May 4th, 2010


Reviewing the CTP: moving it beyond a "logical step"

A long-standing problem with the ADF Clergy Training Program has been the number of people who seek to enroll in it because it is a "next logical step" beyond the Dedicant Path. Separating out these two programs (and, hopefully, encouraging the IP as a far more appropriate "next logical step") has a variety of parts to it, but the one I wish to focus on today is adding additional requirements to starting the CTP.

Right now, there are only two technical requirements to start the CTP: pass the DP, and write a vocational statement.

Because of this, we have had to hold DP students to a "higher standard" for entry into the CTP, which has led to much angst over being forced to re-write DP documentation. Some of this was founded in fact: at one time it was explicitly mentioned that if your DP wasn't "good enough," you might have to go back and re-write some of it. To be perfectly frank, I don't know that we ever required anyone to actually go back and re-write any, and I do know that under my tenure as Clergy Council Preceptor, we have certainly not done so. What we have done instead is required people to start by completing courses that would help them in clergy work, such as Liturgy 1, Trance 1, or Research and Composition.

This is well and good, and teaches some necessary skills, but what we have found is that the DP simply doesn't teach enough of the things we want (and need) it to teach in order for our Priests to enter the CTP with a somewhat common set of skills that they really need to have from the start.

There have been several suggestions to remedy this:
  1. Leave it as it is – Continue to allow DP students to enter without further work.
  2. Require completion of the GSP prior to CTP enrollment – In other words, what is now the First Circle of the CTP becomes a course you must complete before you can embark on priestly training.
  3. Require the Initiate Path prior to CTP enrollment – This would provide a less academically-oriented introduction to many of the skills required.
  4. Create a pre-CTP course – Select 4-6 "must have" courses and require those prior to enrollment in the CTP.
Each of these possibilities has its own merits, and each has its disadvantages.

As it stands, the status quo has issues, both from a presentation standpoint (it will just remain the "next logical step") and from an administrative standpoint. Specifically, we have roughly 49 total CTP students, 38 of which are still active, and about half of those have submitted anything in the past month. The typical student is not very active at all, and having students engage in the "next logical step" rather than engage in "the thing I'm totally passionate about" creates a burden on the administrative side that would best be avoided.

The use of the GSP and the IP are both very attractive, as each provides an excellent set of skills for our clergy to draw on. A central issue with using a complete program, though, is that it sets up a "next logical step" all over again, with Initiates and Generalists both seeing the CTP as the "next hill to climb" in their training. Add to this the fact that Initiation is not a "sure-to-pass" scenario, and people can be prevented from ever joining the Clergy if they can't get through the Initiation.

Creating a pre-CTP course that draws from the GSP and the IP, and also has some unique courses, could help differentiate the CTP from other coursework (in other words, you wouldn't become "automatically eligible" for the CTP by doing other work), so people would have to consciously seek to do the groundwork required to enter the CTP, and they would end up undertaking at least one or two courses that are not offered and will not transfer into other coursework.

It is this last option that I am currently leaning toward recommending: it forces one to put a deliberate foot on the path toward clergy, a step that does not go in the same direction as any other path the person might be on. Additionally, it allows us to eliminate coursework that should already be "common knowledge" to our Priest candidates from our CTP circles, which makes room for more advanced coursework earlier on (as an example, if we put IE Myth 1 in the "pre-CTP" coursework, we can put IE Myth 2 in CTP 1; or if we put Liturgy 1 in the "pre-CTP," we can put Liturgical Practicum 1 in CTP 1).

Perhaps most importantly, we can take more recent work that is on the same level as other CTP work and review that (rather than reviewing DP work) as our basis for entrance to the CTP. This advantages both the student and the CC Officers who need to review their work: with the DP around for over 10 years now, some of those who apply for the CTP have only very old work to present to us, and it is often difficult to judge their ability to do the work. The student also has an advantage of having worked with a reviewer on items like source citation, writing style, and learning how to answer the questions. This will, I think, make both students and the Clergy Council Officers more comfortable with the ability of those students to complete the CTP.

Of course, students already engaged in the CTP would not be required to do anything silly like complete these pre-CTP courses and then re-enroll. . . the aim is future-looking, not backward-looking. It's just one step along the way of deepening the CTP for future students. . . and any current students who wish to switch to the revised program.
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