Starr King School for the Ministry (SKSM) and The Chaplaincy Institute (ChI) are pleased to offer a joint program through which students may prepare to become interfaith chaplains, ministers, and/or spiritual directors to meet the needs of a changing and diversifying religious landscape.
This affiliation allows developing religious leaders to combine an accredited MDiv or MASC degree awarded by SKSM with one or possibly both of the ChI courses of study: the Interfaith Studies Certificate and the Interfaith Spiritual Direction Certificate. Students who complete the joint program will be equipped with the necessary tools for ministry in a multi-religious world and will be able to meet the academic and ecclesial requirements to become certified as professional chaplains. For more information on the ChI certificates, please visit chaplaincyinstitute.org.
Persons who enter the joint program must balance their responsibilities as students who meet the requirements and expectations of both institutions. For pedagogical reasons we have structured the program to ensure that students first root themselves in the ECO philosophy of SKSM before they start working at another institution, and that they subsequently remain grounded with SKSM as they study at ChI. In order to be able to offer the joint certificate to the students whose primary vocation are chaplaincy or spiritual direction, and to insure the financial sustainability of the program, SKSM also needs to monitor and at times limit the number of students that can take ChI modules each term. Therefore, we will follow these guidelines:
- All SKSM students admitted in the joint program will be notified in advance by SKSM’s Director of Contextual Education as to when they can begin their studies at ChI. Due to limited capacity and high demand, accepted students are currently placed on a waiting list.
- As per SKSM general policy, no student should register for modules without previous consultation with their advisor.
- All entering students will ground their studies at SKSM-GTU for at least one term before being able to take courses at ChI.
- All students will take the ECO seminar before studying at ChI (the ECO seminar is offered each year during the January and August intensives).
- ChI modules can account up to 50% of earned credit in the Fall and Spring semesters, provided that enrollment in ChI modules does not violate SKSM attendance policies (noted elsewhere in this Handbook).
- While M.Div. students may be able to enroll in both certificates at ChI, this cannot be guaranteed. Allowing more individual students to participate will be a priority.
- SKSM students who wish to apply to ChI after matriculating need to petition and receive approval from Rev. Chris Schelin, the Director of Contextual Education. The decision will be made via collaborative consultation between the Director of Contextual Education, the Vice President of Finances and Administration, and the Dean of Faculty. Priority will be given to students whose main vocational goals are chaplaincy and spiritual direction.
ChI Modules are categorized as Immersion courses by SKSM and are therefore low residency. Because Immersions are of great importance in the Starr King educational curriculum, ATS has granted an exemption to allow students to take one-fourth of their required credits in high residency, instead than the usual one-third. This is an approved exception to ATS Educational Standard, section ES.22.214.171.124.
Joint-program students register for credit under two courses listed in the Colleague system: ChI Interfaith Studies and ChI Spiritual Direction. Please register for the amount of credit corresponding to the number of modules to be completed in the upcoming term, at the rate of 1.5 units per module. In the case of Spiritual Direction, one module each occurs during the Summer, Fall, January, and Spring terms, so the credit is fixed. In the case of Interfaith Studies, the rate is variable in all terms except January, with a maximum of 6 units in Fall and Spring and 4.5 in Summer. If the number of modules in which the student participates should change, a Change of Enrollment form may be submitted at any time during the term.
Lauren Van Ham, ChI Dean and Director of the Interfaith Studies Certificate, and John Mabry, Director of the Interfaith Spiritual Direction Certificate, have been appointed as SKSM adjunct faculty. They will function as the instructors of record for the ChI Interfaith Studies and ChI Spiritual Direction courses. Consequently, they will grant students permission to register and will complete evaluations and assign grades.
Below you will find a copy of the full joint-program agreement adopted by SKSM and ChI.
The ChI – Starr King Joint Programs for Interfaith Chaplaincy and Spiritual Direction
Please note: the document below includes only the sections of interest to the students.
