For Field Agencies

Field Agencies

For Field Agencies: Field Agencies

Criteria and Expectations for Field Instructors

It is expected that the agency will recommend highly qualified staff as field instructors. Criteria include:

  • Field instructors/supervisors should be fully qualified according to Simmons SSW standards;
  • All primary supervisors must have a master's in social work (M.S.W.) degree, and two years of post-masters experience;
  • Instructors in Massachusetts should be certified as licensed independent social workers (L.I.C.S.W.) or should be eligible for this license;
  • The field instructor should have one year of employment in the placement agency; exceptions will be considered for experienced supervisors.

In making a commitment to participating in the training of M.S.W. students, administrators are expected to adjust the workload of field instructors to allow adequate time for student teaching.

  • A minimum of two hours a week is required for formal supervisory conferences with each student or one and a half hours plus secondary or group supervision.
  • Time must also be provided for reading process recordings and other reports, planning informal conferences, consulting with school representatives and completing student evaluations.
  • The agency must provide time for attendance at the Seminar on Supervision for new field instructors.
  • In addition, the agency should assume responsibility for supervision of beginning field instructors and coverage of student cases at times when the student is in school or on vacation.
  • The school relies upon field instructors to keep the faculty adviser informed about their own or student absences or any other possible disruption of the learning process.

Essential qualities for field instructors include interest and ability in:

  • Direct (micro) clinical practice
  • Educational supervision
  • Conceptualization and integration of various theoretical perspectives
  • Engagement of students in critical thinking

Field instructors should be grounded in a broad social work perspective and sensitive to issues of diversity in regard to race, ethnicity, culture, and sexual orientation. The school requests supervisors who have knowledge and skill in several methods or modalities such as family treatment, group work, and advocacy. In addition, field instructors should be able to refer students to other supervisors, readings, or consultants regarding modalities with which they are not familiar. Field instructors should be familiar with and able to teach the various roles utilized by clinical social workers. They should also be aware of the range of fields of social work practice to enhance the student's broader training and to help them develop skill in accessing other services for their clients.

Field instructors are expected to:
  • Keep abreast of current content and trends in social work practice.
  • Be objective in evaluating students' performance.
  • Collaborate with the assigned field faculty member particularly when difficulties arise.

The agency and field instructor are expected to provide an adequate and varied caseload for the three days per week of field placement. The instructor ensures that the student be incorporated into the agency system and helped to learn its philosophy, mission, place in the community, practices, and procedures. It is also expected that there be adequate office space and equipment to accommodate students, including privacy for interviewing clients.

Field instructors and agency training directors receive adjunct faculty appointments as Clinical Instructors and Clinical Associates respectively. Each year field instructors submit the Field Instructor Profile form along with a copy of their Curriculum Vitae for our review and our files. Occasionally, a Simmons faculty member provides MSW supervision for interns in order to enable the School to use an excellent placement opportunity or a specialized program that does not have a qualified social work supervisor.