Andrews University is among a select group of institutions to receive the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) “Vocation across the Academy Grant” in 2022.
The grant is intended to help member colleges and universities strengthen the connection between liberal arts and career preparation. This is carried out by including faculty and students in a wide range of academic and support programs that enhance the institution’s vocational exploration.
“As a recipient of the award, Andrews University will receive a grant in the amount of US$18,550 for use over a three-year period (July 2022–June 2025),” Emilee O’Dell, projects coordinator for NetVUE Vocation across the Academy Grants, said. “In addition, upon receipt of documentation of US$18,550 in matching funds raised from third-party sources and designated for use in support of this project, CIC will award an additional US$18,550.”
The opportunity comes through a partnership with the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC). Through this collaboration and funding, Andrews University will deepen the intersection between the campus’s Center for Faith Engagement, Office of Undergraduate Education, and the Career Center by developing a program called “Going on Vocation” (GOV). GOV will seek to establish an institutional working definition of vocation through collaboration with faculty and staff. The program will identify and share best practices for vocational discernment with all university schools and departments to promote an institutional culture which reflects that understanding of vocation and calling.
Going on Vocation also aims to establish the practice of teaching vocational exploration, which will be introduced to the curriculum beginning with a redesign of the 100-level undergraduate general education course “God and Human Life,” taught by Rodney Palmer, chair of the Department of Religion & Biblical Languages. The restructured course will provide students with an understanding of the concept of vocation and calling from a Christian and theological perspective.
The course will also assist students in their process of self-discovery through an in-depth analysis of how their personal stories, spiritual gifts, talents, and strengths correlate with their life, learning, anticipated professions, and civic responsibility. These objectives will be assessed through the completion of a spiritual gifts inventory, Strong Interest Inventory, and service-learning activity.
The program will also enable students to focus on vocational discernment and career readiness through the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) competences. Joydel Trail, career services advisor, leads the process that guides students through tools and support services to help them to discern God’s calling in their life.
In addition to career exploration, the Career Center will provide support for students through networking, mentoring, job internships, externships, fellowships, and community engagement across academic disciplines. Faculty, staff, and alumni will have the opportunity to serve as on-campus and micro-internship supervisors or be the primary sources of mentorship for student participants. Both supervisors and students will be formally oriented to the program and its expectations at the beginning of each cohort year. Thus, both students and alumni will be better equipped with career readiness skills.
Andrews University has a long history of promoting the biblical philosophy that all work must be performed as unto God. Going on Vocation will teach students that all abilities are gifts from God and are to be used in His service. The team at the Center for Faith Engagement, led by Jose Bourget, university chaplain, will coordinate chapel and worship services, leadership development, coaching, service projects, student missions, and hands-on opportunities for students to explore God’s calling on their life.
NetVUE serves more than 680 independent colleges and universities, including liberal arts, comprehensive, four-year, two-year, and international institutions. Provost Christon Arthur leads the team in establishing Going on Vocation on campus, beginning this summer.
“My colleagues and I are thrilled for the opportunity to expand our student-centered initiatives that advance the university mission, and we are grateful that we can partner with CIC again,” Arthur said. “The NetVUE Vocation Across the Academy Grant will enable our university to continue with student-focused experiential learning, especially through the Career Center.”