Educational Effectiveness

The Education Effectiveness of the Graduate Programs in Theology and Ministry is demonstrated best by the intentional education and formation of lay ecclesial ministers prepared to contribute fruitfully to their communities of faith through theological reflection, praxis, and leadership. The Master of Arts in Practical Theology and Ministry program cultivates this preparation by fostering in our students the learning objectives/competencies delineated at each level of study which advance the mission of each program.

Master of Arts In Practical Theology and Ministry Program

Student-Centered Learning Objectives/Competencies

  • Objective 1: Students demonstrate mastery of core theological curriculum through reflective reading, critical thinking, and quality academic writing. (Scholarly and Intellectual Acuity)
  • Objective 2: Students demonstrate mastery of pastoral skill sets through effective communication, informed conscience, appropriate boundary formation, and respect for the equal dignity of all persons. (Ministerial Authenticity)
  • Objective 3: Students demonstrate the ability to balance responsibilities, articulate ministerial identity, and remain open to constructive critique and affirmation. (Personal Formation and Identity)
  • Objective 4: Students demonstrate spiritual depth, develop resources for ministry, and exhibit commitment to sustained encounters with Scripture, tradition, and ongoing revelation of God. (Spiritual Maturity)
  • Objective 5: Students demonstrate sound theological engagement with diverse cultural and religious traditions. (Global Consciousness)

These objectives are specifically integrated and assessed in the following core courses:

Course/Objective Assessment Map

Learning Objectives/Competencies552609620621636 or 637
Objective 1: Scholarly and Intellectual Acuityxxx
Objective 2: Ministerial Authenticityxxx
Objective 3: Personal Formation/ Identityxxx
Objective 4: Spiritual Maturityxxx
Objective 5: Global Consciousnessxxx

A variety of course requirements and assignments are used to assess these learning objectives/competencies through the core courses of the curriculum. These assessments are scored through an extensive rubric.

Course Embedded Assessment (CEA): The rationale for the use of course embedded assessment to evaluate competency in each of the Student Objectives is threefold. First, CEA makes explicit and practical connections among the MA-PRTM Program Goals, the MA-PRTM Core Curriculum, and the specific Student Learning Outcomes that the effective ministry demands. Second, CEA requires that course content and assignments explicitly address and reinforce the Objectives designed to advance students’ theological and ministerial competency. Third, CEA ensures that these Objectives are assessed multiple times at different intervals during the student’s course of study in order to monitor progress in developing each of the Objectives and remediate as needed. The following describes the explicit connection in the course(s) between the assignments and the objectives assessed.

Rubric For Assessment Of Maptm Student Objectives (Competencies)

