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Thank you, Supervisors! You are key to our students’ development and preparedness for the Human Services profession. We are so grateful that you are willing to work with our students.
The field experience is vital to the learning process for Human Service students and the field supervisor plays a central role in the student’s educational growth and development. We appreciate your willingness to mentor students as well as offer your expertise and guidance. If you have any questions or concerns about field placement, please contact the student’s seminar instructor or the MSU Denver Human Services Field Coordinator immediately. Regular and ongoing communication with the field coordinator is strongly encouraged in order to ensure all parties are happy with the field experience.
For full information about field supervisor responsibilities, please consult the January 2021 Supervisor Field Manual.
If an agency agrees to serve as a placement site, the field supervisor needs to be aware of the responsibilities involved in offering an effective learning environment for the student. The following is a list of responsibilities that the field supervisor, in conjunction with agency staff, must be willing to provide for the student:
Any student whose performance is evaluated as unsafe, substandard or professionally inappropriate by the seminar instructor, in consultation with the field coordinator or the field supervisor, may be removed from the placement setting and potentially the practicum/internship class. Additional sanctions may be sought through the MSU Denver Student Judicial Process for any violation of the Student Code of Conduct. For details, see the Student Conduct website at http://www.msudenver.edu/deanofstudents/studentconduct/.
In order to avoid a situation that may call for a student’s removal from a placement site, field supervisors are strongly encouraged to deal with concerns in supervision meetings with the student and to contact the seminar instructor to discuss the concern as quickly as possible. Early intervention is crucial to student success.
The most important aspect of a successful placement is open communication between the student and the field supervisor; the student and the seminar instructor; and the field supervisor and the seminar instructor. Please spend time with the student at the beginning of the placement clarifying expectations, reviewing policies and procedures, answering questions, providing guidance, offering training, and establishing a plan for student learning in the form of a learning contract. This section on the website highlights specific ways to promote success.
In addition to the hours worked at the field placement site, students will be participating in a seminar course throughout the semester. Attendance at the seminar is mandatory. Please allow students flexibility in scheduling their work hours to attend the seminar class.
The student’s relationship with the field supervisor is central to the learning experience. To make effective use of supervision time and experience, the Department of Human Services at MSU Denver encourages students to be active participants in the process. Supervision meetings offer an opportunity to clarify policies and procedures, give feedback on performance, and provide guidance relating to specific situations and clients. It also offers a time to plan for activities and projects. Field supervisors are encouraged to ask students to prepare for supervision meetings. Field supervisors are welcome to give students specific reading to discuss at the meetings.
In order to make the most effective use of the field placement experience, students are required to develop a learning contract that defines learning goals and establishes learning activities that support the goals. The learning contract should be developed in collaboration with the field supervisor and the field supervisor must sign the final copy to show support for the goals and learning activities. The seminar instructor is also involved in final approval of the learning contract. Students will learn about the process of developing a learning contract in the Pre-Field Seminar. The learning contract provides an opportunity for the field supervisor and student to clarify learning needs and agency expectations.
Sample Goal for Learning Contract
1) Develop skills and style for effectively facilitating an alcohol education group.
a) Shadow my field supervisor and other counselors as they lead groups.
b) Read agency materials on activities and strategies for leading groups on this topic.
c) Discuss group facilitation with my field supervisor during supervision.
d) Reflect on facilitation in a journal.
e) Co-facilitate a group with another professional staff member.
Assessment: Meet with the co-facilitator to de-brief immediately after the first group co-facilitation and ask for immediate feedback on my facilitation. Journal about the experience to develop an honest and fair evaluation of my own performance that recognizes my strengths as well as areas for improvement.
Note: Assessment or measuring outcomes is often the most difficult aspect of setting goals. Other ways to assess the goal above could include videotaping and/or developing an assessment tool that the group participants fill out either at the end of the individual session that is co-facilitated or at the end of a series of sessions that are co-facilitated. Videotaping raises issues relating to confidentiality and may not be appropriate depending on the nature of the group. Videotaping also involves specific equipment and technical expertise that may not be available at the agency. Discuss with the student intern methods for assessing progress that fit within agency policies and procedures.
Examples of verbs that can be used to develop goals:
Students seeking supervision for their first 1000 hours of the CAT I do not need to be registered with Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). The field supervisor will need to sign the Work Verification Form found on the DORA website to verify the number of hours completed by the student and the details of the process can be found on the site.
Students are required to participate in a minimum of one hour per week of individual or small group supervision. CAC certification requires that group supervision includes no more than six individuals. Students must have some one-on-one supervision time with the field supervisor during the placement to develop the learning contract and for evaluation.