This affiliated relationship between Starr King School for the Ministry (www.sksm.edu) and The Chaplaincy Institute (www.chaplaincyinstitute.org) establishes a joint program by which students can prepare for interfaith ordination and certification as a professional chaplain and/or becoming an interfaith spiritual director. Specifically, this agreement will allow students to obtain a SKSM M.Div. or MASC degree and a ChI Interfaith Studies (IS) or Spiritual Direction (SD) certificate of completion, with the ChI certificate counted towards the completion of their M.Div. or M.A.S.C. degree. This “ChI-SKSM Joint Programs for Interfaith Chaplaincy and Spiritual Direction” is especially intended for students whose vocational aim is to become an ordained interfaith minister, a professionally certified chaplain, or an interfaith spiritual director.
Starr King School for the Ministry (SKSM) is accredited by A.T.S., a member of the Council for Higher Education, to offer an M.Div. or M.A.S.C. degree.
The Chaplaincy Institute (ChI) Interfaith Community has been recognized by the Board for Chaplaincy Certification, Inc. (BCCI), an affiliate of the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC)www.professionalchaplains.org, as a valid interfaith ordaining body and provides Clergy in Good Standing status for its members. Ordination with the ChI Community requires the academic completion (or equivalent) of the Interfaith Studies Certificate (a 12 module course-series equivalent to 18 credits at SKSM) from the ChI Seminary. The Interfaith Spiritual Direction program is a 4 module course series equivalent to 6 credits at SKSM from the ChI Seminary. Both programs include practicum and/or field work requirements that a SKSM student may choose to register for additional credits with SKSM.
Interfaith Chaplaincy Training
Since board-certified chaplain status from the BCCI requires a 72-credits Master’s degree from a seminary accredited by a member of the Council for Higher Education (such as SKSM) and ordination/endorsement from a recognized body (such as the ChI Interfaith Community), it makes sense to combine the offerings of SKSM and ChI in the following way:
- A degree that combines 18 credits from the ChI Interfaith studies certificate with 54 credits from the Starr King curriculum to create a SKSM M.Div. or M.A.S.C. as an accredited degree;
- An option for interfaith ordination and status as a Clergy in Good Standing with the ChI Interfaith Community based on this M.Div. or M.A.S.C. accredited degree.
In essence, a graduate of this combined program would not complete 72-credits at SKSM for M.Div. and 18- credits at ChI for IS certificate/ordination, but a combined 72-credits from SKSM and ChI. The student is then eligible for ordination and board certification (with the additional requirements set forth by BCCI, such as Clinical Pastoral Education).
Through this affiliated relationship, mutually agreed-upon policies and procedures will be adopted by both Starr King and ChI so that students can be jointly admitted to a Starr King Master’s program (M.Div. or M.A.S.C.), and the ChI Interfaith Studies certificate program.
Spiritual Direction Training
Enrollment and completion of Interfaith Spiritual Direction joint program combines 6-credits from the ChI Interfaith S with all remaining credits from the Starr King curriculum to create an SKSM M.Div. or M.A.S.C. as an accredited degree.
Through this affiliated relationship, mutually agreed-upon policies and procedures will be adopted by both Starr King and ChI so that students can be jointly admitted to a Starr King Master’s program (M.Div. or M.A.S.C.), and the ChI Interfaith Spiritual Direction program.
SKSM AND ChI Affiliation Agreement
The Chaplaincy Institute (ChI) and Starr King School for the Ministry (SKSM) entered into a formal affiliation agreement in May of 2014. This affiliation will be piloted for three years from the date of execution of this Agreement as an exclusive agreement and partnership between the schools. The exclusive nature of this agreement means that neither SKSM nor ChI will partner with another academic institute period to achieve the same, or a closely similar purpose, as the purpose of this agreement.
