NetVUE Offers New Member Services for a Virtual Era

While the coronavirus pandemic has altered plans for in-person gatherings, CIC’s Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) has expanded other programs and will offer member institutions a variety of new programs and services during the coming year.

Virtual Events

CIC has brought teams from member institutions together for a biennial national NetVUE Conference since the network’s founding in 2009. The event features dynamic plenary speakers, concurrent workshops, and sessions hosted by member teams, as well as ample networking opportunities. The conference is designed to support member institutions as they initiate campus conversations, offer professional development opportunities, and create student-focused programming—with the ultimate goal of helping undergraduates explore and discern their many callings in life. Due to coronavirus precautions, the next NetVUE Conference, originally scheduled to take place in March 2021, will now be held March 24–26, 2022, at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel in Dallas, Texas.

During the originally scheduled conference dates (March 18–20, 2021), NetVUE will host several new virtual events, all at no cost to administrators, faculty members, and staff at NetVUE member institutions. These will include three plenary webinars, several small webinars that focus on the needs of specific campus constituencies, and a number of virtual discussion groups that allow participants to network and exchange ideas. In addition, member institutions that currently hold a grant from one of the four NetVUE grant programs will be able to meet in small groups to discuss adjustments they are making to achieve their programmatic goals in a vastly different campus environment. Details about this cluster of virtual events will be provided to NetVUE member institutions in the coming months.

“Big Read”

As a further service to its members, NetVUE will sponsor a “Big Read” project in 2021. The project will explore a significant book on vocation that will be published in January. The book, Living Vocationally: The Journey of the Called Life, was written by two NetVUE Scholars, Paul J. Wadell and Charles R. Pinches. Both authors have been highly active in NetVUE programs and events, and both contributed to the first volume produced by the NetVUE Scholarly Resources Project, At This Time and In This Place: Vocation and Higher Education (2016). But while that book and other NetVUE-generated volumes are intended primarily for educators, Living Vocationally is aimed at undergraduate students. The book is expected to be useful in a variety of campus contexts, including academic classrooms, career service offices, and informal student reading groups.

To help faculty members and staff become acquainted with the book, NetVUE will supply free copies to institutions that design a program for faculty members, administrators, and staff to read the book in a group setting (including an online platform). Member institutions will be invited to draft simple one- to two-page proposals that describe the incentives that they will provide for campus participation in the project and the number of participants that they expect to attract. Books will be awarded, and shipped in bulk to member institutions, based on these proposals. Upon conclusion of their participation in the Big Read, campuses will be asked to report on their experiences. More information on this program is available on the NetVUE website.

Podcast Series

Callings (hosted by NetVUE)This fall, NetVUE also launched a podcast series. Callings: Conversations on College, Career, and a Life Well Lived features interviews with a variety of individuals, both from within and outside the NetVUE orbit. The first episode featured Shirley Roels, the founding director of NetVUE, who served in that role from 2009 to 2017 and now serves as the executive director of the International Network for Christian Higher Education. In the interview, Roels describes the three “intertwined threads” that have informed her career: higher education, faith-based institutions, and organizational management. At each moment of vocational reflection, she has asked the question, “What needs doing that I can do?” This was followed by an interview with Mark Schwehn and Dorothy Bass, editors of the volume Leading Lives that Matter: What We Should Do and Who We Should Be (2006, 2020), an anthology that has been widely used in NetVUE circles and has just been re-issued in an expanded second edition. In this interview, Schwehn and Bass discuss the fortuitous events that led to the original project and the issues that guided their thinking in putting together the new edition. They also share stories about their own life trajectories, discuss their life callings, and muse about their favorite texts to teach. Other guests will include Darby Ray, co-director of the NetVUE Faculty Development Seminar “Teaching Vocational Exploration,” as well as Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core. The NetVUE podcast is hosted at, where listeners can stream or download episodes. It also can be found on a variety of podcast-hosting sites, including Spotify, Stitcher, and Apple Podcasts.

NetVUE Featured

While core NetVUE operations are funded by membership dues, the network also offers grants and a number of additional programs and services that are generously supported by Lilly Endowment Inc. In its recently released 2019 Annual Report, the Lilly Endowment singled out NetVUE’s first decade of achievements, focusing especially on the success of the 2019 NetVUE Conference. The article features comments by Harold V. Hartley III, CIC senior vice president, and David S. Cunningham, director of NetVUE. PDFThe story is accessible on the Lilly Endowment website.

Questions about NetVUE membership, programs, and services may be addressed to David Cunningham at or to Lynne Spoelhof, NetVUE program manager, at Both also can be reached at the NetVUE office by telephone at (616) 395-6750.