MSW Program Director Fran Gomory and Director of Online Field Education Rosalyn Deckerhoff lead this webinar about FSU's online MSW programs and the field work experience. Audience questions on field work, the admissions process, online coursework, and more are answered.Featuring Guest Panelists:
- Fran Gomory, MSW Program Director
- Rosalyn Deckerhoff, Director of Online Field Education
- Rae Ann Menotti, Enrollment Advisor
- Katie Macaluso, Moderator
Katie Macaluso: Good afternoon everyone and welcome. Thank you for joining us for today's webinar on Florida State University College of Social Work online Master of Social Work program. Today, we'll be taking a closer look at the field work experience and reviewing both of the programs, as well.
Before we get started, I'd like to cover a few housekeeping items. You are in broadcast only mode which means you can hear us, but we cannot hear you. During the webinar, please feel free to type your questions into the question and answer box as you think of them. We've reserved some time at the close of the presentation to answer all of your questions.
Flipping to our next slide, here are our speakers for today's webinar. I'm Katie Macaluso and I'll be your moderator for today. I'm joined by Rae Ann Menotti, an admissions counselor for the online programs, whom some of you may have already spoken with. And then our featured speakers, Fran Gomory, who is the director of the MSW program at Florida State University and Rosalyn Deckerhoff who is our director of online field education.
Here's a quick look at our agenda for today, we'll be talking a little bit about Florida State University, we'll be highlighting the online social work program and differentiating between the Advanced Standing program and the traditional program, and then highlighting the field work experience through these programs, discussing next steps in the application process, and then finally opening up for questions and answer session for any questions that you might have. So without further ado, Fran, I'll turn it over to you now.
Fran Gomory: Okay, hi everyone, my name is Fran Gomory. As you just saw, I'm the Director of the MSW program. As well as being the director, I also teach in the online program, so I'm pretty familiar with how it works and all the things about it that you might want to know. FSU was the first online program in the country and now there's lots of them, but we have the experience because we've been doing this for a long time. We really understand what students need and what works and what doesn't work. We're of course a CSWE-accredited program and we're really student-focused. So again, the faculty teaches the online program and we take students’ concerns very seriously and we want to try and make the online experience like a classroom experience. That's our goal, so that students feel like they are sitting with a professor and other students.
Okay, so we use a virtual learning environment called Canvas and some of you may be familiar with that. You might not be familiar with that. We used to use Blackboard, and we've just switched over to Canvas, which is very user-friendly. A lot of our students prefer it because it's easier to navigate. So you're completing this degree from your home, although you're still working hard, it's just that you're not in a regular classroom. And again, we're trying to teach you the principles of social work that you could apply them to real-world situations. We want to make sure that you are not just doing this online and feel isolated and alone, but that you're very connected to our faculty, other students and Student Success Advisor as well.
So our program is clinical, which means that when you graduate, you will be eligible to sit for licensure and ultimately get licensed as a social worker. You can come to our program with a BSW or a degree in any other field. We've had students that have been accountants who have come and gotten a master's in social work. It doesn't really matter what your undergraduate degree is in. You are able to take two classes at a time and people like that generally because they can work or they have family obligations. It's on a part-time basis. If you are a traditional student, meaning that you do not have a bachelor’s in social work, you get the opportunity to come to campus for an intensive weekend. And we have two of them. One is in a practice class and one is in a groups class and it's really a wonderful experience because you get to meet your cohort and really learn some very important clinical skills that you get to practice and then of course, apply them. There are electives that you will take as well, and again, you'll have a field placement. Either one if you are a BSW student Advanced Standing, or two, if you're traditional. And then finally, we do have an Office of Professional Development, and that office helps you with licensure afterwards, and we also have a job board that is updated pretty much every day and with lots of different opportunities on it.
Okay, so I talked about the difference of the programs, courses are 16 weeks, summer is a little bit different, depending, it's usually 12 or 13 weeks. So advanced standing students, again, have a bachelor of social work, it's 39 credit hours. You have one field placement and the average completion time is three years, which is five to six semesters. Some students ask it if they can accelerate this and you can, and then the way to accelerate is that, instead of doing your field placement over two semesters, you could do it over one. The traditional program also, two courses at a time, 61 credit hours, there's two field placements, the two weekends on campus and the average completion time is three years, eight to nine semesters.
