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    Advising & Mentoring  


Students take seven required courses and eight elective courses to earn the M.A. in Pastoral Ministries, for a total of 60 units. In addition, they complete a mid-program review essay after 8 courses, submitting it along with samples of their final projects in several courses, and a Capstone ePortfolio at the conclusion of the program, which includes an essay reflecting on the learning goals of the program exemplified in the accompanying course papers they include in their portfolio. 

The seven foundational courses are:

  • Fundamental Theology (PMIN 201 or 288)
  • Christology (PMIN 203)
  • Ecclesiology (PMIN 204 or 225)
  • Hebrew Bible (PMIN 205 or 283)
  • New Testament (PMIN 206 or 214)
  • Ethics (PMIN 251 or 287)
  • Sacraments & Liturgy (PMIN 297)

The elective courses range over the following areas of pastoral emphasis:  Catechetics, Liturgy, Spirituality. While there are no formal "tracks" as there were in the past, students may create an emphasis by weighting their coursework in one area.

An Hispanic Ministry emphasis may be earned by taking an eighth required course, PMIN 296 U.S. Latino Theology, in place of one of the eight electives.


Student Learning Goals & Objectives

There are five learning goals in the program, and for each goal we have articulated two student learning objectives. We require certain courses to introduce and reinforce each learning objective, so that by the mid- and end-point of the program students can demonstrate mastery of the objectives through a portfolio of papers and projects from their courses and a summary essay. 

The objectives are listed below, along with a map of the curriculum so that you can see which objectives should be embedded in your syllabus and reinforced through assignments. 

Only current SCU Religious Studies faculty are authorized to view the contents of this page. If the frames below are empty and you are a current SCU Religious Studies faculty member, open another browser window and login at the SCU single sign-on portal, then refresh this window. If the frame is still empty, email Kitty Murphy.


The foundational and elective courses introduce and reinforce certain objectives, so that through assignments in the class students can demonstrate proficiency and eventually mastery of these objectives. We therefore ask you to put the appropriate learning objectives in your syllabus, create at least one major assignment that allows the students to demonstrate their proficiency with this/these objectives, and submit your syllabus to the Associate Director for approval before teaching your course. Please do this at least a month in advance of your course start date in case there are any changes recommended. We maintain an archive of syllabi so that you can review how others have done this; the student learning objectives were implemented in 2014, so syllabi after that date will be the most useful.



Mid-Program & Capstone ePortfolios

Electronic portfolios (ePortfolios) are digital collections created by students over time that make their classroom learning visible. Samples of students’ work can represent their knowledge, skills, talents, and experiences captured through a wide variety of formats, including text, multimedia presentations, video, or sound. These artifacts provide a record of accomplishments, offer deeper insights into students’ learning experiences, and can be tailored for various purposes or audiences. Students will select final papers/projects submitted in several of their classes and upload these into their ePortfolio, choosing representative samples on the basis of how well they demonstrate several of the learning objectives (mid-program review) and goals (Capstone ePortfolio) of the program. The uploaded papers should include the professor’s comment(s) and final grade. There are two projects required of each student:

  1. Mid-program Review: The mid-program review will take place after the completion of eight courses which must include at least three foundation courses. Students will select those assignments that demonstrate their proficiency in five of the ten objectives chosen from at least three of the program goals (these assignments should be considered for inclusion in the Capstone ePortfolio). They will also write a 4-5 page paper reflecting on what they have learned about each objective and linking their learning to the uploaded assignments. 

  2. Capstone ePortfolio: Students will review the student learning objectives for the program and will submit final projects/papers for courses that they believe best demonstrate their accomplishment of each learning objective. The portfolio will include projects from three Foundations courses and three Elective courses. The student will also write an 8-10 page integrative paper at the end of their degree program after making their final ePortfolio selections, reflecting on the following questions:
How did I come to understand each of the five learning goals through the chosen projects and the program in general?  
How did mastering these learning goals and objectives strengthen my ability to minister?  

When a student matriculates, a Google Drive folder is created by program staff and shared with the student and their mentor. The folder contains an advising checklist and separate folders for the mid-program and capstone projects. Within each folder is a cover sheet with detailed directions and links to resources, along with a grading rubric for the assignment that the mentor uses to evaluate the student's integrative essay. A video introducing this system is provided to the students on the GPPM web site at Academic Resources.

Course Formats

Classes are delivered in three modes in the Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries.

First, classes are offered in the traditional face-to-face classroom experience. Students meet once a week in the evening for ten weeks in an assigned classroom.
Second, classes are offered in a blended format. On three Saturdays during the ten weeks of the course, students meet for an all day session in the traditional face-to-face classroom experience. For the remaining seven weeks, the students meet with the professor online in a live session (synchronous video conferencing) once a week. These courses take place in the individual homes or other chosen location of the participants.
Third, any class may be taken fully in the synchronous video conferencing mode with the approval of the Program Director. This option is open only to students who cannot attend a traditional face-to-face classroom session. In this case, the student may join the traditional face-to-face class through synchronous video conferencing as well as the weekly sychronous video conferencing for those courses that are offered in the blended format.