GENERAL TERMS OF THE CHI-SKSM JOINT PROGRAMS FOR INTERFAITH CHAPLAINCY AND SPIRITUAL DIRECTION
- Through this affiliation, ChI and SKSM agree to admit students jointly to ChI’s Interfaith Studies and/or Spiritual Direction program and to SKSM’s M.Div. or M.A.S.C. program. Joint admission to both programs will allow students to pursue both a ChI Interfaith Studies and/or Spiritual Direction certificate and a SKSM M.Div. or M.A.S.C. degree concurrently, with the ChI certificate as an integral component of their SKSM degree. Students are not permitted to pursue an Interfaith Studies certificate and a Spiritual Direction certificate simultaneously. Tuition will be paid directly to SKSM, and fees for the ChI program will be paid by SKSM to ChI in accordance with an agreed upon fee schedule (see Section 4.0) Joint program students need to be aware that module cancellation fees do apply.
- Students admitted jointly to SKSM and to ChI will be required to commit to and complete the full ChI program as part of their SKSM degree. This includes all modules and all other requirements as they apply to normal ChI students. (See Section 9.0 for In-Care Team requirements related to a students’ call to Ordination). Any and all other exceptions to this rule would have to be approved by both institutions.
- This agreement establishes that a total of 18 credits for Interfaith Studies or 6 credits for Spiritual Direction toward meeting the degree requirements of a SKSM M.Div. or M.A.S.C. degree will be awarded to students who complete the 12 intensive modules of the ChI Interfaith Studies certificate (based on 1.5 credits per module) or 4 intensive modules for the Spiritual Direction certificate. Practicum or field placement hours apply to the completion of either the IS or SD program; SKSM students have the option of registering these hours at SKSM to be put toward additional credit. ChI module hours may be applied toward fulfilling the low-residency credits required for degree completion at SKSM.
- A joint admissions process, including a joint application and a joint review process, has been developed and is undergoing further refinement. Both institutions will have to agree to accept each student before the student is granted joint admissions.
- In the preferred and usual circumstances, it is expected and encouraged that the student will apply for joint admission prior to beginning either program. The two institutions recognize, however, that some SKSM students may wish to enter the ChI program after having begun their SKSM studies, and some ChI students may wish to enter an SKSM degree program after having begun their ChI studies. Mutually agreeable procedures are to be worked out for handling these cases (see points 3.3 and 3.4 for some basic provisions).
- If an SKSM student who has completed part of their SKSM M.Div. or MASC degree wishes to apply for admission to the ChI Interfaith Studies or Spiritual Direction certificate program, this will be possible by joint agreement of the two institutions. Normally this will be possible only in cases where the student: still needs 18 or more credit hours to complete their SKSM degree and has a clear vocational plan to become an Interfaith Chaplain, OR still needs 6 or more credit hours to complete their SKSM degree and has a clear vocational plan to become an interfaith Spiritual Director. It is recognized that there may be circumstances in which a Starr King degree student has already completed some modules at ChI before applying and being admitted to the joint program. In these cases, the SKSM M.Div. or MASC students can receive credit for the completed ChI modules and SKSM will pay ChI only for the remaining modules (upon admission to ChI, the student’s tuition payments will be made to SKSM and the agreed upon fee passed on to ChI).
3.4 If a ChI student who has completed part or all of the ChI program wishes to apply for admission to an SKSM Master’s program (M.Div. or M.A.S.C.), the student will be welcome to do so. If admitted, SKSM will specify the academic credit and a proportional tuition reduction for the part of the ChI program that the ChI student has completed so long as it has been within the past five years.
- Students who have been jointly admitted to SKSM and ChI will pay tuition to SKSM at the established SKSM rates. They will be eligible for financial aid (student loans) just as any other SKSM student would be.
- ChI fees other than module tuition will be paid directly to ChI by the student. SKSM fees other than tuition will be paid directly to SKSM. These fees will be made clear and visible in the joint application materials
- SKSM degree students who are not jointly admitted to SKSM and ChI will be at liberty to take ChI modules on their own and at their own expense at any time they wish. A SKSM student who takes ChI modules on their own will pay tuition directly to ChI for any modules that they take. ChI will charge them a special rate of $900 per module, rather than the normal ChI rate.
- It is entirely up to the discretion of SKSM faculty and administration to determine whether SKSM will give academic credit for ChI modules taken by an SKSM student who has not been admitted to the joint program. This should be arranged in advance whenever possible.
