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Lehman College

Field Education 
Overview

All students in the undergraduate and MSW programs must complete an internship providing a range of social work services under the supervision of a qualified fieldwork instructor.  This fieldwork has been called the “signature pedagogy” of social work education. 

According to the Council on Social Work Education, the national accrediting body for social work education: 

 

Signature pedagogy represents the central form of instruction and learning in which a profession socializes its students to perform the role of practitioner.  Professionals have pedagogical norms with which they connect and integrate theory and practice.  In social work, the signature pedagogy is field education.  The intent of field education is to connect the theoretical and conceptual contribution of the classroom with the practical world of the practice setting.  It is a basic precept of social work education that the two interrelated components of the curriculum – classroom and field—are of equal importance within the curriculum, and each contributes to the development of the requisite competencies of professional practice.  Field education is systematically designed, supervised, coordinated and evaluated based on the criteria by which students demonstrate the achievement of program competencies (2008).

 

The Lehman College Department of Social Work provides students with fieldwork opportunities in social service agencies and organizations in the greater New York City area and neighboring counties.  Fieldwork placements are arranged through the Field Education Office of the Social Work Department.  Students are not permitted to find their own field placements.

Undergraduate Program:

  • Undergraduate students in field placement spend 15 hours per week in the field and must complete a minimum of 450 hours per year.  Field placement begins on the day after Labor Day each September and continues through mid-May, including the month of January. 
  • All undergraduate student assignments must include direct practice with individuals and, if possible, should include practice with families, groups, organizations and communities.
  • Undergraduate students must have individual supervision for at least one hour per week.

MSW Program:

  • MSW students in field placement spend 21 hours per week in the field and must complete a minimum of 600 hours per year. Field placement begins in mid-September and continues through mid-May, including the month of January. 
  • First year MSW student assignments must include direct practice with individuals and, if possible, should include practice with families, groups, organizations and communities. 
  • Second year MSW student assignments must continue to include direct practice with one or more of the following: individuals, families, groups, organizations or communities. 
    • Please note: Second year students MUST HAVE a supervision assignment. This might include supervising volunteers, providing task instruction for undergraduate social work students or other students, or executing administrative tasks such as committee work, report writing, or conference planning.

Field Agencies:

  • Becoming a field placement agency
    •  Fieldwork agencies participating with the Lehman College Department of Social Work are expected to have a strong commitment to the education of social work students in urban areas.  Participating agencies must reflect a commitment to social justice and to issues related to human diversity.  They are selected on the basis of their potential to:
      • Fulfill the mission of and goals of the Department of Social Work  as reflected in the program’s competencies and operationalized in the practice behaviors;
      • Apply the knowledge, values, and skills acquired in the classroom with individuals, families, groups, communities, and organizations in the urban environment;
      • Meet the learning needs of our students through structured learning opportunities, including one hour of weekly individual supervision and weekly review of process recordings; and
      • Enter into a field education plan and agreement with the Lehman College Program and the student that assures that the student will have the opportunity to demonstrate the core competencies.
  • The Director or Assistant Director of Field Education visits all agencies that are being considered as new fieldwork sites to determine the capacity of the agency to meet the above criteria. The Director or Assistant Director of Field Education also orients the Educational Coordinator and the Fieldwork Instructor to the mission and goals of the Lehman College MSW Social Work Program and to our specific requirements. Together they determine the potential of the agency to fulfill our program’s mission and to meet the needs of the clients of the agency.
  • Please submit Agency Request for Students Form (see Useful Documents below).
  •  Contact Information:
     

    Mr. Peter Niedt, MSW
    Director of Field Education
    Carman Hall, Room B-16
    718.960.7749
    peter.niedt@lehman.cuny.edu

     

    Julie Aquilato, MSW
    Assistant Director of Field Education
    Carman Hall, Room B-16
    718.960.7249
    julie.aquilato@lehman.cuny.edu

  •  Field Instructor requirements for undergraduate students
      • Field instructors must have completed an MSW degree, from a CSWE accredited program, before beginning supervision of students and have two years Post-Master’s experience as a social worker since completion of their program. 
      • The field instructor is responsible for meeting with each student, individually, in a weekly one-hour supervisory session, reviewing each student’s process recordings and providing verbal and written feedback, completing an educational plan with the student, and preparing written evaluations that follow the format provided by the Social Work Program.
      • Field instructors supervising students in the Lehman Social Work Program for the first time are expected to attend the Seminar in Field Instruction (SIFI), which is provided for no fee through the Lehman College Department of Social Work.  To be SIFI certified, you must attend a minimum of 9 of 12 sessions (see section below on continuing education).  This includes an orientation meeting prior to the beginning of fieldwork. 
  • Field Instructor Requirements for MSW students
      • Field instructors must have completed an MSW degree, from a CSWE accredited program, before beginning supervision of the students and have a minimum of three years’ experience as a social worker since completion of the MSW.
      • New York State law requires Field Instructors for MSW students to hold the license (LMSW or LCSW) appropriate to the type of social work practiced by the student. 
      • Field instructors for MSW students also must complete a Seminar in Field Instruction (SIFI) if they have not already done so. This is offered each year by the Lehman College Social Work Department.
      • The field instructor is responsible for meeting with each student, individually, in a weekly one-hour supervisory session, reviewing each student’s process recordings and providing verbal and written feedback, and preparing written evaluations that follow the format provided by the Social Work Program.
  • Continuing Education
      • The Seminar in Field Instruction (SIFI) carries with it 24 continuing education hours; however, to receive credit for these hours, participants must attend all 12 full sessions, signing in and signing out, as well as completing all assignments.
      • The Lehman College Department of Social Work offers various continuing education workshops for credit(s) each semester.  These workshops are free of charge to the field instructors of our students.
Useful Documents:
  • General
 
  • Undergraduate
 
  • MSW