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Strengthening Campus Chaplaincy: New Models of Leadership and Practice

NetVUE Chaplaincy Conference - Atlanta 9/26/2014 9/26/2014 9/26/20149/27/20149/27/20149/27/2014 Dolce Atlanta-Peachtree Atlanta, GA

About the Conferences

March 28–29, 2014 · Q Center · Chicago, Illinois
September 26–27, 2014 · Dolce Atlanta-Peachtree · Atlanta, Georgia

The status of the chaplaincy at independent colleges and universities is in flux. New models of leadership and practice are emerging, and time-honored approaches are subject to new considerations. Two parallel conferences gave three-person teams of presidents, chaplains, others with responsibility for campus religious life, and other senior campus leaders opportunities to explore ways to strengthen the role of campus chaplains in diverse campus contexts. Those responsible for campus chaplaincy may hold the titles of chaplain, director of religious life, vice president for mission and identity, or campus minister, among others. Teams shared how the chaplaincy is evolving at their institutions and learned how other colleges and universities are developing new approaches to vocational exploration, religious and spiritual formation, and interfaith engagement by students. They also explored new staffing patterns, emerging areas of responsibility, integration of chaplains into curricular and cocurricular programs, faculty engagement, and relations with campus and non-campus religious organizations.

The purpose of the NetVUE Chaplaincy Conferences is to consider new models of leadership and practice for college chaplaincy to strengthen vocational exploration by students and faculty members. The conference will address organizational structure, areas of assigned responsibility, career patterns of chaplains, and relations with denominational bodies. The religious dimensions of the institution’s mission will be a special focus. Increasing religious diversity on many campuses is a stimulus for institutions and their chaplains to develop new educational programs as well as new religious and spiritual practices.

Because there is no single model of the chaplaincy that fits all institutions, these conferences will focus on issues of widespread interest and consider fresh approaches that have the potential for greater effectiveness. The conferences will:
  • Address the multiple roles of chaplains and those who oversee campus religious life, especially in relation to vocational exploration and institutional mission;
  • Build more effective partnerships among campus chaplains, college presidents, and other campus leaders to support the exploration of vocation;
  • Consider methods to assess the effectiveness of chaplains; and
  • Provide online and print resources for chaplains and others on campus who are concerned with the role of chaplains.
For additional information about the NetVUE Chaplaincy Conferences, please contact Michael Cartwright, NetVUE Chaplaincy Conferences director, by email at or by phone at (317) 788-3233.

Featured Speakers



  • Grant H. Cornwell
    Grant H. Cornwell
    The College of Wooster
  • Perry L. Glanzer
    Perry L. Glanzer
    Baylor University
  • Jonathan P. Hill
    Jonathan P. Hill
    Calvin College
  • Beverly W. Hogan
    Beverly W. Hogan
    Tougaloo College
  • Christopher B. Howard
    Christopher B. Howard
    Hampden-Sydney College
  • L. Gregory Jones
    L. Gregory Jones
    Duke Divinity School
  • Diane Steele, SCL
    Diane Steele, SCL
    University of Saint Mary
  • Melanie-Prejean Sullivan
    Melanie-Prejean Sullivan
    Bellarmine University







