Structured, supervised internships are required for the completion of the M.Div./M.Min. degree at ESR. Supervised ministry is required of all M.Div./M.Min. candidates; Clinical Pastoral Education is a specialized internship that is required only for students who choose pastoral care as their emphasis.
M.Div./M.Min. candidates typically perform their Supervised Ministry–in the form of a two-semester course–during their final year of study at ESR. This provides students opportunities to test their gifts and develop their ministry skills under the guidance of a supervisor. Supervised Ministry is flexible by design; each student collaborates with the program director to choose a ministry site and/or project that represents a match with the student's gifts.
A Supervised Ministry year consists of twelve hours of work per week on internship sites and/or projects, focusing on ministry and contextual learning. This time includes meetings with a supervisor, peer support, and a concurrent ESR seminar. Supervisors serve as mentors to students; meetings are opportunities for theological reflection, individualized learning, and attention from one who is seasoned in ministry.
Seminars provide another dimension to the Supervised Ministry experience. Students reflect on their experiences and examine case studies in order to explore both personal and professional issues. Faculty members encourage students to integrate lessons and insights from other parts of the curriculum and from their own life experience into the practice of ministry. Explicit attention is paid to biblical and theological reflection on ministry experience.
We encourage students in Supervised Ministry to continue their explorations of ministry beyond their project and classroom. Workshops, conferences, seminars, and denominational offerings expand students' understandings of issues in ministry, expose them to a variety of practitioners, and hone their skills.
To become eligible for the Supervised Ministry year, a student must complete at least 27 credit hours, including the following courses: Spiritual Formation and Personal Practice, Spiritual Formation and Public Ministry, Old Testament History and Literature, New Testament History and Literature, Discernment of Call and Gifts, one introductory church history course, and for residential students two courses in the student’s emphasis, for Access students two Competency in Ministry courses.
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is not required for graduation, except for those students who choose pastoral care as their emphasis in the M.Min./M.Div. program. At least one unit of CPE is required for becoming a chaplain pastoral counselor.
We encourage students to consider CPE. Many students consider it their most significant learning experience during their time at ESR.
CPE has these key components: An accredited CPE center, which may be a general or psychiatric hospital, a penal institution, or any one of sixteen other kinds of institutions; a certified supervisor; a small group of peers who work and learn together; detailed reporting of incidents in ministry; a specific time period, usually ten or eleven weeks full-time in the summer, or one day a week during most of the academic year; and an individual learning contract. Accredited centers are spread across the country and around the world. There are centers in Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio, and Indianapolis, Indiana – convenient to ESR.
Any CPE unit counts as three credits; a student may take another unit of CPE for an additional three credits, for six total credits. Alternatively, a student may use a CPE setting as the site for their supervised ministry experience, with faculty permission, and earn nine credits. a student may take CPE as supervised ministry for nine credits, with the faculty's consent. CPE students are required to provide a copy of their supervisor’s and self-evaluation to receive credit; these documents are accepted in place of the narrative evaluation.
Students in CPE work with a faculty member to examine their experience, explore how it relates to their ongoing education at ESR, and support each other in consolidating the growth and learning that have occurred.
In the fall of each year we schedule a CPE Day, when students returning from their summer CPE settings discuss their experiences with the community at Common Meal and provide information to students. Often CPE supervisors are invited to attend.
Current information concerning CPE training and directories of accredited centers are available on the bulletin board on the second floor of the ESR Center or by request. Faculty members are happy to assist any student in discerning the appropriateness of this experience for her or him.