Educational Terms may be found by clicking here.

ACPE Center (Accredited Center): An administrative structure or entity authorized by the ACPE Accreditation Commission to conduct programs of CPE Level I/Level II and Certified Educator CPE. An ACPE accredited center is responsible for providing, or contracting for, and coordinating those components identified by ACPE standards as necessary for clinical pastoral education to occur. The term applies to such structures with Provisional or Accredited Member status.

ACPE Directory: The official ACPE listing of accredited ACPE centers and their designated programs and members of ACPE. The directory is online and may be found on the ACPE website.

ACPE Certified Educator: The final level of certification in which a person is authorized by ACPE to function autonomously to conduct programs of CPE Level I/Level II. See also National Faculty below

Accreditation: Authorization, granted by the ACPE Accreditation Commission, to conduct programs of CPE Level I/Level II and/or Certified Educator CPE, based on demonstrated ability to meet ACPE standards.

Accreditation Review: Process for examining a proposed CPE center’s or ACPE accredited center’s compliance with ACPE standards and procedures and for taking action on the accreditation of the center and/or its CPE program(s).

Accredited Member: Status granted to an ACPE center authorizing it to conduct programs of CPE Level I/Level II and Certified Educator CPE.

Accredited Program: Type of program (CPE Level I/Level II or Certified Educator CPE) the center is accredited to provide.

Administrative Center: The central administrative office that is accountable for all accreditation matters within the institution or agency of a System Sponsored Center.

Admission Interview: The meeting of an applicant to a CPE program with a qualified interviewer to discuss the application, provide information, assess the applicant’s readiness for CPE, and discuss the suitability of the center to the educational goals of the applicant.

Adverse Action: Action by the Accreditation Commission to suspend or withdraw Accredited Member status.

Appeal: Formal request for reconsideration of a decision made by the Accreditation Commission or formal challenge of a decision by a panel considering an alleged violation of educational standards. All appeals are subject to the appeal criteria and processes.See Appeal of Adverse Decisions of the Commission for details.

Asynchronous Learning: Methodology by which participants engage in a distance learning activity at different times.

Clinical Placement: A clinical placement is a site for CPE student(s) that is outside of an Accredited Member center or satellite program. The clinical placement must meet all or part of the requirements for a student(s)’ supervised clinical practice of spiritual care. (See Clinical Placements and Agreements for more information)

Clinical Placement Agreement: A clinical placement agreement is required when an accredited center uses an element external to itself. (See Clinical Placements and Agreements for more information)

Completion Rate: A significant factor in the assessment of center’s review process is to ensure that over the six year cycle of accreditation that a minimum of 75% of its students who complete orientation go on to receive credit for the unit. This percentage is to be calculated on a yearly basis.

Compliance: The determination that a center or program under review meets the minimum requirements of one or more ACPE standards.

Component Site: A facility under the same ownership as the accredited system center, where the accreditation commission has authorized the offering of one or more CPE programs under the system center’s single accreditation.

Continuous Review: Refers to an ongoing and regular process of assessing CPE programs for the purpose of quality improvement and compliance with Standards.

Diversity: Diversity is understood to include, but is not limited to age, culture, class, color, disability and ability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, immigration status, marital status, political ideology, race, religion/spirituality, sex, sexual orientation, and tribal sovereign status. (Taken and modified from The Council on Social Work Education)

Educational Placement: An educational placement is a site for regular educational meetings of a CPE group outside the accredited center, component site, or satellite program that is established by formal agreement. The educational placement is intended to provide flexibility for a site considering the development of an accredited ACPE Center, Satellite Program or Component. An Educational Placement may be for no more than two units of CPE, after which, it is required to become part of the accredited center. Centers with alternative scenarios should consult with Accreditation Commission. (See Educational Placement Agreements for more information)

Half Unit: A half unit of CPE Level I/Level II is 240 hours. A student may only enroll in one CPE unit at a time. See Defining a Unit or a Half-Unit of CPE for additional information.

National Faculty: A post certification status that is required of those ACPE Certified Educators who wish to work with Certified Educator Candidates (CECs). See National Faculty in the Certification Manual for more information.

Orientation: is a defined time frame at the beginning of each unit during which enrollment in the CPE unit takes place. Orientation introduces the student to his/her responsibilities, the values and culture of the organization, curriculum and learning outcomes and overall expectations. Students who complete orientation are counted in the center’s annual reporting of completion rates.

Peer Group: A peer group shall usually be 4-5 students, but not less than 3, Level I/Level II students. The Commission recommends that groups be no larger than 6-8 students.

Policy: A required element of a CPE program expressed in a clear, concise written format. See Required Center Policies & Procedures for more information and also see Procedure below.

Practitioner: A person who is actively engaged in the practice of clinical spiritual care and/or spiritual support. As a member of a site team, the practitioner serves as an advocate for the continued success of the program, evaluates practical application of the education of the students, and observes learning environment to determine if student needs are met or not.