Conference RegistrationConference Registration1
Opening Plenary Session: Panel of PresidentsOpening Plenary Session: Panel of Presidents2Grant H. Cornwell; Beverly W. Hogan; Diane Steele, SCLPlenary Session<h2>Why the Chaplaincy Matters to Institutional Mission and Strategic Goals</h2><div>What is the relationship between institutional mission and effective chaplaincy strategies? Three college presidents will address their institutions’ understandings of the chaplaincy in relation to institutional mission, culture, structures, and connections to various religious organizations. Each will consider how chaplains support religious and spiritual formation and vocational exploration by students, faculty members, and staff. The panelists also will discuss the role of the chaplaincy in campus-wide planning, resource decisions, and communication with core institutional stakeholders.<br><br>Moderator: <strong><em>James E. Collins</em></strong>, President, Loras College<br></div>
Refreshment BreakRefreshment Break3
Poster Session: Networking to Strengthen the ChaplaincyPoster Session: Networking to Strengthen the Chaplaincy4<p>​Each participating team will present poster materials that illustrate a strategic effort to strengthen the chaplaincy and identify areas for which advice from other NetVUE members would be helpful. Campus teams will be invited to ask questions, provide observations, and recommend resources to assist the presenting teams in achieving their goals.</p>
Lunch by Campus RoleLunch by Campus Role5<p>​Conference participants are asked to sit at tables designated by campus role for conversation with colleagues in similar positions.</p>
Plenary SessionPlenary Session6Perry L. Glanzer; Jonathan P. HillPlenary Session<h2>Forming Faith: How the Religious and Spiritual Lives of Students Are Shaped in College</h2><div></div> Based on their current research, which spans a variety of college and university settings, Perry L. Glanzer and Jonathan P. Hill will discuss the undergraduate search for purpose and meaning. Drawing on their analysis of surveys and focused interviews of students, they will describe how such a quest is shaped by students’ religious and spiritual backgrounds as well as the varied campus experiences in which students participate.<br><br>Chair: <strong><em>Joseph J. Cicala</em></strong>, Vice President for University Life and Dean of Students, Alvernia University<br>
Refreshment BreakRefreshment Break7
Concurrent Workshops: Resources for Strengthening the ChaplaincyConcurrent Workshops: Resources for Strengthening the Chaplaincy8Concurrent Session<h2>Effective Campus Practices for Faith Formation</h2><div>Many students yearn to live in ways that are life-giving to others, attentive to the presence of God, and good for an endangered planet. What campus practices intentionally encourage these priorities? This session will explore the chaplain’s capacity to teach students about living together for the good of all.<br><blockquote><strong><em>Lisa D. Rhodes</em></strong>, Dean of Sisters Chapel and Director, Sisters Center for WISDOM, Spelman College<br><strong><em>L. David Witkovsky</em></strong>, Chaplain, Juniata College<br>Chair: <strong><em>Jason Barnhart</em></strong>, Executive Director of Religious Life/Campus Chaplain, Ashland University</blockquote></div><div> </div><h2>Guidelines for Presidents about the Chaplaincy</h2><div>Oversight of campus chaplaincy often requires critical judgments about how to deploy campus ministry leadership for maximum benefit to the campus community. A new presidential handbook for campus chaplaincy will be presented and discussed. Based on research gathered through the National Study of Campus Ministries, this resource provides guidelines for presidents and other senior administrators to use as they carry out new initiatives to strengthen the campus chaplaincy.<br><blockquote><strong><em>James Fitz, SM</em></strong>, Vice President for Mission and Rector, University of Dayton<br><strong><em>Brian T. Johnson</em></strong>, Executive Director of Campus Ministries, Valparaiso University<br><strong><em>Tracy W. Sadd</em></strong>, Chaplain and Director of Religious Life, Elizabethtown College<br>Chair: <strong><em>Noel Snyder</em></strong>, Chaplain and Director of Spiritual Life, Alma College</blockquote></div><div> </div><h2>Interfaith and Intercultural Challenges for Chaplains</h2><div>As campuses become more diverse in religious and cultural backgrounds, new opportunities for religious life are emerging. Interfaith engagement takes different forms on campuses where adherents of religious traditions interact with students who identify themselves as “spiritual but not religious” or who check “none” as their religious affiliation. Students of different nationalities and cultural experiences add to this diversity. A panel of experienced chaplains and leaders of religious life will discuss their own campus approaches to increased religious and cultural diversity.<br><blockquote><strong><em>James E. Collins</em></strong>, President, Loras College<br><strong><em>Beverly W. Hogan</em></strong>, President, Tougaloo College<br><strong><em>Diane Steele, SCL</em></strong>, President, University of Saint Mary (KS)<br>Chair: <strong><em>Laurie M. Joyner</em></strong>, President, Wittenberg University</blockquote></div><div> </div><h2>The Evolving Role of College and University Chaplaincy</h2><div>How has the role of independent colleges and universities in nurturing the religious and spiritual formation of students evolved in recent decades? What can be learned from recent research regarding ministry on campus? Participants will consider the history of strategies and structures for the chaplaincy and related campus ministries, including the work of chaplains who participated in Lilly Endowment’s Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation.<br><blockquote><strong><em>John A. Schmalzbauer</em></strong>, Blanche Gorman Strong Chair in Protestant Studies, Missouri State University, and Consultant, National Study of Campus Ministries<br>Chair: <strong><em>Crystal Sullivan</em></strong>, Director of Campus Ministry, University of Dayton</blockquote></div>
