor.
4. Practicum instructor will have indicated strong interest in the instruction of students.
5. Practicum instructors must be willing to commit themselves to the allocation of sufficient tasks related to practicum, including regular and “as needed” conferences with students, completion of evaluation forms, attendance at practicum meetings, and coordination of student learning experience with the practicum director and practicum coordinator.
6. New practicum instructors must be willing to attend an orientation meeting for beginning field instructor/supervisor.
Roles Related to Practicum
A. Role of the Practicum Director
1 . Assume overall administration of the program of practicum instruction.
2. Assume responsibility for defining the educational objectives of the practicum.
3. Select, in cooperation with agency administrators agencies and instructors to be used in the practicum.
4. Determine student placements by taking into consideration agency requests, student preferences, professional guidelines, and the University’s policies and educational objectives.
5. Assist in providing selected curriculum and instructional materials to practicum instructors.
6. Appoint a Practicum Coordinator to work with the student, Practicum Instructor, and agency administrator in promoting close collaboration between the agency and the University to enhance the students learning experiences.
7. Assist in provide orientation in practicum instruction for all new Practicum Instructors.
B. Role of the Practicum Coordinator
1 . Inform the student and agency of important dates and the calendar for the school year.
2. Monitor the practicum instruction process to assure that each student is receiving regular instruction and ongoing feedback.
3. Be available to discuss practicum related progress and/or problems with individual students.
4. Visit agency as needed and maintain regular (monthly) contact by telephone.
5. Review with the Practicum Instructors students’ progress and/or problems.
6. Inform Practicum Instructors of resources available from the University to support practicum instruction, i.e., sequence consultants.
7. Assist in the development of educational programs within the agency for thebenefit of students.
8. Evaluate learning experiences within the agency in terms of most appropriate level of use, i.e., undergraduate.
9. Recommend a practicum grade to the Program Director in collaboration with the Practicum Instructor/Supervisor, and assign the final grade.
C. Role of the Agengy in Practicum Instruction
1 . Make available Practicum Instructors who meet the requirements of the University.
2. Assure continuity of practicum instruction, if possible, by the same person for the full school year.
3. Interview and approve students proposed for placement in accordance with agency and University policies of nondiscrimination.
4. Accept students with the focus first on education, and second on provision of services to agency clientele.
5. Provide practicum instruction opportunities to enhance the student’s educational program.
6. Provide opportunities for the student to meet University expectations in terms of assignments and number of hours, in accordance with agency scheduling and needs.
7. Enable and encourage students to participate in staff meetings, group seminars, and interdisciplinary meetings as appropriate.
8. Work in cooperation with the University’s educational objectives for practicum.
9. Permit Practicum Instructors sufficient time to attend required meetings and participate in conferences and evaluations with students and Practicum Director.
D. Role of Practicum Instructors/Supervisor
1. Provide dynamic and educationally sound practicum. instruction experiences for students.
2. Aid students in developing an understanding of the student’s role within the training agency.
3. Identify agency expectation and demonstrate how these will correlate with University expectations.
4. Meet with students in both individual and group instruction (where appropriate) for 1 hr per week.
5. Work cooperatively with the Practicum Coordinator on behalf of the student’s educational program.
6. Attend University practicum instruction meetings.
7. All new Practicum Instructors will attend an orientation meeting on practicum instruction provided by the University.
8. Participate with students in on-going evaluation and end-of-term evaluation.
9. Provide the practicum evaluation on student performance with a recommended grade to the Practicum Coordinator no later than the day noted in field calendar.
E. Role of the Student in Practicum Instruction
1. Provide a completed field preference form.
2. Adhere to professional expectations in accordance with the Code of Ethics of the specific profession, and to policies and regulations of the agency, e.g., keeping all client-related matters confidential.
3. Integrate and apply theoretical concepts and principles presented in the classroom in providing direct and indirect services to clients, group and community.
4. Meet the assignments, expectations and required number of clock hours in the agency for practicum credit each semester.
5. Take initiative for acquiring learning assignments.
6. Prepare for and attend regularly scheduled individual, group, and staff conferences, training sessions, and workshops, as designated by the agency.
7. Discuss openly any difficulties in the practicum with the Practicum Instructor and Practicum Coordinator as appropriate.
8. Work cooperatively with agency and other collaborative personnel.
9. Participate actively in the semester evaluation process with the Practicum Coordinator and Field instructor.
10. Complete and return the evaluation form for their Field Instructor and Practicum Coordinator.
Guidelines for Practicum Instructors of Supervisors
The following is a list of suggestions and expectations for Field Instructors/Supervisors to be used to facilitate field training.
1. The field Instructor/Supervisor should have an expressed interest in teaching or training students.
2. The field Instructor/Supervisor should have administrative support to assume the responsibility.
3. The field Instructor/Supervisor, with the support of the University, will need to assume responsibility to clarify their role as a practitioner and trainer.
4. The individual field Instructor/Supervisor should take specific steps to develop competence as a field Instructor/Supervisor.
