Academic Programs 
      

D.Min. Colleague Seminar I (DM-710)
Fall 2009

The purpose of the two-year Colleague Seminar is to enhance students’ capacity for the reflective practice of ministry in an atmosphere of personal and professional sharing, and relatedly to enhance their capacity for completing their Ministry Projects. Toward the latter end, students will produce a set of analytical and theological papers in the colleague groups that serve as background for the Ministry Project. Within that general framework, this first semester course seeks to provide an overview of Hartford Seminary’s understanding of reflective practice, show how this informs the design of the Ministry Project and two year colleague group sequence, and help ground a student’s practice of ministry in an understanding of its contextual and organizational realities and their theological significance. Students will be introduced to various field research tools, interpreting what is discovered through their use, and reflecting theologically on the insights gathered.

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
D.Min. Schedule: Starts with mandatory retreat from Sunday, Sept. 13 to Tuesday, Sept. 15, followed by Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 5, Oct. 26, Nov. 16, and Dec. 14


David Roozen
Professor of Religion and Society


Contact Information:
phone: (860) 509-9546
email: roozen@hartsem.edu

 

Course Syllabus



Objectives

  • To practice the discipline of credible, evidence based argument in support of strategic, ministry proposals for change;
  • To explore a handful of fieldwork methods in order to more accurately understand one’s own ministry setting and community;
  • To interpret the results gathered from fieldwork in a discerning manner that recognizes alternative points of view and strategic implications;
  • To engage a practical theological approach in order to more fully discern what has been learned about one’s own ministry setting and community and their strategic implications; and
  • To establish a foundation for the remainder of the D.Min. program, including the diverse collegial relationships that enhance that program.

Procedure
The course alternates between five class sessions (see “Schedule”) and the intervening periods for individual exploration by students in their own settings. The class sessions rely on group discussions, instructor presentations, and fieldwork exercises to introduce new tools and deepen the insights emerging through previous sessions. The intervening periods rely on assigned readings, fieldwork assignments, and written work to extend the class topics and prepare for ensuing sessions. A final paper provides an occasion to integrate work from the entire semester into a practical theological framework, and to show improvements upon previous research recommended by the instructor and students.

Process Expectations:

  • Timely and regular attendance. If an emergency comes up (and they do), call or email me or call the main seminary number (860/509-9500) and leave word. The seminary’s policy is: Two absences in a semester constitutes withdrawal from the course.
  • Prepared and active participation in class presentations and discussions (in a sense, this course is a peer learning group with the instructor as coach)
  • Commitment to dialogical engagement of one’s colleagues:
    - Open sharing of one’s own perspectives and respectful probing of other’s perspectives
    - Appreciative understanding of other’s perspective/argument before offering suggestions for further consideration (a DMin project is a “constructive” effort; therefore constructive suggestions are most helpful)
    - Appreciative consideration of other’s suggestions.
  • What is said in the group stays in the group!

Office Hours: By Appointment. Email is the best way to contact me, even for scheduling appointments to talk on the phone or meet at the seminary.

Class Grade:

Class participation 25% of grade
Attendance at and active participation in every class session is expected of all students. Exceptions are only allowed if advance permission has been granted by the instructor, and only for unavoidable absences. In all cases, failure to be in attendance at more than one class session automatically precludes successful completion of the course. This portion of the grade includes the four discussion topic periods and fieldwork exercises in class.

Writing assignments 30% of grade
Completion of all of the minor writing assignments (i.e., the three “Fieldwork reports”) is essential to advance the learning in this course, and must reflect the details of the assignment sheet distributed at the end of the previous class session. Excepting the “Introductory statement,” all writing assignments must be sent by e-mail to the instructor by the Friday immediately before the class session for which they are assigned.

Final paper 45% of grade
The final paper integrates the central methods, insights, readings, and findings from the semester into a practical theological framework. This paper will return and extend the retreat assignment dealing with changing something in one’s ministry setting, either the “something” initially treated for the retreat assignment or something different. Details for the final paper, including focus and format, will be provided at the 16 November class session. Final papers must be sent by e-mail to the instructor by 11 January 2010.

Course Extensions
Past experience has shown that timely completion of all assignments and the entire course is essential to successful completion of the overall D.Min. program. As a result, late writing assignments are strongly discouraged and course extensions are not permitted.

DMin Ministry Project:

As a reminder, the seminary catalogue says the following about “The Ministry Project” and related proposal:

The Ministry Project will involve the design, implementation, and evaluation of an action in ministry and reflection on its process and outcome. It should address a significant situation or issue within the student’s ministry setting and set out a strategy to effect change in that setting, transforming and/or intensifying the faith and practice of the religious community. . .

Students who have successfully completed Colleague Seminars I and II and at least four of the six elective courses, and have the approval of their advisor, may submit a Ministry Project Proposal for oral examination by a committee of the faculty. Committee members are chosen by the Dean of the Seminary and will include the student’s advisor and two readers. The examining committee’s approval of the proposal constitutes admission to candidacy for the Doctor of Ministry degree.

Students will submit a 20-25 page Project Proposal for this exam. This proposal should demonstrate the student’s ability to draw widely and deeply on work they have done in the Colleague Seminars and other courses in the program, strategically integrating that learning around the particular action in ministry the student proposes to undertake.
The proposal should begin with a succinct statement of what the student hopes to accomplish, followed by 1) explicit attention to and grounding in the student’s context of ministry, showing how the proposed project addresses and grows out of the social realities internal and external to that specific place; 2) an explication of the theology that calls forth the proposed project’s action, including attention to scholarly sources and sacred traditions, to relevant theoretical analyses, and to the student’s own experiences and convictions; 3) a detailed outline of the actions the student wishes to undertake, showing how those actions are grounded in an understanding of the specific practices of ministry the student will use; and 4) a brief description of how the student plans to evaluate the proposed Ministry Project.


