Mission Statement

To support and strengthen field education as a critical part of social work education in the schools, the region, and nationally, within the context of community social work practice.

History

Initially directors from five New England schools of social work came together in the early 1980’s as an informal group.  During the 1980’s, the group held two regional conferences that brought field instructors and field faculty together to examine issues in field education.  These conferences hosted nationally recognized keynote speakers, and offered workshop presentations by field instructors and faculty.  NECON also focused on advocacy within the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) for greater attention to and recognition of field education.  The Council’s responsiveness to these efforts included a CSWE sponsored national survey of field education programs.  In the late 1980’s, the group expanded to include other graduate schools of social work, developed a formal structure, and began meeting regularly.  The meetings became a source of mutual support.  The group currently consists of 17 graduate schools of social work in New England.

Meetings and Structure

Meetings are held once a month during the academic year.  The group has a President, President-Elect, Recording Secretary and Treasurer, and has sub-committees that focus on topics relevant to the concerns of the membership.   For example, the Education Committee sponsors a Professional Development Series of free monthly workshops for field instructors from all the member schools.  Each school takes responsibility for planning and hosting one workshop each year.  One brochure is printed and sent by each individual school to all field instructors affiliated with the schools.

Purpose and Goals

  • To strengthen relationships between schools of social work and agencies/field instructors to ensure quality field education of social work students.
  • To provide professional development for field instructors.
  • To provide research on field education theory and practice.
  • To advocate at the state level and within professional organizations for policies that support social work education and professional competence.
  • To provide professional development opportunities for field education faculty from the region’s schools of social work

Current Programs and Initiatives

  • Standardized curriculum for required course for first time field instructors.
  • Annual “all-comers” meeting for field education staff of  all the schools.
  • Annual field education conference with other regional consortia.
  • Development of NECON web site.
  • Professional development series for field instructors.
  • Survey of field instructors’ perceptions of support from schools of social work