Field Education General Information
Field Education provides an important opportunity for learning which integrates academic study, spiritual discipline, and the practice of ministry. It is the portion of the Masters of Divinity (M.Div.) Program involving seminarians in supervised work in ministry. Ministry is defined as work undertaken by a person in preparation for her/his vocation. It should take place in a setting central to the vocation of the seminarian.
Field Education differs from field work, unsupervised church employment, and other employment because it requires:
- Involvement in significant learning opportunities for full range of the work of ministry
- Development of a learning/serving covenant at the beginning of each semester which is the first step in the self-directed, self-reflective learning process
- Regular reflection sessions with an on-site mentor (usually one hour weekly)
- Written Evaluations by the mentor and the seminarian which are submitted to the Field Education faculty at the end of each semester
- Regular feedback from a constituency group (Teaching Parish Committee, Teaching Agency Committee or other appropriate constituency group) concerning the seminarian’s growth and level of competency
- For seminarians in Concurrent Field Education: Participation in a weekly seminar both fall and spring semesters in which there is disciplined theological reflection on the practice of ministry that arises during Field Education.
GOALS OF FIELD EDUCATION
- Increase personal maturity of faith and vocational identity
- Develop skills and identify gifts toward the goal of developing competency in ministry
- Foster appropriate responses to people and contexts of ministry with attention and sensitivity to multicultural dynamics and concerns
- Identify “growing edges” i.e., areas in need of further learning, discernment.
- Deepen coherence between theory and practice, encouraging seminarians to become reflective practitioners
- Reflect theologically upon personal experiences, faith tradition, and contemporary issues and integrate what is learned into the practice of ministry
- Articulate a theology of ministry
- Expand the context of experience in the world.
COMPONENTS OF THE LEARNING PROCESS
- Development of a learning/serving covenant at the beginning and midpoint of the placement
- Performance of ministry
- Theological reflection with mentor and in the field education class (for Concurrent Field Education)
- Giving and receiving feedback with teaching parish committee, teaching agency committee or appropriate constituency group
- Written evaluations at midpoint and end of placement.
KEY PEOPLE INVOLVED
- Members of the Teaching Parish Committee, Teaching Agency Committee or
appropriate constituency group
- Teaching congregation or other setting, all those engaged with the seminarian’s ministry
- Peers and faculty in field education class (for Concurrent Field Education)
- Staff of the Field Education Office