Prospective Agencies

We are always looking for new partner agencies around the state so that we can provide diverse and meaningful practice experiences for our students.

If your agency is interested in partnering with us, please contact the Field Administrator for the center closest to your location.  Click here for a list of Field Administrators and their contact information.

Below is additional information regarding considerations the school has in partnering with agencies which may help you determine if your agency is a good fit.

Considerations the School has about Agency Structure

  • The agency mission and programs/services offered should align with social work values and the NASW Code of Ethics.
  • The student should have the opportunity to practice on the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of social work and work directly with diverse populations.
  • Staffing levels need to be sufficient for students to have access to weekly supervision and support from staff on-site.
  • The agency should have a diversity plan and provide culturally competent practice.
  • The agency hours of operation should allow for the student to fulfill the practicum hour requirements.
  • The student should have a designated office space, computer access, and other supplies necessary for the student to carry out their practicum duties.
  • The agency should have safety protocols in place and agree to review the protocols with the student.

Administrative Steps

  • Agency HR requirements such as a background check, health screening, orientation/training, etc.
  • Liability coverage
    • The University of Iowa provides liability coverage for all of our students while they are in placement. 
    • Individual agencies and even practitioners will still want to consult their own liability coverage to ensure they are covered for supervising a student. 
    • It is important for those serving as supervisors to be aware if they are liable for work completed by a student whom they are supervising.
  • Third-party reimbursement for student services (typically micro-level practice sites) 
    • For some agencies, third-party reimbursement may be linked to the agency’s legal charter and/or a clinician’s professional credentials and licensure. 
    • Depending on how services are funded, an agency may be unable to seek reimbursement for services rendered by a student, even if that student is practicing under the supervision of a licensed social work practitioner. 
    • To avoid lost revenue, agencies need to explore whether they can be reimbursed for services rendered by a student, or whether services could be offered through a sliding fee scale to bypass the third party.

Considerations for the Agency

  • Students are engaged in placement at different times based on their level of study and have different hour requirements.
    • BASW Field:  minimum 400 clock hours in Spring or Summer
    • MSW Foundation:  minimum 210 clock hours in Spring or Summer
    • MSW Advanced:  minimum 700 clock hours over Fall & Spring semesters
  • Your agency will be able to indicate which level(s) of students are appropriate for your setting.  These students will have different needs in regards to both the types of activities as well as the support they may need in performing the tasks.  To help make that determination, here is an explanation of the student levels:
    • BASW Field:  These students are completing their placement during their final term in the Social Work program.  They have completed or will be in concurrent coursework related to basic helping skills, diversity issues, social work policy, research and human behavior in the social environment.
    • MSW Foundation:  These students enter the program without an accredited undergraduate degree in social work.  They complete foundational social work coursework prior to placement, including basic helping skills, diversity issues, and human behavior in the social environment.  While in placement, most will also be enrolled in coursework on social work policy and research to ensure sufficient knowledge and skills prior to moving on to more advanced competencies.
    • MSW Advanced:  Students at this level have completed foundational social work coursework either at the undergraduate or graduate level and therefore are expected to demonstrate more advanced knowledge and skills.  These students will have chosen an advanced concentration area and will concurrently be enrolled in specialized coursework.  Students choose from either Integrated (macro level) or Family-Centered (micro level) as their concentration areas.  These students are preparing to practice at a more autonomous level.
  • Field Instructor
    • A requirement of the school’s accreditation is that students must receive weekly supervision from a social worker with an appropriate level of education and experience who will serve at the student’s field instructor.
      • For BASW students, the Field Instructor must have a bachelor’s degree in social work plus two years of social work experience post-graduation.
      • For MSW students, the Field Instructor must have a master’s degree in social work plus two years of social work experience post-graduation.
    • Ideally, an agency has a person with the required social work degree who can provide supervision for the student.  If this is not the case, the student will require a supplemental supervision arrangement in which someone who has the correct credentials can provide the social work perspective.
    • Field instructors do not have to be the student’s direct task supervisor at the agency.
      • If the task (day-to-day) supervisor does not have the appropriate credentials, another agency employee, administrator, board member, or volunteer can serve as the Field Instructor.
      • In some instances, if there is no one available in the agency to serve as the Field Instructor, the school will attempt to identify additional resources to fill this need, allowing the student to complete the placement as desired.
    • Field Instructors will provide one hour of supervision to the student per week.
      • A Field Instructor’s role includes brining a social work frame and perspective to the student’s placement experiences.
      • Supervision is also a time to process the student’s practice experiences and for the student to receive feedback.

What to Expect:  The Field Process

  • When your agency partners with the School of Social Work, an agency profile will be created in our online Intern Placement Tracking (IPT) database.
  • Students will use the IPT database to view agency profiles and obtain contact information for agencies.  Because of this, the more complete your profile, the better chance your agency has of attracting students.
  • Specific timelines vary by center.  Current timelines are available here.
  • In the semester before their placement, students are responsible for identifying and contacting agencies for interviews. 
    • Students are expected to provide agencies with resumes and cover letters as part of the application process.
    • Students are expected to demonstrate professional communication/correspondence and behavior in interactions with agencies.
  • Once you have agreed to accept a student, the student will provide you with a Placement Agreement Form to be signed.
  • Students are provided liability insurance coverage through the University.  Because of this, students are unable to start field placement prior to the first day of the term in which the placement begins.
  • At the beginning of the term in which the student will be placed with you, there will be an orientation.  The specifics of this differ across centers.  The Field Administrator for the center you will be partnering with can explain this process in detail for you.
  • Early into the placement, the student will need to work with the agency Field Instructor/Task Supervisor to develop a Learning Contract which outlines activities that the student will engage in while at the agency in order to demonstrate required social work competencies and practice behaviors. 
    • The Learning Contract will be completed on IPT.
    • The Learning Contract is a living document that can be adjusted throughout the term to account for new learning experiences and to keep everyone on track.
    • Considerations here for the agency include what opportunities will be available to the student, including hands-on, collaborative, or solo learning experiences.
  • A Coordinator from the School of Social Work will be assigned to the student and agency at the beginning of the term. 
    • The Coordinator will serve as the liaison between the placement and the School of Social Work. 
    • The Coordinator will make site visits (on-site or virtual depending on circumstances) during the field placement and will be available for additional support or questions if needed.
  • Students will have additional classes while in placement, including a concurrent Seminar course.
  • Evaluation
    • The student is evaluated by the Field Instructor at the end of the semester.
    • This evaluation is completed in IPT and includes a scaled rating regarding the student’s demonstration of competencies as well as a narrative description.
    • If the Field Instructor is not the Task Supervisor, collaboration is expected between the two supervisors in evaluating the student but each person will complete their own part of the evaluation document.

Additional Resources

Expanded Overview of Placement Requirements by Level

BASW Field Practicum Guidelines

BASW Learning Contract Scenario/Example

MSW Foundation Practicum Guidelines

MSW Advanced Practicum Guidelines

MSW Advanced Practicum-Integrated Practice Learning Contract Scenario/Example

MSW Advanced Practicum-Family-Centered Learning Contract Scenario/Example

Prompts for Learning Contract Development