Inventory of Promising Practices

Category 1: Facilitating Multiple Partnerships and Collaborations

Facilitating multiple partnerships and collaborators is paramount as field education considers the needs of the community and how to address those needs. Below are three promising practices with quotes from participants across different regions of Canada.

Practice 1:

Promoting community engagement to reciprocally meet community and field education needs

Field education should take into consideration the needs of the community and the ways that it can support communities. This requires working together in partnerships.

  • “So, it’s not just us asking our communities to provide these experiences for students, but that we’re giving back in a way that is responsive to the needs of our communities that change all the time.” (Interview Participant, Prairie Region)
  • “… I really see the social work profession as something that’s collective and something that is part of community. And I think mentoring emerging professionals is really part of that.” (Interview Participant, Prairie Region)
  • “You know, locally, but also within the province of Alberta, nationally within Canada and even internationally, we always want to be working together in partnership, and I think that needs to be a group effort where everyone in the faculty is working together.” (Interview Participant, Prairie Region)

Practice 2:

Developing a community of practice for diverse groups and organizations by going beyond individual or institutional agreements

Creating partnerships and collaborations with multiple stakeholders and a community of practice that takes into consideration the needs of the community. For example, setting up a local community resource center that serves the local community (like a community learning hub) providing practicum opportunities for social work students as well as students from other faculties.

  • “I think for a long time that’s been the model that field education programs have sought to have, like individual MOU or institutional agreements with specific agencies. I think we need to kind of go beyond that today to think about partnerships and collaborations, beyond just the single agency. So, what does that look like with multiple stakeholders? And creating a community of practice that brings together diverse groups, organizations, various people.” (Interview Participant, Prairie Region)
  • “It would be a center that serves our immediate local community. But is a place, a site for placements, not just for social work students, but for students in other schools within our faculty. So, like a community learning hub, where there would be social work students, nursing students, nutrition students, you know, Early Childhood Education (ECE) students, and child and youth workers. It would be like an agency, obviously, that would have appropriate supervision and be resourced. We could open up a support like that and really, it would provide students learning opportunities, but also be an immediate resource to our vulnerable and marginalized community members that we see every day in our space and right in front of us.” (Interview Participant, Ontario Region)

Practice 3:

Different institutions working together to avoid competition for practicum opportunities and developing community partnerships through university and field offices

It is imperative that different institutions/organizations work together to maximize opportunities/resources and to mitigate competition. Universities and field offices can take a role in facilitating such working relationships.

  • Inviting social work schools from different universities to work together toavoid competition for practicum opportunities. Reaching out to field offices to build a collaborative relationship with practicum sites, or community partnerships through the university and field offices (Interview participant, Ontario Report)
  • “The collaboration and the experience that I’ve received in collaborating with field coordinators across Canada has been invaluable. The ability to maintain and sustain that has been collective contributor. And being able to promote and share those resources is probably the most invaluable and that’ll be something I’ll engage in and continue on.” (Interview Participant, Prairie Region)
  • “I think more collaborative practice in terms of field education at every level, so what could that look like? What if schools in the same region, like if the field coordinators got together and supported each other in obtaining practicums?” (BC Interview Participant)
  • “A practice that we do that I find is frankly a winner […] We sit down, 2 universities, University 1 and us, together to share the territory. […]. University 1 has 150-180 [students] and even last year, I think it was 200. We have every advantage in working together and serving our regions. […] We try to serve our regions well. In fact, I think it’s a winner to sit down all 3 together, whether it’s with the person responsible for internships at the {Name of Centre 1} or the {Name of Centre 2}, University 1 and us together to share these internship offers there, I think that’s a winner for everyone. We save a lot of time, when we work together, I’m a team girl, so I think that is really a winning practice.” (Interview Participant, Quebec Region)

Innovations in practicum placements and field education are needed to address existing issues and gaps. Innovative practices are already being implemented across the country but have yet to be fully understood or scrutinized. Here, we take a deeper look at some of the innovative practices that have the potential to transform field education.

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