Preceptor: A contextually relevant professional(s) practicing in and recognized by the clinical placement site and the ACPE Certified Educator. The preceptor/mentor must review the ACPE preceptor orientation presentation prior to the start of a unit.

Responsibilities of the Preceptor

  • Orient the student to your placement site and ensure that the student understands the context for this placement
  • Address student’s questions and learning needs about the placement site.
  • Communicate with the ACPE Certified Educator on a regular basis about fulfillment of the student’s administrative obligations and the responsibilities outlined in the clinical site agreement. This includes the student’s clinical work, work habits, and investment in the learning process at the placement site.

Procedure: The way(s) in which a policy is implemented or utilized. See Required Center Policies & Procedures for more information and also see Policy above.

Process of Improvement: a cyclical collection and examination of data/information used to help set goals, identify needed improvements and evaluate change.

Professional Advisory Group (PAG): A group of persons, both internal and external to the center, and who are considered stakeholders in the CPE program. The primary role of the group is to offer consultation to the educators and the center on the development of the CPE program. The PAG offers support to students and educators and participates in regular assessment and evaluation of the program and its effectiveness.

Professional Development: All educators are obligated to complete 50 hours of professional development/continuing education each year. These hours are to be logged as part of the educator’s portfolio.

Qualified Interviewer: ACPE Certified Educator or other person meeting these criteria:

  • knowledgeable about current ACPE standards, procedures, practices, and objectives;
  • objective as to the interests of the applicant, religious/spiritual community, seminary/theological/rabbinical school, center, and CPE;
  • able to recognize those qualities of well-being, personality and congruence of beliefs/behaviors/belonging to one’s religious/spiritual tradition which will enable an applicant to develop in CPE;
  • able to dynamically engage the applicant and assess readiness for CPE;
  • able to assess the applicant’s potential to benefit from CPE in the center(s) to which application is being made.

Rationale: Basic or underlying reasons for something.

Satellite Program: a program offered by an ACPE Accredited Member center, known as the “host center”, through a sponsoring institution or agency external to the center. A satellite program is created to provide programs of CPE of the host center; the satellite program may not function on its own and does not have any type accreditation extended except to provide the programs outlined in the satellite program contract.

Sexual Exploitation: Any sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or physical contact of a sexual nature, even if by mutual consent, between persons in situations of unequal power. Sexual exploitation is inclusive of the terms “sexual harassment,” “sexual abuse,” and “sexual misconduct.” Sexual contact with those receiving spiritual care or being supervised, even if by consent, is considered a violation of the ACPE Code of Professional Ethics.

Stakeholders: Anyone who can affect or be affected by an institution or organization’s objectives, policies or actions. Examples of ACPE center stakeholders are: students, faculty, center administrators, PAG members, local seminaries/theological/rabbinical schools, etc.

Standard: a level of quality or attainment (synonyms: quality, level, grade, caliber, merit, excellence) or an idea or thing used as a measure, norm, or model in comparative evaluations. Standards are adopted by the membership of the Association.

Student Handbook: The primary resource that sets forth expectations and requirements for students throughout their respective training unit(s). The handbook shall include all required policies and procedures and other pertinent information to support student achievement. Students shall have access to the Student Handbook throughout the entirety of the training unit.

Student Support Services: Including, but not limited to, orientation (see above), a process for educational guidance and recommendations for counseling resources, resume preparation and employment search, research support, assistance with technology as needed, and academic assistance, e.g., writing skills.

Substantive Change: Any change affecting a Provisionally Accredited or Accredited Member center’s scope of programs or ability to administer, finance, staff, and/or maintain the resources necessary to conduct program(s) of CPE or maintain ongoing compliance with ACPE accreditation standards.

Suspension: Adverse action that requires a center to temporarily cease enrolling students in its programs pending further accreditation assessment and corrective action.

Synchronous Learning: Methodology by which learners participate in an online learning course at the same time but in different locations. It allows learners to interact with the instructor and other participants through use of software that creates a virtual classroom.

System Center Accreditation: An accredited CPE center sponsored by an institution or agency that owns and operates multiple facilities. The center has one accreditation administered by a central office that is accountable for all CPE programming within the institution or agency. A system sponsored center uses component sites to offer programs of CPE throughout the institution or agency. See also Administrative Center and Component Site in this section.

Unit: A unit of CPE Level I/Level II is 400 hours. A student may only enroll in one CPE unit at a time. See Defining a Unit or a Half-Unit of CPE for additional information.

Video Conferencing: The use of video technology (hardware and software) to create a virtual meeting between two or more people in different physical locations. Participants can see and hear each other through this technology.

Workload: An accredited center must employ a faculty of sufficient size to fulfill its program goals. It is up to the center to determine the overall workload for its educators. See Educator Workload for more information.