School of Theology and Ministry
Student Life

Contextual Education

  • The curricular structure of each of the school's degree programs is designed to create space for students to explore their passions in a variety of settings. Students are able to practically demonstrate their coursework learning in their field of interest--leadership, ministry or in therapeutic relationships.

    In this "Contextual Education" phase of the degree programs, each student learns to be a reflective practitioner. Students gain new insights and understandings from mentors, on site-supervisors, and others while meeting weekly with faculty to reflect on and understand more deeply their inner call to service and leadership within a variety of contexts.

    Contextual education opportunities and internships vary by degree as well as by individual student goals and interests.

    Program I:
    Ministerial and Theological Integration

    Ministerial and Theological Integration, or MTI, is the internship and class sequence required for the MA in Pastoral Studies and MA in Transforming Spirituality (Spiritual Direction specialization) programs, and the first of two for the Master of Divinity degree. In this sequence, the student explores how personal gifts and hopes connect with specific contexts over the course of nine months. Students choose sites that complement their career goals while challenging them to develop new sensibilities and skills for ministering to a variety of populations. Working up to 10 hours a week on site for 3 quarters with a qualified on site supervisor, students meet weekly with other students and a faculty to identify and describe the content of their personal and professional growth, develop theological  depth, and strengthen their  professional capacities.

    Program II:
    Theology of Pastoral Leadership

    Theology of Pastoral Leadership, or TPL, is the second and final internship and class sequence required for the Master of Divinity degree, and takes place during Fall and Winter quarter of the Master of Divinity student’s final year at the school. Students focus on: leadership styles and metaphors; theologies of the local church; skills for effecting change and nurturing staff and volunteers; and processes for social analysis within congregational settings. Students find supervisors and leadership contexts that will complement their skillsets and offer them the opportunity to develop new sensibilities. Students work on site for up to 10 hours per week for 2 quarters and meet weekly in the classroom with faculty and peers.

    Program III:
    Integration for Transformational Leadership for Justice

    Integration for Transformational Leadership for Justice, or ITLJ, is the Winter-Spring internship and class sequence required for the MATL degree. This capstone course sequence engages students in contextual mentoring relationships. Students identify areas of career interest, interview potential mentors within specific contexts, and agree to work for up to 10 hours a week in a specific location for 2 quarters. Weekly onsite mentor  sessions, monthly  leadership coaching opportunities, and weekly class sessions with peers and faculty,  provide a comprehensive  opportunity to integrate knowledge bases, skills, and onsite practices.

    Program IV:
    Relationship & Pastoral Therapy Clinical Program

    The six-quarter clinical sequence provides students with experience and training as a couple and family therapist. At the site, students carry a supervised caseload of 14-18 clinical hours per week. The student and licensed supervisor meet for one hour weekly to conceptualize cases and develop treatment strategies. In addition to the onsite experience, students participate in weekly three-hour faculty-led group supervision. In order to demonstrate clinical readiness, students are required to pass prerequisite classes and must receive passing grades on their clinical skills’ rubrics. Required clinical orientations provide instruction and resources regarding site placement and clinical expectations (handbook provided).

    Annual Orientations

    Dates coming soon for Spring Quarter 2014!

    Students about to begin internships will hear more about the programs and process, meet key staff and faculty and have the opportunity to brainstorm with other students about potential sites.