Rosalyn Deckerhoff: Okay. Hi, I'm Rosalyn Deckerhoff, the director of the online field program. And so, I'm just going to give you a little bit of an overview on field. Trying to highlight some of the questions we've had in the past that have been asked most frequently. So as Fran stated, Traditional students will have two field placements. The first one is in semester four, and we consider that a generalist field placement. And then, your final field placement will be in semester 8, which we call our clinical field placements. So that Educational objectives are different for both of those. Advanced standing students will have one field placement, and that'll be their very last semester, semester five, and that's the clinical placement, as they've already done a generalist placement as an undergrad.
Typically how the field placements work is that you will work with a faculty member, or faculty liaisons, the semester before you are scheduled to go to field, on coordinating the placement process with the agency. Okay, in terms of field placements, and I know students have questions about agencies, how do you obtain agencies? We have an internal database, which tells us where our agencies are across the state and then some other of our locations out of the state. If we have an agency in our database that typically means that they have been vetted and that we have agency agreements and all of the information in our systems on that agency, that means that they were approved placement agencies. For new agencies, so maybe you are in an area where we've never placed a student before, and so, we would need to work with an agency to bring them on board as a new agency. We have a little bit of a vetting process. The most important thing is that there's an MSW on staff at the agency to provide supervision that is required.
There's really no wiggle room there. That is a requirement for more accrediting body CSWE. And then, once we know that there is an MSW there that is willing to provide supervision, there's a little bit of a process that goes on really behind the scenes, the student isn't necessarily involved in that. We're just obtaining the agency agreement and making sure they can meet our educational objectives, etc. And so, your liaison, your area coordinator will help work with that if this is a new agency. Okay, I talked about the Traditional and the Advanced standing. So, employment-based internship. We have a lot of students in our online program that are already working in the social work field. And sometimes you can do your field placement where you work. We do have a very specific requirement for that, we have a form that is basically like an application, where students will submit the request to do an employment-based internship, and that has to be approved by me. A couple of the big things regarding the employment-based internship is that you have to be doing something different. So, say you're working in psychiatric hospital, and you're in a unit that works with chemical dependency.
In order to make it a new learning experience, you'll have to be in a different position. So, this works pretty well in larger agencies that may have multiple units, maybe DCS placements where you can just move around within the agency and also a new supervisor. So really two big things to think about when you're thinking about an employment-based internship. It has to be a new learning experience, and a new supervisor as well. The hour requirements for the traditional students that do two field placements, the first field placement is the 10-credit hour course. So that would be split up over two semesters. Your registration would look like five hours of field one semester, five hours a field the second semester. The requirement for those hours in the field are 432. So you split that in half and you do two 20-ish or so every semester. For the second field placement and for advanced standing, it's 512 hours, and those are the hours in the field with your clients, and it's a 12-credit hour class.
Along with that second field placement or the advanced standing placement, and this isn't on the slide, but we have an online seminar, which is a class that accompanies that field placement. Okay, for supervision requirements, I've talked about that a little bit already, in terms of does there need to be an MSW that can supervise you. We also allow what we call task supervisors, which might be a supervisor in addition to your MSW but may or may not be a social worker, so if you're in an hospital maybe a nurse might be your task supervisor, but you would always have an MSW field educator also to provide supervisions, to work with you on your evaluations in your educational plan. If you're an out-of-state student, then we will work with you to place you in a field placement in your area, whatever county, or city, you're in at. We'll work with you on that. Okay, next slide. I think we're going to transition to Rae Ann.
