Supervised Theological Field Education is a significant part of the University of Divinity’s teaching in Theology: Ministry and Mission. As the name implies, this is learning while out in the field, through a student placement in a parish or other pastoral or ministry situation.
Supervised Theological Field Education (STFE) units not only include the pastoral placement, but provide a strong support structure of seminars including planning and preparation, as well as discussion, feedback and analysis. There are also required sessions of individual supervision. All these have theological reflection as a core method to integrate the experiential learning.
Supervised Theological Field Education units are offered by most of the University’s Colleges. At the start of 2019 Associate Professor Frank Rees, Chair of the Academic Board, convened a Working Group to consider STFE units with regard to best practice and also in light of recommendations about pastoral formation from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Working Group consisted of STFE staff from across the Colleges together with the University’s Project Officer, Responding to the Royal Commission. All of the group are also ministry practitioners.
The STFE Working Group examined all the University’s Supervised Theological Field Education units. They commended the diversity of tradition represented and the rich breadth of approaches to ministry education. The Working Group agreed that within these approaches, equivalence and best practice should be clearly demonstrated. The Working Group proposed Field Education Shares Common Groundestablishing a set of common requirements to which all STFE units must adhere and demonstrate alignment, as an agreed point or framework of accountability in relation to both University and community expectations, and effective pedagogy.
Over five months, the Working Group developed the Supervised Theological Field Education Framework. It sets out requirements, definitions, and parameters in areas including: structure of the unit, student enrolment and selection, student workload and assessment, the placement agreement/covenant, Pastoral Supervision, and Safeguarding. The University of Divinity Academic Board recently received and endorsed the Working Group’s recommendation to establish the Supervised Theological Field Education Framework.
Associate Professor Frank Rees commented:
This is a great outcome for the University and church communities, and for our pastors, ministers and church workers of the future. It is also a very positive example of inter-college cooperation. Thanks to everyone involved in developing the Supervised Theological Field Education Framework.”
Amanda is the Project Officer for the University’s Strategic Goal, Changing Culture: Responding to the Royal Commission.