I had been wondering whether an office at the USC school of social work canceling “field work” in favor of “practicum” was a hoax, but a Daily Trojan article confirms it and points to this earlier announcement from Cal State Northridge in the San Fernando Valley, which offers a particularly enthusiastic explanation:
Language Shift: CSUN Practicum Education Program
Dear CSUN Students, Staff, and Faculty,
As we continue our anti-racist work combatting anti-Blackness, CSUN’s Social Work Department Field Education Program has decided to no longer use the term “field” to refer to internships. “Field” and “fieldwork” connote the antebellum south, where slaves and indigenous people were sent to work for free on behalf of their owners. We recognize and honor the contributions made by Black and indigenous people in building our society and we refuse to be complicit in perpetuating white supremacy. Standing in solidarity with activist Joyce McMillan, we want to be mindful and considerate on how we send social workers into the field to police rather than liberate. We want to stand in conviction by implementing this language shift which will demonstrate our refusal to be complicit in perpetuating colonialism.
In taking action to do our part in moving the social work profession past these white supremist ideologies, we are adopting the name of the CSUN Practicum Education Program and our Practicum Education Faculty/liaisons will be addressed as Practicum Education Liaisons.