Effective Summer, 2011, the Palmer Seminary faculty agreed to reconfigure the evaluative process known as Assessment I (INT 510).
With an eye toward maximizing students preparedness and fitness for ministry, entering students are now required to complete Vocational & Personal Inventories (VPI). The VPI (course #SFRM 500) are intended to help the student and seminary gather information about students' personal and ministerial strengths, gifts and inclinations, while providing insight into areas where growth and/or healing would be beneficial. In the past, instruments such as the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory, the MMPI-2, and the FIRO-B have been used; others may be selected pending faculty approval.
Effective Spring, 2011, the Palmer Seminary faculty approved the replacement of the curriculum requirement known as "INT 512--Assessment II." The replacement requirement will be called the "Mid-Program Assessment" (MPA). Unlike Assessment II, the MPA has as a prerequisite that the first year of supervised internship (typically Middler TFE) must be completed successfully for M.Div. students, or that M.T.S. in Christian Counseling students be within two semesters of completing their degree requirements.
In conjunction with a faculty Evaluation Team, the MPA (course #SFRM 501) affords students the opportunity to reflect on their own status in relation to the goals of their academic program curriculum, and in relation to their personal and vocational goals. The MPA is also used to help faculty gauge student competence in skills of self-reflection.
For the MPA, students are required to respond to pre-determined questions by writing brief self-reflective essays. Student essays will be assessed by an Evaluation Team (ET) composed of Seminary faculty. In some circumstances the ET may determine that a follow-up meeting with the student is required and would be beneficial to the student's further growth and progress. In some cases, the ET may also determine that a student needs to complete further requirements in order to enhance and support, or remediate, their formation for ministry. Successful and timely completion of the MPA and any requirements that might emerge from it is required in order for an M.Div. student or M.T.S.-Christian Counseling student to graduate.
In a given semester, the MPA process is typically completed over the course of approximately three months. Within this time frame, both students and faculty have a series of deadlines to meet. In conjunction with faculty, the Director of Student Formation sets and adjusts the time parameters and deadlines for the MPA process each semester. Generally speaking, during month one, students complete and submit their essays; during month two, ETs evaluate the essays, submit paperwork and, as necessary, begin setting up appointments with students; during month three, ETs meet with students with whom they have arranged appointments, and students submit all outstanding paperwork.