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One major purpose of an undergraduate education in the liberal arts is to help students shape a philosophy of life. At the same time, undergraduates today are increasingly preoccupied with postgraduate employment. The purpose of this grant program is to help colleges and universities develop more effective ways to strengthen the link between these two purposes of undergraduate education. It is designed to support institutions in their efforts to expand vocational exploration and discernment programs across the curriculum and cocurricular programs, with the following goals: (a) to help students develop more effective links between developing a philosophy of life and preparing for a career; (b) to include more faculty and students in the theological and intellectual exploration of vocation; and, in some cases, (c) to build connections with community partners, such as local businesses, nonprofits, and other community organizations.

Proposals may focus on upper-level undergraduates, lower-division study, or both. Proposals that seek to integrate vocational exploration as a continuum from the first year through the senior year, and/or across the range of academic disciplines and applied fields, are especially encouraged. An optional special initiative within this grant program—Vocation across the Academy Community Partnerships—is designed to achieve many of the same objectives through partnerships with local businesses, nonprofits, and community organizations that more closely tie students’ vocational exploration to their professional and career preparation.

This initiative is administered by CIC with generous support from Lilly Endowment Inc.


NetVUE Vocation across the Academy Grants provide three years of grant funding for projects that are four years in duration. Institutions may request up to $25,000 for the first year, and must raise third-party matching gifts in an equal amount by the end of the grant’s first year. These matching funds are to support activities proposed for the grant period’s second and third years. Upon fulfillment of the matching requirement, an institution will receive from CIC an amount equal to the initial award for use during the grant period’s second and third years. Thus, the entire funding from CIC and third-party sources may be up to $75,000 for the three-year period of the grant. Vocation across the Academy Grants are designed to augment the institution’s capacity to sustain a more significant level of vocation-related activity than was previously the case. Therefore, grant proposals should also describe the project’s fourth year, to be sustained at an appropriate level entirely with institutional funds.

Examples of allowable expenses include (a) faculty or staff released time for mini-grants to design new courses; (b) special workshops or retreats for faculty members, career advising staff, chaplains, or student life staff to gain deeper understanding of how each group of college personnel can contribute to vocational exploration efforts; (c) purchase of reading materials and other resources for use during the grant period; (d) funds for expenses of student events led by faculty members or other campus leaders who would work closely together, including reading materials and refreshments for these events. Funds may be used for a range of purposes, but not to substitute for faculty and staff costs that the institution is presently providing for its vocational exploration activities. Additional buyouts of faculty and staff time may be included as a part of the grant. Certain expenses are ineligible for grant support; for details, please consult the PDFGrant Budget Guidelines. In general, grants should be used to offset one-time costs for programming and professional development in pursuit of the objectives of the project.

In July 2018, awards were given to 21 NetVUE campuses. PDFView summaries of the 2018 program initiatives.

In July 2019, an additional 12 NetVUE campuses received awards. PDFView summaries of the 2019 program initiatives.

In July 2020, an additional 18 NetVUE campuses received awards.  PDFView summaries of the 2020 program initatives.

In July 2021, an additional six NetVUE campuses received awards. View summaries of the 2021 program initiatives.


Grants will be awarded based on proposals that explain (a) the purpose and goals of the proposed activities and their relationship to the ongoing vocational exploration program of the institution, (b) the extent of institutional support for vocational exploration efforts to date, (c) the proposed enhancements to the program, and (d) the ways in which the NetVUE-supported program would be sustained by the institution after the grant period.

Eligible NetVUE institutions may submit only one proposal for a Vocation across the Academy Grant during the current round. In addition, if an institution is eligible in the current round for both a Vocation across the Academy Grant and a Professional Development Award, a proposal may be submitted for either of these grants, but not for both. To submit an application, please refer to the invitation and online application form:

Applications for the current round of Vocation across the Academy Grants are due by April 8, 2022.


All NetVUE member institutions are eligible for these grants, as long as they do not currently hold another NetVUE grant (other than an Institutional Saga grant) and any previous NetVUE grant was concluded by December 31, 2021. This is the fifth round of selection for NetVUE Vocation across the Academy Grants. In the first four rounds, CIC awarded 57 grants to NetVUE members. Up to 40 awards may be made in this round: of these, up to 20 may be awarded for the special initiative for Community Partnerships. Decisions will be announced by June 1, 2022. First-year funds will be dispersed by early July 2022. An interim report, including documentation of the donor match, will be due on May 31, 2023. Additional reports will be due after each year of the project.

Contact Information

If you have questions about the grant application, please contact Carter Aikin, NetVUE grant director, at or (217) 854-5619, or David Cunningham, director of NetVUE, at or (616) 632-1060.