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Best Practices

Roles and Responsibilities

What is the placement site’s role?

Placement sites provide a learning environment where students actively engage in the day-to-day operations of the site and have opportunities to observe and connect with professionals in the field. Supervisors provide 1:1 supervision, feedback and mentoring. 

What is the student’s role?

The role of the student at most placement sites is that of a participant observer. Students are expected to be professional, engaged, inquisitive, and ready to learn and contribute.

What are the supervisor’s responsibilities?

Recruit and accept qualified students on a quarterly basis for 1 full academic year. Sites that are accepted mid-year are expected to continue through June of the following academic year.

  • Notify all students who apply about availability of opportunities
  • Structure the field work to provide a learning opportunity directly related to curriculum in Social Ecology
  • Develop and assign responsibilities, so that students may learn both technical and non-technical skills
  • Clearly communicate expectations and responsibilities to students.
  • Adhere to program deadlines
  • Schedule hours during the placement period so that student can complete the hours required.
  • Provide training, supervision and feedback to each student -approximately 1 hour per week
  • Confirm students in field study placements are authorized by Social Ecology by reviewing field study Agreement Forms
  • Provide a verbal and written evaluation to the student and certify the number of hours the student completed via the evaluation form
  • Contact Field Study Staff if there are any problems or issues that cannot be resolved with the student
  • Nominate outstanding students for recognition

How should opportunities be structured? 

  • Ideal placement sites provide students with a pre-professional experience and structure activities that allow the student to:
  • Observe current social problems and evaluate intervention strategies
  • Contribute to the day-to-day activities of the organization by working on duties and tasks related to Social Ecology curriculum
  • Develop an understanding of organizational goals and objectives
  • Perceive relationships between theories learned in the classroom and practice experienced in the field
  • Develop interpersonal and technical competencies required in the workplace
  • A supervisor must be available (in person or remotely) during students' fieldwork hours for addressing questions or issues
  • PLEASE NOTE: No more than 25% of a student's fieldwork should be comprised of administrative/clerical work (e.g., answering phones, filing, organizing, repetitive paperwork, etc.)

What are students NOT permitted to do as part of their field study placement?

  • Work without supervision 
  • Deliver in-home services without a professional staff present
  • Work 1-on-1 in closed spaces with a minor (in-person or remotely).  
  • Be asked to purchase items with their own money, on behalf of the organization, without a reimbursement
  • Run personal errands (pick up coffee, food, etc) on behalf of a supervisor. 
  • Transport clients in their personal vehicles. 
  • Should not replace a paid employee without compensation.  
  • Complete more than 25% of their fieldwork engaged in administrative/clerical work (e.g., answering phones, filing, organizing, repetitive paperwork, etc.)

Are students allowed to complete hours prior to the beginning of the placement period? 

  • Yes, students are allowed to complete, and get credit for, up to 8 hours prior to the start of the placement period to take care of: 
    • Necessary training 
    • Background checks 
    • TBT test (or other medical clearances) 
    • Other related pre- placement period, onboarding, items 

How do I update our listing? 


Tips & Resources

Planning Your Field Study Opportunity Worksheet

Use this worksheet as a guide for things to consider as you develop your field study opportunity.

Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (PDF)
Important information from the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division

Engage:  Annotated Bibliography
The ENGAGE Annotated Bibliography is a living resource that contains reviews of publications in community-engaged work.


Professional Organizations

NACE - National Association of Colleges and Employers
Established in 1956, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) connects more than 6,300 college career services professionals at nearly 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide, more than 2,700 university relations and recruiting professionals, and the business affiliates that serve this community.

CIWEA - California Internship & Work Experience Association
Founded in 1974, the California Internship & Work Experience Association (CIWEA) is California's leading professional association for educators and employers dedicated to supporting internship and work experience programs in  higher education.