Return to Program Development Grants Program Development Grant Summaries

January 2014 Awards

Albion College (MI) will bring together three vital pieces of the Albion Advantage: faculty advising, community engagement, and reflection on vocation. To further the commitment to helping students find and engage in meaningful life work, the college will enhance its support of student vocational exploration by equipping faculty and staff mentors with appropriate training, broadening the campus conversation about values, providing greater opportunities for community service, and creating vehicles for vocational reflection. NetVUE funding will support faculty training in “holistic advising,” a model intended to incorporate students’ lives of and interests in service into their academic and career plans in very intentional ways. At the same time, funding will be used to offer incentives to students for engaging in appropriate, guided reflection upon community service and participation in the life of the college. The program will be integrated with the Albion Advantage and co-led by the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Career and Internship Center, both of which are within the division of academic affairs.

Ashland University (OH) brings career services administrators into partnership with campus ministry staff to link vocational exploration with service-oriented experiential learning opportunities beyond the classroom. The program will recruit students involved in career exploration activities, match them with mentors, and develop a web-accessible video library of student/alumni testimonials to vocation. The program will integrate these new elements into the Career Services Center’s “vocation, values and calling” exploration and coursework. Students seeking experience in their vocation will access a new service-based internship, the “Summer of Service” program developed by the campus ministry Center of Religious Life. “Summer of Service” interns will match their major area of study to the practical needs of a particular mission site and will engage in a reflection process on their mission work experience.

Augustana College (SD) will transform its half-semester new student seminar into a more robust first-year experience, with a unifying focus on the question of vocation. A first-year seminar will share a core of readings bearing on the Lutheran concept of vocation, as well as common writing and oral communication assignments. This first-year seminar will be embedded in a wider first-year experience, designed collaboratively with staff from student services and campus ministry with the goal of creating a coherent and comprehensive experience for all incoming Augustana students. As a crucial part of the faculty's comprehensive review and retooling of the general education curriculum, the expansion of the first-year seminar and first-year experience will more effectively introduce students to the mission, values, and expectations of the college and provide the intellectual and moral resources for crafting a life well lived.

Bellarmine University (KY) consolidates new and existing efforts on Bellarmine University's campus in order to create a cohesive vocational conversation across and throughout the curriculum and within co-curricular programming. The initiative, The Little Way Learning Community (LWLC), will be designed for both students in a learning community and the faculty and staff who work with them. Learning communities are not new to Bellarmine. This endeavor, however, is unique in that it revolves around three focal points: deliberation on a holistic view of vocation in academic emphases and extracurricular activities; community engagement; and a global experience within a framework of discernment. Anchored in academic affairs, the learning community will draw upon resources from both academic and student affairs where faculty and staff who direct this program will work collaboratively to assist students in tangible and identifiable ways to increase vocational discernment on campus. LWLC emerges from ideas articulated in the writings of Bellarmine's key spiritual mentor, the Trappist monk Thomas Merton who suggested that to become a "saint means to be myself." Faculty and students as ordinary saints will be encouraged to think intentionally, to discover what Merton called the "true self” unencumbered by false notions of ego and societal definitions of success or work value. Such efforts done with humility, in little ways, but with great love, can assist in discovering the "true self” in a 21st century context.

Benedictine University (IL) is a diverse community united by its commitment to the Benedictine hallmarks: love of Christ and neighbor, prayer, stability, conversatio (the way of formation and transformation), obedience, discipline, humility, stewardship, hospitality, and community. The university has redesigned the general education program to enhance the understanding and the values of the Benedictine heritage and service to the common good. The new requirements for all majors include both a seminar on Catholic and Benedictine tradition and a co-curricular engaged learning experience. In the revised curriculum, the College of Business and the College of Liberal Arts piloted an interdisciplinary course, “Why Work?” which explicitly discussed vocation. The NetVUE program development grant will help Benedictine University show faculty and staff how the language of Benedictine hallmarks is related to the theological language of vocation, build on the experience of the Why Work? Course, and integrate vocation across the university in the academic and co-curricular programs essential to the new core.

Blackburn College (IL) offers a distinctive opportunity for students to develop the knowledge and skills shown to be essential for success in life beyond college through its one-of-a-kind student-managed work program. Student work experience is linked to academic learning and experience. Now Blackburn plans for the development of coursework and mentoring opportunities that will help maximize these opportunities for students. The college will engage them in integrated instruction and experience aimed at developing their emotional-social intelligence while expanding student advising and career services programming to strengthen the mentoring experiences essential to vocational reflection and deep consideration of what it means to live life purposefully and intentionally. The strategies elaborated in this document build on many years of work related to developing student leadership, clarifying the outcomes of student work experience, and expanding opportunities for students to receive sustained, meaningful vocational information and guidance. Blackburn is uniquely poised to create a multidimensional campus program that gives students the chance to learn and grow through instruction, experience, and one-on-one mentoring.

Capital University (OH) will enhance its current peer academic advising program by creating a grant-funded team of peer vocation mentors to assist other students in the exploration of vocation. Informed by Capital’s rich Lutheran heritage, peer vocation mentors will work in tandem with representative faculty members from each academic department, interfaith leaders from Capital’s new Chaplain Corps, and the professional staff from the Offices of Academic Success and Career Development. This initiative strongly reinforces Capital’s commitment to critical inquiry and service in a multi-faith context while providing opportunities to serve the community through a series of curricular and co-curricular experiences. Grant support will enable the university to promote a greater synergy with four other vocation-related efforts that already are underway: the peer academic advising program; an interfaith Chaplain Corps; a first-year seminar; and a strategic plan to promote retention resulting from the university’s 2012-13 participation in a Foundations of Excellence® self-study. After twenty-four months the Peer Vocation Mentor initiative will transition into a self-sustaining model by linking servant-leadership to Capital scholarships and embedding other aspects of the program in the Chaplain Corps, the offices of Academic Success and Career Development, and the first-year seminar.

Carroll University (WI), over the last five years, has updated its mission statement and recommitted both academic and co-curricular programming to “prepare all students for vocational success, lifelong learning and service in a diverse and global society.” Despite a long-standing affiliation with the Presbyterian Church – USA and a strong commitment to volunteerism, Carroll’s efforts to nurture students’ spiritual development suggest that few Carroll students understand higher education as a process of vocational discernment. Curricular changes have helped them ask “Who am I?” but they are rarely challenged to ask “Why am I here?” or “What do I love?” Since 2011, Carroll University’s Spiritual Life Advisory Board has offered rising sophomores an opportunity to engage all three questions. The now annual CALM (Creating a Life of Meaning) retreat introduces students to the language of discernment, to spiritual practices and to potential mentors, including faculty, staff and other students. This grant enables Carroll’s Spiritual Life Advisory Board to expand the existing CALM retreat program into a series of learning communities, workshops and mini-retreats aimed to help Carroll students, faculty and staff develop skills and habits of vocational discernment (calling). Specifically, Carroll would use grant support to: pilot new models of CALM programming that span the academic year and reach a broader cross-section of undergraduates; and to develop and implement opportunities for faculty, staff, and community members to explore vocabularies and practices of vocational discernment.

College of Mount St. Joseph (OH), in its Common Good and Charity Charism Connection project, will connect the history and heritage of the Sisters of Charity to the outcomes of a Mount education focused on the theme of serving the common good. In the fall of 2013, the faculty introduced the new Common Good Core Curriculum as a foundation for the liberal arts and sciences with a focus on the heritage and charism of the Sisters of Charity as a context for student vocational discernment on serving the common good. This grant project supports two initiatives over two years for faculty teaching the core curriculum to learn and experience the Charity heritage and values, and for students to experience the Charity service on site. While the Mount was founded by the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati in 1920, today less than one percent of the faculty and staff include the Sisters. This project aims to provide about 20% of our faculty with first-hand knowledge of the heritage and charism of the Sisters of Charity in a structured program that involves study, experience and reflection to be shared with students in the core curriculum. The project also will involve a cohort of students over two years working side by side with Sisters of Charity in a project centered in New Orleans.