531
Objective 1: Scholarly And Intellectual Acuity
Reflective readingClearly describes issue/praxis that stimulated interest in the research topic; explicitly defines the parameters of the project and the research goals; demonstrates keen awareness of underlying theological issuesPresents general information concerning the issue/praxis to be addressed in the paper; sets basic pattern for the unfolding of the project; expresses the fundamental theological issues explored in the researchMinimal exposition of the issue/praxis guiding the paper; boundaries of project ill-defined; uncertain of theological issues involved
Quality writingResearch selection represents breadth of recent theological scholarship on topic; research selections clearly address issue at hand; research clearly incorporates diverse theological viewpoints/ approaches; referenced consistently formatted in Turabian style; minimal unsubstantiated rhetoricResearch selection shows an awareness of recent theological scholarship on the topic; research choices are generally on point; research includes some evidence of diverse theological views/approaches; references inconsistently and/or incorrectly formatted; noticeable unsubstantiated rhetoricResearch selection shows lack of engagement with recent theological scholarship; choices minimally address topic of paper; research gives one-sided perspective; no recognizable format for research reference; principally unsubstantiated rhetoric
Critical ThinkingResearch applied clearly and insightfully to the issue/praxis in question; implications of the research explored in relation to project; conclusions demonstrate depth of reflection on the interplay between theory and praxis in this project; shows creative thought and expressionResearch accurately applied to issue/praxis in question; implications of research noted in relation to project; conclusions give some evidence of reflection on the relation between theory and praxis for this projectResearch minimally or inaccurately applied to the issue/praxis in question; minimal evidence of how the research relates to the issue/praxis in question; little evidence of reflection on relation between theory and praxis
Objective 2: Ministerial Authenticity
Effective communicationDemonstrates reflective and attentive communication with others in a consistent mannerMaintains attention to the communication of others and generally responds in a reflective mannerFormulates his/her opinion or argument rather than hearing or responding to that of others
Informed conscienceExhibits a moral conscience and social responsibility based on the teachings of the Gospel and traditionBrings moral and Gospel considerations to bear on most issues and practicesLacks moral sensibilities that cohere with scripture or tradition
Appropriate boundary formationSets appropriate boundaries for ministerial and personal interactions and demonstrates respect for those of othersExhibits some interactions which transgress one’s own personal or ministerial boundaries or those of another Exhibits considerable confusion about personal and ministerial boundaries and fails to recognize or respect those of others
Respect for the equal dignityListens reflectively, suspends judgment, and speaks intentionally with respect for the equality and dignity of all persons Exhibits some tendency to judge or misconstrue the contributions of others; displays an inclination to value particular perspectives over othersResponds inappropriately and/or judgmentally to the insights of others; display clear biases against particular perspectives
Objective 3: Personal Formation And Identity
Balances responsibilities Recognizes areas of physical, emotional, and psychological strengths and limitations; class interactions demonstrates engagement with readings; submits course assignments when dueIdentifies particular strengths and limitations; class interactions demonstrates awareness of topics under consideration; submits course assignments late or incompleteResists assessment and recognition of personal strengths and limitations; demonstrates minimal engagement with course content; fails to submit course assignments
Articulate ministerial identityDiscerns and identifies a vocation to ministerial life as integral to one’s personal and professional identity Articulates the general contours of a ministerial identity in connection with vocation and with integrity of one’s personExpresses a diffuse ministerial identity; envisions his/her work as a job rather than as a ministry or vocation
Open to constructive critique and affirmationExhibits a willingness to both give and receive coherent and valuable critiques in all situationsExhibits an inclination toward giving and receiving most constructive critiques Exhibits significant resistance to receiving or giving constructive critiques
Objective 4: Spiritual Maturity
Demonstrates spiritual depthEngages the woundedness of the world, the needs of the community, and the vulnerabilities of others in the context of faith Demonstrates a recognition of the vulnerabilities of others and responds to them in the context of faithResists engagement with vulnerabilities and needs of others and accepts little or no responsibility to respond from a faith orientation
Develops resources for ministryIdentifies, assesses, and applies theory and methods of theological education and formation as resources in ministry Identifies connections between theological theory and methods and ministerial life and praxisDeems theological theory and method as of little or no value in his/her ministerial life and praxis
Committed to encounters with Scripture, tradition, and ongoing revelation of GodIdentifies personal and transformative encounters with God in Scripture and tradition; actively seeks to discern revelations of the Divine in unfamiliar or novel waysExhibits awareness of the action of God in his/her personal and ministerial life; remains open to revelations of the Divine in unfamiliar or novel waysDemonstrates an inability to discern personal encounters with God in scripture or tradition; resists revelations of the Divine in unfamiliar ways
Objective 5: Global Consciousness
Theological engagement with diverse cultural and religious traditionsDemonstrates capacity for sound theological engagement with diverse cultural and religious traditions through the effective and insightful application of critical and constructive theological and ministerial knowledge in discussion, research, and reflectionEngages diverse cultural and religious traditions with theological interest; satisfactorily applies insights to theological and ministerial issues. Exhibits reluctance to engage diverse cultural and religious traditions; fails to discern connection between such diversity and theological or ministerial issues.

