Competency Based MSW Generalist Field Learning Plan

During the first month of the term, students are expected to obtain the MSW Competency Based Generalist Field Learning Plan. Students will complete the learning plan as part of the generalist field seminar and are expected to actively participate with their field instructor in formulating the learning tasks and time periods to meet the educational goals and competencies for the field placement. Full-time and part-time first year students will receive the MSW Generalist Field Learning Plan in an email to their Pitt Email Account during the semester that they are enrolled in the field seminar. The student is then responsible for forwarding the link to their Field Instructor.

First-year students will submit the learning plan as an assignment for the field seminar. Students at UPB and UPJ return the completed plan to the MSW Program Coordinator. The student's field liaison reviews the document, provides suggestions and guidance when indicated, signs the document, and forwards it to the student's academic folder. The same plan is usually used for the first and second terms; however, the field instructor and student are asked to update the plan at the beginning of the block. Field liaisons use the plan as a basis for discussion during their visit to the field placement.

The MSW Program provides a first-year education based on a "generalist perspective." The generalist perspective stresses the importance of understanding the interaction between the client (which can entail an individual, family, small group, organization, or community) and the client's social environment(s). The generalist perspective leads to a view of the client as an active agent both influencing and being influenced by multiple environmental contexts. This orientation requires students to be knowledgeable about and to develop the skills to intervene at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. It necessitates that students be able to communicate effectively with clients, other professionals, and various community organizations and institutions.

The generalist perspective suggests a process for understanding practice situations and applying interventions that are theoretically derived, empirically supported, and culturally relevant to diverse population groups. This analytic and interventive process of problem solving involves the following steps: engagement, assessment, intervention, evaluation, termination, and follow-up. These steps enable students to work with clients across the life span, with diverse client populations, and with systems of various sizes. What distinguishes them from other methods of "helping"—what makes them unique, empowering, and effective—is the professional ethics and values base that informs them.

The generalist perspective, therefore, provides both a thematic link among the foundation courses and field experience and a basis from which to develop more advanced, concentration-specific knowledge and skills. It offers a conceptual framework for integrating theoretical and empirical information and for engaging with and on behalf of clients. Thus, by grounding MSW students in the generalist perspective, the MSW Program makes progress toward achieving both its goal and objectives and the School's mission.

The focus of the first-year field placement is to provide all students with a structured learning experience that applies foundation knowledge and a generalist perspective to field learning tasks.

The focus of the field seminar is to prepare the student to enter their field experience, and to present a concrete opportunity for students to integrate, synthesize, and apply classroom and field learning.

Advanced standing students are considered concentration students.