Rae Ann Menotti: Okay, hi everyone, my name is Rae Ann Menotti. I'm an online admissions advisor here at Florida State University. I just want to provide an overview of our application process here. If you have not already submitted an application and you're interested in moving forward, you can certainly get that started by clicking on the link below and your online admissions advisor will guide you through the following steps to make sure everything's turned in. One of the first things you'll want to do is submit your resume, make sure your professional accomplishments are posted. You'll also want to schedule your GRE test. That is our school code, and just so you're aware, we don't have an official minimum score requirement, but we do want you to study for the exam and we'll work with you and guide you through these steps. You'll also want to be sure to provide your three recommenders. So this can be academic or professional or a combination, especially with professional, we recommend aiming high, so aiming for supervisors if possible, and professors for academic.
You will want to also submit your personal statement and this is important as well. If you have questions, of course, you can reach out to your advisor directly either through email or by calling us on our main line which is listed below.
Katie Macaluso: Alright, so with that, we're going to go ahead and move on to our Q&A session. This is the time to ask any burning questions that you might have had come up as you listened to the presentation, to the side of the presentation slide is a box for submitting those questions. We'll do our best to get through as many as we can today. If we do not get to your questions fear not, we will follow up with you after the webinar and be sure to get back to you on those questions. So I'm going to take a quick look through our Q&A now to see what questions we have, looks like we have actually quite a few already. That's terrific, we love getting questions.
Our first question is if you can give an example of how I can manage field study hours while working full time in an unrelated field.
Fran Gomory: Okay, I'm glad this came up because I did mention the nights and weekends. So we have a policy that's in regards nights and weekends. Nights and weekends field placements are very rare and very limited, and there’s a couple of reasons why. One of the many reasons is a supervision issue. Many social work agencies, social service agencies, operate on an 8 to 5, Monday through Friday schedule. So obviously, some agencies just don't offer services after hours. For agencies that do have hours outside of traditional business hours, maybe shelters or hospitals or nursing homes, places like that. Oftentimes, the social worker does not work nights in a weekends, most professionals work during the day, so there might be a supervision issue and a lot of agencies are just not okay with having students at the facility without a supervisor and so that's really something that we respect, we really don't have any control over whether or not agencies take students on nights in weekends.
It can happen. It does happen for some students, but we have to make sure that you're in a learning environment that's appropriate and where there's supervision. We don't want you to be at a shelter folding towels for your internship, that's not going to provide you with any real skills to get out there and work with clients. So again, we're not completely closed to the idea of trying to put students in these types of placements, it's just very limited and challenging in terms of locating those agencies.
And the other thing is that, as Rosalynn said, we want to make sure it's a really good learning experience. So if you're thinking about starting this program, you know one of the things you want to think about is what will happen when you get to that point where you have to do the internship and the internship is really important because, one, it'll allow you to work with a variety of different people so that you could have a better idea of what you want to do at the end and you're going to get some very, very important skills that we want to make sure that you get, so that you're prepared when you go out there to start working. So you know in order to do work and go to school that's really very personal and you have to figure out what works for you.
Katie Macaluso: Okay, alright, very good. Our next question is from someone who says, "I took the GRE several years ago, is there a time where I'd have to... Is there a time limit before I'd have to retake the GRE?
Rae Ann Menotti: I can answer that. So, I believe ETS keeps your official scores on file for about five years, so you'll want to connect with them and forward those officially to us to view, if it is beyond five years but you do have the official score report, then we can consider using that, but it would have to be a copy of the official report that was sent to you. Good question.
Katie Macaluso: Great... Our next question is, "Will this program prepare me to become a licensed clinical social worker who does counseling with individuals and families?
Rosalyn Deckerhoff: Yes, it will, so because our program is clinical and the courses that you take are recognized by the board to be eligible to sit for that licensing exam, do your supervision hours and become an LCSW. So many of our students have that as an end goal, and that is very attainable.
Katie Macaluso: Okay, great, our next question is, “Does field placement ever occur in federal systems such as a VA hospital?”
Rosalyn Deckerhoff: Oh yes, we have lots of VAs, mostly in Florida we have... Obviously, we have a lot of VAs that we connect with the different areas of the state, but we also place students in out-of-state VA placement, so absolutely they don't know that the VA only accept final clinical placements. So if you're a first year traditional student, that wouldn't be an option for your first placement, but possibly for your final placement.
