IMPACT OF THE STRUCTURE OF THE FIELD INSTRUCTION CENTER ON PARTICIPATING AGENCIES
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The field instruction center has been a model of field instruction at the Adelphi University School of Social Work since 1969. The center is established by bringing together a group of agencies in the same geographical area that individually and collectively offer students a variety of learning experiences through direct contact with diverse populations who present a broad spectrum of social problems. The structure of each center includes an advisory board, a teaching team in each agency, a center coordinator, students, agencies and the school.;Within a framework of systems theory and organizational theory developed by Weber, Katz, Hall, Gouldner, Etzioni, Scott and Merton, three centers have been examined. Each center has developed its own structure which has had a different impact on its participating agencies. The impact emerges as a function of the student education process taking place in the field instruction centers. It consists of changes in service delivery, program development, student assignments and agency staff assignments.;An unexpected discovery was the differential impact on agencies associated with differences in the nature of the position of field center coordinator. The agency based coordinator, who is concerned about agency service vis-a-vis student education as well as the school's educational stance, makes a greater contribution to change in agencies than the full-time faculty member in the same position. The full-time faculty members' self perception in the role consists of a view of center functioning limited to student education, and not beyond to the potential for introducing new services and programs into the agency. They play the role of educator only, whereas the agency-based coordinator is both educator and practitioner, who broadens his perspective and his visions of the center's potential.;The study suggests that if coordinators expand their vision of their role and agencies are encouraged to increase contacts with each other for the purpose of using educational assignments differently than they do now, a greater impact will be made on them as members of a field instruction center. Then, the field instruction center can reach for exchanges that involve agencies more in professional education and involve educational institutions more in agency service. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.).