NetVUE sunburst trees photo

Strengthening Campus Chaplaincy: New Models of Leadership and Practice

NetVUE Chaplaincy Conference - Chicago 3/28/2014 3/28/2014 3/28/20143/29/20143/29/20143/29/2014 Q Center Chicago, IL

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



  • Steven C. Bahls
    Steven C. Bahls
    Augustana College (IL)
  • Donna M. Carroll
    Donna M. Carroll
    Dominican University (IL)
  • Bobby Fong
    Bobby Fong
    Ursinus College
  • Perry L. Glanzer
    Perry L. Glanzer
    Baylor University
  • Jonathan P. Hill
    Jonathan P. Hill
    Calvin College
  • L. Gregory Jones
    L. Gregory Jones
    Duke Divinity School
  • Rock Jones
    Rock Jones
    Ohio Wesleyan University
  • Julie D. Massey
    Julie D. Massey
    St. Norbert College







Conference RegistrationConference Registration1
Opening Plenary Session: Panel of PresidentsOpening Plenary Session: Panel of Presidents2Steven C. Bahls; Donna M. Carroll; Rock JonesPlenary 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>Chair: <strong><em>Jay K. Simmons</em></strong>, President, Simpson College (IA)<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.</div><div> </div><div><strong><em>Quincy D. Brown</em></strong> is vice president for spiritual life and church relations at LaGrange College. Previously he served the college as chaplain and director of servant leadership. An ordained United Methodist minister, Brown was named chaplain of the year in 2003 by the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation. He is the author of <em>Q.U.E.S.T.: Stories as Guides through Life’s Transitions</em> (2008).</div><div><strong><em></em></strong> </div><div><strong><em>Eldon Fry</em></strong> serves as college pastor at Messiah College where he previously served as chaplain. An ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church, he has served primarily in interdenominational contexts. Fry pastored three congregations and served as college pastor and dean of chapel at Bethel University (MN). At Messiah College he designed a Christian spiritual formation model based on institutional outcomes. </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.</div><div> </div><div><strong><em>Betty A. DeBerg</em></strong> is professor of religion at the University of Northern Iowa. She is coauthor of <em>Religion on Campus</em> (2001). DeBerg directed the National Study of Campus Ministries based on a national survey of chaplains, denominational campus ministers, and the staff of para-church campus ministry organizations. She also served on the National Advisory Board of the Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation (PTEV) initiative.</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.</div><div> </div><div><strong><em>James Fitz, SM</em></strong> is vice president for mission and rector at the University of Dayton, where he also served as director of campus ministry and part-time instructor in religious studies. Fr. Fitz has been a professed religious member of the Marianists since 1965 and was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1974. He previously served in administration and formation for the Society of Mary. (September)</div><div><strong><em></em></strong> </div><div><strong><em>Rita George-Tvrtković</em></strong> has served as professor of theology at Benedictine University in Illinois since 2009. Her research focuses on Muslim-Christian relations, and Catholic interreligious dialogue. From 1999 to 2002, she served as associate director of the Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs in the Archdiocese of Chicago. She is the author of <em>A Christian Pilgrim in Medieval Iraq: Riccoldo da Montecroce’s Encounter with Islam</em> (2012). (March)</div><div><strong><em></em></strong> </div><div><strong><em>Brian T. Johnson</em></strong> is executive director of campus ministries at Valparaiso University. He previously served for 15 years as chaplain at Gustavus Adolphus College. He has also served as chaplain of the National Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival. Johnson is the author of articles on worship, music, and preaching and coeditor of two books, <em>Stories from Christian Neighbors: A Heart for Ecumenism</em> (2003) and <em>The Spirit of Service: Exploring Faith, Service Learning, and Social Justice</em> (2006).</div><div><strong><em></em></strong> </div><div><strong><em>Tracy W. Sadd</em></strong> is chaplain, director of religious life, and lecturer in religious studies at Elizabethtown College. She also directs the Called to Lead program, designed to explore leadership in the context of meaning of life and ethical concerns. She is an ordained clergywoman in the Church of the Brethren and coeditor of <em>God and Country: Diverse Perspectives on Christianity and Patriotism</em> (2007).</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.</div><div> </div><div><strong><em>John A. Schmalzbauer</em></strong> is associate professor and the Blanche Gorman Strong Chair in Protestant Studies at Missouri State University. He has contributed to several research projects pertaining to religion and higher education, including the National Study of Campus Ministries. Schmalzbauer is the author of <em>People of Faith: Religious Conviction in American Journalism and Higher Education</em> (2003). He also served as postdoctoral fellow at the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University-Purdue University and assistant professor and Edward Bennett Williams Fellow in Catholic Studies at Holy Cross College.</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 Prayer12Christopher Bowen<p>​Conference participants are invited to take part in a time of prayer and reflection.</p><p><br>Leader: <strong><em>Christopher Bowen</em></strong>, Dean of the Chapel, Roanoke College</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>​Student Faith Development: The Chaplain’s Role</h2><p>Whether students come to campus with a faith commitment or no particular faith, they frequently encounter a diverse array of religious traditions and expressions. Yet beyond achieving a better understanding of these traditions, many students seek guidance in making personal choices about religious faith as well as the practices, behaviors, and values associated with such faith. Chaplains typically have responsibility for guiding the faith formation of students. Presenters will discuss the faith-formation needs of students and approaches used by those charged with shepherding the spiritual formation of their students.