Return to Program Development Grants Program Development Grant Summaries

​May 2017 Awards

Dakota Wesleyan University (SD) will create a foundational introduction to the university’s missional values of learning, leadership, faith and service through a significantly revised orientation experience for first-year students and a newly designed sophomore year.  Additionally, DWU will develop and launch a required vocational component for all students during their junior year. Finally, Dakota Wesleyan will develop and launch a retreat for faculty and staff members focusing on these same university values. The grant will strengthen and deepen the university’s vocational mission among students, faculty, and staff, and allow it to do so on a timetable that would not be possible without grant support.

Edgewood College (WI) aspires to integrate vocational and spiritual development into all aspects of the student experience through intentional partnerships across the college. First, faculty and staff will have opportunities to engage in vocational discernment with each other through a process guided by Dominican values. Participants will integrate these insights into a course module to be developed, refined, implemented, and assessed during the two-year period. The revised general education curriculum will invite undergraduate students to engage the following questions: (1) Who am I and who can I become? (2) What are the needs and opportunities of the world? (3) What is my role in building a more just and compassionate world? This project will elevate and incorporate these questions campus‐wide as an integral part of planning and assessment processes. Twenty faculty and staff will be selected for participation through an internal application process.

Grove City College (PA) will launch an initiative to enhance dialogue and collaboration on vocation and the common good in the context of its mission statement. To equip students to pursue God’s calling for their lives in a changing world requires the connection of reflection to action, for application of knowledge to leadership and service. Grove City College will build on already existing strengths as a community of mentoring and reflection. They will create a more intentional focus on the theological and practical connections between vocation and career by: (1) developing campus-wide materials and strategies for understanding and communicating important vocational concepts (e.g., calling, common good, servant leadership); (2) embedding vocational exploration outcomes into the capstone class of the humanities core curriculum; (3) encouraging best practices for advising and reflection; and (4) coordinating vocationally-focused activities among curricular and co-curricular programs including those of the Telos Leadership Institute.

Huntingdon College (AL), a college of the United Methodist Church, will strengthen its existing commitment to vocation exploration. Currently, every student in the college takes a “leading lives that matter” course during their junior or senior year. In addition to developing competencies in critical thinking, reading, and writing, students in the program “develop value systems for fuller participation in society” within a broadly theological framework. Specific new initiatives will include: a faculty visit to a vocation-based pedagogical initiative at another campus; offering a faculty workshop on vocation-based education, including guest speakers who are national leaders in such programs; holding a faculty retreat to discuss texts and pedagogical strategies as we develop common core readings in professional ethics; and hosting a series of speakers who will address the entire college on the topic of “leading lives that matter.” As a part of the larger Huntingdon Plan, all students will be encouraged to participate in peer mentoring, an internship, job shadowing, research, an externship, or service-based experience that is related to their desired career.

Linfield College (OR) affiliated with American Baptist Churches USA, is a private, comprehensive undergraduate institution known for its integration of the traditional liberal arts with experiential learning. A comprehensive set of experiences encourages increased self-awareness and the pursuit of vocation among sophomores. The offices of the chaplain and career development will collaborate in creating three opportunities for sophomore vocational exploration: the vocation re-orientation retreat, the vocation externship program, and academic program selection activities, designed to help students select majors that resonate with their callings. Through participation in these exploratory experiences, sophomores will: (1) learn about the tools, resources and processes that help them better understand and articulate their personal values, strengths, personality traits, and interests; (2) participate in exercises and activities leading to intellectual and theological exploration of vocation; and (3) possess greater clarity about living intentionally and reflectively on the path to vocational discernment.

Malone University (OH) will enhance and renew current vocation development and exploration by targeting both faculty and students in three ways to: 1) create a summer advanced faith integration seminar for veteran faculty members to reflect on how their teaching influences their students’ vocation development and exploration; 2) implement the Vocatio Lecture Series. This is a public event held every semester that successively highlights each of Malone’s schools (Business; College of Theology, Arts, and Sciences; Education; and Nursing). It brings prominent disciplinary practitioners and theorists to campus to speak about how they have thought and lived vocation in their employment and career.

Merrimack College (MA) seeks to develop a contemporary Catholic mission in the tradition of its patron, Saint Augustine of Hippo, as part of its strategic plan. Spiritual growth co-curricular programming enables students to experience first-hand the clear links between scholarship, worship, and the practice of just living and service to others. The College has recruited 55 first-year students to share deep learning experiences, meaningful service to the community, and new opportunities for reflection, spiritual retreat, and vocational discernment in the City of God Living/Learning Community as part of the Austin Scholars Program. As a collaboration of the offices of Campus Ministry, Mission and Ministry, Student Affairs and Stevens Service Learning Center, City of God programming will engage the whole College community intentionally to include critical questions of vocational discernment.

Morningside College (IA) will create Second Year Experience (SYE) activities that encourage student vocational exploration in five select departments, as an expansion of the SYE activities that were piloted in the business and biology departments last year. A committee of five faculty members who represent each of the departments will develop the SYE activities. The SYE activities will affect approximately 410 unique students during the grant period.

