The advisory system at McCormick Theological Seminary is designed as a joint appraisal process, integrating reflection on academic studies, field studies, vocational interests, personal growth, and spiritual formation of students in the masters programs. With faculty guidance, students plan their work at the Seminary and prepare for lifelong learning and self-assessment in their particular vocation. Students at the Seminary are adult learners who are able to be self-directed, involved, and take responsibility for their own learning. Accordingly, the advisory system is designed to maximize student initiative and facilitate personal and professional development. The advisory system begins when a student enters the Seminary. New students are required to attend orientation in order to participate in the assessment and planning activities for the first year of study as well as have initial meetings with their advisors. Input for the initial interview will include:
- Assessment of previous experiences, including style of learning, strengths, styles of leading and relating to others, and educational achievement
- Initial statement of vocational focus, including information from governing bodies, career counseling centers, etc.
- Initial statement of educational goals.
In the initial interview, a student and her or his advisor will review the student’s preparation for theological study and the purposes which shall guide the student’s program.
Consultations will be held regularly (per semester) to review progress, talk over issues that bear on the student’s work, and plan courses and other experiences which shall lead to the successful completion of the desired degree. There will be two stated reviews for M.Div. students and one for M.T.S. and M.A.M. students.
These reviews look back over the previous year’s course work (normally nine units), field studies, attendance and participation in courses for which the student is registered, or other pertinent educational experiences, consider the student’s progress toward the degree and the particular preparation for church or agency certification, and plan for the next year’s educational program. Faculty members will prepare a report of the First Review and the Graduation Review. All reports will be co-signed by the student and advisor. The Graduation review issues in a recommendation to the faculty for the awarding of the degree. Details of the advisory system are fully described in the Advisory System Handbook, which is issued each year to all students.