The long anticipated time has arrived for you to begin your field internship. This is the point which can be the most nerve-wracking, but also the most exciting. You are about to initiate the most exciting semester of your social work education!
For some of you, this may be your first field practicum experience. For you, the advanced social work student, field education may be a familiar experience. Regardless of which placement experience it is for you, the field practicum is reported by most, if not all, social work students as being their most exciting and influential educational experience. The field practicum is the time when students are putting into practice all the knowledge and values learned through the social work educational curriculum. Just as other professional practitioners such as those in the medical and educational fields of study have an opportunity to practice their skills before graduating from their respective schools, social work students must engage in social work practice before completing their social work degree. This is a standard expectation in accredited social work programs.
The social work program at the University of Texas-Pan American is accredited by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE). Thus, certain requirements and standards as outlined by CSWE that indicate the type of educational development required of professional social workers are found throughout the social work program curriculum. This includes professional behavior that reflects the values and ethics of the social work profession. This accreditation process sets in place professional standards that assure the general public and the client systems you will serve that you have completed a professional education and training of high caliber.
An integral part of the development of the social work student is the field practicum (also referred to as the field placement or the field internship). Because of the importance of the field practicum, this handbook has been developed to help you navigate through this point of your educational journey. It does not preclude your need to be familiar with the policies as found in the MSSW Program Handbook and the University of Texas-Pan American graduate catalogue; however, it is hoped that this handbook will help you feel more confident as you begin your field practicum.
So again, Student Intern, congratulations and enjoy your field practicum!!
Maria de Lourdes Martinez-Aviles, Ph.D., MSW
Director of Field Education