Case Studies

BU Wheelock Streamlines Field Placements with Sonia

A picture containing textDescription automatically generatedLearn how Boston University Wheelock College of Education and Human Development transformed their field placement program with centralized management.

When Wheelock College and Boston University’s School of Education merged, Paul Akoury, Associate Director of Field Education, used the opportunity to implement new technology to streamline field placement operations. 

Centralizing Placement Operations 

Paul transitioned from the former Wheelock College and was tasked with centralizing placement operations for the newly created BU Wheelock College of Education and Human Development. Sonia’s student placement software was already being used in BU’s School of Social Work and its implementation was expanded to support the centralization at BU Wheelock. Paul had previous experiences with other placement software systems and noted that Sonia was a more comprehensive platform to centralize field placement data.  

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Streamlining Program Management 

The placement team had been working with numerous spreadsheets to manage programs, which was onerous and resulted in many inconsistencies and inconveniences. Tasks such as implementing forms, updating site and contact profiles, managing communications, and tracking fieldwork compliance were also very challenging to manage manually.

“With around 700 allocations [placements] per year, it is very difficult without a central place to update and track. Life is a lot easier without having to piece together spreadsheets.”

Sonia has enabled the team to streamline recurring processes such as sending placement lists to principals or kick-off communications to supervisors and students each semester; and monitoring completion with university and field site requirements.

Managing Emergencies 

During fast-evolving emergency situations, the use of forms and notifications was invaluable. With sudden changes required due to the global pandemic, Sonia enabled fast deployment of new forms related to safety, new district processes, and tracking.  

“It would have been really difficult without Sonia to adapt to and manage the unpredictable and evolving demands presented by the pandemic.”

A More Effective and Efficient Team 

With the implementation of Sonia, Paul and his team have become more effective and efficient:  

  • No longer need to update multiple spreadsheets 

  • Track and update information in one place  

  • Notifications act as automatic reminders for assessments 

  • Internal compliance with university and site policies met 

  • Automated stakeholder communication  


Usage Continues to Grow 

A firm believer in a culture of continuous improvement, every year Sonia is expanded to further enhance programs and processes. Additionally, building capacity and knowledge among colleagues has been vital and as was noted:  

“The ongoing support from the Sonia product expert is exceptional. The level of responsiveness, knowledge, customer service and training for my colleagues and me has been truly a value added.”