Erskine College (SC), as the institution of higher education for the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, seeks to move vocational excellence to the center of Erskine’s programs and practices in fulfillment of it mission to equip students “to flourish as whole persons for lives of service.” The two-year project, Flourishing and Vocational Excellence (FaVE), addresses three areas of institutional need: increased faculty and staff awareness of and commitment to vocational excellence in their professional lives; increased student awareness of how vocational excellence forms an essential ingredient in a life well-lived; and increased programs and opportunities for both. While Erskine has taken some initial steps in this direction, the proposed two-year project will help institutionalize this commitment by supporting the creation of a faculty/staff seminar that will involve nearly 50% of the faculty as well as key personnel from the student life and admissions offices; making possible regular faculty-student engagements through college-sponsored dinners, first-year student orientation events, and the college convocation program; establishing a service-learning course for students, The Well Lived Life: Flourishing and Vocation. Taken together, this comprehensive approach brings the major constituencies of Erskine College into a vital, on-going conversation on vocation.

Finlandia University (MI), as the only private, not-for profit institution of higher learning in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is a learning community dedicated to academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service. Drawing on its Lutheran heritage, Finlandia understands that vocation is a calling to a way of life devoted to serving God by serving others, each in his or her own unique way. Finlandia’s proposed servant leadership program will help foster meaningful exploration of one’s call to servant leadership more broadly across campus. This will be realized through three initiatives. First, a faculty team will develop a framework for utilizing servant leadership for vocation exploration, put it to the test in a variety of curricular disciplines, and evaluate the effectiveness and application before inviting broader faculty participation. Second, the wider community will be invited to engage in dialogue relevant to vocation exploration through exposure to servant leader speakers with follow-up discussion sessions and activities. Finally, a small group of students and alumni-mentors will enter into a relationship-driven and a more enduring exploration of vocation through the development of an intentional living community, the Servant Leadership House.

Greenville College (IL) will incorporate a vocational focus into our first-year seminar curriculum in order to give students a framework for understanding the value and purpose of their liberal arts education. The grant will help to reinvigorate this central component of our first-year experience program by bringing 18-20 faculty and student development professionals together for a sustained two‐year conversation that facilitates a curriculum revision focusing on the core theme of “discovering vocation.” The grant will also fund the start‐up expenses of an initiative that will complement this first‐year seminar revision. Beginning in the spring of 2014, as part of a wider effort to help faculty develop effective ways to integrate faith and learning into their teaching and scholarship, all new faculty members will participate in a semester-long “faith integration” seminar that is primarily shaped around the concept of “discovering vocation.” By placing “vocation first” for both new students and new faculty, the college hopes to better live out our institutional mission.

Hampden-Sydney College (VA) has helped young men with their calling since 1775 when the purpose as a liberal arts college for men became “to form good men and good citizens in an atmosphere of sound learning.” In recent years, the college has been developing its efforts to incorporate vocational reflection—discerning how persons are called to meaningful purposes throughout their lives—explicitly into its culture and programming, focusing more intentionally on how one actually becomes a “good man and good citizen.” We have established a working group of faculty and staff, created a series of core questions that we weave into campus programs, and developed such initiatives as the Freshmen Leadership Seminar, the Student Success Seminar, the forthcoming Good Men Plan (for freshmen), C-Day (which focuses on calling as one of the “C”s), and other programs.  Vocational reflection became an important focus of our new Strategic Plan, calling for the Office of Career Services to become the Office of Career Education and Vocational Reflection. With College and grant funds, Hampden-Sydney proposes to conduct workshops for faculty and staff, bring resource people to campus, develop a working set of typologies for engaging our students in vocational reflection, extend one particular project to include the use of social media, and explore integrating vocational reflection into our freshman and sophomore advising programs.  These activities will be guided by a vocational reflection working group, which will continue to meet regularly and coordinate the workshops and other events. Visits by scholars in the field of men’s studies and colleagues from the other all-male colleges will augment these efforts. 

