Newsletter for supervisors - January 2022

Faculty of Social Sciences
School of Social Work
Internal communication
uottawa campus
Happy New Year! We wish you good health and a return to life with no pandemic!

In the meantime, we are still facing public health challenges this semester. We want to thank you for accepting to supervise a student during these difficult and tumultuous times.

In this newsletter, we are presenting information about a few activities taking place at the University of Ottawa’s School of Social Work that could be of interest to you. We have added a new section The floor is yours to share some good practices and suggestions by some of our experienced supervisors as well as a few Social Work Bachelor’s and Master’s students who have recently been in a field placement. Please feel free to share this newsletter with your colleagues and in your networks.

Activities at the School of Social work: 

National Social Work Week takes place virtually from March 7 to 11. All activities are in French. The main theme is: "Regards et outils diversifiés en intervention sociale" (Diversified perspectives and methods in social intervention) 

There will be many new activities and the complete schedule for the week will be available soon; to register: National Social Work Week.

The keynote conference will be on Tuesday March 8th from 6 to 8:30 pm. The title is: Marginalisation des femmes autochtones (Marginalisation of indigenous women) presented by the Honorable Senator, Michèle Audette 

Sensibilisation aux micro-agressions dans le cadre des stages (Awareness of micro-aggressions in field placements): A virtual professional development workshop is being developed for supervisors. (in French). More information to be announced on our website's Field placement page.

Le Comité d’équité, diversité et inclusion (The equity, diversity and inclusion committee) is working together with the field placement coordinators to prepare a handout to sensitize students and field placement supervisors to the challenges of racism and discrimination in field placements.

The Cercle Kinistòtàdimin is organizing an intensive 1-week summer school program. If public health regulations permit, it will be in person on an indigenous territory. It will involve twenty students from various bachelor programs of the Faculty of social sciences at University of Ottawa, who will participate in conferences, discussions, and learning activities on various subjects related to social intervention with indigenous communities.

Consortium national de formation en santé (CNFS) conference and English Supervision Workshops:

The Art of Supervising Trainees is a collection of five “basic” and three “advanced” workshops. These stand-alone workshops are offered online, free of charge. They were first introduced as part of a training and research project led by the Consortium national de formation en santé (CNFS), an initiative supported by Health Canada. These workshops are intended for professionals who wish to perfect their knowledge and improve their skills in supervising students. will be 2 virtual sessions in French of this workshop on February 15 and March 2 from 9 to 12 am. For more information [email protected].

Exploring various supervision models : This workshop presents various models of supervision of students. The objectives of the course are to identify the advantages and disadvantages, as well as to name organizational and managerial strategies specific to each model and determine which one will best suit certain clinical situations.

The annual conference: Cultiver sa bienveillance au travail “(Cultivate kindness at work) will be presented virtually on Friday February 25th 2022. The conference is in French. For details and to register:

Recognition Program: Supervisors' Contribution to the Academic Community, ECCUThis program aims to highlight your contribution to the academic community by awarding you ECCUs (Equivalencies for Contributions to Colleges and Universities) based on activities in which you choose to participate. For more information and to register

On line course for Field placement supervisors:

Registration for the 2nd session of the online course offered by the Canadian Association for Social Work Education (CASWE) began January 14th and closes February 28th.
This course is designed specifically for supervisors of social work field placements. It is intended to provide you with a solid foundation on which you can rely for supervising students. There are 9 modules and depending on your pace, it will take you about 10 hours in total to complete all the modules. Given time constraints and the many professional and personal commitments of supervisors, CASWE has made the course as concise and attractive as possible. It is offered free of charge.

Contact Jacynthe Mayer, Senior Field Placement and Education Coordinator at University of Ottawa’s School of Social Work [email protected] to register. The maximum number of participants who can register for the course per session is 1,000. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Other training and development resources

Carleton University, School of Social Work has assembled a Hub for field supervisors which includes many resources; training, videos and podcasts in English on different aspects of supervision:

Ontario Association of social workers offers many professional development virtual webinars on various subjects. . There is also an on demand section for access to recording of past webinars:

TRAIN is a national learning network that provides thousands of quality training opportunities to more than one million professionals who protect and improve the public's health:

THE ROYAL: Taking care of yourself while practicing social distancing and social isolation

The floor is yours!

We asked three questions of some of our experienced supervisors as well as some of our students from the bachelors and masters programs who have recently completed a field placement. In this section, we want to share good practices that helped them. It is interesting to note how the responses of supervisors and students complement each other. These reflections may inspire or guide you in your supervisory experiences. The field placement coordinators as well as the professors who supervise the students in field placement are there as resource persons to help and support you. We very much appreciate the participation of the respondents in this mini survey. The original answers were in French and were translated unofficially.

Supervisors respond:

In one sentence, what is the best advice you would give to a supervisor who supervises for the first time?

A relationship of trust must be established between supervisor and student from the beginning of the field placement. (Darline Charles Davilma)

I could say that the supervisor must have time, patience, open-mindedness and a good sense of observation in order to have a good understanding of the student’s learning style. (Michèle Makoko)

It is normal not to know everything when you start! When you do not know the answer, do not hesitate to ask questions of other supervisors. Ask for support from the university's field placement coordinators or professors, and attend events offered by the university as well as training offered by the Consortium national de formation en santé (CNFS). This will give you not only the opportunity to gain knowledge and develop supervisory skills, but also feel supported throughout the process!!! (Caroline Ringuet)

Do you have a winning strategy to build confidence with your student in supervision?

