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Geisinger School of Spiritual Care

Standards for ACPE centers and programs

To maintain its accreditation by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, each CPE center demonstrates its compliance with the following standards. They’re included in this booklet because ACPE standards are the basis of a covenant into which Geisinger enters with each student.

All ACPE accredited centers shall...

Standard 301 develop and maintain a written plan which:

301.1 describes the administrative structure and lines of authority within the center.
301.2 provides for compliance with ACPE standards.
301.3 describes how commitments to students will be met in the event of substantial change within the institution or center.

Standard 302 provide at least the following components:
302.1 financial, human and physical resources sufficient to support the units of CPE offered by the center.
302.2 a population that provides students with opportunities for ministry and clinical pastoral education.
302.3 a written agreement that specifies the relationship and operational details between the center and any agency(ies) whenever a program uses elements from any agency(ies) external to itself.

Standard 303 provide these educational resources:
303.1 a faculty of sufficient size to fulfill program goals and comprised of persons authorized by ACPE. A centers faculty must include at least one supervisor certified by ACPE as Associate Supervisor or ACPE Supervisor.
303.2 a faculty development plan.
303.3 interdisciplinary consultation and teaching within the program(s) provided by adjunct faculty and/or guest lecturers.
303.4 individual and group supervision by a person authorized by ACPE.
303.5 a peer group of at least three CPE (Level I/II) students engaged in small group process and committed to fulfilling the requirements of the educational program.
303.6 access to library and educational facilities adequate to meet the the ACPE standards.
303.7 access to current ACPE standards and manuals.
303.8 student support services including, but not limited to, orientation, a process for educational guidance and recommendations for counseling resources, resume preparation and employment search.

Standard 304 provide all policies and procedures in writing and inform all students and ACPE program staff of their content. These include, but are not limited to:
304.1 an admission policy that clearly states the ACPE accredited center does not discriminate against persons because of race, gender, age, faith group, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability.
304.2 a financial policy that clearly states fees, payment schedules, refunds, stipends, and benefits.
304.3 a complaint procedure consistent with ACPE standards and the ACPE manual Processing Complaints of Ethics Violations.
304.4 a procedure for maintaining student records for ten years, which addresses confidentiality, access, content, and custody of student records should the center be without a supervisor and/or accreditation. (See Guidelines for Student Records, Appendix 12, ACPE Accreditation Manual.)
304.5 a procedure for providing consultation for CPE students.
304.6 a procedure for discipline, dismissal and withdrawal of students.
304.7 a policy for ethical conduct of students and program staff consistent with the ACPE Code of Ethics.
304.8 a statement of student rights and responsibilities.
304.9 an agreement for training at the ministry site that includes, but is not limited to:

  • authorization to visit patients, parishioners or clients;
  • access to appropriate clinical records and informed consent with regard to use of student materials; and
  • agreement by the student to abide by center polices protecting confidentiality and rights of clients/patients/parishioners.

304.10 a policy and procedure that provides for completion of a unit or program in process if the supervisor is unable to continue.

Standard 305 have consultation and program evaluation, including:
305.1 an on-going process of consultation with a designated professional advisory group.
305.2 on-going program evaluation sufficient to promote the continuous quality improvement of the educational program(s) including:

  • course content and materials;
  • success with respect to student achievement, including course completion, certification rate and job placement;
  • educational methods and supervisory relationship;
  • student to supervisor ratio;
  • appropriate level of challenge in individual learning contracts;
  • assessment of use of CPE.

Standard 306 accurately describe the center, its spiritual services and educational programs.

  • All statements in advertising, catalogs, publications, recruiting and academic calendars shall be accurate at the time of publication.
  • Publications that advertise a centers programs shall include the type(s) and level(s) of education offered and the ACPE mailing address, telephone number and website address.

307-308 ACPE Accredited Programs

Standard 307 An applicants suitability for admission to any CPE program is a matter of judgment by the ACPE accredited center in accordance with its admission policies. Requirements for admission to CPE programs include, but are not limited to:
307.1 a completed ACPE application.
307.2 an admission interview with a qualified interviewer for persons applying for an initial unit of CPE to determine readiness for clinical learning.
307.3 either graduation from high school/completion of a GED or ordination by a faith community or commission to function in ministry by an appropriate religious authority as determined by ACPE.
307.4 fulfillment of education or experience requirements established by the ACPE accredited center.
307.5 acceptance by an ACPE accredited center accredited for appropriate program type.
307.6 Additional requirements for admission to Supervisory CPE include, but are not limited to:
307.6.1 previous ministry experience in which the applicant demonstrated ability to function pastorally.
307.6.2 successfully meeting CPE Level II outcomes.
307.6.3 consultation for readiness for the student and  supervisor as specified in the ACPE Certification Manual, Part Two,  IV. A.
307.6.4 ACPE membership.

Standard 308 Program standards include:
308.1 a specific time period for a program unit of clinical pastoral education or a half unit of clinical pastoral education.

  • A unit of CPE is at least 100 hours of structured group and individual education. Each unit shall be accompanied by the supervised, clinical practice in ministry. The combined time shall
    be no less than 400 hours.
  • A half unit of CPE is at least 60 hours of structured group and individual education. Each half unit shall be accompanied by the supervised, clinical practice in ministry. The combined time shall  be no less than 240 hours.

308.2 supervised clinical practice of ministry to persons and the detailed reporting and evaluation of that ministry.
308.3  supervision by a person authorized by ACPE.
308.4 an individual contract for learning developed collaboratively by the student and supervisor.
308.5 a relational learning environment that fosters growth in pastoral formation, pastoral reflection and pastoral competence; such an environment involves mutual trust, respect, openness, challenge, conflict, and confrontation.
308.6 an instructional plan that employs a process model of education and clinical method of learning including:
308.6.1 delineation and use of goals.
308.6.2 core curriculum appropriate to the CPE setting.
308.6.3 clearly written syllabus.
308.6.4 evidence of congruence between program goals and the mission of the institution.
308.6.5 program evaluation by the students.
308.7 presentation and use of literature and instruction appropriate to the students’ learning goals and needs.
308.8 final evaluations written by the student and supervisor.
308.8.1 Supervisor’s evaluation will be available to the student within 45 calendar days of the completion of the unit.
308.8.2 Supervisor’s assessment reflects professional judgment about student’s work, abilities, strengths, weaknesses.
308.8.3 Supervisor certifies completion of a unit or half unit of CPE (Level I/II).
308.8.4 Student may attach a written response to the supervisor’s evaluation, which then becomes part of the student’s record.
 - Wording from 2005 ACPE Standards