For Field Agencies
Affiliating with Simmons SSW
Simmons SSW has over 400 affiliated training sites. Successful agency partnerships are key to our students' clinical social work education. Information about how to affiliate with Simmons is included in this section.
To inquire about having MSW interns at your agency, please contact the Field Department by email or by phone at 617-521-3943. You may also initiate the affiliation process by reviewing the agency criteria and the field instructor requirements in this section. Agencies who affiliate with Simmons SSW complete the Agency Fact Sheet. When a student is placed in your agency you will also be asked to complete the Field Instructor Profile. General questions about the process can also be directed to the Field Department.
To meet the objectives of field education, the School is affiliated with a broad spectrum of human service agencies and programs. These include a full range of mental health programs, health care settings, family services, home and community based systems, schools, college counseling centers, child welfare agencies, early intervention programs, prisons, court settings, elder services, substance abuse treatment services, violence treatment/prevention programs, HIV/AIDS prevention/treatment services, hospices, and more. Field faculty keep abreast of shifts in service needs and populations at-risk in order to keep the School's curriculum current with developments in social services and to identify fields of practice that need professional social workers. Affiliated placement agencies must demonstrate a commitment to training social work students and have programs that reflect the values and ethics of the profession, as well as the School's mission, goals, and objectives. The agency and field instructors provide the opportunity for interns to develop a social work identity and to gain knowledge and skill in social work practice with particular emphasis on direct clinical practice.
Field Placement Site Criteria
In order to qualify as a placement site, agencies must have demonstrated a program with standards and philosophy acceptable to the School, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and the professional community. The setting must adhere to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics, and provide needed services to the community. The agency must be willing to follow School expectations delineated in the Field Education Manual.
- The agency should provide a spectrum of learning experiences with attention to the educational value for the particular trainee along with agency service needs.
- Case assignments should facilitate student development of knowledge and practice skills.
- It is expected that agency staff will offer an orientation to the setting, its services, its safety procedures and its policies for their students.
As Simmons SSW is a single concentration clinical program, our affiliated placement settings must afford field instructors and agency staff opportunities to teach interns:
- Direct (micro) service to individual clients, couples, families and groups
- Intervention on the behalf of clients with larger institutions and organizations
Depending on setting and client needs, students are expected to learn several of the following:
- Negotiation and coordination of services
- Small-program planning
- Involvement in policy development
In making a commitment to participating in the training of MSW students, administrators are expected to adjust the workload of field instructors to allow adequate time for student teaching. A minimum of two hours per week is required for formal supervisory meetings with each student and her/his primary supervisor or one and a half hours plus secondary or group supervision. In addition, time must be allotted for reading process recordings and other reports, planning informal conferences, and consulting with the Field Advisor and other school representatives as needed. If the field instructor is new to student supervision the agency should be willing to allow time for her/him to attend the Support for Field Instructors Seminar on Field Instruction for new supervisors. In addition, the agency should assume responsibility for support and/or supervision of beginning field instructors and coverage of student cases at times when the student is in school or on vacation. Please refer to Criteria for Field Instructors for additional information.
Each year, field agencies complete the Field Agency Fact Sheet to update SSW and to describe the learning opportunities for the upcoming academic year. Since each placement is assigned a faculty field advisor, this liaison plays a key role in the continuing assessment of the quality of the setting as a training site.
Expectations of agencies include:
- Field practicum training must be valued and supported in the agency.
- Field instructors should receive support and consultation on their supervision in the agency.
- In its commitment to overall quality of service to clients and training, it is expected that agencies will provide supervision, staff development, and other learning opportunities for staff and involve students in relevant offerings.
- The agency will recommend highly qualified staff to serve as field instructors (see Criteria for Selection of Field Instructors) and when possible a staff member will serve as overall liaison for the school, i.e., the training director.
- The agency will, to the best of its ability, provide an adequate caseload for learning.
- The agency will provide adequate office space, access to a telephone, and should reimburse for travel and other expenses incurred in carrying out the social work role.
- The agency will orient the student to agency practices and procedures, documentation requirements, safety issues, and provide needed specialized training for work with the agency's client population.
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 (MSW) degree, and two years of post-masters experience;
- Instructors in Massachusetts should be certified as licensed independent social workers (LICSW) 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.
The SSW welcomes agencies to apply as field placement sites. In order to qualify as a placement site, agencies must have a demonstrated social work program with standards and philosophy acceptable to the school, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and the professional community. Agencies must be committed to training social work students and willing to follow school expectations delineated in the Field Education Manual.