Diocesan Sites

We currently offer classes in four dioceses outside the home campus in the Diocese of San Jose. We are developing info sheets for each site to provide you with the address, on-site contact persons for facilities and technology assistance, recommendations for hotels and restaurants, and emergency contact information.  These sheets will only appear if you are logged in to your SCU gmail account.



Plan to prepare a draft of your course syllabus for posting to the GPPM website in advance of student registration for the term you are teaching. Send it to the GPPM Associate Director, Kitty Murphy ( She will post the draft for students and review it for the elements below, offering feedback in time for your revision before the new quarter. Here is a schedule of course planning deadlines for the coming year:

Term Submit Draft Students Register Book Order Due * Final Syllabus Due
Fall 2019 July 1 July 15-19 May 3 September 27
Winter 2020 October 21 November 4-8 October 25 January 10
Spring 2020 January 24 February 3-7 February 7 April 3
Summer 2020 March 23 April 6-10 April 17 Sess 1&2: June 26
Sess 3: August 7

Your syllabus is your contract with the students. College of Arts & Sciences policy requires that certain information be included on your syllabus (the linked document provides brief descriptions of each and links to current policy statements):

course number and description grading policy (weights and breakdown)
instructor name (+ email, telephone) assignment prompts, with learning objectives that the final student project demonstrates
office location & hours projected course calendar
class term, time and location reading schedule

learning outcomes (only those mapped to your course)

required readings (full bibliographic citation, with ISBN)
university policies (academic honesty, disability accommodation, Title IX; see the Office of the Provost's Teaching and Learning: Planning page for the latest iterations)

In addition, the Program requires that you indicate the term and your attendance policy

In conjunction with your attendance policy, please include the Program's Zoom policy (select the form that corresponds to the type of course):

For on-site courses: "The use of video-conferencing software to record or replace in-person attendance is not allowed, except in exceptional circumstances with the permission of the instructor and Program Director."

For hybrid courses: "The use of video-conferencing software to record or replace in-person attendance for part or all of our three in-person sessions is not allowed, except in exceptional circumstances with the permission of the instructor and Program Director."

Two additional statements you might want to include in your syllabus are:

  • your own policy about the use of technology or recording devices in class; while this is up to you, there is a policy about the recording of class in the Student Handbook (p. 13) that would allow the following statement:

Use of Technology in & Recording of Class

Cellphones should be turned off during class, and laptops may only be used for authorized collabora­tions or for viewing course readings. The Student Handbook prohibits video- or audio-recording or streaming of private, non-public conversations and/or meetings, inclusive of the classroom setting, without the knowledge and consent of all recorded parties. If you require the recording of classroom lectures, discussions, simulations, and other course-related activity for a documented disability, make arrangements through Disabilities Resources (see below) and discuss this with the instructor.  If for some reason other than disability you would like to record the class, please seek the permission of the instructor first, and then of the class.

  • a wellness statement, which SCU Associated Student Government officers are drafting in 2018–2019 to address the heightened anxiety of many of our students

A sample syllabus with these elements is available for your review.

An archive of syllabi for courses taught in the program since Fall 2010 is available to all faculty with a pre-authorized SCU account.

The program has an Academic Resources page for students that includes the following resources, many with video tutorials:

  • SCU apps and technology resources
  • courses and Camino
  • mentors and advising
  • using Zoom
  • library and databases
  • writing resources (including a Style Sheet with guidelines for format and citation and video tutorials for Microsoft Word, Apple's Pages, and Google Docs)
  • theological reflection and resources

We also have separate pages listing spirituality resources and ministry & career resources.

Book Orders

Books are ordered through the SCU Bookstore for courses taught on the SCU campus (both in-person and hybrid courses meeting at SCU). For courses taught entirely off-site, students purchase books through vendors of their choice based on the titles and ISBNs provided on your draft syllabus; you do NOT order books through the bookstore for these courses (in fact, we tell the bookstore not to expect book orders for off-site courses).

If you do need to order books for on-site classes through the bookstore, you can do so in one of four ways:

  • Web - Faculty Enlight is the preferred portal; titles ordered here will appear on the boostore website and CoursAvail within 48 hours, which helps students anticipate book costs. You don't need an SCU email account to set up a Faculty Enlight account and order books; your course is automatically uploaded for your input in advance of the student registration period.  Some faculty have reported that the final "submit" command (after the Captcha box) goes nowhere -- this seems to happen only in Chrome and Safari, when pop-ups are blocked or security is set on the highest setting.  Try adjusting these features or use Firefox if you run into trouble.
  • Email
  • Telephone - (408) 554-4491
  • In-person


Technology Support

Academic Technology provides training to convert a face-to-face course into a hybrid or blended-learning class format for GPPM (or to develop an entirely new course in that format). Their Online/Blended Learning Resources page lists the schedule of quarterly workshops for course redesign. You are paid a stipend for the time involved in these extended courses.

