The Master of Arts in Family and Consumer Sciences with a Family Life Education Concentration prepares professionals to provide intervention skills for coping with life events and family transitions. Graduates of the program complete 31 semester hours of course work planned in consultation with and approved by the graduate student advisor. The degree prepares students for certification as Family Life Educators (CFLE) through the National Council on Family Relations. Coursework is required in each of the ten Family Life Substance Areas and students complete an individualized practicum experience.
FCS 622 Practicum in Family and Consumer Sciences
Practicum in FCS
The practicum program provides an opportunity through individual placement for students to develop a particular area of specialization oriented toward a specific career goal in family life education (for example, parent education; community college or adult education, youth and family agents, or agency programming directors). Masters candidates have the opportunity to apply knowledge gained through coursework in family life education settings under supervision provided by faculty in the department of Consumer and Family Sciences. Since skills are acquired by the application of information, knowledge, and many hours of practice, the field education experience is required of all students accepted into the FLE program. Students enroll after the majority of coursework is completed.
The key to an effective practicum experience is planning and cooperation. The student, field supervisor, placement agency, faculty advisor, and continuing education staff all work together with the overall intent of coordinating the student's experience so that the field placement goals and objectives are achieved. Although the student must assume a majority of the responsibility for attaining a meaningful field education experience, success requires the cooperation of all involved.
I. Practicum in FCS
A. Program Definition of Family Life Education
". . .concerned with preserving and improving the quality of human life by the study of individuals and families as they interact with the resources in their multi-faceted environments" (Darling, 1987, p. 818)
"Family life education. . .is devoted to enabling adults to increase the effectiveness of their skills in daily living, that is, in relating to others, in coping with life events, and in realizing personal potential" (Tennant, 1989, p. 127)
Following completion of at least 12 hours of FLE course work, the FLE student can register for a minimum of two hours of practicum experience. One-hundred hours of work must be completed and documented for every hour of credit. The faculty advisor approves the placement prior to enrollment.
II. Responsibilities for the Practicum Experience
A. Faculty Coordinator
The FLE practicum coordinator is responsible for the following:
1. To determine student eligibility for the practicum experience
2. To approve the practicum placement
3. To serve as liaison between agencies, programs, and school
4. To receive, review, approve and evaluate student documentation of practicum experience (learning contract, journal, personal plan and final evaluation)
5. To participate with each student and student's site supervisor(s) in an initial planning and final interview
6. To recommend each student's grade for FCS 622
B. Site Supervisor
The site supervisor is minimally responsible for the following:
1. To provide a significant and meaningful learning experience for each student
2. To assist each student in developing individual goals for the field experience
3. To provide each student with information regarding agency/organizational policies and procedures
4. To provide each student with a comprehensive outline of organizational/agency services and the place of the agency within the network of community services
5. To acquaint each student with the agency's personnel and physical plant
6. To assist each student in the construction of a formal agreement regarding the inclusive dates of the field experience and the time commitment required per week
7. To participate with each student and the FLE faculty coordinator in an initial and final interview
8. To provide the FLE faculty member with a written evaluation of the student's performance upon completion of the experience. The final evaluation should include a recommendation for credit or no credit for each student.
C. The Student
The student has major responsibility for the learning experience. It is important to remember that there is an initial period of adjustment to a practicum experience which may be difficult for everyone. Timely and honest communication can prevent many problems from developing. Each student is minimally responsible fore the following:
1. To secure admission into the FLE program prior to enrollment in the practicum experience and complete 12 credit hours of FLE coursework prior to enrollment in the experience.
2. To contact the FLE faculty coordinator one semester prior to the semester in which the student wishes to begin the practicum experience.
3. To secure approval of the faculty coordinator for approval and to coordinate specific arrangements
4. To collaborate with the site supervisor(s) on the preparation of a learning contract specifying:
a. inclusive dates of the experience
b. weekly time commitment and expectations
c. any time off--legal holidays, WMU breaks (all to be negotiated with the site supervisor)
d. individual goals and outcome statements
Three copies of the learning contract signed by the student and the site supervisor(s) must be submitted to the FLE faculty coordinator for approval
5. To provide quality service in assigned tasks
6. To provide a professional level of quality programming, presentation development, client interactions and evaluation
7. To submit to the FLE faculty coordinator documentation of practicum experience (learning contract, journal with daily entries, personal plan, final evaluation, and example video-tape). The final evaluation is due by the last day of the semester in which the practicum experience is completed.
8. To participate with FLE faculty coordinator and site supervisor(s) in an initial placement interview and final evaluation conference
In order for the student to receive a grade for practicum in any semester or session, the student must submit a time log documenting completion of 100 hours of field experience for each 1 credit hour for which the student is registered during that semester or session. For example, a student who is registered for 2 credit hours of practicum during a semester, must complete 200 clock hours of field experience in order to receive credit for that experience at the completion of that semester. Documentation of hours must be submitted by the end of the semester in order for the faculty coordinator to submit a grade; otherwise, the student will be issued an incomplete until hours are documented.
Practicum in FCS ~Learning Contract~ Supervisor Evaluation