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Field Instructor Information

St. Louis Social Work Field Education Collaborative

The School of Social Work at the University of Missouri--St. Louis is a founding member of a multi-university field education project called the St. Louis Social Work Field Education Collaborative that includes four St. Louis area Universities:

The Collaborative has evolved to include joint field instructor orientation, continuing education events, a collaborative web site and database, and selected common forms. Since many social workers in our area serve as field instructors for students from more than one of the social work programs this collaboration has obvious benefits to field instructors and students. 

Prospective organizations and field instructors begin the process of affiliation by first determining field instructor eligibility to participate and then submitting application profiles. When both applications are approved and linked together, they will be available to practicum students through the search site (detailed information below).

For more information on the Collaborative, refer to one of the following:
UMSL's Field Instructor Manual
Collaborative Website 
Collaborative Brochure

Prospective Field Instructor Information

Practicum Instructor Qualifications

The qualifications for instructors supervising students at the University of Missouri-St. Louis include:
•    Possession of the BSW degree (for BSW students) or MSW degree (for BSW or MSW students).
•    A minimum of three years of post-degree experience (for a BSW supervising a BSW student) or post-master’s social work practice for a minimum of two years (for an MSW  supervising a BSW or MSW student).
•    Demonstrated competency in the field of practice being used for the practicum.
•    Interest in mentoring and supervising students and a willingness to make reasonable adjustments to his/her schedule to meet the learning needs of students.
•    Active participation in or completion of an 18 hour field instructor certification program.

Previous practicum instruction or supervisory experience is preferred.

In some cases students are approved to receive task supervision from a person with a degree in a field related to social work such as counseling. This would occur in situations, for example, where the student may be assigned part time to two programs, sites, or units within the agency, with the student’s MSW/BSW instructor assigned to only one of them. The student may be assigned a task supervisor within the other site or unit who is available to provide hands on supervision and respond to questions from the student. In such cases, the student still meets weekly with his/her MSW/BSW supervisor, and that supervisor is ultimately responsible for that student’s placement.

Responsibilities of Agency Field Instructors

The agency field supervisor plays a vital role in the education of students. It is important that those who take on this role have a good grasp of practice theory, significant experience in the field of social work, a good measure of patience, a desire to teach, and a sense of humor.

Field supervisor responsibilities include:
•    Attending an orientation for new field instructors, completing an 18 hour certification program and participating in ongoing training for field instructors;
•    Assisting the student with preparation of the learning agreement;
•    Orientation of the student to field placement;
•    Assuming instructional and administrative responsibility for the student in the field setting;
•    Provision of regularly scheduled individual supervision with each student (at least one hour per week), and where feasible additional group supervision.
•    Providing the student with ongoing feedback about his/her performance;
•    Meeting with the faculty field liaison from the University at least once during the semester, or as needed, regarding the student’s progress;
•    Informing the faculty liaison of all concerns relative to the student’s fieldwork progress, activities, and any other issues that might affect the placement;
•    Informing the Office of Field Education of significant changes at the agency (i.e. agency moves, changes in phone number, resignation of field instructor, etc.)
•    Completing and submitting all necessary paperwork (midterm and final evaluation forms) within the timeframes outlined;
•    Updating the field instructor and organizational profile on-line at least once every three years.

Becoming a Certified Field Instructor

New field instructors must apply to be affiliated with our social work program using the St. Louis Field Education Collaborative database, be approved, and complete the following Sessions of the Certification Program prior to or concurrently with instruction of the first student:

  • Session 1: Introduction to Field Instruction
  • Session 2: Successful Beginnings

Field Instructors are asked to complete the four subsequent 3-hour training sessions over a two-year period. Topics of these remaining sessions include:

  • Session 3: Ethical Decision Making
  • Session 4: Cultural Competence in Supervision
  • Session 5: The Field Instructor as Teacher, Mentor, and Supervisor
  • Session 6: Evidence-based Practice & Field-Instruction

To remain certified, field instructors must apply to be renewed every three years and provide verification of continuing education.

Practicum Agency Affiliation Agreement form is required by the University to establish an affiliation with organizations to serve as a practicum site for UMSL Social Work students.The completed form may be submitted to as an email attachment on or before the student's practicum start date. The agreement remains in effect for as long as the organization is willing to participate as a practicum site.

Application Process for both the Organization and the Field Instructor

First Time Applications
Note: Please allow enough time to complete the account set-up and application in one sitting. It usually takes about 20 minutes. Once begun, the account application must be submitted within 24 hours.

1. Open the Field Instructor Application . Firefox is the best browser to use.
2. Select 'Create an account," then fill out and submit the form. An account validation email will be sent to your email address.
3. Retrieve the validation email from your inbox (check spam folders, too).
4. Login with the email ID and password you just created.
5. Complete the Field Instructor and/or Agency Application and submit.

Renewal Applications

Organization and Field Instructor applications must be renewed every three years. The application process is similar to that of a new application, but a new account only needs to be created if the email address being used for the application has changed. If that is the case, follow the instructions above. If not, simply log in with your email address and follow the instructions to renew the associated applications.

If you have any questions or have difficulty with the application process, please contact the Field Educaiton Office at (314) 516-7665.

Field Instructor Resources

Social Work Field Instructor Manual - UMSL
Collaborative Brochure
Practicum Agency Affiliation Agreement

Evaluations of Students in the Field -- Instructions and Forms

Instructions for Agency Field Supervisors

Form PDF Version Word Version
 Mid-term Field Instructor Evaluation Mid-semester Practicum Eval
4800 - First semester practicum 4800 Final Eval
4850 - Second semester practicum 4850 Final Eval
5800 - Foundation Field Evaluation      5800 final Eval
Family Practice Field Evaluation    Family Practice Final Eval 
Leadership & Social Change Field Eval    Leadership and Social Change Final Eval