Plenary SessionPlenary Session11L. Gregory Jones; Julie D. MasseyPlenary Session<h2>Discerning Hope: Charting New Relationships in a Time of Disruptive Innovation</h2><div></div><div> The disruptive forces of technological innovation and economic constraint that recently have impacted American higher education are affecting the college chaplaincy as well. How can campus leaders cultivate innovative campus chaplaincy leadership while being mindful of both tradition and change? What role can campus chaplaincy play in helping college communities discern hope in the face of unprecedented change and uncertainty?<br><br>Chair: <strong><em>David C. Crago</em></strong>, Provost and Vice President for Academic<br>Affairs, Ohio Northern University<br></div>
Evening PrayerEvening Prayer12Linda Morgan-Clement<p>​Conference participants are invited to take part in a time of prayer and reflection.</p><p><br>Leader: <strong><em>Linda Morgan-Clement</em></strong>, Chaplain and Director of Interfaith Campus Ministries, The College of Wooster</p>
Breakfast with Campus TeamsBreakfast with Campus Teams13<p>​Campus teams are invited over breakfast to discuss conference take-aways and begin to plan next steps to strengthen the chaplaincy on campus.</p>
Concurrent Campus Presentations: Effective Chaplaincy PracticesConcurrent Campus Presentations: Effective Chaplaincy Practices14Concurrent Session<h2></h2><h2>Assessing the Outcomes of Campus Chaplaincy</h2>Colleges and universities are increasingly asked to determine whether student learning and educational outcomes fulfill the institution’s mission and strategic plan. How can the efforts of campus chaplaincy initiatives most appropriately be assessed? Presenters will discuss how they approach the evaluation of the chaplaincy on their campuses.<br><blockquote><strong><em>Nancy A. Dallavalle</em></strong>, Associate Professor and Facilitator for Mission and Identity, Fairfield University<br><strong><em>Trygve D. Johnson</em></strong>, Dean of the Chapel, Hope College<br><strong><em>Thomas C. Pellegrino</em></strong>, Vice President for Student Affairs, Fairfield University<br>Chair: <strong><em>Marshall E. Flowers</em></strong>, Senior Vice President and Provost, Montreat College</blockquote><h2>Building Connections with Campus Vocational Initiatives</h2>Campus leaders across many departments and programs share responsibility for the vocational development of their students. As potential mentors, how can faculty members and staff collaborate to support the academic, personal, and spiritual development of students? Presenters will describe steps their campuses have taken to create and sustain effective campus partnerships that support vocational exploration and student development.<br><blockquote><strong><em>Terrence G. Bensel</em></strong>, Associate Provost, Director of the Gateway, and Professor of Environmental Science, Allegheny College<br><strong><em>Jane Ellen Nickell</em></strong>, College Chaplain, Allegheny College<br><strong><em>Andrew Polaniecki</em></strong>, Director of Campus Ministry, Holy Cross College (IN)<br>Chair: <strong><em>Kristin M. Hansen-Kieffer</em></strong>, Vice Provost and Dean of Students, Messiah College</blockquote><h2>Practices for Effective Campus Chaplaincy</h2>As campus chaplaincy leaders juggle competing demands on their time, how can they determine which priorities are most central to their work? Three chaplains will provide brief opening reflections about the changing context of chaplaincy and the challenges and opportunities they face in their ministries. A time to exchange observations, ideas, and resources to strengthen chaplaincy will follow.<br><blockquote><strong><em>Jonathan R. Huggins</em></strong>, Chaplain, Berry College<br><strong><em>Anne D. McKee</em></strong>, Campus Minister, Maryville College (TN)<br><strong><em>Susan E. Young</em></strong>, Director of Religious and Spiritual Life, Occidental College<br>Chair: <strong><em>Crystal Sullivan</em></strong>, Director of Campus Ministry, University of Dayton</blockquote><h2>The Campus Mission Officer and the Chaplain: Structures and Roles</h2>Many independent colleges and universities seek to uphold religious traditions and practices that are specific to their institutional missions. At some institutions the campus mission officer is expected to orient faculty members, staff, and students to the educational mission and religious heritage that guide institutional practices in and beyond the classroom. How can a mutually beneficial relationship develop between the campus mission officer and the campus chaplain, both of whom have concern for the institution’s spiritual climate and educational mission?<br><blockquote><strong><em>Michael Galligan-Stierle</em></strong>, President, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities<br><strong><em>Evelyn S. Quinn</em></strong>, Vice President for Mission Integration, Georgian Court University<br>Chair: <strong><em>Joy Smith</em></strong>, Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students, Presbyterian College</blockquote>
