Department hires Annie Miller as full-time Field Coordinator
The Department of Human Services is excited to announce that we have hired Annie Miller as a full-time Field Coordinator. Prior to coming to MSU Denver, Annie studied felon disenfranchisement, the role of women in government, and economic development at CU Boulder. Annie formerly served as the Director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Miami University Hamilton. While leading the Center, she coauthored the Ohio Civic Health Index which identifies civic and community behaviors and policy changes that might effectively lead to enhanced civic participation. While in Hamilton, Ohio, Annie founded HUB (Hamilton’s Underground Buzz); a young adult movement aimed at restoring green space to the urban core of the community and fostering public, multi-generational leadership. A native of Durango, Colorado, she completed a Master’s degree in higher education administration at Miami University, a second Master's degree in political science at the University of Colorado Boulder, and an undergraduate degree at Colorado State University. "I'm excited to join the department and the MSU Denver community. I look forward to working with students and developing partnerships with community agencies." Please stop by her office in West Classroom 236 to get to know her as she settles into campus and community life here in Denver.
Frequently Asked Questions:
This page provides brief answers to a number of the common questions about the field placement element of our curriculum. Please see a faculty advisor for answers to more in-depth questions.
The field experience lies at the heart of the human services curriculum. It gives you the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills you’ve gained in the classroom in a real world setting. Also, you can begin to develop a professional network and gain experience to include on your resume. For those of you who have not worked in Human Services, the field experience is your entrance to the professional field and can open doors to future job opportunities.
This page should answer most of your initial questions about the field experience. Please see a faculty advisor for more information and to discuss your plans for your field experience.
Students complete a minimum of 21 credit hours of field experience coursework. This includes:
- 1-credit Pre-field Seminar
- 8-credit Practicum
- 12-credit Professional Internship
Students in Addiction Studies complete a second 8-credit Practicum to complete the field hours necessary to qualify for CAC Level I.
Prerequisites for Practicum for students under any catalog year prior to Fall 2010:
- HSP 1010—Introduction to Human Services and Community Resources
- HSP 1040—Applied Behavior Analysis
- HSP 2020—Small Group Dynamics
- HSP 2030—Theory and Practice of Counseling
- HSP 2040—Family Systems
Prerequisites for Practicum for students under the Fall 2010 catalog or later:
- HSP 1010—Introduction to Human Services and Community Resources
- HSP 2020—Small Group Dynamics*
- HSP 2030—Theory and Practice of Counseling*
- HSP 2070—Pre-field Seminar
- HSP 2330—Ethical and Legal Issues in Human Services
* In place of HSP 2020 and HSP 2030, nonprofit students take:
- HSP 2010 Principles of Nonprofit Organization Administration; and
- HSP 3000 Community Change or HSP 3810 Fundraising Strategies
Students may take one of the prerequisite courses simultaneously with Practicum except HSP 2070, which must be taken before the Practicum.
Students in Practicum (8 credit hours) must complete 300 hours of field service, which is equivalent to 20 hours per week for 15 weeks.
Students in Professional Internship (12 credit hours) are required to complete a total of 450 hours of field service, which is equivalent to 30 hours per week for 15 weeks.
It is your responsibility to secure a field placement site; however, the Pre-Field Seminar is designed to assist you with this process. It is essential to begin looking for a site several weeks in advance of your Practicum or Internship class. The seminar instructor approves placement sites; you must have an approved placement site by the first week of class. If you do not have a site by the first week of class, the seminar instructor has the right to administratively drop you from the class.
HSP 2070 Pre-field Seminar is a one-credit class that should be taken the semester (Spring or Fall) before your first field placement. The class includes resume and cover letter writing, as well as preparing for an interview, and is designed to help students find an appropriate placement site. As of the Fall 2010 catalog, this is a required course. If you are under curriculum from a catalog before Fall 2010, you are encouraged to take the class but it is not a requirement.
The Applied Learning Center (formerly the Internship Center) is located at 1045 9th St. Park (303-556-3290) and coordinates an online database of potential sites for field placements. You must register with the Applied Learning Center to gain access to this database. Students will automatically be registered for the database in the Pre-Field Seminar class.
The agency field supervisor must have a master’s degree in Human Services, Social Work, Counseling, Behavioral or Social Sciences or a related field. An exception may be made by the seminar instructor if the supervisor has appropriate professional experience to create a positive learning environment for students. If you are working towards CAC hours, your supervisor must be a CAC III or LAC.
