Preparing for the First Semester

Once you have completed the Application Process and have been accepted into the Semiotics, Church & Culture DMin program, you may begin to prepare for your first semester of study.

Gaining "Student" Status at Portland Seminary

Once you have completed the following application tasks, you are officially a student at Portland Seminary:

  • Applied for one of the DMin tracks

  • Have been officially accepted into the DMin program

  • Paid your $200 enrollment deposit

Your status as a student allows you to access the registration, academics, and directory tabs in MyGFU. Heather Rainey becomes your primary contact person:

Heather Rainey

Heather Rainey

Program and Operations Coordinator for the Doctor of Ministry Program

Office: 1-503-554-6162

Steps to prepare for the first semester

Following acceptance into the program, preparation for the first semester includes the following tasks:

  1. Please review the   Disability Services Office  (DSO) website if you want to learn about requesting accommodations for a disability. Be aware that Advances may include a variety of physical activities, viewing and listening to field presentations, eating local foods, etc.
  2. Be sure to review the Important Dates page to coordinate the program travel dates, weekly synchronous chat times, and academic rhythms with your life commitments and calendars.
  3. Join the SCC DMin Cohort Facebook Group site to begin connecting with other students:

    • SCC17 DMin Cohort Facebook Group. This facebook group will become an integral part of your learning community. In it will be posted announcements, reading lists, travel suggestions, and prayer requests. Regardless of your proficiency with Facebook, please make it a point to join and participate in this group.

    • Your Facebook settings can be adjusted so that you receive updates from your cohort group directly to your email inbox. To enable this feature:

      • Navigate to your Facebook cohort group by clicking on the appropriate link above.

      • Underneath the banner photo the top of the page, click on the "Notifications" button.

      • Ensure that "All Posts" is selected.

    • You can post directly to the SCC17 Facebook group via email:

    • Replying to an email from your Facebook group will generate a comment on that piece of content within the Facebook group.

  4. Once you have paid your enrollment deposit and have received confirmation from the admissions office that you have been matriculated, register for first semester courses after the DMin Department notifies you in your facebook group that registration is open.

    • Register for your first semester courses.

      • Go to and log in with your George Fox username and password.  Learn more about MyGFU.

      • If you do not know your username or password, contact the IT Service Desk:

      • Select "Self Service" > "Student Center" > "Enroll"

      • Enter the course ID in the "Enter Class Number" field for each of the courses listed below and select "Enter" to add the course to your "Shopping Cart":

        • DMIN 709 E17: Introduction to Biblical, Ecclesial, and Cultural Semiotics (Class number: 2036) 
        • DMIN 713 E17: Introduction to Research Resources (Class number: 2207)

        • DMIN 716 E17: Customized Course I (Class number: 2151)

      • Note: You are not registered until the class has been added to your schedule. To add the class to your schedule, click the "Proceed to Step 2 of 3" button.

      • Click the "Finish Enrolling" button. You will see a confirmation message that the class has been added to your schedule.

      • To check to make sure that you have properly registered, check your "My Class Schedule." You will see all of your classes and their status.

    • Fill out the Enrollment Confirmation Form after August 15. Log in using your George Fox username and password.

    • Complete the T4_Permis permission form:

      • In MyGFU , go to Self Service > Campus Finances > Go to View Student Permissions

      • Click Grant Permissions

      • Review the description of the regulations for the T4_Permis permission and click Next

      • Read the agreement, mark the checkbox, and click Submit

      • Once you have enabled the permission it will remain intact for the duration of your GFU career, or until you rescind the permission in person with Student Accounts. If you have any questions regarding these changes, please email

  5. Log into FoxTALE and George Fox Google Email before the fall semester begins. You use the same username and password as you use for MyGFU.

  6. Purchase or borrow the books to read during the first semester listed below:

    • DMIN713: The following reference manual is to be utilized during the fall semester:

      • Kate L. Turabian, et al,  A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, Ninth Edition: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers. 9th edition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018). ISBN: 978-0226430577 (pbk)

    • DMIN716: Determined by the student in consultation with his/her Faculty Advisor.

    • DMIN717: The following texts are to be read during the fall semester:

      • Downing, Crystal. Changing Signs of Truth a Christian Introduction to the Semiotics of Communication . Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2012.

        Haskell, David George. The Songs of Trees : Stories from Nature's Great Connectors . New York, NY: Viking, 2017.

        Geary, James. I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World . New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2011.

        Pinetops Foundation. “The Great Opportunity: The American Church in 2050.” Last modified 2018.

        Smith, James Bryan. The Magnificent Story: Uncovering a Gospel of Beauty, Goodness, and Truth . Westmont, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2017.

        Sweet, Leonard. From Tablet to Table: Where Community Is Found and Identity Is Formed . Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2014.

        Sweet, Leonard. Nudge: Awakening Each Other to the God Who's Already There . Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2010.

        Swoboda, A. J. Subversive Sabbath: The Surprising Power of Rest in a Nonstop World . Grand Rapids, Michigan: Brazos Press, 2018.
      • Reading orderDowning, Sweet (Nudge), The Great Opportunity  (1 week), Sweet (Table), Geary, Swoboda, Smith, Haskell 

  7. Be sure to to be available for weekly synchronous chats on the following dates, generally Mondays, at 7am PST/PDT unless otherwise noted:

    • Dates: Monday, Sept. 10, 17, 24; Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; Nov. 12, 26; Dec. 3, 10.

  8. Complete the following "ramp up" assignments in preparation for the first advance:

  9. Attend the Orientation Advance:

    • The advances constitute a central learning experience in the SCC DMin program. Students participate in the research courses, connect with cohort members in person, faculty advisors, and spend time with lead mentor, Len Sweet.

    • The first advance for the cohort is Sept. 3-7, 2018 in Portland, OR. For more information, see the Orientation Advance Schedule page.

    • Food and lodging are provided with incidentals excepted as a part of the Advance Fee. Wireless internet connectivity will be available. Students are responsible for all air-travel and local transport (taxi, bus, etc) for all advances.
  10. Log into FoxTALE and Google sites  and begin course work on  Monday, Sept. 3, 2018 .