Class Schedule & Assignments
Written assignments are to be brought to class on the indicated date

September 13-15: Retreat

Reading:

  1. Purchase Richard Robert Osmer, Practical Theology: An Introduction (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2008, ISBN 0802817653) for use throughout the semester and for the retreat read the “Introduction” (pp 1-30).
  2. Electronic Documents – available on Sonis class website or request via email from me:
    a) “Making a Claim and Supporting It,” from Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research, 2nd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003)
    b) “Perspective: This treasure in earthen vessels.”
  3. Web Documents:
    a) “Guidelines for Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) Project Proposals and
    Examination” www.hartsem.edu/student/forms/dminprojectpropguide.pdf
    b) Chapters 1 & 5 from Jackson W. Carroll, Carl S. Dudley, William McKinney (editors), Handbook of Congregational Studies (Abingdon: 1986 – online version available in the out of print book section of the books & articles section of the Hartford Institute website hirr.hartsem.edu) hirr.hartsem.edu/bookshelf/Congstudieshandbook/congstdhdbk-ch1.pdf
    hirr.hartsem.edu/bookshelf/Congstudieshandbook/congstdhdbk-ch5.pdf

Written Assignments:

1) “Something in your ministry setting you want to change.” Bring 16 copies to distribute at the retreat. Your writing audience is your class mates.

a) Top of first page: 1) Your name, 2) name of your ministry setting & 3) one sentence description of your ministry setting (e.g., historic Reformed synagogue of 300 families in affluent Hartford suburb; chaplaincy at small, liberal arts college in small city in up-state NY)
b) First paragraph (150 words max): Describe a situation of/in your ministry setting that you would like to change and that is, imaginably, within your power to change or at least influence.
c) Second paragraph (150 words max): Describe the changed situation as you would, realistically, like it to be.
d) Brief argument for why you desire the change (450 words max): After reading “Making a Claim and Supporting It,” write a convincing argument for your colleagues that the change you desire is a good thing.

2) Personal Bio: A one page introduction to yourself to share with your colleagues. A sample
of what I have in mind is attached to the above, “Perspective: This treasure in earthen vessels”
(except that this bio was written by the seminary’s pr folk). Email attach a copy to me so that we
can post it on the sonis class web site; and bring 16 copies to the retreat.

October 5: Describing One’s Ministry Setting

Reading:
1) Osmer, Practical Theology: Chapter 1 (The Descriptive-Empirical Task: Priestly Listening)
2) Electronic Documents (class sonis site):
a) “Methods for Congregational Study,” Chapter 7 in Studying Congregations: A New Handbook (Abingdon, 1998).
b) Participant Observation, James Nieman
c) Participant Observation Assignment
3) Web Documents: Handbook of Congregational Studies Chapter 3 (Context) –
http://hirr.hartsem.edu/bookshelf/Congstudieshandbook/congstdhdbk-ch3.pdf
Written Assignments: None

October 26: Interpretive Frameworks

Reading:
1) Osmer, Practical Theology: Chapter 2 (The Interpretive Task: Sagely Wisdom)
2) Electronic Documents (class sonis site):
a) Semi-structured Interviews, James Nieman
b) Semi-structured Interview Assignment
3) Web Documents: Handbook of Congregational Studies Chapter 2 (Identity) –
http://hirr.hartsem.edu/bookshelf/Congstudieshandbook/congstdhdbk-ch2.pdf

Written Assignment: Participant Observation Assignment

Nov 16: Theological Discernment

1) Osmer, Practical Theology: Chapter 3 (The Normative Task: Prophetic Discernment)
2) Electronic Documents (class sonis site):
a) “Resources,” Chapter 5 in Studying Congregations
b) Artifact & Place Investigation, James Nieman
c) Document Analysis, James Nieman
b) Artifact, Place and Document Assignment
3) Web Documents: Handbook of Congregational Studies Chapter 4 (Process) –
http://hirr.hartsem.edu/bookshelf/Congstudieshandbook/congstdhdbk-ch4.pdf

Written Assignment: Participant Observation Assignment

December 14: Making It Happen – The Strategic Task

1) Osmer, Practical Theology: Chapter 4 (The Pragmatic Task: Servant Leadership)
2) Electronic Documents (class sonis site):
a) “Leadership and the Study of the Congregation,” Chapter 6 in Studying Congregations
b) Chapters 1, 8 & 10 in Robert Wuthnow’s, America and the Challenges of Religious
Diversity:
c) Final Paper Assignment

Written Assignment: Artifact, Place and Document Assignment
_____________________________________

Final Paper
The final paper integrates the central methods, insights, readings, and findings from the semester into a practical theological framework. This paper will return and extend the retreat assignment dealing with changing something in one’s ministry setting, either the “something” initially treated for the retreat assignment or something different. Details for the final paper, including focus and format, will be provided at the 16 November class session. Final papers must be sent by e-mail to the instructor by 11 January 2010.
_____________________________________

Course Extensions
Past experience has shown that timely completion of all assignments and the entire course is essential to successful completion of the overall D.Min. program. As a result, late writing assignments are strongly discouraged and course extensions are not permitted.

 

 

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