Holy Cross College (IN) welcomes the opportunity to further develop and expand its existing campus program for the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation. While maintaining and supporting the work of the two centers of excellence created to guide this process, it has become clear that the challenge of vocation discernment is also the responsibility of all educators. The college will develop the understanding and commitment of the whole faculty and student life staff to the concept of vocation development and discernment. Additionally, it will use these funds to enhance the retention of sophomores and the development of religious vocations which are of special concern to Holy Cross College.

Houghton College (NY) equips students to “lead and labor in a changing world,” as indicated in the Houghton College mission statement. This requires that the college emphasize close connections between vocation and application of knowledge to service. Houghton is already a community of mentoring, but students need more intentional and consistent focus on the theological and practical connections between vocation and career to thrive in an ever more rapidly changing world. The college aims to transform our authentic yet often informal mentoring community into a community of mentoring for vocation by: developing campus-wide materials and strategies for understanding and communicating important vocational concepts; embedding career-readiness outcomes consistent with mission into our curriculum and co-curriculum; collecting and applying key internal and external data to advising and mentoring for vocation; encouraging best practices for mentoring in our community; coordinating vocationally-focused activities among several of our established curricular and co-curricular programs; and, expanding Houghton’s online community to support mentoring for vocation.

Illinois College will provide faculty and staff with enhanced knowledge about holistic advising and how they can use it to better guide students. The grant will also promote curricular changes; engagement of expert speakers and alumni role models; presentations by academic departments; values, interests, personality, and/or skills inventories for all first-year students; and career exploration workshops for undeclared students. Our students, 46.7 percent of whom are first-generation college students, will learn how majors can lead to a variety of career paths and will explore possible career paths that they haven’t previously considered. This initiative will require the campus – administrators, faculty, students and staff – to consider and discuss issues of vocation with a greater focus. Illinois College will build on their learning communities with first-year seminar sessions where students consider issues of character and careers. Academic and student affairs staff will support students as they seek vocations throughout their college careers and in the midst of a new general education curriculum that emphasizes connections between courses and requires experiential learning.

John Carroll University (OH) will sustain a number of initiatives to promote reflective discernment among students, faculty, and staff. The goal is to build capacity for reflection among those students, faculty, and staff involved in the advising process, so as better to assist students in vocational discernment. The project proposes a learning community on Ignatian pedagogy designed to prepare a core group of 20 faculty, administrators, and staff to become resource persons for the John Carroll community. This interdivisional core group will collaborate to design training materials for advisors and help lead university-wide and departmental training sessions that integrate a reflective approach to vocational discernment into conversations with students throughout their John Carroll experience. Selected readings, a workshop featuring an appropriate nationally-recognized speaker, and group meetings will comprise the method. Deliverables will include a collection of resources, written plans to disseminate information, a team of trainers, vocation discernment modules incorporated into academic advising and new employee orientation, and a series of presentations.

Loras College (IA) is committed to building the Life is Calling program of vocation discernment. To provide strength and stability, the institution is placing the program under the purview of the Office of the Provost and Academic Dean along with regular meetings of the Vocation Task Force. The project will begin by drafting a white paper defining and clarifying the college’s understanding of vocation in the theological and philosophical context of the mission and Roman Catholic heritage of Loras. This white paper will be used to frame a professional development event for all faculty and staff where each will be asked to reflect on their own vocation journey. Advisors will receive professional development in appreciative advising. This will lay the groundwork for a special focus on the sophomore experience. Sophomores will engage in an interactive Sophomore Celebration, at which they will benefit from hearing from alumni, particularly young alumni, who will share their own vocation stories. All sophomores will be required to participate in a pre-advising session with their faculty advisor that will focus solely on their individual vocation discernment. Bolstering this effort from a curricular standpoint, the required Catholic identity course will be redesigned to include vocation discernment as part of the coursework. To support this program across constituencies and disciplines, all students, parents, faculty and staff will be able to access vocation resources through an online page, linked to the campus website.