Katie Macaluso: Okay, terrific our next question is regarding transfer credits and do you accept transfer credits for the programs?
Rosalyn Deckerhoff: Yes, we do... Rae Ann I don't know if you want to add anything to this.
Rae Ann Menotti: Yes.
Rosalyn Deckerhoff: But we do accept transfer credits we want to you know we only accept a certain amount and they're usually reviewed by our advisors.
Katie Macaluso: Okay. We have another question about the GRE, this person says they've been studying for the past month and still feeling very nervous about it, is there a certain score that you would look for?
Rae Ann Menotti: Oh, that's such a good question, so I can answer and then if anyone wants to jump in and elaborate that's great, too. I feel like we see a lot of anxiety with GRE and I can certainly understand why and it is an important part of our process here, it is very important. But I would encourage you to work with your adviser to get a sense of just how you're feeling about things. We have a lot of resources we can direct you too, to help you as you're studying too, and also kind of depending on the type of learner you are, you might want to try some practice tests and whatnot to really help you understand the material in kind of get in the mindset beforehand. Some students are great, they don't need long, they feel okay with a month somewhat more. It's really just about where you're at and how much time you need to feel prepared. But as far as a specific score, we don't have a minimum score requirement, and it's a very overall review process, so I... Yeah, I would just encourage you to touch base with your advisor specifically to discuss your concerns so we can give you some resources, if that's something that you need. Okay.
Rosalyn Deckerhoff: The other thing too is that a lot, as Rae Ann said, lots of students are nervous about the GRE, which is very understandable. But if you have a good GPA--we're looking for 3.0 and above--and you write a really, really good personal statement. Absolutely try as hard as you can on the GRE, but you want to make sure that those other pieces are there, and they're strong.
Rae Ann Menotti: Mmm-hm. Exactly, alright.
Katie Macaluso: Our next question is about the two weekends on campus for the traditional program. What is the purpose of these weekends and what kind of accommodations can be made if you live out of state?
Rosalyn Deckerhoff: Okay. So the purpose of it is to practice and learn applicable skills for being a social worker and it's an intensive two days so that you are really learning how to work with people and what goes into that. Students, I think my experience so far is that students are very hesitant about it, but once they get here, they love it and they ask if they could come a lot more. So that's sort of the process of it. In terms of students from out of state, this is the requirements of the program. We've had students fly in from lots of different places. We'll give you hotels that are discounted as much as we possibly can, and we'll tell you the date a month or two or three ahead of time, so that you can make the best plan that you can make. And we feed you!
Katie Macaluso: Okay.
Katie Macaluso: Very good. Our next question is, someone writing in to ask, they've had their BSW, since 2011, would I still be considered for advance standing?
Rae Ann Menotti: Yes, there's no limitation on that at this point.
Katie Macaluso: Okay. Our next question is about transcripts. For application, do we need to submit official transcripts for every school we attended or just the collective transcripts from the school in which we earned our undergraduate degree?
Fran Gomory: That is a good question. So we do want you to request a copies of all of your official transcripts from the schools that you've attended for your undergrad. However, we can start review of your file with the transcript from your most recent university, but we will need official copies. So, it's best to get that process started.
Katie Macaluso: Perfect. And another application question, does the program only start in the fall of each year?
Fran Gomory: No, we run year round, so our semesters are actually fall, and we do have a spring semester as well starting in January, that we're accepting applications for now. And then, we have a summer term as well. Okay, so three starts per year.
Katie Macaluso: Our next question is from someone who indicated their GPA is lower than a 3.0, should I not apply for the program?
Rae Ann Menotti: Okay, so for this person. Go ahead Rae Ann.
Rae Ann Menotti: You can absolutely apply and what you want to do, just sort of let us know what happened, why it is the lowest 3.0, and what you're going to do differently in graduate school. And if it is below a 3.0, you want to try and do the best you can on that GRE and again, as I said, really make sure that you answer the personal statement questions very fully, grammatically correct and that you have some really good recommendations that include how the person knows you and letting them talk a little bit about your work. So it's not a deal breaker by any means.