We also provide some basic "how-to" videos for using Camino and Zoom in your courses.

There are also summer workshops in Technology Enhanced Teaching that can be used to develop specific tools and resources for your course; see the link above for past efforts and future schedules.

In addition, the program director, Joe Morris, assists most of those who teach hybrid courses in the various dioceses up and running.  He usually has an orientation class via Zoom that uses Camino to introduce faculty to this different format, if it is new for them. 

Academic Technology staff member Jeremy Kemp, current faculty member Bill Dohar, and alumna and former Academic Technology staff member Gloria Hofer, have assisted faculty with various matters, from course redesign to robust Camino deployment to the use of technology in class (video conferencing, class recordings, computer use/projection).  Associate Director Kitty Murphy is also happy to help.

The GPPM has begun a quarterly Pedagogy Lunch series to address issues that come up in both face-to-face and hybrid courses. The first lunch, led by Bill Dohar in February 2018, focused on issues of developing and delivering hybrid courses; the notes from that lunch may also be useful to you as you develop your materials (you'll need to be logged in to your SCU gmail account to view that page).


Mentoring & Advising Students

The program director and associate director advise the majority of GPPM students, but beginning in 2018–2019, some additional faculty members began to take on 1-4 graduate advisees in addition their undergraduate advising responsibilities.

Program staff provide each mentor with a profile and transcript for each of their advisees. In addition, eCampus now lists your GPPM advisees along with any undergraduate advisees you might have on the advising tab of your "Faculty and Advisor Center." While this gives you access to demographic information and course history, at the moment eCampus does not provide degree audits for GPPM students, so we've developed our own system to assist you.

The video to the right walks you through the elements of the system we've developed. In short, program staff (director, associate director, sr. administrative assistant) create a Google Drive folder for each student that they share with the mentor and the student. The folder has a course checklist that program staff maintain, which is essentially an easy-to-follow "degree audit," tracking the 7-8 foundational courses and 7-8 elective courses (15 courses total) that the student will take in their time with us. The quarter/year in the "completed" column remain red until the student receives a final grade. In addition to the course checklist, there are two folders, "01 Mid-Program Review" and "02 Capstone ePortfolio." These folders contain the cover sheet/checklist and evaluation rubric provided by program staff for each of these two assignments, and students will be able to upload their relevant course projects and fill in the checklist. Program staff will alert students and mentors when the student is eligible for these assignments, but it also the student's and mentors' responsibility to keep an eye on pending deadlines.

Link to full-screen video  |  10.00


Fields on the checklists are restricted, so that only you in some cases, or only program staff in others, can fill them in; here's a pdf guide.

The mentors' primary responsibilities are to check in 1-2 times a year, ideally in person or via zoom, to assist the advisee with course planning, answer any questions they may have, and assist with the portfolio process. The mentor will be responsible to evaluate the students' mid-program and capstone essays/portfolios. Because the mid-program review requires a minimum of four completed foundation courses and eight completed courses total, be sure to advise the student to enroll in foundation courses early on (in the past, some students have front-loaded electives).

If you are advising a student in the deacon formation program in the Diocese of San Jose or Monterey, their program is a bit different:

  • Most will be non-degree
  • They take 7 rather than 15 courses with us
  • The courses they take are negotiated in advance by the program director and the Diocesan Director of Deacon Formation
  • The diocese provides them with some advising and spiritual formation
  • We are working with the dioceses to develop a possibility of a capstone paper, but at the moment neither the mid-program review nor the capstone projects are required.

The program will offer mentor trainings every fall quarter as well as group "norming" sessions before the annual mid-program review (September 1, April 1) and capstone eportfolio (May 1) deadlines.

Please don't hesitate to contact program staff if you have a question or can't answer a student question; it helps us know how to direct our trainings and what resources to develop for you and the students.


Using eCampus

Demographic and course progress information for each student in the program is available through eCampus. If you haven't advised students before, the video above shows you how to use eCampus for advising support.  Choose the "Faculty & Advisor Center" button, select the Advisor Center > My Advisees tab in the left navigation.  You will see your graduate and undergraduate advisees listed there, and can click on their records to see their demographic information or course history.  You can view this information for any student by clicking the "View Data for Other Students" button below your advisees. The drop-down menu in the Academics section allows you to access Course History.

Spiritual Direction/Formation

The program strongly encourages all of its students to seek a spiritual director to support their formation throughout their coursework.  At orientation, students are provided a list of spiritual directors in their area from whom they can choose.  We also maintain these resources on the GPPM website at Student & Alumni Resources > Spirituality Resources.