The Site Supervisor is a qualified public health professional who supervises a students’ practicum work on a day-to-day basis and evaluates students in the practice setting throughout their practicum. Site Supervisors are committed to hosting and advising the student as they engage in mutually meaningful activities with the public health organization.
Read the Site Supervisor Information Sheet
Practicum can be pursued in a variety of organizations that have dedicated public health staff who are qualified and available to mentor and supervise. You are discouraged from completing a Practicum at your regular or past place of employment in order to gain exposure to a different type of public health work and environment. However, with the approval from your MPH Program Director, you may do a Practicum there if: 1) the opportunity meets MPH requirements and differs substantially from your current/former role, and 2) the Site Supervisor is someone other than your regular supervisor.
See “Practicum Search” for how to find a Practicum.
A qualified practicum organization must:
- Have a current affiliation agreement with the UWSPH for practicum placements and be an established organization with at least one full-time staff member and a physical office location.
- Work in public health practice, if it is an organization outside the university.
- Have a focus on community engagement addressing public health issues, typically with external community partners, if it is a UW-based site (e.g., UW Environmental Health & Safety, Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, International Training and Education Center for Health).
A qualified Site Supervisor must:
- Hold a position in a public health or population health organization.
- Have extensive experience working in the practicum project area.
- Be willing to develop a plan, supervise and evaluate the student in the practice setting during and at the end of the practicum.
A qualified Site Supervisor must not:
- Be a current SPH student.
- Be the same person as the student’s Practicum Faculty Adviser, or have a direct reporting relationship with the student’s Practicum Faculty Adviser.
- Be the same supervisor as the student’s regular supervisor at their current place of employment.
Roles and Responsibilities
Site Supervisors supervise students’ work on a day-to-day basis and evaluate students in the practice setting. Specifically, they:
- Meet with the Manager of Experiential Learning in-person or via Zoom at least once prior to their first-time supervising practicum students;
- Advise the student, along with the student’s Practicum Faculty Adviser, on developing an outline of competency-based activities to be carried out during the duration of the proposed project(s), which are documented in the student’s learning contract and is directly aligned with the practicum organization’s needs and student career goals;
- Orient the student to the health topic(s), people, policies, procedures, and norms related to the organization/site where the practicum work is conducted;
- Provide office space and support needed to carry out assigned tasks;
- Provide the student with regular contact with public health practitioners and/or target populations such as expecting them to attend management and/or staff meetings as well as program planning and coordination meetings with professionals, agency and/or community;
- Meet with the student at regular intervals (at least weekly is suggested) to provide guidance, support, and timely, constructive feedback;
- Model professional, ethical behavior;
- Complete a midpoint review and Site Supervisor evaluation with the student;
- Identify a suitable replacement if unable to continue in the role of a Site Supervisor; and
- Communicate with the student’s Practicum Faculty Adviser and/or Manager of Experiential Learning in a timely manner regarding any issues or concerns that arise during the practicum.
Students are expected to follow the project timeline proposed in their Learning Contract and submit the necessary forms and deliverables throughout the practicum.
Practicum work may be compensated or uncompensated, which varies by the type of organization, project, or location. The site can pay students at an hourly rate or by stipend. UWSPH is not involved in arranging or dispersing any form of payment.