Publication Details

Ravulo, J. (2018). Pacific Islands Field Education (PIFE): 2017 Report. Western Sydney University.


Celebrating its 5th year, the Pacific Islands Field Education (PIFE) initiative continues to implement new and innovative approaches to developing placement opportunities for social work students through Western Sydney University alongside its partnering institution, the University of the South Pacific. Since 2012, thirty-two undergraduate students have successfully completed their final fourth year placement in the Pacific, with the view to also support the development of teaching and learning practices on Pacific social work, and the desire to further enhance the evolving professional identity of social work across Oceania. In 2017, the initiative saw 12 undergraduate students sent (our biggest cohort to date) to 4 countries - Fiji (5 students), Samoa (2 students), Tonga (3 students) and for the first time Vanuatu (2 students). Four new services were brought on board via a WSU Agency Agreement, alongside the other five existing services already working across the PIFE initiative. Positively, the School of Social Sciences and Psychology has embedded the initiative as a core program, promoting this within its budget and structures to ensure long term sustainability and ongoing hope to further support the growth and development of social work education that is underpinned by a genuine approach to working with diverse communities across the region. We also continue to celebrate positive outcomes with University of the South Pacific, alongside burgeoning support from the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) and other Universities across Oceania keen to support growing interest in Pacific social work. This includes a unique collaboration with Massey University, who are also pioneering the advancement of Pacific social work through a symposium held at USP (Fiji) in March 2017, alongside the official launch of a Regional Resource Centre (RRC) that will further assist the development of relevant social work education, practice, policy and research. Further to such successes are the two journal articles published on the PIFE program thus far (with additional outputs currently under peer review), and the commissioning of a new Pacific Social Work book under Routledge, being developed with 35 co-authors assisting the writing up of 20 chapters that explore key fields of practice alongside sections on Pacific policy and research. This collection, edited by myself, Tracie Mafile'o (Massey University) and Bruce Yeates (University of the South Pacific) is the first of its kind, and we are all looking forward to seeing the book published in the second half of 2018.