Contact Field Education

Holbrook 124/125

Rev. Odette Lockwood-Stewart
Instructor in the Practice of Ministry
Director of Field Education and Contextual Learning

Grace Gilliam
Associate Director of Field Education and Contextual Learning

Rev. Marvin Wiser
Temporary Associate Director of Field Education and Contextual Learning

Follow Field Education and Contextual Learning on Facebook

Through PSR’s field education, students learn and serve as pastors, hospital and hospice chaplains, artists, social justice advocates, educators, entrepreneurs, and organizers. We take seriously the variety of cultures, religious traditions, experiences, and gifts of seminarians and the distinctive ministry sites that provide opportunities to learn and serve. The Office of Field Education works with seminarians as they choose and engage in learning sites that relate to their vocational goals and denominational expectations.

Field Education bridges and deepens the theological education of Pacific School of Religion with the reflective practice of ministry in congregations and community settings. Our program includes on-site mentoring and theological reflection with other students and with congregations and agencies. Support and guidance for learning is also provided through regular meetings with mentors and members of teaching parish and agency committees.

Students in Concurrent Field Education participate in a seminar group throughout the academic year. Students learn to reflect theologically on issues of race, ethnicity, culture, gender, and gender identity as well as congregational, ethical, and pastoral issues. Each year, a group session is devoted to educating about the power dynamics that inform clergy ethics as they relate to dating, sexual conduct, friendship, and other issues. Students are required to become familiar with their denominational guidelines and are encouraged to pursue additional courses in the area.

Field education is a requirement of the MDiv program. Students in other programs may enroll in field education with the approval of Field Education staff.

Field Education Requirements and Electives

  • All MDiv students are required to earn 6 semester units in Field Education. Candidates for other degrees may enroll for Field Education, dependent upon available placements and approval of Field Education staff.
  • The maximum number of Field Education credits that can apply towards graduation is 12 semester units.
  • All MDiv students are expected to meet with the Field Education staff during their first semester.
  • All placements must be pre-approved.
  • Field Education requirements must be met prior to the student’s final year in seminary.

Options for fulfilling Field Education requirement

  1. Concurrent Field Education FE 1005-1006 (3 credits each semester, total of 6 credits). This option requires that the student spend 15 hours per week in an approved field placement and attend an accompanying course on campus for the entire academic year (September to May).
  2. Internship FE 1011-1014 (3 credits each semester, total of 6 credits). This option requires that the student work full time in an approved placement for the entire academic year.

Elective Field Education Options

  1. Advanced Concurrent Field Study FE 2210-2211 (variable credit). Advanced Field Education provides additional opportunities for supervised work with academic credit. Students may extend a placement beyond the requisite two semesters, or may have a second placement.
  2. Special Field Study Ministry FE 1003-1004 (variable credit). Special Field Study provides an opportunity for supervised work that does not fit into other Field Education categories. Consult with Field Education staff for further information and details.
  3. Summer. Students may earn credit for summer internships. An internship must be at least 10 weeks duration, full time, with approved supervision. Students must register for all summer placements before their summer experience. No retroactive credit will be given.
  4. Clinical Pastoral Education FE 2000 (variable credit). Clinical Pastoral Education is professional clinical education for ministry, offered by hospitals and other institutions. CPE is not required by PSR for the MDiv degree, but is required by some denominations and conferences as part of preparation for ordination. PSR gives up to 6 credits for CPE units with prior approval of Field Education staff.

Field Education Criteria for Placements

Field education integrates academic study, spiritual discipline, and the practice of ministry. It is the portion of the MDiv curriculum that involves students in supervised work in ministry in PSR-approved ministry settings.

Field Education differs from field work, unsupervised church employment, and other employment because it requires:

  1. Involvement in significant learning opportunities for the full range of the work of ministry;
  2. Development of a learning/serving covenant at the beginning of each semester as the first step in the self-directed, self-reflective learning process;
  3. Weekly one-hour reflection sessions with an on-site mentor;
  4. Written evaluations by the mentor and the seminarian that are submitted to the Field Education Office at the end of each semester;
  5. Regular feedback from a constituency group (Teaching Parish Committee or Teaching Agency Committee) concerning the seminarian’s growth and level of competency;
  6. And, for students in Concurrent Field Education, participation in a weekly seminar throughout the academic year in which there is disciplined reflection on the practice of ministry.

