SSW News

New MSW Field Seminar Launches This Fall

May 14, 2019    |  

The University of Maryland School of Social Work (UMSSW) launches a new field seminar experience for students beginning their MSW course work this fall.

Field seminar is an opportunity for MSW students to meet in small groups to discuss their field experiences. During the course of the foundation field placement at the UMSSW, foundation students will participate in monthly, facilitated, small group seminars intentionally designed to include important conversations about difference, anti-oppression, privilege and cultural humility.

Objectives of the New Seminar Include:

1. Becoming oriented to the principles and practice of social work.

2. Practicing critical self-reflection to improve self-awareness, and awareness of the impact of self on developing professional identity.

3. Discussing issues of oppression, privilege and cultural humility, and integrating the practice of critical self-reflection within an anti-oppression, culturally humble framework.

4. Bridging material learned in class with the practical application of that material and other practices in the field.

5. Discussing experiences and troubleshooting issues in field.

Field Seminar Details:

· Field liaison seminar instructors will lead monthly seminars.

· Seminar pacing follows the flow of the student field experience, and uses inquiry-based learning, adult learning, and problem-based learning models.

· A detailed facilitator guide provides baseline consistency of seminar content and topics among seminar groups.

· Blackboard will house materials, activities and other resources for field liaison seminar instructors to help them prepare themselves, and support their preparation for seminar.

· Modified field education assignments and assessments ensure evidence of student inclusion of critical self-reflection and anti-oppressive practices:

· Process recordings and monthly reports will include an identity awareness/social justice reflection pre- and post-interview.

· Fall and Spring semester field assessments will include liaison review of student attendance and participation in seminar.

· Preparation of field liaison seminar instructors will begin with an intensive training on July 29-30, 2019, and will be on-going throughout the year in routine coaching circles and on-going professional development.

· Initial intensive training includes:

· Navigating conversations about difference, anti-oppression, privilege and cultural humility

· Overview of UMSSW methods and diversity course content

· Skills for bridging and integrating course content with emerging practice

· Review of facilitator guide

· Instruction on use of video conference technology

Laura Loessner, Assistant Director of Field Education at the UMSSW explains the necessity for the addition and the potential impact it will have: “There is no question that conversations about difference are timely in today’s world, and it is even more critical that our students be as prepared as possible to practice from a culturally humble, anti-oppression perspective. Our field seminar is a golden opportunity for us to bring critical self-reflection about bias and privilege to each student’s learning process, as they build skills in working with their clients in the field. Many programs have a field seminar -- we are thrilled to launch a field seminar that intentionally includes conversations about racism, other ‘-isms’, anti-oppression and privilege; and to do so within a framework that is inclusive and healing.”

Laura Loessner

Laura Loessner