Union Theological Seminary Academics


A Concurrent Part-time Internship: FE 103/104

This outline is intended to provide supervisors and students with information about the academic and on-site expectations of students enrolled in FE 103-104, and the crucial role supervisors play in developing a complete educational experience in partnership with Union Theological Seminary.

Expectations of Students

By contractual agreement, students enrolled in FE 103-104 work in a church or agency field placement, in the second year of the three-year Master of Divinity Program.

Students are expected to work 12-15 hours per week (12 hours for 15 weeks or 15 hours for 12 weeks), including a minimum one-hour period of theological reflection with the on-site supervisor each week.

Simultaneously, students participate in a weekly two-hour seminar at the Seminary for the duration of the two semesters. The seminar groups seek to foster learning communities that model and teach students ways of thinking, being, and doing that are integral to their vision of ministerial identity and practice. Integration of knowledge, skill, moral integrity, and religious traditions and commitments are at the heart of professional formation. As such, the seminar will provide opportunities for critical reflection on practice and theology, models for ministry, and examination of social issues related to ministry, as well as development of professional identity and skills.

Because much of the content of the seminar is based on the process itself, regular attendance and active participation are required (no more than two excused absences during a semester are acceptable). Timely submission of assignments, contractual agreements, and self-evaluations, as well as in-class presentations and written work, are required for the successful completion of FE 103-104.

The Evaluation Process

The evaluation process at the end of the term is based on self-evaluation by the student, as well as evaluations by the on-site supervisor and the seminar professor. At the end of each semester, both the seminarian and the supervisor evaluate the seminarian’s work in light of the objectives set forth in the learning agreement. These evaluations are another opportunity for self-reflection. The mid-year evaluation (end of fall semester) is an opportunity to identify growth or areas for learning that have emerged. The final evaluation (end of spring semester) also serves as a measure of ministry preparation and identifies areas for future learning. The student and the supervisor will discuss and sign each other's evaluations. The completed evaluation forms will be kept on file in the Integrative and Field-based Education Office and may be shared with denominational advisors or committees with the student's permission.

The evaluation format may include questions that refer to some of the following areas:

    • General assessment of the student's performance.
    • Arts of ministry developed in the placement, e.g., in the areas of preaching and/or worship, administration and program development, pastoral care and counseling, public ministry, community organizing and planning, religious education and denominational polity.
    • Personal qualities related to ministry in the student's work performance, e.g. communication, interpersonal relations, motivation, feelings, relationship, clarity of purpose and/or conviction, commitment, spiritual depth, reliability, openness to growth and change.
    • Evidence of the student's ability to work cooperatively, collegially, and supportively with staff and other people involved in the placement.
    • Field Education courses are graded like all other courses at Union Seminary (Credit with Distinction, Credit, No Credit). A grade of No Credit is given only following a consultation of the Senior Director and Associate Professor of Integrative and Field-Based Education and the field supervisor.

Expectation of Field Placement Supervisor

Criteria for Field Placements

The broad frame of reference for Field Placements is the match between the expectations and needs of the student and the opportunities provided by field placement sites. These sites may be in parish, educational institutions, service and clinical agencies and businesses. From the perspective of the students' professional development, the following expectations are particularly important:

    • The church or agency will provide an interactive teaching and learning environment with particular attention to theological reflection.
    • The student will receive support—primarily from the field-site supervisor, but also from committees and individuals at the site. This support should address the student's individual needs as well as the various dimensions of the work at the placement.
    • The site will provide opportunities for direct engagement in significant ministry at the site.
    • An education stipend of $3,300 per year (minimum) per year (two semesters) will be provided directly to the student by the placement.

Learning Agreements

Part of the learning process is based on the student's efforts to investigate prospective placement sites, set out expectations and requirements, and negotiate the learning agreement with the field education supervisor and the Seminary. Students and supervisors are encouraged to refer to the following guidelines when setting up a placement:

    • There must be a reasonable likelihood that the placement will meet the student's stated educational goals and objectives.
    • The field placement description must clearly specify areas of responsibility.
    • The experience will offer opportunities for professional contacts, community outreach, and interfaith and cross-cultural experiences.
    • The lines of accountability must be clearly stated in the learning agreement.
    • The supervisor has appropriate theological training and experience.

It is rare that a student considers leaving a field placement before the end of the agreed-upon period. Decisions for students to leave a field placement can be taken only after a joint conference between the student, the field supervisor, and the Senior Director of Integrative and Field-Based Education. Neither students nor supervisors can unilaterally terminate a placement.

Supervisor Opportunities

Union Theological Seminary appreciates the time and effort that supervisors give to Union's Integrative and Field-Based Education Program. Therefore, the supervisors are offered the following opportunities:

    • A Field Education Supervisor identification card for access to the Seminary building and Burke Library.
    • Reading privileges at Burke Library.
    • Auditing privileges of one course each semester (during the period of supervision).

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