A Day in the Life of the Field Director in Fall by Candy Elson, LCSW

What does October or Fall mean to you? Back to school?  Pumpkin scones and lattes at Starbucks, or as the eloquent English poet said, “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”. For field faculty, it means we are on the road for our site visits, a highlight of the academic year, as we get to be out of the classroom, out of our office, and in to the field to see our stellar students in situ at their field placements.

Today (October 14th) I started my site visits in earnest and had the pleasure of visiting five students and their field instructors at three different agencies.  It was a great morning and I was proud to see our first and second year MSW students excelling in their agencies serving very different populations. Jasmin Dyjak is interning at Survivors of Torture International that serves refugees and asylum seekers from all over the world. Deanna Hamm and Briana D’Aguilar are at Exodus Central Connections working with clients at San Diego County’s Behavioral Health Court which provides an alternative or diversion program for eligible individuals in the criminal justice system, diagnosed with a serious mental illness. My final visit of the morning was to Fresenius Medical Centers, a dialysis clinic where Douglas Delay and Yukari  Suzuki are interning, serving individuals with renal disease. It is very gratifying for me to see our students engaged and developing as professional social workers, under the guidance of their dedicated field instructors. It is clear that field is indeed the place where students integrate the theory they are learning in their academic classes and field seminars as they interact with clients and communities. I am always impressed again during site visit season about the breadth and versatility of the social work profession and how a BASW or an MSW prepares graduates to take on a wide array of employment options working with the underserved and advocating for social justice.

Back to campus at lunch time – no parking spaces. My office and computer is waiting for me and only 75 emails accumulated, thankfully no crises. What do I and fellow field faculty do with the rest of our time? Conduct field seminars, train and provide support to field instructors, recruit new agencies, chase down the legal paper work, provide support to our students in their internships, refer and place students for the next academic year, plan the Agency Fair and Annual Meetings for our field instructors,  attend committee meetings on campus and events in the community.  As I mentioned, I think site visits are still my favorite part of the job. We are lucky to have and challenging and rewarding job and to be proud of our “product”, you our students and our phenomenal field instructors and community partners. If you are a student or field instructor reading this blog, consider submitting a “day in the life” piece about your typical day as a social worker.