5. The field Instructor/Supervisor should assume responsibilities to provide the student with a clear understanding to the role of the profession within the training and how their role differs from that of other professionals working within the same agency. The field Instructor/ Supervisor should explain the policies, procedures and mission of the agency. The field Instructor/ Supervisor should define the similarities and differences in the role assumed by the social service worker in various agencies.
6. As soon as possible the field Instructor/Supervisor and the Practicum Coordinator should take mutual responsibilities to collaborate on arranging conference schedules. A sharing of time schedules could also be arranged to facilitate communications.
7. The field Instructor/Supervisor should know that once the assignment of students to the training agency has been cleared through channels that he/she can inform himself/herself about the student through information available at the University and Practicum Director. This information should be treated as confidential and should be used for educational/ training purposes only.
8. The field Instructor/Supervisor and Practicum Coordinator jointly share the responsibility for the student’s educational and training experience. When a concern arises in the educational and training process, there is responsibility for each to communicate with the other and for the student to also be encouraged to contact his/her Practicum Coordinator.
9. Because of the joint responsibility for the students’ educational experiences in the field, the usual lines of communication to the University should be through the Practicum Coordinator. There should be optimum communication between agency and Practicum Coordinator in all aspects of training.
10. To integrate field experience with classroom teaching, the field Instructor and Practicum Director may want to work out procedures for communication with program area faculty. Field Instructor/Supervisor may request copies of such course outlines. The Practicum Coordinator could provide any needed interpretation of such materials.
11. The relationship between the Field Instructor/Supervisor and Practicum Coordinator will depend upon such factors as (1) previous relationship and experience in the field instruction/supervision, (2) previous relationship and experience as liaison person, (3) liaison person’s knowledge of the agency (4) educational needs of the student and (5) mutual expectations each has for the other.
12. The field Instructor/Supervisor should be clear about the responsibility he/she has in the grading process. This responsibility can be clarified with the Practicum Director and Practicum Coordinator.
13. The field Instructor/Supervisor has the responsibility to plan for a dynamic and educationally focused on-going and end of term evaluation in which the student is a joint and informed participant. For example, in planning for such an evaluation, it will be helpful in the beginning to outline in fairly specific terms objectives, goals and expectations which the field agency supervisor has for the student and to share those with the student periodically during the semester. The notes which field Instructor/Supervisor keeps on individual and group supervisory conferences are valuable in compiling the mid-term and end of term evaluation. (Forms for specific objectives, goals and evaluations have been provided in the Field manual.)
14. The field Instructor/Supervisor and Practicum Coordinator have a joint responsibility to inform the student about the possible use made of evaluation for example, reports needed by supporting agency and the cumulative evaluation. The Practicum Director should also discuss the use of the evaluation with the student.
Learning contracts, initiated by the student in the field setting, but negotiated mutually with field instructor must be turned in by the due date to receive the maximum points possible. All contracts must be typewritten. It is recommended that you make a copy of the completed contract before submitting the original, since comments and suggestions for revisions may need to be written on the form.
Students should be assertive about requesting desired learning activities. The more you know about what you want and need to learn, the easier it will be to write learning objectives. Your field instructors can help you estimate how much can be accomplished within the academic year. You should try to be realistic about your goal-setting, bearing in mind that you are limited to the total number of weeks at your practicum agency. For students in practicum for the entire year, the learning contract should cover your plans and objectives for both semesters. Although several of your objectives may be accomplished within days or weeks, the entire contract should be drafted to cover your entire practicum period.
Writing Learning Objectives
Good, workable objectives all contain four basic elements. They are:
SPECIFIC; TIME-LIMITED; REALISTIC; AND MEASURABLE.
Objectives should be as specific as possible. Be as clear and precise as you can be about what you want and expect to learn and do at your agency. It is better to have numerous objectives, each clearly delineating a skill, concept or function, than to have a broad, all-encompassing statement which is difficult to define and communicate.
Always strive to set realistic objectives. All parties concerned will be happier and be in a better position if you accomplish all your objectives ahead of schedule than if you set out unrealistic expectations in the beginning and cannot fulfill your commitments. You can always add to your learning obiectives but it is discouraging to be forced to delete or leave objectives unmet.
All objectives should be measurable. This can be difficult, especially in human services work but you should train yourself from the beginning to attempt evaluation for all your major objectives. The social sciences have been severely criticized for lack of definition and precision. Human services agencies are being asked to be increasingly accountable for what they do, or do not, accomplish with taxpayers’ dollars. If you have written very clear and specific objectives, you should be able to think of reasonable and efficient ways to evaluate progress and achievement. Each objective must have at least one evaluation method attached to it.