Concurrent Campus Presentations: Effective Chaplaincy PracticesConcurrent Campus Presentations: Effective Chaplaincy Practices16Concurrent Session<h2></h2><h2>Campus Religious Diversity: Ecumenical and Interfaith</h2>Many NetVUE colleges and universities are encountering greater religious diversity among their students. On some campuses, institutions that are historically rooted in a particular Christian theological tradition are becoming more ecumenically Christian in their orientation and vocational programming. On other campuses, students, faculty members, and staff from a variety of religious traditions, including Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu, seek to create interreligious communities of learning, conversation, and practice. How can the chaplaincy address the increasing religious diversity on campus?<br><blockquote><strong><em>Patricia M. Gibbs</em></strong>, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Wesleyan College (GA)<br><strong><em>Melissa M. Maxwell-Doherty</em></strong>, Campus Pastor, California Lutheran University<br>Chair: <strong><em>Alexander W. Whitaker IV</em></strong>, Chief of Staff, Berry College</blockquote><h2>Engaging Religious Partners beyond the Campus</h2>Campus chaplains frequently develop partnerships with off-campus religious organizations, including local congregations, para-church groups, and ministerial associations. What issues do chaplains and religious life leaders need to consider in order to develop effective working relationships with such groups? How do campus organizational structures and alignments assist or impede in establishing and sustaining such partnerships? Presenters will discuss varied models and strategies to address partnerships with off-campus religious organizations.<br><blockquote><strong><em>J. Wayne Clark</em></strong>, Chaplain, Hendrix College<br><strong><em>Melanie-Prejean Sullivan</em></strong>, Director of Campus Ministry, Bellarmine University<br>Chair: <strong><em>Fred W. Rhodes</em></strong>, Vice President for Student Affairs, Bellarmine University</blockquote><h2>Relationships with Founding Religious Bodies and Current Stakeholders</h2>College and university leaders have substantial engagement with religious organizations that can influence future directions of the institution. These organizations may include sponsoring religious bodies, founding societies, and other stakeholders, such as trustees, alumni, and donors. What do presidents and other senior campus leaders think about relationships with historic and current religious partners as they seek to strengthen campus chaplaincy and foster vocational exploration?<br><blockquote><strong><em>Francesco C. Cesareo</em></strong>, President, Assumption College<br><strong><em>Frederik Ohles</em></strong>, President, Nebraska Wesleyan University<br>Chair: <strong><em>Loren E. Swartzendruber</em></strong>, President, Eastern Mennonite University</blockquote><h2>The Chaplain’s Role in Developing Religious Literacy and Faith Fluency</h2>Whether they come to campus with a particular faith commitment or no religious belief, students frequently encounter a diverse array of religious traditions and practices. Beyond achieving a better understanding of these traditions, many students seek guidance in making personal choices about religious faith as well as the practices, beliefs, and values associated with specific faith traditions. Presenters will discuss the faith-formation needs of students and approaches used by those charged with shepherding the spiritual development of their students.<br><blockquote><strong><em>William M. Joensen</em></strong>, Dean of Campus Spiritual Life, Loras College<br><strong><em>Amy Zalk Larson</em></strong>, Campus Pastor, Luther College<br>Chair: <strong><em>Charlie T. McCormick</em></strong>, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Schreiner University</blockquote>
Closing Plenary SessionClosing Plenary Session18Christopher B. HowardPlenary Session<h2>The Chaplaincy, Vocational Exploration, and Institutional Mission and Identity</h2><div></div><div> <span style="display:inline-block;"></span><span style="display:inline-block;">What role can campus chaplains play in nurturing institutional mission and identity and in fostering the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation by colleges and universities that value the liberal arts? How can campus chaplains address the process of vocational discernment by students, faculty, and staff? Presidential reflections on the positive effects campus chaplaincy can have in NetVUE member colleges and universities will be followed by questions and discussion.<br><br>Chair: <strong><em>Elizabeth A. Dinndorf</em></strong>, President, Columbia College (SC)<br></span></div>
Boxed Lunches and DeparturesBoxed Lunches and Departures19
NetVUE Advisory Council MeetingNetVUE Advisory Council Meeting20

