UBC Okanagan’s Master of Social Work program has a strong Field Education Office that provides students with a rich variety of learning opportunities to apply theory to practice. We are a growing program, focused on further developing partnerships with our local community agencies in the Okanagan Valley, and beyond through distance placements for our students. Placements may have a focus of individual, group, organizational development, leadership or research and policy change.

The integration of knowledge, values and skills in the context of field education is a critical and distinctive aspect of social work education; therefore, field education is considered the central component of social work education. (2013 CASWE Accreditation Principle 5, p. 3)

Our School of Social Work is proud to support our communities with over 45,000 hours per year of Field Education support from our Social Work Students.Our program has two tracks:

Two Year Foundational: Students complete two field education placements. The first is a generalist practice-learning the core competencies of Social Work practice.  The second provides learning opportunities support the process of critical analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of knowledge, as well as the application of advanced practice skills.  Each placement requires a minimum of 450 hours.

One Year Advanced: Students who already have a Bachelors of Social Work complete one field education placement, requiring a minimum of 450 hours. Learning opportunities support the process of critical analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of knowledge, as well as the application of advanced practice skills. This placement requires a minimum of 450 hours.

Alongside placement, students are required to complete the co-requisite Integrative Seminar for Field Education. This 3-credited course links classroom education with field education by way of readings, invited speakers, and discussions.

What is Clinical Social Work

All School of Social Work field education opportunities are clinical, as defined by the domain elaborated in the Harriman (2016) article  Clinical is as Clinical Does 

Field Education Requirements

The M.S.W. Program is a full-time, continuous program of study. Students who choose to seek employment or engage in other responsibilities at the same time as field education must ensure that field education and client best interest takes priority.
It is required that students in a four-month term placement commit to a minimum four-day- per-week schedule. Placement hours are dictated by the schedules available at participating agencies, the needs of their clients, and the Field Education Instructor’s schedule. The School of Social Work cannot guarantee flexible schedules or particular communities or client.

Field Education Placement Process

The Field Education Coordinator is tasked with assigning the entire cohort of students to the most appropriate field education sites.
Students are assigned to their placements through a matching process, based on information the student provides in the Field Education Application Form and information collected from agencies and Field Education Instructors.

Field Education Placement Streams

Once students are admitted into the program, they can express their interest in the following field education options via the required Field Education Application Form. Students can provide their learning goals and areas of practice in which they are interested in to the Field Education Office for the purpose of assigning students to placements based on goodness of fit.

Students who wish to be considered for a specific field education placement stream must express interest through the Field Education Application Form. Students may be required to meet with the Field Education Coordinator to discuss the goodness of fit prior to being assigned to a specific placement stream.

There are five Field Education placement streams.

Winter Term 2 Placement (January-April)
This field education placement could be anywhere within the Okanagan Valley.

Summer Term Placement (May-August)
This field education placement could be anywhere within the Okanagan Valley.

UBC’s Social Work Mental Health Clinic
UBC’s Social Work Mental Health Clinic which is located in the UBC Interprofessional Clinic, provides long-term services to children, adolescents, and their families with moderate to severe mental health symptoms or mental illness. This placement requires a long-term commitment of either 12 or 16 months-depending on the students track.

Foundry Placement
Foundry Kelowna is a relatively new agency in the Okanagan Valley that services youth (ages 12-24) and their families. It follows a ‘hub’ model, where multiple services and agencies co-locate to provide one-stop services for youth and families. The main areas for care are related to mental health and substance use. This assigned field education placement will be a team-based placement. (There are two options to complete the Foundry placement: September to April (multi term & part-time), and May to August (summer term, full time).

Distance Field Education Placement
Distance placements are only available for SOCW 559 Field Education II students. Students do not directly contact the agency or prospective Field Education Instructors.  Distance placements are only available for the Summer Term only (May to August).

Becoming a Field Instructor

Field Education Instructors are experienced social workers who are employed by the agency that provides the field education setting and have been assigned instructional responsibility for the student by their employer. In some cases, a human service professional with a non-social work background, but with many years of professional experience and expertise, can be employed as a Field Education Instructor. This person is responsible for providing the student with supervision and evaluating the student’s progress, with support and consultation from the Field Education Liaison, or Field Education Coordinator.

Field Education Instructors provide students with day-to-day instruction, guidance, and support, in keeping with the standards of the School of Social Work and their agency. They have a dual role as both teacher and practitioner.

Benefits of Being a Field Education Instructor
• Influence the development of future practitioners
• Give back to the profession
• Challenge and enhance your methodologies, thinking, and practices
• Stay current with evidence and pedagogy
• Develop supervision, leadership, teaching, and communication skills
• Develop and maintain relationship with the UBC Okanagan School of Social Work
• Attend Field Education Instructor and Clinical Supervision Trainings
• Allow for growth within your agency through collaborating with the UBC Okanagan School of Social Work
• Network with students and faculty members
• Invitations to networking events, workshops, and trainings
• University of British Columbia Library card at the university (both campuses) and Kelowna Library.
• Opportunities to potentially be a Guest Speaker within academic courses
• Potential involvement with the UBC Okanagan School of Social Work community advisory board

If you are interested in becoming a field education instructor, please contact the Field Education Coordinator ask.field@ubc.ca . You are welcome to contact the Field Education Coordinator to gather specific information and gain a greater understanding of the role, responsibilities, and level of commitment.