The learning experiences provided through field education, or field practicum, are essential to the objectives of the social work curriculum and are governed, as is the classroom, by clearly stated educational objectives. The department considers the placement agency to be a laboratory where, under the supervision of a qualified field instructor, the student puts into action that which is being taught in the classroom. The objectives of the field instruction sequence are to help the student to:
- acquire professional skills in defining and solving social work problems
- acquire the specialized knowledge and skills needed to address a particular problem or population that are not necessarily addressed in the classroom for all students
- critically assess and contribute to the effectiveness of various patterns of service delivery in conjunction with other institutions and personnel
- obtain a holistic view of the needs of a given population or problem area, as a basis for professional engagement
- acquire professional ethics and attitudes, e.g., integrity and responsibility, self-discipline, self-awareness, and commitment to others and to the goals of the social work profession.
A wide variety of agencies throughout the five-county Southern California area are generally selected by the department for use as instruction sites.