<br></p><blockquote> <strong><em>Brian A. Beckstrom</em></strong>, Campus Pastor, Wartburg College<br><strong><em>Dennis M. Gallagher, AA</em></strong>, Interim Director of Campus Ministry and Vice President of Mission, Assumption College<br><strong><em>Stephanie S. McCaffrey</em></strong>, Associate Director of Campus Ministry, Assumption College<br>Chair: <strong> <em>Kenneth W. Clapp</em></strong>, Chaplain and Senior Vice President, Catawba College</blockquote><p></p><h2>Campus Religious Diversity: Ecumenical and Interfaith I</h2><p>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></p><blockquote><strong><em>Mark T. Kurowski</em></strong>, Director of University Ministry, Benedictine University (IL)<br><strong><em>Paul Rohde</em></strong>, Campus Pastor, Augustana College (SD)<br>Chair: <strong><em>Walter Wiltschek</em></strong>, Campus Pastor, Manchester University</blockquote><p></p><h2>Engaging Religious Partners beyond the Campus</h2><p>Campus chaplains frequently develop partnerships with off-campus religious organizations, including local congregations, para-church groups, and ministerial associations. What issues do chaplains need to address 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></p><blockquote><strong><em>Roland Martinson</em></strong>, Board of Regents Member, Concordia College (MN), and retired Academic Dean, Luther Seminary (MN)<br><strong><em>James R. Mohr III</em></strong>, College Chaplain and Director of Church Relations, Westminster College (PA)<br><strong><em>Thomas P. Schlotterback</em></strong>, Director of Vocation and Church Leadership, Concordia College (MN)<br>Chair: <strong><em>M. Carol Weddle</em></strong>, Campus Pastor, Lindsey Wilson College</blockquote><p></p><h2>The Campus Mission Officer and the Chaplain: Structures and Roles</h2><p>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></p><blockquote><strong><em>Michael Galligan-Stierle</em></strong>, President, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities<br><strong><em>Robert L. Manuel</em></strong>, President, University of Indianapolis<br>Chair: <strong><em>Jean Marie Cleveland</em></strong>, OSF, Vice President for Mission Effectiveness, Marian University (IN)</blockquote><p></p>
Concurrent Campus Presentations: Effective Chaplaincy PracticesConcurrent Campus Presentations: Effective Chaplaincy Practices16Concurrent Session<h2>​Student Development: The Partnership between Chaplaincy and Academic Affairs</h2><p>Campus leaders share concerns about the spiritual, academic, and vocational development of their students. As potential mentors, faculty members often play significant roles in supporting the holistic development of their students. How might a partnership between the faculty and chaplaincy support student development and strengthen campus chaplaincy?<br></p><blockquote><strong><em>Robert E. Yoder</em></strong>, Campus Pastor and Assistant Professor of Youth Ministry, Goshen College<br>Chair: <strong><em>Elizabeth Gabbard</em></strong>, Chaplain, University of the Ozarks</blockquote><p></p><h2>Campus Religious Diversity: Ecumenical and Interfaith II</h2><p>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 orientations and vocational programming. On other campuses, colleges and universities with 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. A second set of presenters will discuss how they are using their chaplaincy resources to address the increasing religious diversity on campus.<br></p><blockquote><strong><em>Sonja M. Hagander</em></strong>, College Pastor and Director of Ministries, Augsburg College<br><strong><em>Stephen Intagliata</em></strong>, Campus Pastor, Bluffton University<br>Chair: <strong><em>Sean Lansing</em></strong>, Director of Mission Engagement, Cardinal Stritch University</blockquote><p></p><h2>Engaging Founding Religious Bodies and Current Stakeholders</h2><p>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 current stakeholders such as trustees, alumni, and donors. How do presidents or 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></p><blockquote><strong><em>Margaret Carney, OSF</em></strong>, President, St. Bonaventure University<br><strong><em>Steven R. Timmermans</em></strong>, President, Trinity Christian College<br>Chair: <strong><em>James C. Skedros</em></strong>, Interim Dean of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, Hellenic College</blockquote><p></p><h2>Assessing the Outcomes of Campus Chaplaincy</h2><p>Colleges and universities are increasingly asked to determine whether the institutional mission and strategic plan match actual learning and educational outcomes. 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></p><blockquote><strong><em>Jacquelyn C. Condon</em></strong>, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, Monmouth College (IL)<br><strong><em>John DeCostanza</em></strong>, Director of University Ministry, Dominican University (IL)<br><strong><em>Mauri A. Ditzler</em></strong>, President, Monmouth College (IL)<br><strong><em>Claire Noonan</em></strong>, Vice President for Mission and Ministry, Dominican University (IL)<br><strong><em>Teri M. Ott</em></strong>, Chaplain, Monmouth College (IL)<br>Chair: <strong><em>Richard M. Ashbrook</em></strong>, Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, Capital University</blockquote><p></p>
Closing Plenary SessionClosing Plenary Session18Bobby FongPlenary 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>Marianne E. Inman</em></strong>, President Emerita, Central Methodist University<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


    ​Q Center

    1405 North Fifth Avenue
    St. Charles, IL 60174
    (877) 774-4627

     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 Chicago Chaplaincy Conference.

    The Q Center, located approximately 45 minutes west of Chicago, is the largest conference facility in the Midwest with 95 acres of recreational grounds. Ground transportation can be arranged for a fee of either $60 each way for O’Hare or $74 each way for Midway airports for up to three passengers. Commuter trains from downtown Chicago also are available.

     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.