Field Education Information
Supervised practice of ministry (SPM) and field education (FE) are integral parts of the UDTS curriculum. The SPM settings and FE courses provide numerous opportunities for seminary students to integrate theological reflection and pastoral leadership practice. At the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, SPM is viewed as a formative experience where each student, with the guidance and support of faculty, trained supervisors, and committed laity, can develop the skills and capacities for a life of joyful service to Christ.
Field education serves several major purposes which may not be met by other parts of the ministry learning process. Students are required to integrate their classroom knowledge with daily practices and experiences and make meaning of that integration through purposeful reflection. Students build experience and skills through supervised practice with the guidance of a supervisor-mentor. Students explore, affirm, and develop their gifts for service to the people of God. Finally, students can test and further develop an understanding of their own call to ministry through inner reflection and confirmation and feedback from others within the ministry setting.
SPM placements and field education courses equip students to:
- Develop the capacity for integrating theological reflection and the practice of Christian ministry
- Develop skills and capacities for faithful and joyful Christian ministry
- Develop a holistic understanding of the pastoral vocation wherein ministry, relationship, personal spirituality, and self-care are held in a creative and faithful balance.
Students seeking ordination are responsible for consulting with their committee on preparation for ministry or judicatory board for any requirements or expectations beyond the UDTS requirements. UDTS is not responsible for ensuring that each student meets the requirements of their judicatory - it is exclusively the responsibility of the student. All students pursuing ordination should begin a conversation with their judicatory before locating a supervised practice of ministry site or supervisor.
Some judicatories may require multiple experiences in traditional congregational ministry within the denomination or units of clinical pastoral education (CPE). Clinical pastoral education is a supervised ministry experience that is offered by ACPE accredited hospitals and institutions across the country.
Field supervisors have a unique role in the supervised practice of ministry process. Supervisors are seen as mentors in ministry, able to provide experience and insight honed by years in the ministry, helping to shape and develop a junior colleague exploring their vocational call into ministry.
A qualified supervisor will meet the following requirements:
- At least three years of prior ministry experience
- Currently serving in active ministry role
- A completed MDiv degree or equivalent education for your role
- Available on-site or extremely familiar with the student's ministry site
Lay Committee Requirements
Each SPM experience requires a lay committee. Site supervisors are encouraged to initiate the selection and formation of the group. The group must meet the following requirements:
- 3-8 members of the congregation/institution who are familiar with the history, traditions, and expectations of the site
- Individuals can be selected from church leadership including existing committees, session members, educators, etc. or from the general membership
- If an SPM student is serving as an employed fulltime or student pastor of the SPM site, care should be taken to build a lay committee outside of the congregation being served. Leadership of nearby churches/institutions can be called upon to serve in this case.
- The lay committee should appoint a chairperson. The chairperson's duties include:
- Convene regular committee meetings (minimum of two per term)
- Consult with the site supervisor about duties and expectations
- Coordinate opportunities for formative feedback and the summative final evaluation
For More Information
Contact the Director of Seminary Vocation, Dr. Lindsey Ward, LWard@dbq.edu or 563.589.3418.