Field Education FAQs for Students

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Office of Field Education
Activities West, 1st Floor
200 Riverway
Boston MA 02215

8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily or by appointment

Contact Info:
P: 617-879-2165
F: 617-879-2407

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Please Note: All field policies and procedures will be subject to change when the new Wheelock College of Education and Human Development at BU begins on June 1, 2018.

How many field placements will I have?

All undergraduate students begin field experience during the first year as part of the Human Growth and Development requirement. Furthermore, undergraduate and graduate students complete additional field experiences through their programs of study. The number of placements may vary, depending on the student's course of study.

Can I complete a self-placement?

Undergraduate self-placements are highly unusual, although there may be exceptions, depending on program requirements and/or exceptional circumstances. Although graduate programs may permit self-placements, these are typically job related.

Are there any placements where a stipend is provided?

Stipends only apply to graduate students who are hired for a yearlong internship, in partial fulfillment of the dual licensure Education program.

I work and need flexible hours. Can I do my placement on evenings and weekends?

Students are required to meet the minimum number of contact hours for their academic field program. For some programs, students may have the flexibility to negotiate a weekly schedule that is mutually accommodating as well as feasible for them and their site supervisor.

How far will I have to travel to my placement?

Most sites are MBTA accessible and are typically within one hour of travel time from Wheelock. For students who travel by car, there may be more flexibility with site placements. However, students without a car will be placed in a site that is MBTA accessible.

What if I am having issues or concerns while at my site?

Have a discussion with your site supervisor. Be objective, concise, and respectful in tone as you articulate the concern: What do you notice? How does it impact you? How might your site supervisor help? Depending on the nature of the problem, you may also choose to speak first with the faculty field liaison, i.e., if applicable to your program, or the Field Education staff. We are here to assist you.

If I finish my minimum hours in the field before the semester ends can I stop attending my placement?

All field experiences follow the Wheelock academic calendar, which begins and ends the same week as regular classes. Exceptions are highly unusual, but may occur. For example, the Education dual licensure graduate students work in schools while completing a paid yearlong internship.

Do I need to complete a background check?

Wheelock College students who will be completing pre-practicum, practicum, internship, and/or student teaching will participate in background checks as mandated by his/her potential site.

Massachusetts requires certain agencies serving children and elderly to conduct a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) background check on all volunteers and staff. The Department of Early Education and Care also requires a DSS (Department of Social Services) background check in addition to a CORI. Also, a few agencies will require a SORI (Sexual Offender Record Inquiry) check, drug testing and/or fingerprinting. Wheelock students are expected to comply with schools, hospitals, community service agencies and other placement sites that require background checks for potential practicum or internships.

A positive check showing a record of criminal offense (including any conviction or plea of guilt, a plea of no contest, a suspended imposition of execution of sentence, any period of probation or parole or finding that an individual committed or attempted to commit a crime), a sex offender registry status, or drug use may preclude a student from participating in placement and completing the requirements of the degree. The determination of whether such a student may participate in a placement is made at the discretion of the placement site. Wheelock College is unable to guarantee a field placement for such students.

Because some placement sites do not run CORI checks on interns and Wheelock College is not certified to run CORI checks, a student may be asked to run his/her own CORI check prior to an offer of a placement. The student would be responsible to cover the cost of this CORI request.

What if I am sick or have a personal emergency and cannot attend? Do I have to make up the hours?

To receive credit, students must attend all scheduled days, as well as complete all required field hours, as determined by their academic program. In addition, students must adhere to the designated timeframe - i.e., the beginning and ending of each scheduled day - as decided by their respective academic program, and when appropriate, in collaboration with the site supervisor. Students may be excused only for illness or extenuating family circumstances. It is required that students notify the site supervisor immediately of any absence. Faculty supervisors will specify in their course syllabus if/when to be notified. All absences must be made up. Unexcused absences or lack of compliance with these policies may result in removal from the field site and/or a failing grade.

What if the site is closed due to weather?

The following policy applies for inclement weather:

  • If both the College and field site are closed, or if the field site closes but the College remains open, the student must make up the hours.
  • If the College is closed but the field site remains open, students are encouraged to attend but should use their discretion as to whether they can travel safely to and from the field site. If students do not attend, then they must make up the hours.
  • In cases of extreme or prolonged winter weather conditions that result in an unusual number of snow days, students are still required to fulfill the minimum number of contact hours on site as set by their academic program.

Note: Wheelock announces its closings via Rave Alert. In addition, students are expected to learn about the field site's policy and practice on how closings will be announced.

What if there is a crisis or safety issue at my site?

In the case of an emergency that poses an imminent threat to the student's safety or well-being, the student should immediately contact Wheelock's Department of Public Safety at 617- 879-2151. Public Safety will notify the relevant field education office, which in turn will (a) notify the academic department and, if needed, the academic dean, and (b) work with Public Safety to address the issue. In addition, if faculty and/or staff have been contacted by the student, then they should inform Public Safety immediately to ensure timely and appropriate response to the crisis or emergency. Furthermore, if at any time one feels at risk of immediate physical harm, 911 should be called before calling Public Safety.

In the event of a crisis that does not impose an immediate threat to the student's safety or well-being (such as the death of a staff member), the following protocol will apply:

  • The site supervisor or designee will notify the faculty field liaison, who in turn will inform the field education office about the incident
  • The field education office will notify the academic department, and in collaboration will (a) respond to the site supervisor or designee; (b) reach out to the student who is placed at the site
  • The faculty field liaison will then follow up with the student and site supervisor

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