The best way to learn social work is to practice social work — to go out in the field and interact with patients and clients. What distinguishes UNE School of Social Work (SSW) is our comprehensive and individualized approach to field education.
As a UNE B.S.W. student, you benefit from our 30+ years of experience in developing, maintaining, and expanding community partnerships with field practicum agencies in Maine and New Hampshire. This extensive knowledge and experience coupled with the large pool of alumni dedicated to training you are an incomparable asset of our program.
Individualized Field Practicum Planning
Field education is recognized by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) as the signature pedagogy of social work education. A characteristic form of teaching and learning for social work practice, field education prepares you for the profession’s fundamental ways of thinking, performing, and acting with integrity*.
Field faculty advisors meet individually with you and assess your strengths, experience, learning needs, and areas of interest. Collaboratively, you will identify field sites that will provide opportunities to optimize your field practicum experience.
You have opportunities to work with individuals, families, and groups of all ages. You can choose from agencies that work with a population you are passionate about, e.g., older adults, veterans, homeless individuals, trauma survivors, LGBTQQ individuals, and immigrants. Field education provides opportunities to transfer the knowledge, values, and skills learned in the classroom to real-world social work experience in a supervised setting.
Field Placement Opportunities and Settings
UNE SSW’s partnerships with community organizations provide a wide range of possibilities for working with clients across the lifespan.
Children and Families
If you are interested in working with young children and families, you may select an early childhood non-profit agency such as Seedlings to Sunflowers Childcare and Family Center. If you are interested in working with older youth, you may consider a field placement with agencies such as Day One, Sweetser, or Maine Youth Court.
If you are interested in working with adults, you may work in settings such as a community day program for older adults (e.g. Sam L. Cohen Center), a housing first agency providing overnight and day shelter programs as well as transitional housing (e.g. Preble St. Resource Center) or agencies dedicated to working with immigrant, refugee and asylee populations (e.g. Catholic Charities, Gateway, Hope Acts). You also have opportunities to work with individuals with intellectual disabilities, substance use disorder, or those who have experienced interpersonal violence.
Community Advocacy Programs
If you are interested in advocating for social justice and social inclusion, you will find multiple opportunities at the community and state levels. Community programs such as the New Mainers Program, Boys to Men, Equality Maine, and Preble Street’s Homeless Voices for Justice, provide settings where you can develop community and advocacy social work skills.
Why Choose UNE?
In our B.S.W. program, you will complete two semesters of supervised field practicum during your senior year. The field practicum is a total of 450 hours (approx. 17 hours/week).
You have an opportunity to interview with at least two agencies/organizations before making a decision about your field practicum site. As noted above, UNE SSW has a wide network of relationships with agencies in a diverse range of practice contexts, including mental and physical health, poverty, homelessness, services for children and families, juvenile and criminal justice, substance use disorders, community organizing, and public policy.
Students receive at least one hour of field instruction (supervision) per week from an experienced B.S.W. or M.S.W. field instructor.
Support, Monitoring, and Guidance
While in field practicum, you attend weekly seminar classes facilitated by field faculty. In seminar, you share field practicum experiences, discuss case scenarios, explore ethical dilemmas and provide support to one another. The seminar class and assignments are designed to guide and reinforce your integration of classroom learning into practical, hands-on social work experience.
In addition to the seminar class, each semester the faculty member teaching the seminar facilitates a field visit with you, B.S.W. or M.S.W. field instructor, and onsite supervisor. The goal of the field visit is to discuss your activities at the field site and review progress toward meeting your goals.
*Wayne, J., Bogo, M. & Raskin, M. (2010) FIELD EDUCATION AS THE SIGNATURE PEDAGOGY OF SOCIAL WORK EDUCATION, Journal of Social Work Education, 46:3, 327-339, DOI: 10.5175/JSWE.2010.200900043