HDFS 3080/3090 (fieldwork; 3 credits): A fantastic opportunity to get real-world experience for HDFS majors and minors!
Benefits of Fieldwork:
From this professional development and networking experience, students report growth in the skills and knowledge necessary for future employment opportunities and/or postgraduate education, including:
- Direct application of theory and research
- Meeting professional workplace expectations
- Developing self-understanding, self-discipline, maturity, and confidence
In settings such as:
|-law offices||-childcare centers||-public schools|
|-state government offices||- human resources departments||-private businesses|
|-child advocacy centers||-nursing homes||-elder advocacy centers|
What does this experience look like?
Over the course of the semester students complete 112 hours of field experience (8 hours/week on site). They also meet once a week (50 minutes) with the other students enrolled in the seminar to discuss the week’s activities and how the theory and research covered in their coursework applies to their field work experience.
Fieldwork Enrollment Process
Step 1: Check Eligibility and Prerequisites
- Who? Junior; 2.50/4.00 GPA. HDFS majors, Gerontology minors, and HDFS minors.
- Course Prerequisites: HDFS 2001 (Recommended) and 15 credits of 2000 level of higher HDFS courses. Students must complete HDFS 3080 Fieldwork before enrolling in HDFS 3090 Internship. Instructor consent required if prerequisites are not yet met: If you do not meet these prerequisites, email the instructor to see if, based on your other experiences, you might be granted a permission number to enroll.
Step 2: Locate a Fieldwork site and Supervisor
- Students should reach out to different sites to inquire about their organizations and the possibility of completing fieldwork there. Students must then enroll in HDFS 3080/3090 to receive course credit. This Excel file contains contact information for various fieldwork placements, but students are not limited to what is found in this list. Other resources to find more options include:
- Confirm site supervisors will be responsible for: 1) establishing a schedule for the student 2) establishing learning goals for the student 3) supervision throughout the semester, and 4) evaluating the student at the midterm and at the end of the semester.
Step 3: Fill out the Fieldwork Application
Reaching out to a potential field experience supervisor – Tips, Tricks, and Templates!
Writing to a potential supervisor can be daunting! Whether by email or by call, this step may be intimidating. Below is some information that may help reduce stress and anxiety and get you in the right mindset.
- Know that your request is important and that your education is important! Your request is legitimate!
- You are not “bothering” anyone. You are allowed to have space here and it is part of their job to respond to requests for collaboration. In fact, they may be excited to know that students are interested in working with them!
- Remember that you have something to offer as well – this is a mutual exchange, not them doing you a favor.
Now that you have this mindset, it’s time to reach out! What should you say though? While this cannot speak to everyone’s specifics, here are some useful details that may be helpful to include in any exchange:
- Your name and the fact that you’re a student
- Your year in education (e.g., junior, senior)
- Your degree (Human Development Family Sciences)
- The name of the University
- The reason you’re reaching out
- Explanation of what this means
- A way for them to return your request (number, email, link, etc.)
- Thank them for their time and consideration
You may also want to include information about your experiences and reasons for why you’d like to complete your fieldwork with the organization in which the potential supervisor is employed.
If you can, reach out by email first. In some settings, this will be the director or manager of the program. If you cannot find their email, use the general email provided. If you cannot find an email, or if you email the potential supervisor, but do not hear back within 2 days, call the organization and request to speak with the potential supervisor. Mention their name if you can. Keep track of who you speak with should you not be able to reach them and try again after 2 days if you do not hear back sooner.
If you would like to have something more concrete to follow, here are some templates: