The Purpose of NetVUE
The purpose of NetVUE is to increase the capacity of independent colleges and universities to support their undergraduate students as they explore and discern their many callings in life.
This process of vocational reflection is an interdisciplinary endeavor, bringing together theological, philosophical, ethical, historical, and affective approaches, implementing the theoretical reflections of these fields in vocation-related practices. Campuses are encouraged to support students in this work through a variety of academic departments, pre-professional programs, and campus offices (variously including career services, student success centers, advising programs, offices of religious or spiritual life, and many more). NetVUE is governed by a principle of subsidiarity: individual member institutions are encouraged to shape their work related to vocation and calling—including the vocabularies that they use to describe this work—in ways that are best suited to their own missions, teaching philosophies, student demographics, and other matters best known to those who lead and guide this work on campus.
Financial support of NetVUE comes from a combination of membership dues and support from Lilly Endowment Inc. Thanks to Lilly’s generous support, dues are modest. In 2020, the number of member institutions had increased to the point that all core network activities became self-supporting. The Lilly Endowment continues to provide generous funding for grants to member institutions, professional development programs, print and digital resources, and a variety of other programs and services.
History of NetVUE
In 1999, Lilly Endowment Inc. launched Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation (PTEV) to support independent colleges and universities in establishing or strengthening programs that would (a) help students examine the relationship between their faith and vocational choices; (b) provide opportunities for young people to explore Christian ministry leadership; and (c) enhance the capacity of an institution’s faculty and staff to teach and mentor students in this regard. The objective was to identify and nurture a new generation of highly talented and committed leaders for religious communities and for society.
Over the subsequent years, Lilly supported 88 colleges and universities with PTEV programs. Efforts on each of these campuses encompassing the callings of students, faculty and staff were supported by a series of national conferences for representatives of participating institutions. As the Lilly Endowment’s active support concluded, a number of college and university presidents, pleased with the positive results of these programs, asked the Council of Independent Colleges to extend and expand a nation-wide campus-supported network for the theological exploration of vocation.
In early 2008, CIC began to craft a vision for such a network, identified its goals, and laid the groundwork for an inaugural conference in March 2009. In the fall of 2009, NetVUE was launched as a network of colleges and universities committed to fostering the theological exploration of vocation in their campus communities.
David S. Cunningham
Executive Director of NetVUE
David Cunningham is the executive director of NetVUE. In this role, he oversees and guides NetVUE staff and the activities for which they are responsible, working with both the CIC staff and the NetVUE Advisory Council from the NetVUE office based at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Previously he served as director of the NetVUE Scholarly Resources Project, overseeing the development and editing of three books published by Oxford University Press. David is also the editor of two additional volumes and the author of five books. He holds a faculty appointment as professor of theology at Aquinas College; his research focuses on Christian theology and ethics and their relationship to rhetoric and drama. David previously served on the faculty at Hope College, where he was director of the CrossRoads Project, Hope’s Lilly-funded Program for the Theological Exploration of Vocation (PTEV), and on the faculties of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary and the University of St. Thomas (MN). He holds a BSS in communication studies from Northwestern University, a BA and MA in theology and religious studies from the University of Cambridge, and a PhD in religion from Duke University.
David can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (616) 632-1060.
Lynne M. Spoelhof
Director of NetVUE Operations
Lynne Spoelhof serves as NetVUE’s director of operations. In this role, she supports all NetVUE programs and initiatives, coordinates the work of the NetVUE staff, maintains regular contact with member campuses, plans programs and conferences, manages information and databases, and provides executive assistance to the director of NetVUE. She is the primary contact person for the NetVUE office based at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, working with CIC staff based in Washington, DC, and with NetVUE staff based at various campuses across the country. She has served NetVUE since its inception in 2009, first as an administrative assistant to founding director Shirley Roels, then program coordinator in 2013, program manager in 2020, and was recently promoted to director of NetVUE operations. Prior to her current responsibilities, Lynne served as an elementary teacher for a number of years and developed her office management skills in both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. Lynne has an undergraduate degree in elementary education, communication arts and sciences, and English from Calvin College (now University).