Katie Macaluso: Okay, okay, very good. Did you want to add anything?
Fran Gomory: No, no, that's pretty much it... And then, just work on strengthening other parts of your application.
Katie Macaluso: Alright, our next question is just to ask how many days is the on-campus requirement?
Fran Gomory: It's a Saturday and a Sunday usually.
Katie Macaluso: Means Saturday and Sunday, okay, so just the weekend?
Fran Gomory: Yes.
Katie Macaluso: Let's see. Okay. Lots of good questions. We have one question from someone who graduated abroad, she says, "I am a foreign graduate with a Bachelors in law and Diploma in social work. What would be my first step?"
Fran Gomory: Okay, that's exciting. Well, congrats on graduating. You will want to get your transcripts evaluated, but I do recommend just reaching out to an admissions advisor directly, so we can walk you through the admissions process.
Katie Macaluso: Alright, perfect. Next, let's see. And on the same note, another question from someone out of the country, would you suggest this program for someone considering working out of the country with social projects? I am currently working in a home for abused girls from the Amazon jungle region of Ecuador. Wondering if the program will be specifically stateside focused?"
Rosalyn Deckerhoff: That's a really interesting question. I'm not sure it's stateside focused, but more just focused on problems that people have, whether those problems will be exactly lining up to working in an environment like that. I'm not sure, but I think that there's a lot of commonality in issues that people have. So I would say, yes, that the program would be very helpful for something like that.
Katie Macaluso: Okay. Let's see, here's another question about the on-campus requirement, are the on-campus weekends required for advanced standing program as well?
Rosalyn Deckerhoff: No, they're not. They’re for Traditional students.
Katie Macaluso: Okay. Very good. And then, our next question is, “I have a Master's degree and graduated with a 3.7, I started another MSW and have a 4.0 there. Which GPA would be considered?”
Rosalyn Deckerhoff: Well, we always look at the undergraduate GPA but if you did work graduate work we want to see that as well.
Katie Macaluso: OK, perfect. Our next question was regarding some of the on campus events, if I happened to be in the area of Tallahassee as an online student, am I still able to participate in an on campus events?
Rosalyn Deckerhoff: Absolutely. We encourage that and we send out on whatever events are going on to our off campus students as well, so absolutely, we're happy to have you come. We have a Facebook page which has all of our events on it, as well, so absolutely. Just because you're online you're the same as anybody else.
Katie Macaluso: Alright, and our next question is regarding internships. Are there opportunities for paid internships for advanced standing students? I'm located in Yulee, Florida.
Rosalyn Deckerhoff: It sounds like Yulee, Florida, which is I'm assuming is it's fairly remote, so I'm going to say probably not likely, but I don't know because I'm not familiar with every agency in every county, the VA placements are typically funded with a stipend depending on where they are with their money and what time of year it is, but most of the VA placements have stipends as far as other agencies that offer stipends, It just... I really don't know off the top of my head that we have so many agencies in our database... I couldn't tell you that off the top of my head if a stipend is available for a certain agency.
Katie Macaluso: Okay, perfect. Alright, we have time for one last question, this question was about, if online students are still able to participate in graduation upon completion of the group degree.
Rosalyn Deckerhoff: Absolutely, we love our online students to come to graduation. We encourage it. So you know people can get up to Tallahassee with their families, we absolutely welcome it. The university has a larger graduation every semester and the College of Social Work has our own as well, in the spring ours is formal with cap and gown in the fall and summer. It's a reception, but you're still called up to the podium and it's still a ceremony, you just don't have to wear the cap and gown. But absolutely, just because you are a Florida State student no matter where you are, go.
Katie Macaluso: Okay, perfect, alright, so that is all we have time for, we're going to wrap up our Q&A session, right here, hopefully your question was answered and if you have any additional questions or... Please feel free to reach out to your advisor, or reach out to us at the contact information shown on this slide. This presentation was recorded and you will be receiving a link tomorrow actually, with a link to the slides and recordings so that you can come back and view it at any time. Thank you so much for attending, we hope this was helpful and we hope you have a wonderful rest of your day.