Content Requirements for Learning Contract Assignment:
1. You must write at least 5 but no more than 10 objectives.
2. You will write objectives and activities for the following four Goal Areas:
b) Indirect Services
c) Direct Services
d) Training and Staff Development
3. Each objective should have at least 2 but not more than 5 accompanying activities.
a) Activities should be logical, i.e., support the intent of the objective.
b) Activities and evaluation criteria must be laid out on the contract form to correspond with the appropriate objective.
c) Activities should be comprehensive and adequate to achieve the stated objective.
4. Objectives should address the following categories of students’ field learning.
a) Interorganizational awareness
b) Intraorganization analysis
c) Intervention skills, appropriate to the student
d) Professional growth and development
e) Both direct and indirect service delivery to clients or constituents
5. Objectives need to be written in the format discussed in class. This format is: Infinitive + specific, descriptive target + deadline
6. The final draft of the learning contract must be signed by the student, field instructor and the Practicum Director.
WHAT GOOD OBJECTIVES SHOULD LOOK LIKE
1. Each objective should be time framed. So, you might want to start each objective with the word “by.”
2. Each objective should have as firm and clarifying a verb as is possible. Thus “to reduce” “to obtain” “to write” “to increase” are good verbs, whereas, verbs like “to know” “to understand” “to feel” are not as good.
3. Each objective should have a specific measurable outcome (that is not an activity). Thus, “by , mea January 1, 1992 to recruit 100 volunteers” would be better than “to have staff conduct a door to door recruitment campaign until 100 volunteers are signed up.”
4. If it is not clear how you will measure for the accomplishment of an objective, include “measurement criteria.” Thus “by January 1, 1992 to increase the awareness of the causes of V.D. by 20% in Portland, is measured by pre and post surveys” is better than simply mentioning the increase without measurement criteria.
So a good standard format for an objective might look like this.
By (date) . to (strong verb) (measurable product) as evidenced by easurementcri
HOW WRITTEN OBJECTIVES HELP MANAGE PROJECTS
1. They specify a desired course of action and clarify what is to be done.
2. They provide a basis for organizational cooperation. (You can develop a work plan and assign tasks if you know exactly what needs to be done.)
3. They facilitate scheduling of activities by establishing dates when certain targets should be reached.
4. They permit clear, unquestioned agreements on desired results.
5. They provide standards and a fair and convenient method for assessing progress.
FIELD PLACEMENT SEMESTER EVALUATION
PLEASE RETURN BY DECEMBER 11, 1998 Date:
Student’s Name Agency
Job Title Supervisor’s Name
May we have your comments on the following items related to the student’s activities in your agency. Please comment in the space provided on this form or attach additional pages as needed. It will be helpful to the student if both strengths and weaknesses are covered in your observations. Please discuss this with the student.
1. Learning Experiences. What tasks did the student perform in your agency? Please include learning contract activities and accomplishments in your description.
If there are learning contract activities which have not been performed, please provide an explanation and/or arrangements for including these activities for next semester.
2. Development of Knowledge and Skills: Describe student’s ability to use personality, knowledge, and helping skills with individuals, groups and/or neighborhoods.
3. Agency Awareness: Comment on student’s understanding of agency goals, policies, and procedures, ability to make appropriate decisions and relationships with agency staff.
Describe how student makes appropriate use of agency and community resources.
4. Life/Work Planning. Describe areas in which student needs additional skill and/or knowledge development. What suggestions do you have for further growth?
Would you recommend student be employed in your agency? What additional skills would s/he need?
5. Suggested Grade A B C D F (Please circle)
Signature of Student Signature of Supervisor
The Human Services Internship may be taken outside of the regular Practicurn Program. (The regular Practicum Program is a two semester sequential offering consisting of a 6 credit hour internship taken concurrently with a three hour theory and methods seminar.) If an internship is taken outside of the Practicum Program the academic course requirements must meet the standard of any 3 or 6 hour University course. The following are course requirements for the Human Services Internship taken outside of the regular practicurn program:
-To introduce students to value based social change opportunities in the human services and to apply social science theories to individual, group, or community interventions.
-To develop an awareness of the self as an instrument of social and behavioral change in others.
-To introduce students to skills and knowledge of social and behavioral change strategies and systems.
I . Agency Service Required per Semester
Credit Hours Agency Hours
3 credit hours 120*
6 credit hours 240
2. journal-weekly reflection entries of one to two page reactions-due at end of semester.
3. A term paper on a topic relevant to the placement. The length of the paper is 12 pages for a 3 credit hour internship and 22 pages for a 6 hour internship.
Due end of semester.
4. A learning contract approved by field instructor and faculty liaison-due end of week four. The learning contract will outline student learning objectives and an action plan by which those learning objectives will be met.
5. An end of semester evaluation signed by the field instructor and faculty liaison which will assess the degree to which the student met the learning objectives outlined in the learning contract and course syllabus. The field instructor will recommend a letter grade which will be conveyed to the Director of Practicurn Programs.
(for example: a 6 week course = 20 hrs per week in an agency)
Use the Practicurn Program Field instructor Guide for samples of Learning Contract, evaluation forms, and general expectations of students, field instructors, and faculty liaison roles.