Lynne can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at (616) 632-1060.
W. Carter Aikin
NetVUE Grants Director
Carter Aikin serves as the NetVUE grant director. He has primary responsible for administering CIC’s wide array of NetVUE grant programs, working on a half-time basis from Blackburn College, where he has served as professor and chair of philosophy and religion since 2014. He has led vocational initiatives at three different NetVUE member schools across his teaching career. Carter has also served as a NetVUE campus consultant since 2010, specializing in helping institutions to develop interdisciplinary vocational exploration initiatives with a focus on curriculum development–a passion reflected in his own classroom instruction. He holds a BA from the University of Colorado at Boulder, an MDiv from Duke University Divinity School, and a PhD in Moral Theology from the University of Notre Dame.
Carter can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (217) 854-5619.
Director of the NetVUE Professional Development Program
Rachael Baker is the director of professional development for NetVUE. In this part-time position, she develops trainings and works with NetVUE campuses to support efforts to implement vocation-informed programs and practices for faculty, staff, and students. She also serves as associate professor and co-chair of the department of chemistry and biochemistry at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Rachael was a participant in the 2021 NetVUE Teaching Vocational Exploration seminar, which encouraged her to develop curriculum to engage students with virtue practices in courses across their programs, creating unique avenues for conversations about vocation that help students engage thoughtfully in communities and teams. Rachael holds a BS in biochemistry from Calvin College and a PhD in biochemistry and biophysics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Rachael can be reached at email@example.com or (616) 526-7939.
John D. Barton
Co-host of the NetVUE Podcast
John Barton is co-host of the NetVUE podcast, Callings: Conversations on College, Career, and a Life Well Lived. He serves as director of the Center for Faith and Learning at Pepperdine University, where he also has faculty appointments in the religion and philosophy division, the university’s graduate program in social entrepreneurship, and the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at the Caruso School of Law. John’s areas of research and teaching include African philosophy, Christian and interreligious studies, and faith and philanthropy. He is the author of Better Religion: A Primer for Interreligious Peacebuilding (Baylor, 2022). He holds a BA from Harding University and a PhD from Makerere University in Uganda.
John can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 506-4923.
Dave S. Guthrie
NetVUE Grant Assessment Coordinator
Dave Guthrie is the NetVUE grant assessment coordinator. In this part-time role, he supports the assessment efforts of NetVUE grant recipients, helping them capture the contours and impact of their projects. Dave served as a faculty member and administrator at Calvin University, Geneva College, and Penn State University prior to retiring in 2021. He also was the co-director of Geneva College’s Program for the Theological Exploration of Vocation (PTEV) project, and was a member of NetVUE’s advisory council from 2009 until 2015. Dave holds an MA in Religion from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a PhD in higher education from Penn State University.
Dave can be reached at email@example.com or (724) 561-9470.
Krista E. Hughes
Director of Resource Development for NetVUE
Krista E. Hughes is NetVUE’s director of resource development. In this role, she is responsible for the development of new print and digital resources for use throughout the NetVUE membership. She is particularly interested in how institutional vocations can contribute to the vocational formation of students, staff, and faculty members, and in the communal dimensions of vocation, including the call to equity, inclusion, and belonging. Krista serves as associate professor of religion at Newberry College in Newberry, South Carolina; she is also the founding director of Newberry’s Muller Center for Exploration & Engagement, which provides resources and programming at the intersection of vocational exploration, civic engagement, and ethical inquiry. She has been actively engaged with NetVUE programs since 2016 and also holds leadership positions in the Network of ELCA Colleges & Universities (NECU). She holds a BA in Spanish & humanities from Wofford College, a MA in history and a MDiv from Vanderbilt University, and a PhD in theological & philosophical studies from Drew University.
Krista can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 321-5215.