Chart

COURSE EMBEDDED ASSESSMENT OF MA-PRTM OBJECTIVES
Assessment InstrumentData Collection/Frequency (assessment cycle)ObjectivesCriterion Score
Annotated Bibliography

MA-PRTM students engage in depth one area of systematic theology through an annotated bibliography of no fewer than 8 scholarly sources based upon a Statement of Theological Interest with Preliminary Bibliography. This statement in which the student writes and presents a 1-page description of one area of theological interest shaping his/her proposed research, focuses the research for the annotated bibliography, The area of theological interest may address one specific contextual theology OR one specific theological discipline. The one-page statement must describe the reason for the student’s interest in this one specific contextual theology or the student’s interest in this one specific theological discipline. If the student chooses one contextual theology, the bibliography must include references from a minimum of four different theological disciplines within that context.

If the student chooses the one specific theological discipline, the bibliography must include references from a minimum of four different contextual locations within that discipline.

In addition to the 1-page statement, the student submits a preliminary bibliography based on his/her issue of theological interest. The statement should conclude with one question that will frame the research contained in the bibliography.

The annotation summarizes succinctly and insightfully the main ideas and supporting details of readings and demonstrates keen grasp of context, methods and sources utilized by author through depth of reflection and analysis. The evaluation demonstrates creative, insightful, and explicit assessment of how the readings apply to ministry, praxis, and/or research concerns, clearly connecting the theoretical and practical. As part of the Core Curriculum, all MA-PRTM students must take either THE 609. Which is offered every two years.

1, 3, 570% of students score 4 or more per Objective assessed on a 5-point rubric.
Annotated BibliographyMA-PRTM students in THE 636 or 637 prepare and submit an annotated bibliography with evaluation of 10 contemporary theological sources representing at least three different cultural contexts. The annotation summarizes succinctly and insightfully the main ideas and supporting details of readings and demonstrates keen grasp of context, methods and sources utilized by author through depth of reflection and analysis. The evaluation demonstrates creative, insightful, and explicit assessment of how the readings apply to ministry, praxis, and/or research concerns, clearly connecting the theoretical and practical. As part of the Core Curriculum, all MAPRTM students must take either THE 636 or 637. These courses alternate on a yearly basis.1, 3, 570% of students score 4 or more per Objective assessed on a 5-point rubric.
Research/Integration Paper using Case Study AnalysisMA-PRTM students in THE 552 write a 10 page paper grounded in their own ministerial context, using case study analysis. Students apply a method and a model of practical theology to the ministerial situation and explain the hermeneutical lenses, doctrine and other theological constructs that support or challenge the pastoral / ministerial decisions to be made. Students select a peer that would critique this assignment, incorporate his/her critique, and submit the completed work, highlighting any critical insights that gained throughout the course. This course is a part of the Core Curriculum taken by all MAPRTM students and is offered on a two-year cycle.1, 2, 5 70% of students score 4 or more per Objective assessed on a 5-point rubric.
Immersion Experience and Report

MA-PRTM students in THE 620 engage a distinctly different community for the purposes of applying Practical Theological Method. Through the generation of an intentional community (as a class) and engagement with a distinct community (Notre Dame D’ Haiti) students work together to assess the real and felt needs of a community through an establishment of some type of relationship with key figures in the community, participation in the worship experience of the community, and general presence with members of the community. (ATTEND)

Through observation, interviews, reflective listening, questioning and some understanding of the history of this community, this intentional community works together to strategize on how best to articulate the real and felt needs of the community, including the systems of power that function within this community. (ASSERT)

Using the framework of Practical Theological Methodology, students use a collaborative system to discern, as an intentional community, what resources might address the real/felt needs of the community. Students produce a class presentation which narrates the initial biases held by the students, depicts the process, outlines their findings, and makes their proposals. (ACT)

Students then submit a 20 to 25 page paper outlining the process, findings and proposals and participate in a one-on-one interview with the professor to assess personal formative process.

