The driving force of CBTE programs

Northwest utilizes mentoring in all of our competency-based programs. In these programs, students are provided with a mentor team of at least two people. Each mentor joins the team with a specific perspective and focus but all mentors fulfill the same role and are full members of the team. The mentor team works together to guide the student through their program and assess their progress.

The mentor role includes 5 important responsibilities:


  • Provide life-on-life direction in the holistic development of the student (character, skill, knowledge) toward achieving the program outcomes.
  • Engage with the student to provide feedback on their work and guide them toward demonstrated mastery of competencies.
  • Coach the student to become a well-rounded leader by broadening & deepening their perspectives and practices, and growing curiosity.
  • Assign learning activities appropriate to the credential that bridge competency gaps in a manner suited to the student’s context.
  • Assess mastery of competencies and record evidence supporting that assessment in the learning platform.

Each mentor team will include at least a ministry mentor and an academic mentor.

Ministry mentor

Qualifications and expertise:

Five years of ministry experience. This is the mentor that interacts in person with the student the most. Often times they are the student's supervisor in their ministry context.


Unique ability:

The ministry mentor has the best insight in helping the student connect their work in the ministry context with the program assignments. They also have the most insight into how the student will fulfill the practical aspects of the program.



To their local church and the Northwest  program management team.

Academic mentor

Qualifications and expertise:

Either a graduate (for mentoring in undergraduate programs) or doctoral (for mentoring in graduate programs) degree in a field related to biblical, theological, or ministry studies. The academic mentor brings a breadth and depth of theological and biblical concepts. The academic mentor is also a member Northwest faculty holding at least adjunct faculty status.


Unique ability:

The academic mentor will often be the one with the most interaction around critical reading and research assignments. They challenge the student to think more deeply and to consider perspectives with which the student disagrees in order to broaden understanding of perspectives. They help the student organize their thoughts and answer objections before they are raised. The academic mentor is deeply concerned about the student's holistic development, with a particular bent towards training students to think, and then to align character and skill.



Northwest Dean's office and program management team.

In addition to the ministry and academic mentors, most mentor teams also include a network or Northwest mentor. Additionally, sometimes a field mentor is also provided to the student. These various mentor structures are employed based on the needs of the program, the student, and their context.

The interdisciplinary mentor teams that support, guide, and assess learners in Northwest's CBTE programs are the unique strength of the program."

- Kajle Radbourne, Associate Director of Operations

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