Field Welcome Letter to On-Campus Students

Dear Mandel School Student,

On behalf of the entire field education faculty, I want to take this opportunity to enthusiastically welcome you to the Mandel School. We are looking forward to welcoming each of you into as part of our Mandel School community and to getting to know more about you over the summer as you engage in the process of securing a field placement setting for the upcoming academic year.

Field education is a critical aspect of the Mandel School curriculum, representing 20% of the MSW degree requirements. Through the context of field placement experiences, Mandel School students are able to integrate and apply the theories, skills and concepts taught in the classroom into organizational practice settings. Field education is a transformative process that most students regard as one of the most impactful components of the MSW degree.

This summer, you will be working directly with our field education faculty to secure a field placement for the upcoming academic year. Each student will be assigned a field placement advisor, who will work closely with you to identify potential field placement options and to prepare for the placement interview process. Although COVID-19 social distancing precautions may preclude us from meeting with you in-person this summer, each member of the Field Education Department is well equipped to work with our incoming class of students via phone and video conferencing. We are committed to your success in field education and will work in partnership with you and our placement sites to facilitate the interview process.

The Mandel School has a well-established network of community partnerships, featuring field placement opportunities in community and direct practice, child welfare, healthcare, community development, behavioral health, schools, government and a variety of other settings. The field education faculty will make every effort to support each student in obtaining a placement setting that is most conducive to your education and professional development goals, although some placement settings will not consider students until one year of field education requirements have been completed. The Field Education Department has been working closely with our network of 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 weekly MSW format typically have a first year “generalist” field placement and a second year “specialized” placement. Students with advanced standing complete two semesters of field 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.

Field Education Placement Process Overview

It is a requirement of the field education program that all students actively participate in the summer field placement process to be fully prepared to begin field placement by the start of the fall semester (August 24, 2020). Failure to do so may significantly decrease the availability of field placement options and can result in a delay in beginning field education requirements.

Students in the Intensive Weekend format are required to secure a field placement by October 1, 2020. Field placement will begin for Intensive Weekend students in January 2021.

By June 1st

  • Students are 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 placement advisor.
  • Please be sure that you have a current resume to provide to prospective field placement sites as part of the interview process.
  • Each student will work in partnership with their placement advisor to identify areas of interest and potential field placement settings for the upcoming academic year. This process may be completed through virtual meetings should social distancing health and safety precautions remain in place over the summer. Case Western Reserve University utilizes Zoom video conferencing, and each student will have access to a Zoom account.
  • After the initial meeting, your placement advisor will then provide you with the appropriate contact information so that you can begin to schedule interviews at several potential field placement agencies. Some sites may offer the option to interview by phone or virtual meetings. The availability of these options are determined by the placement organization. Each student will then be responsible for making contact with the potential placement sites that you have identified with your placement advisor to facilitate the interview process.

June - August

  • Students engage in the placement interview process and communicate with the placement advisor about progress/results.
  • Each student should be successfully matched with a field placement by the start of the fall semester (August 24, 2020). Students in the traditional Intensive Weekend format will complete this process by October 1, 2020.
  • It will be important that you stay in contact with your placement advisor throughout the summer. We are here to support your success in the placement interview process and are looking forward to helping you prepare to begin your experiences at the Mandel School.

Many field placement sites require students to obtain pre-placement screenings that may include health screenings (such as TB test, drug screening) and background checks. If required by the placement site, the student is responsible for the cost of the required screenings. Many sites also require students to have an Ohio Social Work Trainee (SWT) credential, which is issued by the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage & Family Therapist Board. You must be registered for field education prior to applying for the SWT and a background check is required. More information can be found on the SWT Social Worker Trainee FAQ page. Your placement advisor will assist you in determining if the SWT will be required at the potential placement sites that you identify.

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

Again, welcome and congratulations on your acceptance to the Mandel School. We will look forward to meeting you as you begin the first part of your journey as a Change Agent!


Amy Korsch-Williams, MSSA, CNM, LISW-S
Assistant Dean of Field Education