This is a part of the Core Curriculum taken by all MAPRTM students and alternates on a yearly basis with THE 621.

2, 4, 570% of students score 4 or more per Objective assessed on a 5-point rubric.
Integrative Assignment

MA-PRTM students in THE 621 submit a 15-page Integrative Assignment in which:

Students consider their sense of call or vocation and the distinction between the lay and ordained “vocation.” To do so, students identify sources from course content that make reference to this and evaluate the significance of the distinction, particularly for informing Lay Ministry.

Students analyze the significance of culture and context as starting points for Practical Theology by provide 2 examples of the significance of context to ministry.

Students assess how scripture and tradition support Practical Theological methods.

This is a part of the Core Curriculum taken by all MAPRTM students and alternates on a yearly basis with THE 620.

2,4,570% of students score 4 or more per Objective assessed on a 5-point rubric.
MA-PRTM
Course Embedded Assessment Results
Criterion: 70% of students score 4 or more per Objective assessed on a 5-point rubric.
CourseObjectivesPercentage Scoring 4 or more
THE 637/636193%
Christian God/Christology369%
593%
THE 620274%
Supervised Ministry I493%
579%
THE 621277%
Supervised Ministry II363%
481%
THE 609193%
Introduction to Systematics386%
5100%
THE 552 (2013-2014)119%
Method in Practical Theology260%
552%
Course content and practical methodology revised in 2015 in response to assessment results.
THE 552 (2015-2018)185%
276%
590%
MA-PRTM Capstone Assessment
ObjectivesObjectives

Initiated in 2015 by a vote of the Graduate Theology Committee, the Capstone Process for the Master of Arts in Practical Theology and Ministry consists of three components: (1) Synthesis Project, (2) Written Comprehensive Examinations, and (3) Oral Examination on the contents of the synthesis and the comprehensives.

  1. Synthesis Project:
    • Development of the Synthesis Project includes a 1-credit Synthesis Project Seminar [THE 687] culminating in satisfactory completion of an integrative paper of 25-30 pages.
      • The seminar is conducted by an assigned faculty member for not longer than 2 consecutive semesters.
      • The synthesis paper (1) reflects a comprehensive and sustained engagement with one other of the theological disciplines included in the Comprehensive examination (Biblical, Systematic, Moral, Sacramental/Liturgical), (2) demonstrates the use of pertinent scholarly resources, (3) incorporates Richard Osmer’s methodology as presented in his text Practical Theology, and (4) represents a developed theological reflection upon a ministerial situation.
    • At the conclusion of the Synthesis Project Seminar and prior to the written comprehensive examination, the synthesis paper is presented to examiners in the areas of theological methodology and the theological discipline used in the project.
  2. Written Comprehensive Examinations: Students complete Written Comprehensive Examinations in the four theological disciplines not utilized in the Synthesis Project. Using historical critical method, as well as contemporary, contextual / practical theological perspectives, students are expected to integrate course content as well as other bibliographic resources into each theological area. The Department provides students with questions and a recommended bibliography for examinations in Old Testament, New Testament, Systematic Theology, Liturgical/ Sacramental Theology and Moral Theology.
  3. Oral Examination: The Oral Examination on the contents of the Synthesis Project and the Written Comprehensives is conducted by at least three members of the Graduate Theology Committee and may take up to one hour. Examiners question students on the theological content and methodology.
1, 580% of students pass all five sections of the Comprehensive Examinations on the first attempt.
YearNumber of StudentsNumber of StudentsRetake 1 QuestionRetake 2 QuestionsRetake 3 QuestionsFailed
2013250%0050%0
201410100%100%00
201520050%50%0
Capstone process revised to incorporate practical methodology synthesis project.
20162100%0000
20172100%0000
2018250%050%00
20192100%0000