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Interview with the Director of Field Education


Dionne Moore, MSW, LCSW is the Director of Field Education and a Clinical Instructor in the Department of Social Work at North Carolina Central University. She received her Master of Social Work degree (MSW) from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of North Carolina. She is also a graduate of BRIDGES 2014, a prestigious transformative leadership program for women in academia within the state of North Carolina. Prior to assuming this role, Dionne served as a Clinical Instructor and as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Social Work at North Carolina Central University. Prior to entering academia, Dionne was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Duke University Medical Center for almost fourteen years. During her tenure with Duke University Medical Center, Dionne's practice areas included the Duke Adult Infectious Diseases Clinic (specifically working with patients with HIV/AIDS), Heart/Lung Transplant programs, and Surgical Oncology.

What are the requirements to be eligible for field?

[Dionne Moore] BSW students must be admitted into the BSW program within the NCCU Department of Social Work and have completed the following five field course prerequisites: Human Diversity, Interventive Methods I, Human Behavior I and II, and Social Policy.  In addition, BSW students must receive a grade of “C” or better in each of the required field prerequisite courses.  MSW students are automatically eligible to begin field their first year within the program. Continued field eligibility for BSW and MSW students is contingent upon their academic performance for field seminar and field practicum and other specific behavioral performance factors identified in the NCCU Department of Social Work Student Field Manual.

What are the steps of the field placement process?

[Dionne Moore] Both BSW and MSW students complete a field placement application and submit the completed application to the Director of Field Education and/or Clinical Instructor. Students meet with the Director of Field Education and/or Clinical Instructor to discuss field placement interests and review the field application.  Based on this discussion, the Director of Field Education and/or Clinical Instructor assists the student in identifying a prospective field placement agency. Students are provided information on the prospective field agency and instructed to conduct research on the organization. The student is provided with the basic contact information for the prospective field instructor so that he/she may request a field placement interview. After the field placement interview, the student provides an update to the Director of Field Education and/or Clinical Instructor regarding his/her interest in being placed at the field placement agency.  Last but not least, the Director of Field Education and/or Clinical Instructor contacts the prospective field instructor to inquire about a student/field agency “match.” If a placement match is made, the student is notified accordingly by the Director of Field Education and/or Clinical Instructor.  If not, the student collaborates with the Field Education Office to resume the process.

How do I know what is expected from me as a social work intern?

[Dionne Moore] Students learn about the responsibilities and expectations of student interns by attending the required Field Information Sessions/Field Orientation and reviewing the Student Field Manual.  Students also gain information on these topics during their initial field-seminar classes. Students are urged to read, review and refer to the NASW Code of Ethics to inform their social-work practice.  Last but not least, students must complete the Student Orientation Checklist with their field or task instructor during the first week of participation at the field agency.

What is the dress code for field?

[Dionne Moore] The field agency dress code often depends on the field placement setting; however, most field agencies have a formal/documented dress policy.  Students should inquire about the agency’s dress policy at an appropriate time within the field placement interview. There is also a dress code for field seminar class. The dress code for field seminar class is outlined in the course syllabus.

What is the difference between field, practicum, field placement, and an internship?

[Dionne Moore] The terms are often used interchangeably.

How many field hours are students required to complete by the end of the semester? Year?

[Dionne Moore] Undergraduates - BSWs

Academic Year: 224 field hours per semester/448 field hours for the academic year (Field placement days: 2 days a week, Tuesday and Thursdays for 16 field hours per week)

Summer Block: 200 field hours per summer session/400 hours for both summer sessions (Field placement days: 5 days a week, Monday through Friday for 40 field hours per week)

Graduates - MSWs

First year: 224 field hours per semester/448 field hours for the academic year   (Two days per week)

Second year: 336 field hours per semester/672 field hours for the academic year (Three days per week)

Who keeps track of your time spent at your field placement?  How is my time at the agency recorded?

[Dionne Moore] The student, the field seminar instructor, and the field agency supervisor together keep track of the student’s time.  Students record field service hours on a Weekly Time Sheet document, which is submitted to the instructor in the field seminar class. Students should always make copies of their time sheets for their own records.

How do I select the “best” field placement?

[Dionne Moore] Appropriate field placements are best determined after conducting research on organizations, reflecting on personal interests, and asking questions during the interview.

Are there evening and weekend field placements?

[Dionne Moore] Most field placements offer daytime/first-shift schedules, as this is when most agencies are open. There are a very limited number of evening and/or weekend field placements for students, therefore, it may not be possible for students to a secure an evening and/or weekend field placement.

What are the components of field?

[Dionne Moore] The NCCU Social Work field experience consists of a field seminar class and field practicum (i.e., field placement).

Once placed, can a student later change a field placement?

[Dionne Moore] Typically, no. Students complete the field placement in the same agency setting for the entire academic year or for both summer sessions. The Student Field Manual outlines specific circumstances and processes under which a field placement may be changed.

What would you say is the most difficult part of fieldwork for students?

[Dionne Moore] Many students have difficulty balancing their course work, field-hours requirements, and their personal and/or professional obligations.

Will I be able to work and complete a field placement?

[Dionne Moore] It can be extremely difficult for students to work and complete the field practicum experience.  Students should talk to their employers about field-hours and class requirements and consider requesting a more flexible and/or reduced workload.

What do I do if I have questions about my field-placement experience? 

[Dionne Moore] Students should initially approach their agency field supervisor with questions and/or concerns regarding their field-placement experience. Students also may consult field seminar instructors and field faculty liaisons for guidance regarding effective communications with the field instructor.  Students may also consult the Director of Field Education, if necessary, for clarification, assistance, and/or support. The Field Placement Manual outlines this process in more detail.

Will I need to have transportation to participate in field placement?

[Dionne Moore] It is may be more challenging for students who don’t have transportation to arrive to their field placements on time However, some placements are accessible by bus route.

Are there fees associated with field placement?

[Dionne Moore] The department requires students to obtain Student Professional Liability Insurance ($17) and NASW student membership ($48).  Some field agencies require the following: a criminal background check, drug screen, CPR training, and/or increased car liability insurance.  There may be other fees required or associated with the student’s field agency, including parking fees.  Students should inquire about the agency requirements/prerequisites at an appropriate time during the field-placement interview.

Who do I contact for additional information about fieldwork?

You may contact Ms. Dionne Moore, MSW, LCSW, Director of Field Education, for additional information (hmoore6@nccu.edu or 919-530-6272).

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