Field Education

For 100 years, Field Education has been an integral part of our social work master’s degree program at the Mandel School. Graduate students collaborate with non-profit, community-based programs and government organizations while working on their degree coursework.

Field Education provides a forum for students to integrate the knowledge, skills and values that comprise the core of the professional social work practice with a self-identity as competent beginning professionals. The practice setting affords students with opportunities to apply didactic theory to practice, give and receive feedback regarding skill development, and experience the realities of the social work profession. There is the potential for a mutual exchange of practical and theoretical knowledge that may serve to enhance innovative change in both the clinical and academic venues. The Field Education Department endorses this expansive view of the opportunities that students and field instructors share to re-define both social work education and social work practice for the future.

The foundation of the field experience is based on the objectives outlined in the Mandel School Ability-Based Learning Environment (ABLE). These Eight Abilities form the structure of the field learning contract which is developed each semester through a collaborative process involving students, field instructors and field faculty advisors. This document captures the field learning opportunities essential to maximize the integration of the academic and practice  experience central to graduate social work education. Students are encouraged and expected to articulate and incorporate the skills necessary for successful field performance in the Learning Contract. Opportunities for the development of critical thinking skills, self-assessment, offering and receiving professional feedback, and flexibility of approach are valued elements inherent to the field site.

Case Western Reserve University defines education as a “transforming” opportunity. The Field Education Department provides students with the contextual format for this transformation to be realized.

What Makes Us Different?

The Field Education Program at the is a unique way to learn about specialized fields of social work. Because we are based in Cleveland, The Mandel School offers field placements within a community rooted in rich social work tradition. Our network provides numerous opportunities for students to provide significant change in the lives of people. With our Field Education Program, you can choose placements in the direct practice specializations of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA), Children Youth and Families (CYF), Mental Health (MH), Criminal Justice (CJ), Aging (AG), Health (H) and the Community Practice for Social Change (CPSC) concentration.

In addition to a diverse range of experienced field instructors, we offer students a wide  selection of field education options here and abroad. Additional program highlights include:

  • a small award to help defray field placement expenses — a Mandel School exclusive
  • a mutual selection process for field placements (student interviews)
  • the ability to learn in multiple evidence-based environments
  • the ability to work with diverse populations
  • placements within a broad range of community-based organizations
  • community-based field seminars
  • field placements that provide direct practice and macro-level assignments