To lead towards a better society, through social work education, research and practice.
The mission of the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work (FIFSW) at the University of Toronto (U of T) has an international perspective that is influenced by its position within one of the top universities in North America located in a global metropolis. As such, the Faculty is committed to:
- Educating and developing professionals who have the capacity to engage in and influence our changing world through social work practice, policy and research.
- Advancing research, practice, and policy that shapes the future of a profession that crosses national boundaries.
- Providing leadership by mobilizing knowledge that incorporates the range of expertise existing within the broader social work communities that exist internationally.
- Collaborating with our diverse partners to address social inequities at local, national and global levels.
The FIFSW is aligned with social work’s commitment to social justice and to the long-standing view of individuals as linked to and influenced by their environment. We draw on the synergies of diverse perspectives that advance systemic approaches and social justice, and encourage dialogue about their applications to the practice of social work. Accordingly, our discussions, teaching and research are informed by a range of theories and perspectives that call attention to the familial, social and political context of experiences of individuals, families, groups, organizations and communities. The diversity of ideas and perspectives informing professional work and social justice in social work is both our strength and our challenge. The FIFSW believes in:
- Understanding the individual in the environment; in thinking systemically; and in respecting distinct systems of beliefs and lifestyles of individuals, families, groups, communities and nations, without prejudice;
- Working with multiple systems – movement in one affects others; interdependence; interconnection; overlap and intersections;
- Promoting social justice;
- Creativity and innovation;
- Integrating research and practice;
- Fostering knowledge mobilization within our community;
- Creating a learning environment that is consistent with social work values;
- Promoting professional, competent and ethical social work practice.
The development of competence in the professional practice of social work is a primary objective of the Master of Social Work (MSW) Program. The practicum offers the student educational opportunities where:
- Knowledge can be integrated and applied to practice.
- Competence in performing practice skills can be developed.
Field education is an experiential form of teaching and learning that takes place in a service setting. Learning is achieved through the provision and/or development of services to clients, communities, organizations, or the society. Social service, health, and educational organizations voluntarily demonstrate their commitment to social work education through offering practicums. Experienced social workers provide field education to students.
Students learn to practice within the professional framework of social work values and ethics, developing a commitment to the profession of social work.
Social work practice competency behaviours provide the framework for the practicum. This model defines those behaviours believed to be necessary for competent social work practice. It serves as a broad framework for field settings in developing their practicum program. Using this model, materials have been developed to assist students and field instructors to describe learning opportunities, define how social work competencies will be addressed, and evaluate the student’s performance.
This manual contains information for use by, and has been developed from the experiences and feedback of, students, field instructors, and faculty-field liaisons (FFLs) in carrying out their respective roles in the field practicum. It is expected that students will be actively engaged in their own learning in the practicum and will take responsibility, with their field instructors, for designing a practicum that will meet FIFSW’s competency expectations. FIFSW is committed to ongoing feedback and redesign of the practicum course so that the goal of providing a high standard of excellence in teaching and learning may be achieved.