Stephanie L. Johnson
Editor of the NetVUE Blog
Stephanie Johnson is the editor of the NetVUE blog at vocationmatters.org. This part-time position involves recruiting regular and occasional bloggers, editing and posting submissions, and publicizing the blog and other NetVUE activities through social media. Stephanie serves as associate professor and chair of the department of English at the College of St. Scholastica, where she also directs the Honors Program. She previously taught at Valparaiso University, where she held a Lilly postdoctoral teaching fellowship. Stephanie participated in the NetVUE faculty seminar on Teaching Vocation Exploration in 2017 and co-edited Cultivating Vocation in Literary Studies (Edinburgh, 2022). She holds a BA in English and religion from St. Olaf College, an MA in English from the University of Minnesota, and a PhD in English from the University of Washington.
Stephanie can be reached at email@example.com or (218) 625-4488.
Daniel G. Meyers
NetVUE Online Network Coordinator
Daniel Meyers is the NetVUE online network coordinator. This part-time position includes managing the library and discussion board for the NetVUE Online Community (available to faculty and staff members at NetVUE member colleges and universities), as well as editing the NetVUE newsletter. He works from the campus of Butler University, where he directs the university’s Center for Faith and Vocation. In this role he facilitates vocational reflection; supports religious, spiritual, and secular life on campus; promotes interfaith engagement; and serves as an advocate for wellness resources. Daniel previously served as the inaugural Earl Hall Religious Life Fellow for the office of the university chaplain at Columbia University and has been working in university chaplaincy and interfaith contexts since 2012. He holds a BA from Willamette University and an MDiv from Yale Divinity School.
Daniel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (646) 322-9563.
Rachel F. Pickett
NetVUE Webinar Coordinator
Rachel Pickett is the NetVUE webinar coordinator. This part-time position includes developing, promoting, and managing NetVUE webinars on various topics throughout the year, as well as hosting informal gathering for NetVUE leaders from time to time. Rachel holds a faculty position as professor of psychology and department chair at Concordia University Wisconsin, where her academic interests include college student development and the role of vocational discernment. She is also a licensed psychologist. Rachel participated in the NetVUE faculty seminar on Teaching Vocation Exploration in 2017 and has contributed to the Vocation Matters blog. She completed her BA at Clarke University and her MA and PhD degrees in counseling psychology from Southern Illinois University–Carbondale.
Rachel can be reached at email@example.com or (262) 243-4586.
Ashley S. Postema
NetVUE Communications Coordinator
Ashley Postema is the NetVUE communications coordinator. In this part-time role, she manages avenues for communication and digital graphics for NetVUE. Ashley also serves as the graphic designer for the Aquinas College Marketing and Communications department. She holds a BFA in Painting from Aquinas College.
Ashley can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (616) 632-1068.
Alexandra N. (Alex) Stephenson
NetVUE Administrative Assistant
Alex Stephenson is the NetVUE administrative assistant. In this part-time role, she assists the director and program manager of NetVUE, as well as supporting the day-to-day functions of NetVUE. Alex also serves as the administrative assistant for the Aquinas College Advantage Center. She holds a BS in Biology and Philosophy from Calvin University, as well as an MA in Early Human Prehistory from the University of York.
Alex can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at (616) 632-1060.
Erin A. VanLaningham
NetVUE Scholarly Resources Project Director and Co-host of the NetVUE Podcast
Erin VanLaningham is director of the NetVUE Scholarly Resources Project. In this part-time position, she recruits contributors for future NetVUE publications, facilitates the seminars through which they develop their contributions, and edits their work for publication. She also co-hosts the NetVUE podcast, Callings: Conversations on College, Career, and a Life Well Lived. She serves as professor of English at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. Erin participated in the NetVUE faculty seminar on Teaching Vocational Exploration in 2017, subsequently adapting and leading a similar seminar at her own institution through a NetVUE professional development grant. Erin teaches courses in the British novel, the spiritual memoir, and Irish literature; her research includes art, gender studies, and vocation. She recently co-edited and contributed to Cultivating Vocation in Literary Studies (Edinburgh, 2022). Erin holds a BA from Luther College, an MA from Northeastern University, and a PhD from Saint Louis University, all in English.
Erin can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (563) 588-7200.
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