Academic journal article Journal of Social Work Education

Getting "Tillerized": Traits and Outcomes of Students in a Rural Community Field Placement

Academic journal article Journal of Social Work Education

Getting "Tillerized": Traits and Outcomes of Students in a Rural Community Field Placement

Article excerpt

FIELD PLACEMENTS are viewed as the signature pedagogy of social work education (Council on Social Work Education [CSWE], n.d.). Recent research has considered the relationship between universities and field placement offices (see Bogo & Globerman, 1999), the anxieties of students as they enter field (see Rosenthal Gelman, 2004; Rosenthal Gelman & Lloyd, 2008), aspects of the learning process while in field (Garner, 2006; Miller, Corcoran, Kovacs, Rosenblum, & Wright, 2005), and varying types of outcome assessments on the experience of field (see Fortune, Lee, & Cavazos, 2007; Poulin, Kauffman, & Silver, 2006). Yet little is known about the process of placing students in field placements and how to best match students to placement sites. Mayer (2002) stated, "It is remarkable how little has been written about how placements are chosen and how students should be paired with specific placement sites" (p. 117). According to Mayer (2002) a few studies have been conducted in the field of school counseling that examine placement opportunities and student characteristics (Brownstein, 1981, as cited in Mayer, 2002) as well as placement features and student's selection criteria (Steward & Steward, 1996, as cited in Mayer). However, it is important to note that our literature search yielded no current studies on the process of placing students in social work field placements.

According to CSWE (2004), field education is responsible for "policies, criteria, and procedures for selecting agencies and field instructors; placing and monitoring students; maintaining field liaison contacts with agencies; and evaluating student learning and agency effectiveness in providing field instruction" (Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards [EPAS] 2.1.3). In the past, social work programs engaged in a wide variety of procedures in terms of field placement selection (Holtzman & Raskin, 1989). In 1999 Baird described the two most prevalent models: in one model students were responsible for locating an agency, finding supervision, and coordinating with an advisor; in the other, the program controlled all aspects of placement. According to Ortiz Hendricks and Rudich (2000), "the traditional field education model assigns students to individual agencies and encourages them to identify with and model their skills on the practice models of the placement agency and on-site field instruction" (p. 27).

More specifically, field offices often have processes that include an application, interviews with each student to gauge career goals and personality traits, and interviews between students and potential placement sites and field instructors to ensure good educational and professional matches. However, resources for field offices continue to decline (Jarman-Rohde, McFall, Kolar, & Strom, 1997). Field offices also find that the quality and quantity of field placement options are declining (Jarman-Rohde et al., 1997), whereas the numbers (Blanchard Kittle & Gross, 2005) and needs of students are increasing (Jarman-Rohde et al., 1997). In private conversation it is not surprising to hear that field office administrators often are content simply to find a placement willing to take a student. Although field offices continue to strive for excellence, and the process for placing students continues, finding the best match between students and placements sometimes must take lower priority beneath competing challenges. Specifically, student characteristics and personality traits can be considered less important in the face of other challenges such as location, availability, and the specific field of the agency.

The current article describes the processes, traits, experiences, and outcomes of social work students who were placed in a rural, macro-oriented, grassroots community organization without onsite field supervision. The study sought to reveal what student attributes were needed for this type placement and how the placement prepared them for social work practice. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.