Mentors within the local area are expected to participate in scheduled meetings with Field Education staff. During the first year of mentoring, there are five meetings. In subsequent years, there are three.

As PSR places students in field education sites, it assumes that each site has in force a safe congregation/ safe agency policy that includes protection of children and vulnerable adults and establishes clear guidelines to protect all persons from sexual and other forms of harassment. The responsibility for implementing and enforcing such a policy belongs to the site where the student’s field education is being carried out, and PSR relies upon the site’s policies and personnel to do so.

Field education placements may be part time (concurrent) or full time (internship) during the academic year. As an elective option, students may receive academic credit for full-time summer placements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What kinds of places offer field education?
A: PSR students have done field education in a wide variety of settings depending on their vocational goals. As a multidenominational seminary, we have relationships with many area churches, both urban and suburban. Students interested in chaplaincy have fulfilled their field education through placements in area hospitals or hospice agencies and prisons. Students have worked in arts organizations and in social service and social justice organizations.

Q: How do I find the right place for me?
A: Students meet with Field Education staff during their first semester about opportunities that match individual goals. Each spring, the Field Education office hosts events to bring to campus representatives of churches and agencies who would like to have a student work with them. Students are urged to take advantage of those opportunities to explore options. By March, listings of possible placements become available. At that point, students need to visit and interview at places of interest.

Q: What happens at an interview? Is it like a job interview?
A: Although often less formal than a job interview, the interviews are an opportunity to discuss your goals for your learning and hear what the placement hopes to offer. The goal is to find a good match.

Q: What if I am not selected?
A: We communicate with churches and agencies offering placements that it is important to work on a similar timeframe. All interviews are to be conducted after March 1, and when a decision has been made, students who have interviewed are to be contacted promptly. It is the student’s responsibility to pursue another option. The Field Education staff will work with students until placements are secured.

Q: May I wait until the next year?
A: Field Education must be fulfilled prior to the final year of the MDiv program so that students have opportunities to integrate the learning of the field education experience into classroom learning and have time to pursue further study in areas that have been identified as needed for their ministry.

Pacific School of Religion is grateful for the partnership of congregations and agencies in preparing seminarians for ministry and community leadership. We recognize and appreciate the commitment made to seminarians in providing mentoring and an opportunity to be learners.

Congregations and agencies interested in offering a placement and able to provide the requisite mentoring should submit the Notice of Field Education Opportunity form to the Field Education office. Please include a brief description of the ministry setting and the needs and learning opportunities. The Field Education office notifies students of available placements. Students are responsible for contacting and interviewing with placements suitable to their vocational goals.

Field Education staff are available for assistance and guidance in the placement process, but the final decision and acceptance is the responsibility of the congregation or agency and the student. Both parties need to be explicit about their expectations. These expectations need to be communicated clearly to members of the congregation or constituents of the agency and to appropriate denominational or organizational personnel and committees.

Congregations and agencies should be aware of the financial needs of seminarians, since many have left paying jobs to make time for field education. The Field Education office may be consulted about financial remuneration; however, all financial arrangements are negotiated between the congregation or agency and the student.

The timeline for offering placements may vary depending on whether it is a full-time or part-time placement. Concurrent (part-time) field education opportunities are announced to students in early March for the following academic year. Students are expected to notify the Field Education office of their placements by mid-April.

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November 8th

Gyu-Hyun Kim, Clovis-Fresno Korean UMC, Clovis, 12:30pm

Jessica McFarland, Tapestry Ministries at PSR Chapel, 5pm

November 15th

Blyth Barnow, Open Door Methodist Church, Richmond, 10:00am

Sonny Graves, First Congregational Church Berkeley, 11:00am

November 29th

Lauren Hotchkiss, Epworth UMC, Berkeley, 10:00am

December 3rd

Johanna Berkey, Silicon Valley Progressive Faith Community, San Jose, 6pm