Payment for Placements at University of Denver 0

Payments For Placements at University of Denver's School of Social Work

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To Dean Amanda Moore McBride and the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work Administrators,

As students, alumni, and faculty of the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work, we write to call attention to the need for GSSW students to be paid for their field work. Using our experiences as an example, we hope to shed light on the urgent problem of unpaid field work.

Being required to complete nearly one thousand hours of field work without any expectation of pay on top of the time we devote to our coursework leaves little room to support our living expenses with part-time work. Students are unable to devote equal attention to our occupational or educational lives without minimizing one of these areas, reducing our capacity to meaningfully contribute to the GSSW community.

The NASW Code of Ethics (2021) and its core values of social justice, dignity and worth of the person, and the importance of human relationships stand as reasoning for our current efforts. Paid field work supports each of these values by telling social work students that their contributions to their field sites are valuable. Unpaid field work does the opposite: it devalues not just MSW students’ work, but the work of the entire social work profession, compromising the NASW ethical values of integrity and competence.

For these reasons, we request to convene a task force comprised of GSSW administrators and students that would research the issue of securing funding for our field placements and to report its results publicly. This research should investigate social work programs that find funding for students’ field placements, and other programs at DU whose students are paid for required internships, with the intention for the GSSW to adopt these practices.

We the undersigned students, faculty, and alumni urge this task force to convene and publicly report its results to the GSSW student body, staff, and administration prior to the end of the 2023 Winter Quarter and implement an equitable compensation program prior to the beginning of the 2023 Autumn Quarter. We also ask that at least two organizers of the Payment for Placements Initiative be included on this task force. Our initiative will assist in guiding the efforts to ensure that the task force is created.

We kindly anticipate a response by the end of December 2022. In the meantime, the organizers of University of Denver’s Payment for Placements Chapter would be happy to meet to discuss our concerns. We can be reached at (


Payment for Placements at DU

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