I propose to the student to keep a logbook weekly, to reassure and encourage them of their progress in intervention skills and to ask me questions. I suggest preparing the questions in advance for supervision. In the beginning of the field placement, I take the time to explain the different intervention procedures depending on the case and I give the necessary documentation to understand the reality of the clientele and the organization. (Michelle Makoko)

I adopt an attitude of authenticity, listening and non-judgment in the relationship with my student. I always arrive prepared to my supervisory meetings. (Darline Charles Davilma)

I inform the student at the beginning of the field placement that for me the important thing is that they can evolve within the field placement environment, that it is normal to have fears and that I do not expect them to know everything from the start, but that I am there to support and guide them throughout the process. I remind them that the field placement environment is the best place to try new things and try new experiences! (Caroline Ringuet)

What do you do to motivate your students when they are tired or lack energy mid-placement or towards the end of the field placement?

I make sure to offer my students a space to express their emotions and I take a supportive and understanding attitude. I always start my meetings by asking my students: How are you? How was the week? It is a way to show them that I am interested in their feelings and give them the chance to verbalize them. (Darline Charles Davilma)

I have never had such a case unfortunately, but if it were to happen, I would start by talking with the student, propose some ways to motivate, identify and unlock barriers, difficulties and review or change my way of supervising. (Michelle Makoko)

I help them develop strategies to organize their time during the week using various tools and be able to set priorities. In addition, I make sure that the student can identify and put into practice strategies of self-care from the beginning of the field placement!! (Caroline Ringuet)

The students say:

Name a strategy that your supervisor has put in place that has helped you a lot.

My supervisor set up weekly team meetings to provide helpful coaching and this helped the process of integrating the Restorative Justice team into the Sexual Misconduct Intervention Centre (SMRC) without difficulty. (Luc Gibson, B.S.W. student)

By letting me observe during the first weeks how my supervisor went about creating relationships with families and intervening with children through play, and then allowing me to take the lead with a new file, was probably what was most beneficial to me. She quickly understood my learning style and adapted my field placement activities. I was able to observe her in several interventions and then I could reproduce and adapt interventions for other cases. On several occasions, when the pandemic allowed, we met to work together in person, which facilitated exchanges. (Caroline Boulanger, M.S.W. student)

I will always remember that, the only thing my supervisor told me when I arrived on orientation day was “this is your placement, your opportunity and your experiences, make the best out of them” it gave me the courage to experiment with different areas and gain knowledge in what I wanted to learn based on what interested me most. (Cristelle Flack, B.S.W. student)

Frankly speaking, my supervisors have not put in place specific methods of supervision. They would ask me on the day of the supervisory meeting to tell them what I found in my research or if I have any questions to ask them. If I did not have many things to discuss with them that I found in my research or challenges I encountered in the field, the meeting did not last long. On the other hand, this supervision strategy allowed me to develop autonomy. (Anonymous, M.S.W. student)

When you arrived at the field placement organization, what helped you feel most welcomed?

In times of pandemic, this is quite a challenge for supervisors, who try in many ways to make us feel comfortable and welcomed. In my case, it was the first time my supervisor had a student and honestly, I could not have asked for anything better. From the beginning of my field placement, she made sure I had all the necessary equipment (gloves, masks, visors, etc.) in case we had to go to the office or meet clients in person. She took the time to get to know me to make sure my field placement activities were in line with my interests and found colleagues who agreed that I spend time with them to satisfy my interests that were less in her field of expertise. She invited me to the meetings and always took the time to introduce me. I immediately felt part of the group! (Caroline Boulanger, M.S.W. student)

The support and warm welcome of everyone. I was immediately encouraged to discover different areas other than my own with other supervisors and team members. I felt invited to ask anyone questions. I was able to count on my team throughout my field placement thanks to the trust we built during the orientation day by meeting them one by one. (Cristelle Flack, B.S.W. student)

All the members of the unit where I was were nice and kind. They were always available to me whenever I needed them. They told me to contact them whenever I needed help. (Anonymous, M.S.W. student)

The team at THE SMRC is very professional. From the very beginning, I received emails from my colleagues welcoming me to their team and offering to consult them if necessary. I was assured that the team members would always be available if I had any questions and this was my experience throughout my field placement. (Luc Gibson, B.S.W. student)

Do you have a suggestion for a new supervisor who has never had students before?

Looking back on my experience as a rather shy student who needed to build confidence, I think the best thing my supervisor could do was listen to my needs and fears, while validating my thoughts to help me build that trust. I would therefore say that listening to the needs and validating the students' reflections make it possible to create a good foundation throughout the field placement. (Caroline Boulanger, M.S.W. student)

My suggestion would be to encourage supervisors to find appropriate supervisory methods and to accompany the student during the field placement because the student is not an expert; they do their field placement because they need to gain experience. (Anonymous, M.S.W. student)

I believe that each supervisor has strengths as well as weaknesses but I consider important the role that the supervisor can play in relation to the professional and personal development of a student. With this in mind, a supervisor must recognize the potential impact they may have on their student. (Luc Gibson, B.S.W. student)

Let them fly in their own direction. Be there to support and guide their decisions. (Cristelle Flack, B.S.W. student)

Field placement information:  coordinators will be in contact with you a few months before each of these field placements to ask if you would agree to supervise a student.

Field placements Timing of placement process Field placement duration Coordinators
Bachelor: 1st field placement (in 3rdyear) October to December January to April

Annie Mercier

[email protected]

Bachelor: 2nd field placement (in 4thyear) March to August September to December

Annie Mercier

[email protected]

Master: 1st field placement (in 1styear) January to April May to July

Jacynther Mayer

[email protected]

Master: 2nd field placement (in 2ndyear) September to December January to April

Jacynthe Mayer

[email protected]

Jacynthe Mayer

Senior Field Placement and Education Coordinator

[email protected]

Annie Mercier

Field Placement and Education Coordinator

[email protected]

Monique Gibbens

Project Coordinator (CNFS)

[email protected]