B.S.W. students have one practicum placement during the senior year, concurrent with enrollment in the practice courses. Senior B.S.W. students attend classes two days a week and field practicum two days a week throughout fall and spring semesters. Seniors spend a minimum of 480 clock hours in practicum. Practicum is a 12 credit hour, year-long course graded on an S/U basis. A satisfactory (S) grade is a requirement for the B.S.W. degree. At the end of the first semester, a grade of P is given for satisfactory progress toward completion of the course. No credit is given for partial completion (fewer than 12 credit hours) of practicum.
B.S.W. students are placed in social work agencies and settings that provide learning experiences to prepare them in the generalist foundation necessary for entry level professional practice. Field practicum settings include public health clinics, community mental health centers, child welfare agencies, court services, senior centers and community development projects.
The field education office works with community agencies throughout Kansas and western Missouri to provide field practicum opportunities for students. Students are placed in these agencies through a collaborative process among the field education office, the student and the agency. The field education office is responsible for ensuring that all field placements are able to provide the appropriate learning opportunities for students and that qualified field instructors will be available to the student. The field education office arranges all placements. Students should not contact agencies directly to plan for field placement without explicit authorization from the field education office.
Field placements are mainly in the Kansas City and Topeka areas, with a limited number of settings in Lawrence, Leavenworth, and other Kansas and Missouri communities. Students are responsible for transportation to the assigned field practicum. Most agencies also require a student to have transportation available for agency assignments.
Students participate directly in planning for field practicum by completing the online planning survey and submitting it to the field education office by the due dates listed in the admissions information and the planning calendars in the Field Education Handbook (pdf). If practicum planning information is not provided in a timely manner, placement will be delayed until the next planning cycle. This is likely to result in a delayed graduation date. The field education office will consider student interests in fields of practice, client populations and social problems in matching a student with a practicum agency.
An orientation is held in the fall, before the beginning of classes, for all students entering a field practicum and the field liaisons who represent the school. Students are responsible for the material in the Field Education Handbook (pdf). Upon request, a printed copy may be obtained through the KU Bookstore for a fee.
Every student in practicum has both a field instructor and a field liaison. The field instructor is a B.S.W. or M.S.W. graduate with two or more years of social work experience and is typically an employee in the practicum agency where the student is assigned. The field instructor is responsible for providing supervision, overseeing the student’s learning opportunities, and planning practicum assignments. The field liaison is employed by the School of Social Welfare to work with field instructors and students in each agency, to help integrate practicum with class instruction, to evaluate student performance, and to assist if difficulties arise.
Because of the necessity for continuity in client service and learning, the maximum time for a break between semesters in practicum is three weeks, regardless of time allowable according to the University calendar.