Marywood University (PA) celebrates service to others and a respect for the power of education that stretches back to our founding in 1915. In order to unify existing campus vocation efforts around a common vocabulary, the Centennial Vocation Initiative will develop a set of sample lesson plans and an archive of sample readings that teachers of common core courses will use in order to introduce the concept of vocation effectively in the classroom and promote classroom discussion of vocation. The Centennial Vocation Initiative will also conduct vocation workshops with faculty and staff over the course of the 2014-15 academic year and develop strategies for incorporating the exploration of vocation into existing departmental offerings and five courses from the common core curriculum. The enhanced common core courses will be introduced for the Marywood University centennial in 2015 as part of our vocation initiative.

Monmouth College (IL) is taking the next steps in imagining what programs focused upon vocational discernment might look like on our own campus. Three goals drive the details of this proposal: First, Monmouth will expand the conversation about vocation to include a wider group of faculty, staff, students and alumni. This includes offering the opportunity for vocational discernment for members of the campus community to build a sense of collective mission, and also give key personnel a better sense of what vocational discernment can be. Second, the college will improve connections between the various departments that are already engaged in vocational efforts in some way or that are potential nodes for programming in the future, including the Chaplain’s office, Career Center (the Wackerle Center), and the Integrated Studies program (a sequence of topical courses spanning the student’s four years of college as the spine of the general education program). Finally, Monmouth College will use the next two years to strengthen and refine the connections between the college’s understanding of institutional commitments to vocation, the tradition of the liberal arts and the college’s Presbyterian heritage.

Our Lady of the Lake College (LA) will strengthen its efforts in developing a sense of vocation among students and faculty by means of a multi-layered approach. The college will engage its community members at an initial level with a selected cohort of faculty and retention advisors who work with students in broadening their vocational aspirations. Our Lady of the Lake has already begun working with students during orientation and via a first-year academic seminar.  The College will expand the scope of the work so that vocation is better integrated into courses across the curriculum and among the various programs. Additionally, efforts will strengthen the retention advising program, with a particular emphasis on helping students who have been denied entry into an academic or clinical program in finding a way to express their vocation in another academic or clinical program at the college.

Palm Beach Atlantic University (FL) prepares students for lifelong learning, leadership, and service by offering undergraduate, graduate and professional programs of study in the arts, humanities, sciences and selected professions. As a community of learners, the university provides students with a rigorous educational environment that leads to intellectual, spiritual and moral character development. The university will aid students in their intellectual and theological exploration of vocation through appointment of a team of faculty and staff members to enhance existing resources, impact the campus culture, and commit long-term resources to encourage and guide students in their exploration of vocation. This will occur through a variety of linked approaches, which includes coursework, career development, community service, faculty interaction, and chapel.

Point Loma Nazarene University (CA) has many different student opportunities to begin life-long exploration of vocation; however, these opportunities have never been connected in a way that is experienced by most students as a part of a cohesive whole. This grant seeks to construct a more coherent framework for assisting students in their vocational discernment. The basic components of this framework are: strengthening the vocational discernment component in the first-year experience course for freshmen; developing some specific co-curricular programming for sophomores that supports them in the year in which they often select a major; and shaping a collection of discipline-specific opportunities for students to think about their “call” in the context of their major field of study. The construction of this framework will happen in the context of existing programs and activities.

Presbyterian College (SC) will initiate the “PC Launch Program for Vocation, Leadership, and Service.” By better coordinating existing programming and further focusing campus discussions about vocation and calling, Launch will assist students as they make key decisions about their future careers, leadership roles, and service to their families and communities. Launch will encompass a four-year journey for students, with particular focus on the freshman and sophomore years. Students will first encounter Launch with new student orientation and required freshman seminar courses that will include a common reading about vocation, leadership, and service. A mentoring program will also be established, pairing participating PC alumni with freshmen in their seminar courses. During the sophomore year, a one-semester hour course, “Launching Vocation, Leadership, and Service” will be offered for elective credit. Launch will help establish a new alumni mentoring program for juniors and seniors, as well as a campus-wide day of service and service learning projects in regular classes and short-term study trips. A significant portion of the grant will educate faculty and staff in order for them to serve as effective mentors to students in their vocational exploration. Then, a program series for students will be introduced that includes workshops and discussions focusing on vocation, service, graduate school, and career paths, offered by a coordinated effort between academics, student life, religious/spiritual life, and athletics. Launch will facilitate the integration of a liberal arts education with pre-professional development for all students.