- In any other cases of a student starting the joint program after completing part or all of the ChI program or an SKSM degree, special arrangements will be made which are fair to the student and to both institutions. The application process will involve, minimally, a petition to the SKSM Dean and the ChI Dean. Both institutions will still have to approve of joint admission. The petition process will likely include a review of coursework completed to date and equivalency and/or academic credit considerations to ensure all requirements are met.
SCHEDULING SKSM COURSES AND CHI MODULES
- It is anticipated that jointly-admitted students will have enough flexibility in their schedules to complete both a Starr King Master’s program and one ChI certificate program in a concurrent fashion.
- Students pursuing a MASC degree at SKSM can only do one certificate program with ChI during their time enrolled in the MASC program. Students pursuing an M.Div. degree can pursue both an Interfaith Studies certificate and a Spiritual Direction certificate from ChI, but not concurrently.
- ChI modules can be completed at any time during the course of the jointly-admitted student’s
M.Div. or M.A.S.C. studies. ChI modules can be taken in any sequence, just as for any other ChI student. If, at some point, ChI requires prerequisites for certain modules, these prerequisites will be applied to jointly-admitted students just as to any ChI student (example: the “Spiritual Psychology I & II” modules scheduled in October and December, respectively, are to be taken sequentially).
5.3 If there are time conflicts between a student’s SKSM course schedule and the schedule of a ChI module the student wishes to register for, it will be up to the student to discuss this with the concerned SKSM faculty member(s) and with the ChI Dean. In these circumstances, the student will be expected to request and arrange an accommodation either with the ChI Dean or with the SKSM course instructor. It is understood that in accordance with SKSM’s standard policies that apply to all SKSM instructors, SKSM course instructors retain authority to accept or reject accommodation requests from students.
CLINICAL PASTORAL EDUCATION (CPE) AND OTHER INTERNSHIPS
- Both Institutions understand that at ChI, an Interfaith Studies student who is not going for ordination must complete 200 hours of supervised practicum. An interfaith ordination candidate must complete 400 hours of supervised practicum (equivalent to one unit of CPE).). If an individual has completed one or more units of CPE in the last five years, it fulfills the 400-hour practicum requirement. A student in the Spiritual Direction program completes a practicum that is particular to the Spiritual Direction program.
- SKSM will determine the amount of academic credit, if any, to be granted for any internship (namely, ChI’s 200+ hour practicum requirement and/or Secondary Faith Tradition requirement), or for any class involving formal reflection on the internship. SKSM’s policies will determine whether there is a tuition payment for the internship or for the “reflection period”.
RELATIONS WITH THE GRADUATE THEOLOGICAL UNION (GTU)
- ChI modules will not be listed as GTU courses (since this would allow students from other GTU schools to take ChI modules for free). SKSM students will receive credit for the ChI program through SKSM Special Reading Course (SRC) policies.
CERTIFICATES OF COMPLETION AND INTERFAITH ORDINATION
- Joint program students in the Interfaith Studies and Spiritual Direction program who complete all their modules and required coursework (which may include practicum and/or field placement) will receive a certificate of completion from ChI.
- It is assumed that some of the students in the Interfaith Studies joint program may pursue Interfaith Ordination by way of the ChI Interfaith Community’s In-Care Support Team process. This is not, however, a requirement of a student’s participation in the program. Participants will also be allowed to complete their ChI studies with a Certificate of Completion of the ChI Interfaith Studies program.
- Students in the joint program are not guaranteed interfaith ordination with the ChI Interfaith Community.
Individuals called to Interfaith Ordination may declare their intent any time after completing their 3rd ChI module. All activities and expenses related to Ordination discernment and preparation are overseen by the ChI Community, related but distinct from the ChI Seminary (See 4.2 above).
Revised in April 2016
 In the Summer 2016 it was decided that: All entering students will ground their studies at SKSM-GTU for at least one term before being able to take courses at ChI; all students matriculating in Fall 2016 and later will take the ECO seminar before studying at ChI (the ECO seminar will be offered in late August and late January each year); returning students already at ChI should take the ECO seminar ASAP.