Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE)
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About NetVUE

​​The Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) is a nationwide network of colleges and universities formed to enrich the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation among undergraduate students. This initiative is administered by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) with generous supported from Lilly Endowment Inc. and members' dues.

CIC administers NetVUE with guidance from an advisory council comprised of representatives from participating institutions.


Purposes of NetVUE

The purposes of NetVUE are to:

  • Deepen the understanding of the intellectual and theological dimensions of vocational exploration;
  • Examine the role of vocational exploration in a variety of institutional contexts;
  • Share knowledge, best practices, and reflection on experiences across participating campuses;
  • Develop a network for sustaining an extended program in the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation; and
  • Facilitate the incorporation of additional colleges and universities into this enterprise.

Colleges and universities rooted in the liberal arts are particularly well suited to undertake the task of educating future leaders who are theologically literate, whose attitudes and behaviors are shaped by their values and commitments, and who are eager to sustain a life of service that is guided by a sense of calling.


Financial Support

Financial support of NetVUE comes from a combination of membership dues and support from Lilly Endowment Inc. Thanks to Lilly’s generous support, dues are modest. Incrementally, as Lilly’s level of support recedes by 2020, future network activities become self-supporting by dues from participating institutions, along with fees for some programs, events, and services.
View details on annual NetVUE dues


History of NetVUE

​In 1999, Lilly Endowment Inc. launched Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation (PTEV) to support independent colleges and universities in establishing or strengthening programs that would (a) help students examine the relationship between their faith and vocational choices; (b) provide opportunities for young people to explore Christian ministry leadership; and (c) enhance the capacity of an institution’s faculty and staff to teach and mentor students in this regard. The objective was to identify and nurture a new generation of highly talented and committed leaders for religious communities and for society.

Over the subsequent years, Lilly supported 88 colleges and universities with PTEV programs. Efforts on each of these campuses encompassing the callings of students, faculty and staff were supported by a series of national conferences for representatives of participating institutions. As the Lilly Endowment’s active support concluded, a number of college and university presidents, pleased with the positive results of these programs, asked the Council of Independent Colleges to extend and expand a nation-wide campus-supported network for the theological exploration of vocation.

In early 2008, CIC began to craft a vision for such a network, identified its goals and laid the groundwork for an inaugural conference in March 2009. In the fall of 2009, NetVUE was launched as a network of colleges and universities committed to fostering the theological exploration of vocation in their campus communities.

National Events

National conferences and regional events are held in alternating years.  National conferences bring together teams of campus leaders with expert resource persons from across the country and serve as one of the NetVUE cornerstone activities. NetVUE funding from member dues and Lilly Endowment Inc. provides financial support for national conferences.


2017 NetVUE Conference

The 2017 NetVUE Conference will be held on March 23–25, 2017, in Charlotte, North Carolina. The conference theme will be Renewing the Theological Exploration of Vocation.

View Program and Registration Information.


Teaching Vocational Exploration Seminar

CIC is pleased to announce a multidisciplinary seminar, Teaching Vocational Exploration, for full-time faculty members in all fields at colleges and universities that are members of NetVUE.

June 19–23, 2017 (Chicago, IL)
View Program and Registration Information.


Previous Conferences



2013 NetVUE Conference
Indianapolis, IN

2011 NetVUE Conference
Indianapolis, IN

Regional Events

​Regional events and national conferences are held in alternating years. NetVUE supports regional gatherings and multi-campus collaborations on specific topics. NetVUE member campuses, or a group of campuses, are encouraged to organize and host such gatherings based on issues or themes of interest. These events will build smaller networks among member campuses based on location, affiliation, program offerings, or other points of mutual interest. NetVUE funding from member dues and Lilly Endowment Inc. provides financial support for regional gatherings.

The next NetVUE regional gatherings will be held in 2017–2018.

Grant Programs

​NetVUE currently offers the following grant programs to strengthen the ability of NetVUE member institutions to enrich the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation among undergraduate students. These initiatives are administered by CIC with generous support from Lilly Endowment Inc.


Program Development Grants

Program Development Grants are intended to deepen, expand, or otherwise strengthen vocational exploration programs that are already underway and supported by NetVUE member colleges and universities. Institutions that did not previously receive funding through Lilly Endowment’s prior Programs for Theological Exploration of Vocation (PTEV) initiative are eligible to request between $25,000 and $50,000 for use over a two-year period to develop existing vocational exploration initiatives. Since the PTEV program has concluded, the Lilly Endowment seeks to recognize and encourage colleges and universities that, with their own funds, have been striving for similar efforts. To date four rounds of these grants have been awarded to more than 100 NetVUE member institutions. One additional round is planned.

View awards given.


Professional Development Awards

Professional Development Awards are available to support opportunities for the professional development activities that enhance the knowledge, skills, and expertise of faculty and staff members who support undergraduate vocational initiatives. All NetVUE member institutions that do not have a Program Development Grant at the time of application are eligible to request $5,000 to $10,000 for use over one full academic year to support professional development of faculty and staff members to strengthen vocational exploration programming for students. This is the third of five annual rounds of selection.

View awards given.

Application Deadline: April 14, 2017


Chaplaincy Implementation Grants

Chaplaincy Implementation Grants were offered to NetVUE member colleges and universities to implement plans to strengthen campus chaplaincy that were developed as a result of participation in one of the two 2014 NetVUE Chaplaincy Conferences. Eligible institutions were able to request up to $20,000 for use over one full academic year to support programmatic efforts to strengthen campus chaplaincy. This was a one-time opportunity.

View awards given.


Vocation Exploration Renewal Grants

Vocation Exploration Renewal Grants were provided to NetVUE member colleges and universities for use in the 2016–2017 academic year. Eligible institutions were able to request up to $25,000 to refocus and reinvigorate vocational exploration programs for undergraduate education. These grants were provided to institutions that already had made substantial and long-term investments in vocation initiatives. This was a one-time opportunity.

View awards given.


Questions?

Questions about the NetVUE grant programs can be addressed to Michael G. Cartwright, assistant director of NetVUE, at mcartwright@cic.nche.edu or (317) 788-3233.

Consultants and Campus Visits

​A consulting service and campus visits program are two key programmatic element of NetVUE.


NetVUE Consultants

NetVUE Consultants are college and university leaders who have strong experience in developing and sustaining campus programs for the exploration of vocation. Some have expertise in student mentoring programs, while others have established vocational exploration in academic curricula. They have created venues in which to deepen faculty understanding of the historical, psychological, religious, and cultural dynamics that shape vocation. These leaders are knowledgeable about religious and secular texts as well as resources that support and encourage the search for meaning. They have worked to embed such emphases in ongoing campus life. Based on years of experience and reflection, NetVUE Consultants are available to guide NetVUE campus communities.

A NetVUE Consultant can provide advice on a specific aspect of undergraduate vocational exploration through an on-campus visit. A limited number of on-campus consultation grants is available to NetVUE members. Grants will cover the time and travel of the NetVUE Consultant for a one to two-day visit. Host campuses are expected to cover on-site accommodations and meals during the visit.

To arrange for a NetVUE Consultant’s visit, complete the request form for a NetVUE Consultant Campus Visit and send it by email to NetVUE@cic.nche.edu. The request should include a brief description of your campus goals, needs, and interests, the designation of campus leaders who will take part in the onsite visit, and an attached schedule for the visit. You may request a specific NetVUE Consultant who seems to match the needs that you identify. However, final consultant matches will be made by NetVUE in close consultation with your campus regarding needs and expertise, as well as consultant schedules and availability. Profiles of NetVUE Consultants are listed below.



NetVUE Campus Visits Program

The NetVUE Campus Visit Program provides an opportunity for a three- to four-member team from a NetVUE member college or university to visit another NetVUE member campus to learn about effective practices in programs for undergraduate exploration of vocation. Visiting campus teams can observe and discuss with experienced faculty and staff members how they established successful programs, faculty and staff development activities, courses and course materials, and plans that led to stable, broadly supported programs. The goal is for the visiting team to strengthen its own program by taking advantage of the lessons learned by well-established programs.

A limited number of campus visit grants is available to NetVUE member institutions. Grants will cover travel, housing, and meals for a one- to two-day visit for up to $850 per team member for a team of three or four members. The use of grant funds should be planned with the host campus to support meal and lodging expenses during the visit. The NetVUE Campus Visit program is generously supported by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to CIC.

NetVUE members interested in a visit should contact a potential host campus and make preliminary arrangements before requesting funding from NetVUE.

