Directions for Completing an STM Portfolio
Once a pastor has completed all 24 credits required for the STM, a pastor can choose to complete his STM by preparing a portfolio and passing an oral exam on his portfolio. Since preparing and passing an oral defense of the portfolio earns no STM credits, all 24 credits required for the STM need to be completed before completing the portfolio and the oral exam related to it.
Since the assembling of artifacts giving evidence of the learning gained during the STM is a key element of the portfolio, the pastor considering a portfolio as his chosen way of completing his STM is encouraged throughout his STM studies to retain for his records any significant course projects or post-course projects completed during his courses.
To begin the portfolio process the pastor’s advisor will request from the continuing education department access to the Portfolio Information Form (provided as a Microsoft form). The pastor then fills out his portion of the form and returns it to his advisor with the following information:
The cover sheet is a one to three-page document that would provide:
- an introduction to the entire portfolio;
- a listing of the stated knowledge, skill, and attitude objectives in his area of study for the STM; and
- a brief overview of what he would consider the main growth he experienced from his studies related to those knowledge, skill, and attitude objectives.
There are two kinds of artifacts.
- Artifacts can be projects that were the main required tasks a pastor completed in particular courses he took as part of his STM. Such projects could be essays written or ministry resources produced (e.g., a sermon or sermons written, a Bible study produced). Each such artifact a pastor includes in his portfolio would be introduced by one to two pages that set the context for the artifact including what course the project was developed for and how that project gives evidence of growth toward the particular knowledge, skill, and attitude objectives for the STM area in which he was studying.
- Artifacts can also be documents or ministry resources produced by the pastor during the years of his STM study that may not be directly connected to any one particular STM course assignment, but that still demonstrate growth in relation to the knowledge, skill, and attitude objectives for the STM area in which he was studying. These artifacts should also be introduced by one to two pages of introduction that also set the context for this ministry artifact as well as describing how this more independently produced artifact gives evidence of growth toward the particular knowledge, skill, and attitude objectives for the STM area in which he is studying.
There is no set number of artifacts a pastor would need to include in his portfolio. The key is to include a sufficient number of artifacts to demonstrate growth broadly across the knowledge, skill, and attitude objectives in his chosen area of study.
Once the pastor has completed his portfolio, he submits a digital copy of his portfolio to his STM advisor. The STM advisor selects a second reader for the portfolio. The STM advisor and the second reader read through the portfolio and compare the learning the portfolio demonstrates with the stated knowledge, skill, and attitude objectives of the STM area in which the pastor had chosen to focus his studies. As they evaluate the portfolio, the advisor and second reader are looking for places where they can commend the pastor for giving evidence of having achieved the stated objectives as well as noting places where they might perceive gaps to encourage further evidence of learning. The readers also note places where they may have more general or specific questions for the pastor who prepared the portfolio. If the advisor and second reader would be convinced that gaps in the portfolio in regard to achieving the stated knowledge, skill, and attitude objectives of that area of study are significant enough, they could suggest to the pastor the specific goal(s) that would yet require an additional artifact(s) that would allow the portfolio to be accepted and an oral defense to be scheduled. If such a determination would be made to suggest an additional artifact(s), the pastor would be asked to complete that work before the portfolio would be received and an oral defense scheduled.
Once the advisor and 2nd reader agree that the portfolio gives sufficient evidence of having attained the knowledge, skill, and attitude goals of that area of study, the STM advisor will work with the pastor and 2nd reader to set up a day for the oral examination on the portfolio. The oral examination can either take place on campus in Mequon or via video technology if travel to Mequon proves problematic for any of the three participants. The oral exam would typically last for no more than an hour. The oral exam provides an opportunity for the advisor and 2nd reader to commend the pastor for the growth his portfolio demonstrates, as well as to ask questions of the pastor for information or clarification.
After the oral defense, if the portfolio still needs some minor revisions, those suggestions would be communicated to the pastor. Once the pastor has made those revisions in a way acceptable to the STM advisor and the second reader, the portfolio would be accepted without any repetition of the oral exam. The pastor would be asked to submit a digital copy of the (corrected) portfolio to the continuing education department.
Once the portfolio has been received (as written or as revised) as a successful completion of the STM, and once a digital copy has been submitted, the pastor would be invited to participate in the next WLS graduation service to formally receive his degree.
There is a time limit of completing the oral exam on the portfolio at least 45 days prior to the graduation service in order to be able to participate. Otherwise, the diploma would be formally received at the following year’s graduation service. An STM graduation fee of $25 would also be assessed. The fee can be submitted to the attention of the administrative assistant to the president.