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Guidelines for Fieldwork Experiences

Overview

The Fieldwork Experience is an important component of the Applied Disability Studies Certificate Program. During this time, the student begins to apply theoretical knowledge to the realities of the professional field. In addition, the student must demonstrate professional competence sufficient for the awarding of the Certificate. The development of high quality Fieldwork Experiences requires cooperation and coordination among site personnel, the University Fieldwork Instructor, the Fieldwork Experience Site Supervisor, and the student. It is the purpose of this document to facilitate cooperation and coordination by clarifying the roles and expectations of those involved in the Certificate Program field experience.

 

Purpose of Fieldwork Experience

The Fieldwork Experience is intended to assist students in applying what they have learned in their University coursework within a workplace setting. The application is guided through the modeling and coaching of the Fieldwork Site Supervisor. Providing students with this guidance requires they be placed in exemplary workplace settings that serve clients with special needs under the supervision of highly skilled University Fieldwork Instructors who have demonstrated expertise in working with a specific population with disabilities and hold a minimum of a master’s degree. Students need a supportive, professional environment that serves as a model of excellence in working with clientele with special needs in order for them to best learn important skills that provide the foundation for their continued professional growth.

 

 

The Fieldwork Experience is also a summative evaluation opportunity. This experience allows the University Fieldwork Instructor and Fieldwork Site Supervisor/s to evaluate whether or not the student has demonstrated the competence required to successfully work with clientele who have disabilities. Fulfilling this function can be difficult, as only those students who demonstrate high levels of competence, commitment, responsibility, and professional ethics should be certificated.

It is expected that the student adhere to the policies and expectations established at their fieldwork site, assume the responsibilities assigned to them by the Fieldwork Site Supervisor, behave in a professional and ethical manner, and follow the legal requirements of employees as prescribed by the State of California and the organization. During the Fieldwork Experience, the student also must adhere to the policies and meet the deadlines required by the University.

 

Fieldwork Experience Requirements

Fieldwork Experience Site:

  • The Fieldwork Experience Site Supervisor must have demonstrated expertise in working with a specific population with disabilities, and hold a minimum of a master’s degree.
  • Clientele with whom the student works should have a disability (broadly defined).
  • The Fieldwork Experience Site is selected by the graduate program of study in consultation with the student, the site personnel, and the Applied Disability Studies Program Coordinator. To help with the selection of a site, any geographic, calendar or other special circumstances should be noted on the Fieldwork Experience Profile; these will be considered to the extent possible.

Fieldwork Experience Hours:

  • Fieldwork Experience must be completed with a minimum of 90 hours, which may be split between two sites at 45 hours each. A schedule is to be developed by the student and the Fieldwork Site Supervisor, and approved by the University Fieldwork Instructor. One 45-hour placement may be waived, depending on the student's prior experience (see right side).
  • If the student wishes to earn 6 units of fieldwork credit for the Certificate Program, a minimum of 180 hours of fieldwork activities are required with individuals with disabilities.
  • Students visit each site in person and meet with the Fieldwork Site Supervisor before their activities are approved.

Fieldwork Experience Site Assignments:

  • Projects should provide an opportunity for the student to demonstrate competency in meeting Certificate goals.
  • Site Log: Student maintains a log consisting of: the Fieldwork Experience site, the date and hours worked, activities list, reflection, and the cumulative totals hours worked at the site as of the end of that day. These notes can be brief, but by the end of the 45 or 90 hours at a site they should indicate that you have had experiences related to the Certificate goals. Send the log to the ADS Certificate Coordinator at least 3 times during the semester.
  • Portfolio: Students keep a portfolio of their entire Fieldwork Experience, which documents that they meet all the Certificate Program learning outcomes. Contents should include:
    • the student’s plan to meet learning objectives,
    • completed site log
    • documentation of major activities completed during fieldwork
    • final reflection as it relates to the learning objectives established

Grading:

  • To be recommended for a Certificate, the student must earn a grade of "A" or "B" in the Fieldwork experience course.
  • The grade for Fieldwork Experience will be assigned by the University Fieldwork Instructor after evaluation conferences with the student and the Fieldwork Site Supervisor(s).

Fieldwork Experience Expectations

Student Expectations:

  • At the beginning of the semester (within the first 2 weeks of the semester), the Fieldwork Experience Profile must be submitted to the ADS coordinator.
  • A total of 90 hours must be completed working with individuals with disabilities.
  • An ongoing log must be sent to the ADS coordinator with updates on hours and activities 3 times during the semester.
  • At the end of the semester, the Fieldwork Portfolio Checklist and accompanying documents must be submitted to the ADS coordinator no later than finals week.

University Fieldwork Instructor Expectations:

  • At the beginning of the semester, the University Fieldwork Instructor will sign the Fieldwork Experience Profile document (provided by the student).
  • A total of 90 hours must be completed by the student. The 90 hours may overlap with the required hours the for the Fieldwork course.
  • At the end of the semester, the University Fieldwork Instructor will verify the student completed the minimum number of hours by signing the student’s time log.

Fieldwork Site Supervisor Expectations:

  • At the beginning of the semester, the Fieldwork Site Supervisor will sign the Fieldwork Experience Profile document (provided by the student).
  • A total of 90 hours must be completed by the student. The 90 hours may overlap with the required hours the for the Fieldwork course.
  • At the beginning of the semester, the student and Fieldwork Site Supervisor develop Personal Learning Objectives at the Fieldwork Site. Throughout the semester, the Fieldwork Site Supervisor is responsible for providing the student opportunities to meet the Personal Learning Objectives.