Frequently Asked Questions: Field Education for churches and agencies
Q: What should we be thinking about in order to offer a good placement?
A: Students need an opportunity to prepare themselves for a leadership role and to stretch into areas of ministry that may be new to them. While the student's work may focus in a particular area, it is expected that s/he will be exposed in significant ways to the whole ministry of the setting chosen. In offering a placement, it is helpful to reflect on all the elements of the ministry and to be open to considering what ways a student may both learn and contribute. The student's work with you is shaped by the learning needs of the student as well as the needs of the congregation or agency.
Q: What is required of the mentoring role?
A: A mentor is expected to meet with the student for an hour each week. Those sessions are not staff meeting time, but rather time for reflection on the work and the student's learning. Mentors are required to write evaluations of the student's work at the end of each semester. Regular meetings with Field Education staff and other mentors provide training and support for those serving in this role.
Q: Do others in the congregation/organization also have a role?
A: The congregation or agency and the student develop ways for the student to receive regular feedback from the laity of the congregation or the constituency of the agency. This group meets monthly with the student to provide additional perspectives on the ministry and to give feedback on the student's work.
Q: How many hours of work are expected from seminarians?
A: Students in concurrent field education are expected to spend a total of 15 hours per week, which includes the hour of mentoring, any staff meeting time, and preparation.
Q: May we start looking for a student as soon as we've decided to offer a placement?
A: During the first week of March, all part-time concurrent placements for the following academic year are announced to students. Though we welcome information about possible placements at any time during the year, we announce them all at once to give students fair access. We ask that interviews be conducted during March and early April. As decisions are made, it is important that our office be notified. Full-time or summer internships may be announced to students at any time; full time commitment from students requires additional planning.
Q: We've offered a placement, but no one has called. What should we do?
A: Students are encouraged to seek placements that further their own vocational goals. Since the group of students is different each year, it is difficult to predict what the interests and needs will be. There are always more placements offered than can be filled by students; however, a placement left open one year may be filled the next.