The aim of field education is not only to provide practical experience in the arts of ministry, but also to foster mutual enrichment between the academic study and the practice of ministry—allowing for practical engagement in the tasks of ministry to challenge and enrich the student's academic study at the Divinity School, and for this study to challenge and enrich the student's practice of ministry.
Many congregations and nonprofit organizations in the Chicago area offer possible field education sites, including several Disciples of Christ congregations. Supervised field education in a community setting is integral to the second year of MDiv studies and takes place in complement with the Divinity School’s Arts of Ministry sequence and a practicum. Because the stipend is provided by the school, possible learning sites and field education supervisors are not limited by the organization's financial resources.
An additional fieldwork experience usually takes place in an alternative ministry setting such as campus ministry, hospital chaplaincy, or community outreach. Students may choose to complete a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), which is often required by regional commissions on the ministry.
Erika Dornfield serves as the Director of Field Education and Community Engagement at the Divinity School.