Newberry College (SC) will develop a cohesive campus‐wide strategy for incorporating vocational reflection into student formation through a variety of ways.  These include: 1) a redesign of student support services for first‐year and sophomore students to foreground vocational exploration; 2) academic advisors and first‐year “college life” instructors who participate in a year‐long learning community focused on vocational mentoring, including regular lunch gatherings, an intensive workshop, and the opportunity for campus visits to regional peer institutions with strong vocational advising programs; and 3) student initiatives that incorporate psychometric inventories into the first‐year “college life” curriculum and sophomore peer mentoring that promotes student leadership.

Pfeiffer University (NC) plans to maximize the benefits of a liberal arts education to the student and the community through a model of mentored and experiential learning that includes exploration of vocational callings in theology, intensive preparation for incoming students, mentoring for every student who enrolls, and opportunities for upperclassmen to connect directly with and learn from leaders in the vocational fields they pursue. The Pfeiffer Journey provides attention to both the spiritual and intellectual growth of every student, and application of education to the betterment of the world. In addition, Pfeiffer will offer professional development to guide university trustees, faculty and staff toward a greater understanding of and ability to promote these principles across the university.  

Randolph-Macon College (VA) will supplement curricular and co-curricular preparation for pre-ministerial students with a Leadership in Ministry Boot Camp, which will help them discern their abilities by 1) inculcating professional skills as they relate to ministry; and 2) introducing the students to diverse seminary options so they can find a fit with their skills, interests, and call.  This program builds career skills preparation tailored to ministry in collaboration with three seminary partners: Duke Divinity School, Candler School of Theology, and Wesley Theological Seminary.

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota will strengthen and preserve its core mission and identity by coordinating the five different mission education and vocation exploration activities that already take place on campus. These include the speakers for both the university-wide and student convocations and three summer programs, the LaSallian retreat, LaSallian seminar for professors, and LaSallian mission days. Bringing these programs together will unify campus programming, foster a culture of vocation, and promote financial stewardship. A larger range of faculty will be exposed to training, and more students will have the opportunity to participate in these university-wide events.

The University of Findlay (OH) will create initiatives to fulfill its mission of equipping students for meaningful lives and productive careers. The goals are: (1) to create a collegiate environment in which faculty/staff and students collaborate to explore the meaning of vocation and methods to translate this knowledge into CORE+ courses; and (2) to challenge college-aged students to question their personal identity, strengths, values, and interests in serving others through vocational discernment practices. Faculty and staff will align curriculum and departmental practices with vocation-based language to support undergraduate student participation in discernment activities. They will produce a course packet to assist students in connecting vocation to their career pathways and opportunities.

Trinity University (TX), through its initiative, addresses one of higher education’s unique and ongoing challenges - preparing students to articulate who they are, what they are capable of, and where their passions call them to serve and lead in the world. The university will foster a Comprehensive Student Record (CSR) initiative that enables students to document, communicate, and reflect on their learning through an alumni-student mentor relationship, and to provide a distinct opportunity for students to explore vocational questions through guided, one-on-one conversations with Trinity alumni. Building on the successes of a pilot program, CSR will engage 120 students and 60 alumni in the expanded program. The CSR initiative addresses one of higher education’s ongoing challenges - preparing students to articulate who they are, what they are capable of, and where their passions call them to serve and lead in the world.

University of Mary (ND) will create a campus-based Core Team with in-depth training on how to guide students through career/vocational questions.  Program activities include a summer seminar for faculty to study discernment; development of a vocation video production, the hosting of discernment dinners for students from various majors; and an annual convocation speaker each year on “Answering Your Call.” This campus-wide collaborative effort for vocational discernment with its intensive program of training for students, faculty, and staff will enable university leaders to better assist students as they reflect on and pursue their life calling.

University of San Diego (CA) sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative change-makers confront humanity’s urgent challenges, The Four Year Plan for Vocational Exploration will equip, encourage, and inspire undergraduate students to explore vocation. Faculty will participate in Let Your Life Speak workshops and design seminars to expand use of the language of vocation exploration and discernment in campus conversations. Creative vocation exploration workshops will be offered for first-year students, and a new Halftime retreat will be available for sophomores. Juniors will be eligible for vocation exploration scholarships; and senior business majors will hear speakers on the topic of Thriving in Business.

Waynesburg University (PA) provides opportunities for students to be exposed to discussions and readings that focus on their future vocations and the integral role of faith in classroom experiences, internships, future careers, and daily adventures. Professional development opportunities for faculty and staff will lead to expanded student programming related to vocation. The five project goals are to: 1) explore how vocation related materials and assignments are used in courses; 2) deepen conversations with students about faith in learning and the connections between their faith and vocation; 3) encourage faculty and staff to serve as role models in our academic community; 4) increase the integration of vocational exploration programming in our student success centers; and, 5) provide increased opportunities for experiential learning to expose students to potential careers.

Wingate University (NC) will develop a program to integrate vocation and service learning with a freshman/sophomore academic course to deepen and extend the mission of the university-related faith, knowledge, and service. This initiative will complement high-impact learning programs and activities such as study abroad, undergraduate research, internships, career mentoring and vocation discernment (Center for Vocation, Internships, and Career Services), academic advising, personal and professional enrichment program, and service learning and community engagement. This program revolves around two focal points: 1.) a pedagogy-focused vocational seminar for faculty; and 2.) a course integrating academic content, a service learning project and critical reflection engaging students, faculty, and the broader community.