When an agency agrees to serve as a placement site, the field supervisor needs to be aware of the responsibilities involved in offering an effective learning environment for students.
These responsibilities include:
- An orientation to the agency
- Appropriate training and access to information about agency policies and procedures
- Access to other written materials to support student learning and effectiveness
- One hour of weekly supervision either in a one-on-one or group setting
- Ongoing feedback and a final evaluation
- Adequate work space and supplies
The field supervisor must also:
- Collaborate with the student to develop the learning contract
- Facilitate student participation in appropriate learning activities
- Answer questions and provide guidance to support student success
- Fill out all paperwork required by the Human Services department
- Participate in a site visit with students and the seminar instructor
- Contact the seminar instructor with any questions or to report any problems or concerns
Since MSU Denver students are undergraduates, they are not trained to perform duties that might be expected of a graduate student in a field placement. Students must also be aware of liability risks and safety procedures. There are a variety of appropriate learning activities that students can participate in while at an agency.
Students ARE ENCOURAGED TO:
- Shadow professionals in one-on-one sessions with clients and in groups and in other professional settings
- Co-facilitate groups with a qualified professional staff member
- Facilitate educational groups with supervision from a professional staff member
- Participate in staff meetings and training opportunities
- Conduct intakes after proper training
- Write chart notes and complete other agency documentation after proper training
- Enter client documentation and other data into computer systems
- Assist with grant writing, fundraising, volunteer coordination, and event planning
The following activities may NOT be performed by a student (an exception can be made for students who are paid employees of an agency and are performing the activity as part of the normal work expectation for that position and who have received training that supports safety for the student, staff, and clients):
- Drive clients
- Provide individual psychotherapy for a client
- Lead psychotherapy groups without a qualified therapist present
- Open or close an agency by him/herself
- Restrain clients without proper training and supervision
- Be left in charge of the agency without a qualified supervisor present
- Have a case load of clients for which the student has sole responsibility
We do allow students to use paid positions for placements. If you have a job in the field, speak with your seminar instructor about using that position as your placement site.
In addition, some non-profit agencies may be able to utilize work-study funds to pay students. You must be awarded Federal Work-Study funds in order to qualify. Colorado and No Need Work-Study are not eligible for off-campus employment.
The agency must pay 25% of the total amount the student is awarded. For example, if you receive an award of $2500 per semester, the agency would need to pay $625 of that amount. Details are available in the Handbook for Supervisors of Off-Campus Student Employees found on the MSU Denver Human Resources website.
Both the Practicum and Internship courses are very time-intensive. Students are discouraged from taking more than a 12-credit hour load during field placement. If you wish to take more than 16 credit hours during the semester that you are doing field work, you must request permission from the field coordinator.
Professional Internship (HSP 4790) is intended to be taken during a student’s final semester. You should wait to take Professional Internship until you are within 18 credits of graduation (including the 12 credits for HSP 4790).
Can I do a Practicum/Internship if I’m in recovery or on probation?
If you are in recovery from drug and/or alcohol addiction, the department requires you to have been clean and sober for a minimum of 1.5 years prior to doing a field placement.
If you are on probation/parole, you must complete that probation/parole prior to doing field placement.
You may not do a placement at an agency where you have been a client in the last five years.
To request an exception to these policies, explain the situation to the field coordinator in writing, providing a rationale for why you believe you are ready to do a field placement. You may include supporting documentation from a probation/parole officer, counselor, or other appropriate professional. The field coordinator, in conjunction with field faculty, will determine your readiness to participate in field placement. You may be asked to meet with the field coordinator and a field faculty member before a decision is made.
Switching placement sites during the semester is strongly discouraged. However, there are situations when a change of sites may be the best option. Consult with your seminar instructor prior to making any decisions or informing your field supervisor.
For hours completed at the first site to count towards requirements for the practicum or internship, it is YOUR responsibility to get signed proof of the number of hours completed, and to have the field supervisor complete the Field Evaluation. It is an important learning process to handle the transition in a professional manner.
Students are expected to know and follow the Ethical Standards for Human Service Professionals as defined by the National Organization for Human Services, as well as the policies and procedures established by the field placement agency or organization.
