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ACPE Program (Accredited Program): 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 program 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 programs. 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 program’s or ACPE accredited program’s compliance with ACPE standards and procedures and for taking action on the accreditation of the program.

Accredited Member: Status granted to an ACPE program 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 program is accredited to provide.

Adjunct Faculty/Didactic Presenter: A contextually relevant professional who is recognized by the ACPE Certified Educator for a particular area of expertise related to the CPE curriculum. Recognition for this role requires one or more of the following:

  • professional licensing
  • professional certification/authority to function in their role
  • an advanced degree in their field of expertise
  • faith group endorsement/local equivalent process.

At the discretion of the ACPE Certified Educator, two letters of recommendation in a specialty area may be used to satisfy the recognition requirement. Programs shall maintain current CV/Resume (or equivalent) of adjunct faculty/didactic presenters in their portfolios (Standard 1, Item 5)

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 program to the educational goals of the applicant.

Adverse Action: Action by the Accreditation Commission to deny, suspend, withdraw, or terminate 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 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 program’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 program under review meets the minimum requirements of one or more ACPE standards.

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)

Faculty Development Plan: Programs shall ensure that each affiliated ACPE Certified Educator will document their yearly requirement of 50 hours of continuing education in accordance with the requirements for maintenance of their individual portfolio for peer review and certification.

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 practicing in and recognized by the clinical placement site and the ACPE Certified Educator. Recognition for this role requires one or more of the following:

  • professional licensing, professional certification/authority to function in their role
  • an advanced degree in their field of expertise
  • faith group endorsement/local equivalent process.

A program will maintain current resume for each preceptor as part of their portfolio (Standard 1, Item 5) and will collect student/stakeholder feedback related to how the preceptor fulfilled their role. 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 program, 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 program to which application is being made.

Rationale: Basic or underlying reasons for something.

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 program 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 program’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 program 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 Program Accreditation: An accredited CPE program sponsored by an institution or agency that owns and operates multiple facilities, each of which are independently accredited.

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.