To request funding for a NetVUE Campus Visit, please complete a NetVUE Campus Visit form and submit it by email to NetVUE@cic.nche.edu or fax to (616)-526-7758. The request should include the following:
  • A brief description of the campus visit goals, needs, and interests;
  • A listing of the names and titles of the visiting team leader and team members;
  • The contact information for the host institution;
  • A one-sheet budget to cover travel, meal, and lodging expenses for both the visiting team and the host campus up to a maximum of $400 for travel and $450 for meals and lodging per visiting team member for a team of three or four members (NetVUE will reimburse expenses to the institutions after the visit);
  • A one-sheet proposed schedule for the visit; and
  • Approval of President or Chief Academic Officer.

Within 30 days of the visit, the visiting team should submit a one- to two-page report to NetVUE summarizing what was learned and describing the next steps to be taken by the visiting campus. The report should be accompanied by a request for visit expense reimbursement.

For additional information, please contact Shirley Roels, CIC senior advisor for NetVUE, by email at sroels@cic.nche.edu or by phone at (616) 526-7819.​

Scholarly Resources Project

View the NetVUE Scholarly Resources Blog.

Despite the increasing interest in the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation, its further development on college and university campuses faces significant challenges. The current economic climate has led to a focus on shorter-term educational goals. Many institutions find themselves fighting to preserve emphasis on the importance of broader vision and deeper wisdom in undergraduate education. The liberal arts disciplines—traditionally a bulwark for conversations about questions of meaning and significance—are frequently on the defensive. Students increasingly encounter a wider array of religious traditions on campus and also find themselves with the uncertainties that characterize what we have learned to call “emerging adulthood.” These and related challenges have prompted many new questions about the concept of vocation and how it can best be explored by today’s undergraduate students.
 
NetVUE member colleges and universities would benefit from access to new scholarly resources that facilitate better theological understanding of vocation among students and faculty members. Although a number of such resources were produced as a result of the PTEV initiative, each new decade brings with it new questions related to faith and vocation. Three major issues have been identified by scholars of vocation and NetVUE’s leaders for the development of new scholarly resources.
  • First, how can colleges and universities educate undergraduates about vocation? In the face of an ever-changing context, institutions need resources for increasing student attentiveness to vocation, for describing the nature of vocational exploration in fresh and compelling ways, and for connecting students with vocation-based practices across institutions with diverse missions and religious heritages. Click here for further description and seminar scholars.
  • Second, how can vocational considerations be integrated into diverse fields of study? Particularly in applied fields such as business, education, engineering, health care, and information science, teachers and advisors face an acute shortage of reliable scholarly resources on vocation. Click here for further description and seminar scholars.
  • Third, how can vocational discernment and practices be advanced in a multi-religious world? Well-educated students will need to become better informed about religious traditions other than their own, if their understanding of vocation is to be useful in a pluralistic, global society. Click here for further description and seminar scholars.
NetVUE will bring together three groups of senior scholars who represent a wide range of theological traditions and who have expertise related to each of these themes. Each of these seminar groups will study one of the issues and will convene three times over a 14-month period. Each seminar group will produce a book and perhaps other scholarly materials that respond to one of these three important vocational questions and become resources for colleges and universities. Each of the three groups will incorporate theological foundations from many different traditions. The members of each seminar group will compare ideas and perspectives that have emerged from their common and individual readings and will develop plans for a coordinated writing project, which they will carry out over the course of a year.
 
Through the generous support of the Lilly Endowment, NetVUE will support expenses of the seminar meetings and the production of materials associated with this initiative and will provide modest stipends to scholars for their written contributions. The intent is that the first seminar group will begin its work in summer 2013, with the second seminar cohort commencing its work in summer 2014 and the third in 2015. NetVUE’s expectation is that this scholarly endeavor will conclude within five to six years.
 
For additional information about the NetVUE Scholarly Resources Project, please contact project director David Cunningham by email at dcunningham@cic.nche.edu or by phone at (616) 395-7320.

Resource Libraries and Links

NetVUE offers a collection of resources to support the exploration of vocation in undergraduate education. These include the NetVUE Community Network site, speeches and presentation materials from national and regional conferences, and materials collected through the Lilly PTEV program.


NetVUE Community network site

The Community Network site is an access-controlled site for NetVUE members only. Through the site, leaders of member campuses can do the following:
  • Share documents, audio, and video files
  • Browse resources on books, movies, and course syllabi
  • Participate in listserv discussions
  • View a directory of other NetVUE member contacts
Access the NetVUE Community Network Site

If you would like to join the NetVUE Community Network site, send an email to NetVUE@cic.nche.edu and include your own name, your title, your institution's name, and your email address. Please allow 3–4 days for processing and verification. You will receive your login information after being registered with CIC.


