The field site is responsible for field site-based orientation, which typically occurs during the first few weeks of field. In general, the orientation should consist of acquainting the student with the various services offered by the field site and the range and scope of possible assignments. Planning for these assignments should begin right after the orientation period, and specific initial assignments should be identified.
The reason for the field site orientation to field education is twofold. First, before the student engages with clients, field site staff, communities, etc., they should have some knowledge of professional roles and relationships, the ethics of the profession, and the nature of service delivery systems, as well as some acquaintance with various theories of human behavior. Second, students are expected to gain knowledge about the range and type of specific field site services, fieldwork site structure, and staff roles and responsibilities, as well as interagency and community relationships. A well-planned and organized orientation within the field site will not only provide information useful for student performance, but will benefit the field site by enhancing the potential for greater student productivity.
Examples of orientation activities include but are not limited to:
Field Site Documents and Demographics - Review: annual reports, policy manuals, special reports, grant applications, characteristics of the service population, relevant legislation, and census data on community.
Field Site Meetings and Conferences - Attend: staff, board, committee, department, and team meetings, City Council, County Commission meetings, interagency meetings, consultations, professional conferences, and staff development sessions.
Community Visits - Neighborhood and community organizations, schools, police agencies, human services offices, accompany/shadow visits of staff, other departments within the fieldwork site, referral agencies and programs, and contract agencies.
Preparing for Direct Service - Shadow multiple experiences, assist in intake, assist with group work, begin client assessment, review case records, review project guidelines, learn about fieldwork site funding sources, review organizational charts, and receive supervision and feedback.
The field curriculum is designed to include progressive assignments that allow students to participate in a beginning-, middle-, and end-stage approach to their learning activities.
The U-M SSW field faculty assigned as the instructor for your field education courses is always available for consultation to the field site and student regarding the identification and development of assignments. The U-M SSW field faculty assigned as the instructor for your field education courses is always available for consultation to the field site and student regarding the identification and development of assignments.