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Policies and Procedures

Field Placement Procedures

The Field Education Office works to develop specific programs of field training to fit the unique interests and needs of students. An initial interview with the Director is a key component in the placement process. This time is designed for students to begin naming their goals and expectations for field education and becoming aware of the need for thoughtful scheduling of field education experiences. Students are encouraged to visit sites to explore whether they will meet their needs. Students submit a Biographical Sketch  which is made available to congregations and agencies in which the student is interested. Conversation between supervisor and student begins this way.

Congregational Placements: Interviews for congregational placements are held on a Thursday evening in late April. Congregations that are approved field education sites send an interview team to the Seminary for interviews with as many as five students. In like manner, students may select five church sites with which they wish to interview. Upon completion of these interviews, the Field Education Office makes assignments for placement. The office seeks to match the abilities of students and the needs of a given church site, to honor the preferences of both church sites and students, to provide a satisfactory placement for the maximum number of students and church sites, and to give a degree of preference to those students who have not completed field education requirements.

Placements can be made outside of the interview process, but Field Education units can be earned only in placements that are approved by the Field Education Office.

Agency Placements: Agencies that have a history of working with students submit to the Field Education Office a description of the agency, a vitae of the supervisor, and a position description.  These documents will be available on the seminary web page, under Field Education / Agency Placements.  Positions are available to new and returning students. The Director of Field Education will arrange on-site interviews with these agencies. Students who are interested in a specific agency or area of ministry are encouraged to contact the Director who will seek to arrange interviews in agencies that meet the student's learning goals and the seminary's criteria for supervision.

In both congregational and agency placements, the Seminary cannot guarantee placement, since the final decision rests with the employing institution. The Seminary does, however, provide a wide range of interview opportunities for each student and ensures that each church and agency participating in the program follows Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) guidelines.

Lay Committee

During Field Education congregational placements students learn to partner with church laity by the establishment of a Lay Committee. Persons on the interview team and/or others who work closely with the student may constitute such a group. Lay Committees need not meet weekly; however, a monthly meeting can provide helpful input for the student and can help students learn to partner with laity. Such a circle of congregational members can offer the “view from the pew” which is indispensable to the practice of ministry. Each fall the Director of Field Education offers a training session for Lay Committees.

In December and May, Lay Committees are asked to submit to the Field Education Office an evaluation from their perspective of the student. These are sent to the student’s ordaining body to help that group in the assessment of the student’s readiness for ministry.

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Field Education Credit for Previous Ministry

A few third-year students who have completed a congregational placement may serve as a student supply pastor of a small congregation for 20 hours a week. Supervision is provided by an experienced pastor or by group supervision provided by the seminary. Students must have the permission of their Faculty Adviser and the Director of Field Education to enroll for more than 10.5 hours of academic work.

See "Policy on Credit Awarded for Previous Ministry."

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Seeking a Field Education Placement

Students who decide to seek a Field Education placement are required complete the following paperwork and meet with the Director of Field Education: 

  1. A Field Education Information Form, indicating interest.
  2. A Biographical Sketch Form.
  3. The Sexual Misconduct Form.

More information, forms, important dates and policies and procedures are available in the Placement Hub.

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Problems and Termination

After a placement has begun, the Director of Field Education is available to discuss any questions with students and/or supervisors.

If problems arise that have not been resolved (or that cannot be discussed) with the supervisor, the student should consult the Director immediately for assistance and support. Unfortunately, some placements turn out to be an unsatisfactory match and need to be terminated in the best interests of all parties.

If the placement is unworkable, it can be terminated before the end of the contract period. If this is necessary, a conference with the student, the supervisor and the Director is required. Depending upon the circumstances, the student may or may not receive credit for the work that has been completed up to that point.

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No part of a student's field education record is released without a signed permission from the student. At the beginning of each field education placement students are asked to sign a statement that evaluations may be released to their ordaining body.

The Field Education Office seeks to maintain rigorous standards of confidentiality in matters of student evaluation. The office is never unlocked when unattended, and student Field Education files are kept in locked filing cabinets to which the only persons with access are the Director and the Administrative Secretary of the Field Education Office. Evaluation papers can be shared only with the President, the Dean of the Faculty, the Faculty Advisor, and the denomination representatives involved in the student’s ordination process. CPE evaluations are shared only with denominational authorities.

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