School of Theology and Ministry

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, onsite 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.

    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 8-10 hours a week on site for 3 quarters with a qualified onsite supervisor, students meet weekly with other students and course faculty to identify and describe the content of their personal and professional growth, develop theological depth, and strengthen their professional capacities.

    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 affecting change and nurturing staff and volunteers; and processes for social analysis within congregational settings. Students find supervisors and leadership contexts that will complement their skill sets and offer them the opportunity to develop new sensibilities. Students work on site 8-10 hours per week for 2 quarters and meet weekly in the classroom with faculty and peers.

    Integration of Transformational Leadership for Justice

    Integration of Transformational Leadership for Justice, or ITLJ, is the Winter-Spring internship and class sequence required for the MATL degree that takes place during a student's final year of the program. 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 8-10 hours a week in a specific location for 2 quarters. Weekly onsite mentor sessions, leadership coaching opportunities, and weekly class sessions with peers and faculty, provide a comprehensive opportunity to integrate knowledge bases, skills, and onsite practices.

    Relationship & Pastoral Therapy Clinical Sequence

    The six-quarter clinical sequence provides students with experience and training as a couple and family therapist. Students work with the Relationship & Pastoral Therapy Clinical Coordinator to secure a placement. 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 (see dates below) provide instruction and resources regarding site placement and clinical expectations (handbook provided).

    Annual Orientations

    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.

    Orientation   Time & Location RSVP Required
    Theology of Pastoral Leadership Orientation
    Required of MDiv students entering their final year in 2015-2016
      Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015
    Hunthausen Hall
    Room 100
    (Lunch will be provided)
    Please RSVP to Contextual Education Graduate Assistant, Melissa Trull,
    by January 12th
    Contextual Education Orientation
    Required of all first-year MDiv, MAPS, MATL, and MATS students, and those interested in 2015-2016 Ministerial and Theological Integration (MTI)
      Monday, Feb. 2nd
    Hunthausen Hall
    Room 100
    (Lunch will be provided)
    Tuesday, Feb. 11th
    Hunthausen Hall
    Room 100
    (Dinner will be provided)
    Please RSVP to Contextual Education Graduate Assistant, Melissa Trull,
    by January 26th


  • * Relationship & Pastoral Therapy (MARPT) students, please refer to the MARPT-specific schedule given at orientation.
  • Questions?

    Melissa Trull
    Graduate Assistant, Contextual Education

    Mark Chung Hearn, Ph.D.
    Director of Contextual Education

    Clinical Sequence Questions:

    Rebecca Cobb, Ph.D., LMFT
    Clinical Coordinator