Features and Expectations

 Additional Features

Pre-Conference Reading

All conference participants will be provided in advance with short readings that will be used to guide discussions during the conference. Participants will receive instructions for access to these readings on a conference resource webpage.

Campus Posters

Each participating team will present a poster that illustrates a strategic effort to strengthen the chaplaincy and identifies topics where advice from other NetVUE members would be especially welcome. Other campus teams will be invited to ask questions, provide observations, and recommend resources to assist the presenting team in achieving its goals. Posters may focus on student faith formation, connections to institutional mission and strategic goals, relationships with surrounding religious bodies, intersections with academic and co-curricular initiatives, interfaith engagement, or campus models and policies for chaplaincy. Instructions for poster preparation will be provided after campus teams are selected for the Chaplaincy Conferences.

Structured Discussion Groups

During lunch on Friday, participants will be grouped according to campus role. The primary purpose will be to discuss, in groups of colleagues with similar responsibilities, various approaches to strengthening the chaplaincy.

Campus Team Conversations

The Saturday morning breakfast will provide opportunities for participants to meet with campus team members to discuss next steps in strengthening the chaplaincy upon returning home.


If selected to participate in one of the Chaplaincy Conferences, the institution will be expected to:
  • Send a three-person team to one of the two Chaplaincy Conferences, including
    • The president,
    • The chaplain or person who oversees campus religious life, and
    • Another senior campus leader such as the person to whom the chaplain reports;
  • Prepare and present a poster at the conference that describes the state of the chaplaincy at the institution, the opportunities and challenges that the chaplaincy is facing, and the issues on which the institution seeks additional advice; and
  • Maintain membership in NetVUE.


Most expenses of the conference, including lodging for Thursday and Friday nights, meals, and materials, will be covered by CIC. Institutions selected to participate will be responsible for the costs of team members’ travel to and from the conference. Institutions that wish to send a fourth team member will need to pay a registration fee of $300 toward the additional costs of lodging, meals, and materials. The fourth team member will be accommodated on a space-available basis. The registration fee will be collected once the team is notified of its acceptance to participate in one of the Chaplaincy Conferences.


For questions regarding the NetVUE Chaplaincy Conferences, contact Michael Cartwright, NetVUE Chaplaincy Conferences director, by phone at (317) 788-3233 or by email at

Hotel and Travel


​Dolce Atlanta-Peachtree

201 Aberdeen Parkway
Peachtree City, GA 30269
(770) 487-2666

 Hotel Information

Campus teams will make their own travel arrangements to the conference site. Participants should plan their travel to arrive on Thursday evening. Lodging and airport transportation details will be provided upon acceptance to participate in the Atlanta Chaplaincy Conference.

Dolce Atlanta-Peachtree hotel is located on 40 acres in Peachtree City, 25 miles south of the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. For a per person fee of $25 each way the hotel will provide ground transportation from the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport for flights arriving between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

 Travel Costs

Please note that NetVUE institutions are expected to cover the travel expenses of team members. A limited number of travel grants are available to NetVUE members from institutions with limited resources or with unusually high travel expenses whose applications are selected. To inquire about a travel grant, please contact Shirley Roels, CIC senior advisor for NetVUE, at or (616) 526-7819.