Field Welcome Letter to On-Campus Students

Dear Mandel School Student,

On behalf of our field education faculty, I want to take this opportunity to welcome you to Case Western Reserve University’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. We look forward to welcoming you to our community and getting to know more about you as you begin securing a field placement setting for the upcoming academic year.

Field education is a critical aspect of our Master of Social Work curriculum, representing 20% of the degree requirements. Through your field placement, you’ll integrate and apply the theories, skills and concepts taught in the classroom into organizational practice settings. Field education is a transformative experience that many students regard as one of the most impactful components of their social work education.

The Mandel School has a well-established network of community partnerships, featuring field placement opportunities in community and direct practice, child welfare, health care, community development, behavioral health, schools, government and a variety of other settings. Our faculty will make every effort to support you in obtaining a placement setting that is conducive to your education and professional development goals, though some placement settings will not consider students until one year of field education requirements have been completed. The Field Education Department works closely with placement sites to develop increased opportunities for virtual interviews in response to COVID-19 and to best accommodate students residing outside of the state or country.

Students in the on-campus format typically have a first-year “generalist” field placement and a second-year “specialized” placement. Students with advanced standing complete two semesters of field work beginning in the fall in the context of one placement setting. The Intensive Weekend format also features a one-placement model, in which students may elect to complete field education requirements in an approved place of employment setting.

You are required to participate in the summer field placement process so you are fully prepared to begin field placement by the start of the fall semester on Aug. 23. Failure to do so may significantly decrease the availability of field placement options and can result in a delay in beginning field education requirements.

Below, you will find an overview of the field education placement process.

By June 1

You will be assigned a field placement advisor who will reach out to you directly. Please make sure to activate your CWRU email as soon as possible if you have not yet done so. You will need to monitor your CWRU email account throughout the summer for communication from your field advisor.

Please be sure that you have a current resume to provide to prospective field placement sites as part of the interview process.

You will work with your advisor to identify areas of interest and potential field placement settings for the upcoming academic year. This process likely will be completed through virtual meetings over the summer, due to COVID-19. Case Western Reserve University uses Zoom video conferencing, and you will have access to a Zoom account using your CWRU email.

After the initial meeting, your advisor will provide you with the appropriate contact information so you can begin to schedule interviews at potential field placement agencies. Some sites may offer the option to interview by phone or virtual meetings. The availability of these options is determined by the placement organization.

You will be responsible for contacting potential placement sites and starting the interview process.

From June to August

You will engage in the placement interview process and communicate your progress with your advisor.
You should be successfully matched with a field placement by the start of the fall semester, Aug. 23.
It will be important for you to stay in contact with your advisor throughout the summer. We are here to support your success in the field placement process.

Field placement sites may require pre-placement screenings, including health screenings (such as tuberculosis testing or a drug screening) or a background check. If required by the placement site, you will be responsible for the cost of the required screenings. Many sites also require an Ohio Social Work Trainee (SWT) credential issued by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board. You must be registered for field education prior to applying for the SWT, and a background check is required. Visit the board’s website for more information. Your field advisor will help you determine if the SWT is required at your potential placement sites.

By the beginning of June, you will receive a follow-up communication from your assigned field advisor. Please be responsive to your field advisor so you can move forward with the placement process in a timely manner.

Again, welcome and congratulations on your acceptance to the Mandel School. Please feel free to reach out with any questions. We look forward to meeting you as you begin the first part of your journey as a Change Agent!

Best wishes,

Nicole Parker, MSW, LSW, MNO
Interim Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, Field Education, and External Relations