Field instructors are vital to the education of our MSW students. They create a bridge between classroom theory and real-world practice, demonstrate job skills, and mentor students in problem-solving situations.
Our field instructors are eligible for several opportunities and benefits through our School.
Training Opportunities and Benefits
Training for New Field Instructors
Becoming a field instructor involves a transition from practitioner to educator. To assist you in making this transition, UNC School of Social Work provides a six-hour training session for new field instructors and task supervisors. This training includes information about policies for field education, adult learning styles, fundamentals of supervision, and other tools for success.
Training is typically offered several times during the year, especially during summer and early fall, at UNC-Chapel Hill and at our 3-Year MSW Program — Winston-Salem site. An online training option is also available. Note: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all training for new field instructors is online. If you are a new field instructor for our School, please follow these instructions to enroll in online training.
Our field instructors and task supervisors are eligible to attend our Clinical Lecture Series programs and Focus on Family and Disability lectures with free registration (including continuing education hours). Most of these programs are offered in Chapel Hill, with an option to livestream from your home or office. A few of these programs are offered in Winston-Salem, in partnership with Northwest AHEC.
Workshops and lectures through our UNC-PrimeCare program and our Social Justice Action Series initiative are also free.
Full-day and multi-day Clinical Lecture Institutes are not free, but they do offer the “Learning Together” discount, which encourages field educators, task supervisors, and their assigned student interns from our School to participate.
Field instructors and task supervisors who are supervising one of our students during the current academic year may audit MSW courses, with permission from the course instructor. There is a $20 fee per course audited.
UNC School of Social Work partners with North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) to provide training for health care providers across the state. Field instructors and task supervisors may request login credentials to access the AHEC Digital Library, which offers online resources that include databases, journals, books, and other materials.
Faculty and doctoral students from our School provide training for some workshops through AHEC. Our field instructors are eligible to serve as AHEC trainers, too. If you are interested in serving as an AHEC trainer, please contact Sherry Mergner, AHEC liaison for our School.
Our School hosts an annual appreciation conference for our field instructors and task supervisors each spring. The one-day conference follows a 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. schedule that includes an awards ceremony, a keynote address, and your choice of several workshops. Breakfast and lunch are included.
There is no charge to attend this conference, but you must register in advance. All field instructors and task supervisors will receive an invitation with more information from the field education team.
The following documents and forms are specific to Field Instructor/Task Supervisor responsibilities and may be viewed online or downloaded. You will find additional field education documents on the Field Education Resources for Students page.
General Information, Documents, and Forms
- Field Agency Memorandum of Agreement
- Field Education Memorandum of Insurance, 2020-2021
- Clarifying Roles with Multiple Supervisors
Prospective Field Instructor Information
- Qualifications for New Field Instructors
- Procedures for Establishing New Field Education Sites
- Roles and Responsibilities of Field Instructors and Agencies
- Field Instruction Guide
Our model of supervision for field education coms from the work of Alfred Kadushin. This model explains the importance of three types of supervision: administrative, supportive, and educational.
Administrative supervision involves day-to-day management of the student’s work. This may involve discussing and explaining agency policies and procedures, assigning cases or other work tasks, reviewing and explaining paperwork, and monitoring the student’s casework or other tasks.
Supportive supervision involves discussing the student’s various emotional reactions to the work and helping the student to develop self-awareness.
Educational supervision involves discussing theoretical aporaches and strategies for interventions with client systems, reviewing ethical issues, evaluating the effectiveness of interventions, and examining how issues in the social environment, particularly issues of diversity, affect the client system.
Our training for new field instructors addresses each type of supervision and provides role-played examples.
Research and Academic Assets
- Field Educator online journal (published by Simmons School of Social Work)
- Field Evaluation Instruments Designed to Measure Social Work Competencies: A Psychometric Analysis (conference presentation)
- Utilizing Technical Standards as a New Tool for Gatekeeping in Field Education (conference presentation)