NetVUE Hosts Faculty Seminar, Announces Regional Gatherings and Grant Recipients

Teaching Vocational Exploration

CIC’s Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) recently hosted a third Teaching Vocational Exploration seminar. Twenty early-career faculty members, specializing in a wide range of academic disciplines and hailing from across the country, gathered in suburban Chicago for the June 17–21 event. The participants (see below) were nominated by the chief academic officer at their institutions and selected from a crowded field of nominees.

The NetVUE faculty seminar aims to strengthen the teaching of vocational exploration by examining different meanings of “vocation” and their importance for undergraduate education, by considering content and teaching methods for courses that focus on vocational exploration, and by reflecting on the shape and experience of the academic vocation. In preparation for the seminar, participants read selected materials on vocation and submitted a brief written reflection. During the upcoming academic year, they will develop a new course or course materials or redesign an existing class with greater focus on vocational exploration.

The seminar was led by Paul J. Wadell, professor emeritus of theology and religious studies at St. Norbert College (WI), and Darby Kathleen Ray, Donald W. and Ann M. Harward Professor of Civic Engagement and professor of religious studies at Bates College. Both facilitators contributed to the first volume in the NetVUE Scholarly Resources Project, At This Time and In This Place: Vocation and Higher Education (Oxford University Press 2016), and both have written extensively in the areas of theology, religion, ethics, and vocation.

Participants remarked that, along with the obvious benefits for their own intellectual development and their classroom teaching skills, the seminar has provided a valuable group of colleagues at similar institutions across the country. As Wadell noted in his seminar remarks, this is an event at which a group of people “meet as strangers, but depart as friends.”

The next seminar will take place in Chicago, Illinois, June 22–26, 2020. Nominations are due September 20, 2019. View more information about the Teaching Vocational Exploration seminar.


Augsburg University (MN)
Michael T. Wentzel, Associate Professor of Chemistry

Augustana College (IL)
Kristina “Kiki” Kosnick, Assistant Professor of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Aurora University (IL)
Jaqueline Babb, Assistant Professor of Digital Marketing

Austin College (TX)
Mari Elise Ewing, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

Belmont University (TN)
Cynthia A. Curtis, Assistant Professor of Practical Theology and Spiritual Formation

Capital University (OH)
Lisette Gibson, Assistant Professor of English

Edgewood College (WI)
Rachael Lancor, Associate Professor of Physics and Chair, Chemistry, Geosciences, and Physics Department

John Brown University (AR)
D. Michelle Satterlee, Assistant Professor of Psychology

King University (TN)
Martin H. Dotterweich, Associate Professor of History and Director of the King Institute for Faith and Culture

Mount Mary University (WI)
Nan Metzger, Instructor and Director of International Studies
Muskingum University (OH)
Amy J. Santas, Associate Professor and Chair, Biology Department

Newberry College (SC)
Sara Peters, Associate Professor of Psychology

Ouachita Baptist University (AR)
Benjamin D. Utter, Visiting Assistant Professor of Language and Literature

Presbyterian College (SC)
Austin Y. Shull, Assistant Professor of Biology

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Christine Beech, Director of the Kabara Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies

Susquehanna University (PA)
Matthew Duperon, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning

Thiel College (PA)
Eugene T. Torigoe, Associate Professor of Physics

University of the Ozarks (AR)
Karen A. Frank, Associate Professor of History

Valparaiso University (IN)
Richard Sévère, Associate Professor of English
Wisconsin Lutheran College
Paul R. Burmeister, Assistant Dean of Advising and Associate Professor of Art


Also in June, NetVUE announced this year’s award recipients for two of its grant programs (see recipient list below). Professional Development Awards provide up to $10,000 to allow member institutions to develop faculty and staff leadership for vocational discernment programs. Over the past six years, CIC has awarded nearly $1 million to more than 100 NetVUE member institutions for this program. Vocation across the Academy Grants are designed to help colleges and universities strengthen the link between career preparation and their students’ exploration of meaning, purpose, and identity. These three-year awards offer up to $60,000 from CIC and third-party sources. This program is in its second year, with nearly $1 million awarded to 33 institutions thus far.

CIC will review applications for a third category of NetVUE awards, the Program Development Grants, this coming fall. Awards of $25,000 to $50,000 will be made available to NetVUE member institutions for use over a two-year period. They are intended to deepen, expand, or otherwise strengthen vocational exploration programs that are already underway and are currently supported by NetVUE member colleges and universities. To date, six rounds of these grants have awarded a total of $7 million to more than 150 NetVUE member institutions. Grant proposals were due September 13, 2019.

View more information about NetVUE grant opportunities. These grant programs, as well as the faculty seminar on Teaching Vocational Exploration, are generously supported by Lilly Endowment Inc.


​Andrews University (MI)
Blackburn College (IL)
Bryn Athyn College (PA)
Central Methodist University (MO)
Coe College (IA)
College of the Ozarks (MO)
D’Youville College (NY)
Eastern Mennonite University (VA)
Friends University (KS)
Harding University (AR)
Kentucky Wesleyan College
Illinois Wesleyan University
Loras College (IA)
Loyola Marymount University (CA)
​Messiah College (PA)
Morningside College (IA)
Mount Vernon Nazarene University (OH)
North Park University (IL)
Ohio Dominican University
Pepperdine University (CA)
Roanoke College (VA)
Rochester University (MI)
Saint Vincent College (PA)
Salve Regina University (RI)
Spring Hill College (AL)
Tabor College (KS)
University of Dubuque (IA)
University of San Diego (CA)


​AdventHealth University (FL)
Albion College (MI)
Azusa Pacific University (CA)
Bellarmine University (KY)
Finlandia University (MI)
Georgian Court University (NJ)
​Gustavus Adolphus College (MN)
Hope College (MI)
Mount St. Mary’s University (MD)
Point Loma Nazarene University (CA)
Presbyterian College (SC)
Ursuline College (OH)


During the 2019–2020 academic year, NetVUE will offer eight regional and topic gatherings, most of which are hosted by member institutions, for faculty and staff members at NetVUE institutions. Registration is now open for fall 2019 events:

  • “Hearing Vocation Differently” will be hosted by Pepperdine University (CA) September 20–21;
  • “Educating for Citizenship” will be hosted by Geneva College (PA) October 4–5;
  • “Colleges Can Have Vocations Too” will be hosted by Lipscomb University (TN) November 15–16; and
  • “Vocation, Teaching, and Religious Studies” will take place in San Diego, California, November 21–22, preceding the American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting.

View information about and registration for all four regional gatherings.

In 2020, the following four gatherings will take place:

  • “Vocation from the Margins” will be held at Occidental College (CA) January 18–20;
  • “Vocation and Post-College Transition” will be held at Huntingdon College (AL) February 21–22;
  • “Engaging Faculty Members in the Work of Vocation” will take place at St. Norbert College (WI) March 27–28; and
  • “Campus Centers for Vocation” will be held at Bluffton University (OH) June 10–12.

Preliminary information for the 2020 gatherings is available on the NetVUE website. For more information, contact Lynne Spoelhof, NetVUE program coordinator, at (616) 395-6750 or