User’s Guide for the National Field Instructor Training Repository

User’s Guide for the National Field Instructor Training Repository

August 5, 2021


This repository was developed by members of the Council on Social Work Education’s Council on Field Education (COFE) from 2018-2021. This project was overseen by COFE chairpersons Estella Williamson (Seattle University) and Melissa Reitmeier (University of South Carolina). Contributing members include Aneesha Bharwani (Subcommittee Co-Chair) (University of Denver), Katrina Boone (Florida State University), Susan Coleman (Boston College), Julie Kates (Subcommittee Co-Chair) (Portland State University), and Greg Merrill (Subcommittee Co-Chair) (UC Berkeley). Past Chairs who helped conceptualize this effort were Ann Petrila (University of Denver) and Cindy Hunter (James Madison University). Survey research conducted by Bertha Saldana De Jesus (Millersville University) guided the conceptualization of this project. Jamie Parker (University of Houston) contributed to designing the CONNECT session. Technical support was provided by Karen Chapman and Anna Holster of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Rationale and Charge

Since field instruction is primarily provided by volunteer, agency-based field instructors, developing and implementing effective field instructor training is one of the most important activities of any field education program (Deal, Bennett, Mohr & Hwang, 2011; Detlaff, 2003; Finch, Williams, Mondros, & Franks, 2019; Kanno & Koeske, 2010;  Knight, 2016).  As field directors respond to multiple priorities and are often under-resourced, they may tend to focus primarily on student placement and problem response and may inadvertently under-attend to developing effective field instructor training. This may be particularly true for new field directors. Therefore, our charge was as follows:  to develop an accessible, useful resource for field directors, particularly newer field directors, to be able to offer excellent training to their field instructors so as to enhance the quality of field instruction and, therefore, field education.

Methods of Development

Arrived at through a consensus process among five experienced field directors (Bharwani, Boone, Coleman, Kates, & Merrill) that included a scan of the environment, literature, and practice wisdom on best practices in field instruction, ten content or category “folders” related to key areas of field instructor training were identified.  These category folders include:  1. Orientation to Field Education and Field Instruction; 2. Supervision Roles and Expectations; 3. Orienting Students to the Agency; 4. Developing the Learning Agreement/Plan; 5. Supervision Methods; 6. Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Field Education; 7. Trauma Informed Supervision and Field Instruction; 8. Integrating Theory, Research, and Practice; 9. Navigating Challenges with Students; and 10. Principles of Competency-Based Evaluation/Assessment.

All ten category folders were populated with well-chosen, curated materials intended to guide, elevate, and inspire excellent training for field instructors. Each folder contains subfolders organized as follows:  1. Agendas and Outlines; 2. PowerPoint Slides and Presentations; 3. Handouts, Checklists, and Forms; 4. Reading and Other Resources; and 5. Additional Supplemental Resources.  Some subfolders have been left empty because we did not have materials to recommend and so as to encourage users of the repository to contribute. The repository is not intended to be prescriptive so much as to provide excellent sample materials to review and adapt for local programs and their respective contexts.

Permission to Use or Adapt with Attribution

All materials made available in this repository come with permission from the original author(s) and institution(s) to use or adapt so long as proper attribution is given. Suggested language is as follows:  “These materials were originally developed by [institution’s and/or author’s name] and are used/adapted with permission.”

Upload Your Sample Materials

If you have developed original materials that you are willing to share with other programs for use and adaptation, you may upload them to this google form for consideration: You may suggest which folder or folders your materials may be added to or may recommend an entirely new folder. If you have difficulty uploading your materials, you may email them directly to Aneesha Bharwani at [email protected]. Submissions will be accepted through April 1, 2022.

See you at the 2021 APM!

Please look for our panel presentation in the field education track at CSWE’s 2021 Annual Program Meeting entitled “The National Field Instructor Training Repository: 10 Resource Folders to Elevate” (ID 48181) (Presenters Bharwani, Boone, Coleman, & Kates).


Deal, K. H., Bennett, S., Mohr, J., & Hwang, J. (2011). Effects of field instructor training on student competencies and the supervisory alliance. Research on Social Work Practice, 21(6), 712-726.
Dettlaff, A.J. (2003). From mission to evaluation: A field instructor training program. Alexandria, VA: CSWE Press.
Finch, J. B., Williams, O. F., Mondros, J. B., & Franks, C. L. (2019). Learning to teach, teaching to learn: A guide for social work field education (3rd edition). Alexandria, VA: CSWE Press.
Kanno, H. & Koeske, G. (2010). MSW students’ satisfaction with their field placements: The role of preparedness and supervision quality. Journal of Social Work Education, 46, 23-38.
Knight, Carolyn (2016).  Training and supporting field instructors.  In C.A. Hunter, J.K. Moen, & M.S. Raskin (eds.) Social work field Directors: Foundations for excellence (2nd edition) (pp. 105-129).  Chicago, IL: Lyceum Books.