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Field Education, Bachelor of Social Work

Faculty Testimonial

 shanna williams headshot

Shanna Williams, ’06 ’10, LCSW, MEd

"Social Work Counseling Services created a nurturing atmosphere that allowed me to grow as a clinician while priming me for postgraduate clinical work with youth and families affected by sexual or other forms of trauma. I continue to find clinical social work to be just as inspiring and fulfilling, as it is complex and challenging."

The Council on Social Work Education identifies field education as the signature pedagogy of a social work education. In field placements, students apply classroom learning with agency-based social work practice opportunities. This learning takes place under the direction and supervision of a trained field instructor who is employed by the agency and skilled in working with students.

To maintain a quality field education program in an ever-changing social service environment, Widener adheres to three basic principles central to our social work field program. 


For both the fall and spring semesters of their senior year, students spend two full days each week in the field agency for a total of 480 hours. Students meet with their field instructors weekly on a one-on-one basis for supervision and a faculty member from Widener's Center for Social Work Education serves as the liaison between the student and the field placement. Students also take a social work practice class each semester with the same faculty member, and a field discussion is integrated into the class.

Placement Options

In preparation for the field placement, students meet individually with a field director during the spring semester of the junior year. Each field experience is personalized and compatible with the student's work experiences, interests, location, and goals. Because of Widener’s location as a metropolitan university, many local agencies are available to our students.

Below are examples of a few recent BSW field placements.

Children and Youth Services of Delaware County

The Delaware County Division of Children and Youth Services helps children and their families to identify and resolve neglect and abuse issues. Students also have the opportunity to interface with the courts and many other community agencies. Widener undergraduate social work students are eligible for the Pennsylvania Child Welfare Education for Baccalaureate program that provides financial support for students interested in a career in public child welfare.

Elwyn Institute

Elwyn is a nationally renowned program that assists people with developmental disabilities, mental illness, social and economic disadvantages, as well as the elderly and children with behavioral problems. Students have been placed in the school-based services and in a unit working directly with clients providing case management and supportive counseling.

County Office of Services for the Aging (COSA)

Working with the COSA Ombudsman program, interns use assessment and advocacy skills to support and empower residents in long-term care facilities, including area nursing homes, assisted living, adult day centers, and domiciliary care homes. The overall efforts are meant to improve the long-term living systems for residents and their families.

Social Work Counseling Services (SWCS)

SWCS was created in 2000 as a university and community partnership dedicated to improving the quality of life for Chester residents by providing human services that are responsive to the needs of the community. The clinics develop quality internship experiences that produce competent and caring social workers committed to serving disadvantaged populations and communities.