Students are requested to enroll in the the graduate-level Arts & Sciences 5592 Field Practicum in Aging, for three hours of credit. A consent number must be obtained from the Center on Aging Studies Director in order to register for the Practicum. Due to the work schedule of the student, supervisor, and the agency, completion of the 180 hours may need to be extended beyond the confines of one semester. While this is acceptable, all parties must be apprised of a revision of the timetable. Students should be aware that an “incomplete” will be registered on the student’s transcript until the hours are fulfilled and the log, paper, and field supervisor’s evaluation are completed and submitted to the Aging Studies Director.
NOTE: Except in rare and specific cases, all graduate
Gerontology Certificate students must complete the Interdisciplinary Colloquium
in Aging, and the three required core courses prior to enrolling in the
Activities and Hours
The student is to fulfill a time commitment of 180 clock/contact hours. These should be spent in the varied activities of the Practicum site or required university assignments as established and negotiated among the Site Supervisor, the Aging Studies Director and the student. The following guideline suggests the distribution of hours:
- 60% hours in the agency or activities for the agency
- 10% hours in meetings, workshops, or networking opportunities
- 10% reading, or viewing video materials related to the agency
- 20% dedicated to paper or log preparation
The student should apprise the Aging Studies Director of the types and schedule of activities in the Program Plan, and in ongoing communication through the journal.
Journal or Log
Along with the Site Supervisor’s Written Performance Evaluations, and communication practices with the Aging Studies Director, the journal or log constitutes another measure of performance. The practice of keeping a journal provides the chance to hone documentation skills (important to any job), demonstrates to one’s supervisor the judgment exercised within the assigned activities, and shows application of the student’s gerontological studies to real life.
These should contain the following:
- A record of the number of hours/times, and dates dedicated to all practicum-related activities.
- An objective description of location, people, and activity in which the student is engaged.
- Reflections on the value of the activity for the agency and for the student.
- Identification of the gerontological issues that are apparent in the activity.
- References to concepts, theories, research, interventions, resources, etc. which may be cited (APA form is not necessary), that demonstrate how the student’s class work, learning, reading, discussions, may be applied to and/or integrated into practice.
- Content in narrative form with attention to grammar, spelling, and readability.
- Narrative summarized observations and descriptions.
- Personal reflections articulated clearly
- Identification of gerontological issues in activities
- Reference to class, readings, or discussions of gerontology classes
- Attention to grammar, spelling, style of writing and clarity of format
Grading will also reflect grammar, spelling, style and use of references and reflections. The student may submit early journal entries to the Aging Studies Director for evaluation and suggestions for improvement. Journal entries may be submitted by e-mail. Student is encouraged to complete journal entries as the activity is performed.
Examples of log/journals may be reviewed upon request to Dr. Linda Breytspraak at (816) 235-1744.
Research Paper or Special Project
Graduate students also do a project or focused research paper as part of the experience. A project might be something that would benefit the agency and from which the student would learn significantly by completing. Some past projects have included grant proposals, educational curricula, creation of an audiovisual program, and resource manuals. If the student selects to do a research paper, it should be on a topic closely related to the setting of the practicum that the student wishes to investigate in depth. It should include at least 15-20 peer-reviewed sources, be a minimum of 15 pages in length, and follow APA style.
Written Performance Evaluations
The Performance Evaluation form (obtain from Aging Studies Director) should be used twice within the course of the practicum. Midpoint in the completion of hours (at about 90 hours) the evaluation took should be completed, reviewed, and discussed by both the student and the Site Supervisor. This allows for student’s skill strengths and weaknesses to be evaluated, improved, and acknowledged by both. This information does not have to be reported at this point to the Aging Studies Director unless there are discrepancies which need to be addressed at the requests of either the Site Supervisor or the student.
At the completion of the 180 hours of Practicum work, the Site Supervisor should complete the final Performance Evaluation (using the same tool). It is the student’s responsibility to submit this to the Aging Studies Director, who will evaluate the full performance of the student and issue a grade.
Planning Meetings and Ongoing Communication with
Aging Studies Director
Due to the non-traditional nature of our Gerontology Certificate students and the rigors of dedicating 180 hours to earn the field practicum credits, the experience often extends beyond and one semester. As a result, meetings and communication throughout the life of each practicum ensures that expectations, objectives, and evaluation will be fair and acknowledged. Hence, a portion of student’s grades will be comprised of the following:
- Participation in meetings called by the Program Director
- The use, timeliness, and quality of communication by the student throughout the Program Plan and the monthly Progress Reports.
- Field Practicum Agreement submitted early in the practicum placement.
As with enrollment and registration for classes on campus, travel time is not
credited within class requirements. Every effort will be made to place students
in proximity to their work or residence. This convenience may not be possible
when interests and opportunities from agencies are a priority. Hence, exceptions
to the accounting of travel time as credit toward contact hours will occur only
in very rare circumstances on a case-by-case basis and with notice and
negotiations occurring as early in the field experience as possible. This
situation is similar to a work obligation (the practicum may serve as an
initiation to a career) in which travel is not compensated or credited unless
contracted or in extraordinary circumstance.
Grading of the Practicum will be based on the following:
- Planning, communication, meetings 15%
- Journal 30%
- Paper/ Project 30%
- Site Supervisor Evaluation 25%
Press HERE to access Practicum Program Plan.