Southwestern College (KS) will expand the capacity of the college to assist students in the exploration and discernment of a life calling and purpose. The goal is to strengthen the ability to more effectively mentor students involved in the campus ministry program. By having a number of different interactions with persons in a wide range of ministries students will expand, diversify and more clearly develop their theological vocational exploration. This proposal is built on three components: individual mentors, group mentors and guest mentors. The individual mentors will be paired with students showing like interests. The group mentors will come with gifts and graces related to the ministry teams, and the guest mentors will provide all students with inspiration and encouragement. Funds will enable the development of a strong mentoring program and will assist the college in the learning curve and financial planning required to maintain a viable mentoring program for students in years to come.

St. Andrews University (NC) developed a comprehensive plan—“Preparing Students to Make a Living and a Life”—with an overarching theme of student engagement. The plan is consistent with the university’s mission to offer students an array of pre-professional and liberal arts and sciences programs of study that create a life-transforming educational opportunity, which is practical in its application, global in its scope, and multi-disciplinary in its general education core. The university will develop and expand the campus (classrooms, residential life, student organizations and extracurricular activities) into an inclusive environment where students study, learn, and develop the essential skills for resilient life and work that reflects their unique “callings” (vocation). If students are truly engaged, they are more likely to remain in school as active participants in the process of learning and developing realistic goals for the first half of their lives. They also remain in the community because through intentional discernment they can realize an independent sense of wellbeing and hope for the life they are preparing to build. St. Andrews will deepen, expand and strengthen the work already begun through further development of curriculum, student-led mentoring, community service opportunities, and ethical standards of life together.

St. Edward’s University (TX), as a private, Catholic liberal arts institution, will support Teaching as Vocation in the Holy Cross Tradition. The congregation of Holy Cross founded St. Edward’s more than a century ago, encouraging students to think critically, act ethically, embrace diversity, strive for social justice, and recognize their responsibility to the world community. In the last ten years, the university’s undergraduate enrollment has doubled. To accommodate this growth, the university has welcomed record numbers of new faculty including many who are unfamiliar with the background of Catholic higher education. The university’s strategic plan 2015 calls for an ever-deepening commitment to its Holy Cross, Catholic heritage. The centerpiece of Teaching as Vocation in the Holy Cross Tradition is a summer faculty institute focused on equipping faculty to place the academic discipline in service of the institution’s mission and Catholic heritage, reflecting Holy Cross charisms. Particular emphasis will be placed on the global reach of the university’s mission, its response to cultural and religious diversity, and the influence of Catholic Social Teaching as a lens through which to view a vocational approach to teaching, research, and scholarship. The NetUVE grant will fund the first two sessions of the institute and follow-up activities during the academic year.

Taylor University (IN) will help its students, faculty, staff, and administration in developing a framework for an understanding of vocation. In order for Taylor University to pursue vocation effectively, it is essential for the university to develop a common framework and language that will guide the collective pursuit. This collaborative effort seeks to equip University leadership, offer new and/or enhanced curricular and co-curricular initiatives, provide space and opportunity for directed student exploration of vocation, and meaningfully connect students to faculty for guidance in vocation. The central initiatives of the proposal are designed to be catalytic—providing the training, research and development, or impetus needed to develop a sustainable framework for vocation. This collective effort includes three tiers of initiatives, each designed to engage the campus at a targeted level. Residence Life, through its Discipleship Program, will provide campus-wide initiatives that include spiritual direction, student leadership retreats, senior “My Story” seminars, and small groups that focus on vocation. The Calling and Career Office initiatives are designed to impact approximately half of the student body during the grant period through the implementation of strengths-based education to enhance vocational self-awareness, new curricular developments focused on vocation, and revamped senior capstone courses that place vocation at the core of the capstone experience. The Honors Guild initiatives are designed to engage a smaller group of students in deeper exploration of vocation through faculty-guided vocation small groups and guided silent retreats. This multi-faceted framework will encourage deeper reflection and commitment to Taylor University’s institutional mission, “to develop servant leaders marked with a passion to minister Christ’s redemptive love and truth to a world in need.”

