Terms & Definitions

PATHWAYS Theological Education: 
  • PATHWAYS Theological Education is a leadership formation ministry that provides 3 levels of engagement (foundational, intermediate, and advanced) toward equipping lay and authorized leaders for ministry in the United Church of Christ.
  • PATHWAYS curriculum is built on the Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers – a discernment and assessment tool developed by the UCC for use by Members in Discernment, Committees on Ministry, and authorized ministers.
Open Cohort Model:
  • Founded on the idea that adult leaners best perform through peer interaction, PATHWAYS employs a cohort model. Generally, PATHWAYS participants begin each level with a group of 8~12 learners who stay together from the beginning to the end of a level. The cohort members naturally create a bond and a community of peers whose camaraderie for mutual support can be long lasting.
  • “Open” cohort model refers to the nature of each cohort in being open to receiving other participants joining the cohort for a single or a set of courses. 
Competency Based Model:
  • A competency-based model of education is a model used in professional education today throughout many university systems. It begins with identifying the competencies held by a profession and works backwards by designing an educational experience to meet those competencies.
  • In the United Church of Christ, the competencies of authorized ministry are found in the Marks of Faithful and Effective Authorized Ministers. Each course in the PATHWAYS curriculum is designed to address specific Marks. The educational objectives within a course are aligned with the Marks for that course.
Asynchronous Learning:
  • Asynchronous learning is a learner-centered approach to learning that utilizes online learning resources to facilitate education outside of the limitation of time.
  • In an asynchronous learning environment, learners can respond to peers’ postings and access learning resources at any time based on the learner’s own schedule.
  • Learners enrolled in the PATHWAYS courses, usually in a designated cohort in a given program level.
Transitory Participant:
  • Occasional participant taking courses across levels.
  • A person who facilitates the learning experience among the participants in a course room within the parameters of the goals and objectives of the course curriculum.
  • A facilitator communicates, guides, and offers feedback to the effect of (a) laying out clear expectations in regards to participation and work requirements in the course, (b) guiding the conversation among the participants in the course room, (c) asking probing questions to deepen the conversation, inviting the participants to engage in deeper theological reflection and thought, (d) providing substantive and timely responses to each participant on a weekly basis, (e) checking in with participants when their participation ebbs, and (f) being available for out-of-courseroom questions and conversation with individual participants. 
  • A person dedicated to providing support for individuals in the cohort for the duration of their respective program. The coach is available to help with the discernment of learning goals and professional calling, advocate for participants, encourage participants’ active involvement, and provide pastoral care.