PTEV Resources

Many resources were identified and developed during the past decade by the 88 colleges and universities who participated in the Lilly Endowment’s Program for the Theological Exploration of Vocation (PTEV). These resources include many texts, films, course syllabi to support vocation-related instruction at every level of undergraduate education. These resources may be of value to institutions planning and developing vocational exploration programs. Descriptions of the 88 PTEV campus programs are also included as a reference.
 
With the support of Lilly Endowment Inc., CIC is maintaining the PTEV website and its resources in their original form at www.ptev.org.

Other Resource Links

 
 

 

Advisory Council and NetVUE Staff

Stephen R. Briggs
President
Berry College
 
Donna M. Carroll
President
Dominican University (IL)
 
Darrel D. Colson
President
Wartburg College
 
Joel L. Cunningham
Vice Chancellor Emeritus
Professor of Mathematics
Sewanee: The University of the South
 
Beverly W. Hogan
President
Tougaloo College
 
Charlie T. McCormick
President
Schreiner University
 
Lisa D. Rhodes
Dean of Sisters Chapel and Director, Sisters Center for WISDOM
Spelman College
 
Tracy Wenger Sadd
Chaplain
Executive Director, Purposeful Life Work and Ethical Leadership
Elizabethtown College
 
Paul J. Wadell
Professor of Religious Studies
St. Norbert College
 
Stephen K. Wilke
Vice President for Planning and New Programs
Executive Director, Institute for Discipleship
Southwestern College
 


Shirley J. Roels

Senior Advisor and Director of NetVUE

Shirley Roels is CIC senior advisor and director of NetVUE. In this role, she oversees and guides NetVUE activities, working with both the CIC staff and the NetVUE advisory council from the NetVUE office based in Grand Rapids, MI. After serving as a faculty member in business and as dean of academic administration, Shirley directed the Lilly Vocation Project at Calvin College from 2002 until 2009. In addition to her NetVUE responsibilities, Shirley directed the Van Lunen Center from 2006-2012 and is a professor of management at Calvin. She has an undergraduate background in communications, humanities, social sciences and teacher education, a master's in business administration from the University of Michigan, and a PhD in higher education from Michigan State University.
 
Shirley can be reached by email at sroels@cic.nche.edu or by phone at (616) 526-7819.
 


David S. Cunningham

Scholarly Resources Project Director

David Cunningham is director of the NetVUE Scholarly Resources Project. In this role, he shapes contributions from scholars of vocation that create resource materials for NetVUE member campuses. In addition to his NetVUE responsibilities, David directs the CrossRoads Project at Hope College and has been a faculty member there since 2003. As a professor of religion, he was previously on the faculty of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and has also taught at the University of St. Thomas and at Austin College. David has an undergraduate degree in communication studies and a master's degree in theology and religious studies from the University of Cambridge, and a PhD in religion from Duke University.

David can be reached by email at dcunningham@cic.nche.edu or by phone at (616) 395-7320.
 


Michael G. Cartwright

Assistant Director of NetVUE
 
Michael G. Cartwright is the assistant director of NetVUE and was the director of the NetVUE Chaplaincy Conferences. In this role he gathers ideas about strategies and resources for robust campus chaplaincy and creates NetVUE programs for campus members. In addition to his NetVUE responsibilities, Michael is the special assistant to the president for mission and an associate professor of philosophy and religion at the University of Indianapolis and has been a faculty member there since 1996. Previously he served as the director of the Lantz Center for Christian Vocations at the university and was a faculty member at Allegheny College.  Michael has an undergraduate background in English literature, a master's of divinity, and a PhD in theology and ethics.
 
Michael can be reached by email at mcartwright@cic.nche.edu or by phone at (317) 788-3233.
 


Lynne M. Spoelhof

NetVUE Program Coordinator

Lynne Spoelhof is the NetVUE Program Coordinator. In this role, she manages information and databases, assists campus members, plans conferences and gatherings, and supports all NetVUE grants and initiatives, working with CIC staff from the office based in Grand Rapids, MI. Prior to her current responsibilities, Lynne served as an elementary teacher for a number of years and developed her office management skills in both profit and not-for-profit organizations. Lynne has an undergraduate degree in elementary education, communication arts and sciences, and English from Calvin College.

Lynne can be reached by email at lspoelhof@cic.nche.edu or by phone at (616) 526-7819.