University of Dubuque (IA) will develop each student's understanding of calling and explore vocation in the four-course sequence of undergraduate core courses, World View Seminars I - IV. Currently, the university faces two major challenges in living out commitments to vocational exploration: most faculty members are new to the university and its Presbyterian/Reformed Christian mission; and the core curriculum, designed a decade ago, has drifted from some of its original emphases, including its emphasis on calling/vocation. This initiative will strengthen the exploration of vocation in the core curriculum of the University of Dubuque by reinforcing a shared understanding and common vocabulary regarding vocation among the faculty and by embedding vocational exploration into three of the World View Seminar courses. The outcomes of this grant will be course-specific resources and learning experiences related to vocation. Faculty members and students will have increased opportunities to reflect on the nature of one's calling/vocation through the activities proposed in the grant. The resources developed through this grant will serve the faculty as a whole, and the instructors of the World View Seminars in particular, well into the future.

University of Saint Mary (KS), through its mission, core values, and heritage offers the QUEST initiative of vocation/calling. The mission calls students to realize their God-given potential by preparing them for value-centered lives and careers that contribute to the well-being of society. The charism and legacy of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth infuses the mission with a lived history of educating and serving those in need. While challenges to the QUEST initiative range from programmatic adjustments to financial and time constraints, the opportunities reside inherently in the faculty, staff, and students’ pursuit of their calling in their work and careers as their response to the university mission to serve others. The University of Saint Mary proposes to make more explicit vocation/calling through implementation in three areas: to develop in all university constituents a deeper sense of call to the spirit, charism, and legacy of the Sisters of Charity; to integrate explicitly the theme of vocation/call into the university curriculum, programs, and activities; and to promote additional participation and reflection on practical service to God’s people. The overall goal is to develop an overarching sense that the mission, values, heritage, and practices explicitly foster and bring out each member’s vocation/calling. That goal will be accomplished by targeting seven SMART goals supported by appropriate activities that will make explicit the experience of vocation/calling.

University of Scranton (PA) will use resources to strengthen and direct the University of Scranton’s newly instituted three-credit first-year seminar (FYS). The expressed purposes of the seminar match well with an emphasis on vocation in education since it highlights the University’s Catholic and Jesuit mission in relation to students’ studies and their lives. An annual feature of the seminar, the “Ignatian Values in Action Lecture,” will be a promising means to capture students’ imagination concerning how they might live and offer their talents in service to those in need. The project will build on the lecture, first, by bringing special guests whose stories echo those accented in the lecture and its companion book, designated as the “Royal Read.”  Then, by instituting a service engagement requirement for all first-year seminar students the university will concretely connect to the larger themes of the institution’s mission and the Ignatian Values in Action Lecture. These features of the seminar and the directions they open up will need the understanding and support of full-time faculty members teaching the course, who are many and diverse. Consequently, the project seeks to engage all first-year seminar instructors in two workshops that discuss the purposes of the seminar in connection to the university’s mission, introduce “vocation” as a guiding notion in relation to these purposes, and detail the new service-related directions the project introduces.

Wesleyan College (GA) proposes to create language to talk about vocation—especially from a theological point of view—that welcomes and includes students from Judeo-Christian as well as non-Christian faiths. Founded in 1836, Wesleyan is the first college in the world chartered to grant degrees to women. While the college continues its deep commitment to academics, women, faith, and community—the four cornerstones of the mission to “offer an education that leads to lifelong intellectual, personal, and professional growth” for students with “a passion for learning and making a difference,” the students we served look very different from those who enrolled just a decade ago. International students comprise 21% of the college’s total undergraduate enrollment, and 25% of the residential population.  Projects include professional development for faculty and staff, a Peacemaker Series of guest speakers, creation of a cadre of student leaders known as Campus Ministry Assistants, and programs and retreats designed to foster reflection and discernment about one’s life purpose.