According to the State Board of Addiction Counselor Examiners, MSU Denver Human Services students seeking CAC certification are included in the registration exemption. The policy is as follows:
20-1 STUDENT EXEMPTION FOR CANDIDATES FOR ADDICTION COUNSELOR CERTIFICATION FOR LISTING IN THE STATE DATA BASE AND ACCUMULATION OF WORK EXPERIENCE HOURS
Candidates for addiction counselor certification and licensure undergoing academic training for their undergraduate or graduate degree through college programs meeting Colorado addiction counselor training and approved trainer standards shall be exempt from requirements to be listed in the Colorado State Data Base for Registered Psychotherapists
These students do not generally fall within the statutory meaning of “registered psychotherapist,” are not engaged in the primary practice of psychotherapy nor do they hold themselves out to the public as practicing psychotherapy for compensation. Such student candidates for addiction counselor certification or licensure may be allowed to acquire work experience hours for their bona-fide college approved practicum or internship undergraduate or graduate program, including non-psychotherapy hours as well as psychotherapy hours (e.g. co-facilitation clinical counseling), provided all such hours take place under faculty supervision or clinical on-site supervisors but in no instance to exceed 1000 hours toward any certification or licensure application. Adopted December 13, 2011
The seminar instructor will make a visit to the field placement site at some point during the semester. The site visit meeting should include the field supervisor and the student. Other appropriate agency staff are welcome to participate. The site visit offers an opportunity for direct verbal feedback from the field supervisor on the overall field placement experience, as well as student performance. The field supervisor may request an additional site visit if there are concerns with student performance or behavior or for other reasons. Speak with the seminar instructor to discuss this option.
Students in both practicum and internship will need you to complete a mid-term review form and a final, electronic evaluation of their performance. Generally we ask that you evaluate students on our field competencies. Since students also seek your consultation in creating learning contracts, we ask that you encourage them to craft goals in line with the field competencies on which they will be evaluated.
At the end of the placement, the field supervisor will do an in-depth evaluation of student performance using the Field Competency Survey. Set a specific time to meet with the student to discuss the evaluation. Students will do their own version of the document and will need to compare their self-evaluations to your evaluations as their supervisor. We ask that you provide as much specific and detailed information as possible since each student will be writing a final paper detailing these evaluations.
Given that MSU Denver students are undergraduates, they are not trained to perform some duties that might be expected of a graduate student in a field placement. Students who are in practicums/internships should also be made aware of liability risks and safety procedures to limit risk.
The following is a list of activities that may not be performed by a MSU Denver Human Services student in field placement. An exception can be made for students who are paid employees of an agency who are performing the activity as a part of the normal work expectation for that employee and who have received training that supports safety for the student, staff, and clients.
Students MAY NOT:
•Provide individual psychotherapy for a client;
•Lead psychotherapy groups without a qualified therapist present;
•Open or close an agency by themselves;
•Restrain clients without proper training and supervision;
•Be left in charge of the agency without a qualified supervisor present;
•Have a case load of clients for which the student has sole responsibility–an exception can be made for students with previous employment experience working with the client population and/or with the seminar instructor’s approval.
Students ARE ENCOURAGED to:
•Shadow professionals in one-on-one sessions with clients and in groups;
•Co-facilitate groups with a qualified professional staff member;
•Facilitate educational groups with supervision from a professional staff member;
•Participate in staff meetings and training opportunities;
•Conduct intakes after proper training;
•Write chart notes and complete other agency documentation after proper training;
•Assist in grant-writing, fund-raising, event planning and other agency activities;
•Input client documentation and other data into computer systems.
The field supervisor is responsible for facilitating student involvement in appropriate learning activities and experiences, as well as providing training to support student success. A helpful process to follow in supporting student success is to:
1) Offer an initial orientation and training for different agency tasks;
2) Allow the student to shadow professional agency staff performing the tasks;
3) Have the student co-facilitate the process with a professional staff member;
4) Have the student facilitate the process with supervision.
The field supervisor is responsible for determining student readiness for different tasks and responsibilities at the agency. Some students may have lots of experience in the field prior to their practicum and internship and others may have limited experience.
The agency field supervisor must have a master’s degree in Human Services, Social Work, Counseling, Behavioral or Social Sciences or a related field. Supervisors in the addictions field must be CAC III or LAC. An exception may be made by the seminar instructor if the supervisor has appropriate professional experience to create a positive learning environment for students. In order to seek this exemption, please email your resume to the seminar instructor and the field coordinator ([email protected]).