If you are working directly with clients in a mental health capacity, you also need to be aware of and follow the guidelines in the Colorado Mental Health Statutes.
You are expected to conduct yourself professionally in the classroom, in interactions with other students, staff, faculty, and in your field placement. The Department has established a Professional Review Committee to address any student behavior that conflicts with professional expectations. The process is designed to assist students to recognize and change any unacceptable behaviors, come in line with professional standards, and determine appropriateness for the field. The full policy is included under Professional Standards on this website.
Any student whose performance is evaluated as unsafe, substandard or professionally inappropriate by the seminar instructor (in consultation with the field coordinator or the field supervisor) may be removed from the placement setting and potentially the practicum/internship class.
The agency may also "fire" a student from a placement. Let your seminar instructor know immediately if your field supervisor terminates the placement or expresses concern about your performance.
Undergraduate students are not required to register with DORA unless they already have a CAC or other form of state certification. A client has the right to file a grievance against a student through DORA whether or not the student is registered with DORA.
Grievances may be filed based on violation of an ethical or professional standard or violation of a law. Grievances are most often filed for sexual misconduct or violation of confidentiality. If a grievance is filed against a mental health professional and the Board (coordinated by DORA) has reasonable cause to believe that the complaint has merit, disciplinary actions may consist of:
- Issuance of a confidential letter of concern
- Issuance of a letter of admonition
- Probationary status (which may include conditions for continued practice)
- Suspension of license, registration, or listing
- Revocation of a license or registration
In addition, the Board, may send a “cease and desist” order to prevent continued practice.
If you are not paid by the agency where you are doing your field placement, you are covered by MSU Denver for on-the-job injuries. You must inform the field coordinator, your seminar instructor, and MSU Denver's Office of Human Resources within 24 hours of the injury and you must use an approved medical provider for any services or you will not be covered. Your seminar instructor will have you sign a form acknowledging receipt of information about this policy. For more information about the policy and for a list of approved providers, go to the HR website.
Students with at least two years of full-time human services experience in an area related to their concentration in the major may develop a portfolio showing evidence of prior learning in place of one Practicum course. All students must take Professional Internship. You must ask a faculty advisor to work with you before you begin the process. To find out more about the process, seek advising in the department and contact:Center for Individualized LearningSt. Francis Center, 2nd floor303-556-8342
If you are in the Addiction Studies concentration and have a minimum of four years experience in the field and at least a CAC I, you may request permission to do a portfolio in lieu of two Practicum classes. Contact the Director of the Center for Addiction Studies.
To do a field placement out-of-state, you must meet the following criteria:
- Have completed all prerequisites for the course
- Have a grade point average of 3.0 or above
- Ask for a recommendation from a full-time department faculty member
How to apply
Write a letter to the field coordinator that includes:
- Contact information (such as phone and email and student ID number)
- The name of the faculty member providing a recommendation
- A rationale for doing an out-of-state placement, including how such a placement meets your educational/career goal
- A plan for the placement, including location, agency, mission and description of agency, supervisor’s name
- Contact information for the supervisor and agency
Attach the following to the letter:
- Current CAPP report
The field coordinator and a committee of field faculty will review the request and respond via email. The chair may request a meeting prior to making the final decision. If the request is approved, the student must meet with the field coordinator to discuss the placement prior to leaving town.
Registering with Study Abroad
Any student approved to do a placement outside the U.S. must register with the MSU Denver Study Abroad Advisor and provide documentation to the field coordinator that they have completed all required Study Abroad paperwork and purchased study abroad insurance. The Office of International Studies has a mandatory orientation session. Out-of-state placements will not have access to Worker's Compensation or liability coverage from MSU Denver.
Campus Compact Service Corps
This is an Americorps program that provides an educational stipend for students who do volunteer hours at nonprofit agencies with an emphasis on education, building capacity, and health issues. For details, see the Campus Compact website.
The City and County of Denver
The City and County of Denver lists internship opportunities within city government.
Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence
The Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence includes a list of agencies that serve survivors of violence.
Colorado Nonprofit Association
The Colorado Nonprofit Association lists internships in the nonprofit sector on their website.
The Denver Foundation
The Denver Foundation offers paid internships at local nonprofits during the Summer semester. You must apply early in the new year for this competitive internship opportunity.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
SAMHSA provides a list of service providers by city.