CIC’s Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission program (V&M) is designed for senior leaders at CIC member schools to explore their potential vocational calling to serve as a college or university president, as well as examine what types of institutional missions they might best serve. Program cohorts gather in-person twice a year for group seminars. The opening seminar took place July 16–July 19, 2023, in Essex, Vermont. The closing seminar will take place this winter in Atlanta, GA.
This year, a small cohort of 20 college and university senior administrators and their spouses or partners joined together to read and think deeply about meaning and purpose, both in their personal lives and when applied to the presidency in independent higher education. Sessions at the summer seminar included discussions about “Choices and Satisfaction,” “Community,” “Mission,” and “Self-Actualization through Vocation.” The program was led by Steve Bahls, president emeritus of Augustana College (IL), and participants examined the various ways in which all these themes interact with a college presidency.
Through exemplifying personal experiences within each session, facilitators such as Debbie and Alan Cottrell, president and presidential spouse, respectively, Texas Lutheran University (TX); Chris and Connie Holoman, president and presidential spouse, respectively, Centenary College of Louisiana (LA); Donna Carroll, president emerita, Dominican University (IL) and interim president, North Central College (IL); and Jane Bahls, former presidential spouse, Augustana College (IL) modeled their unique pathways toward collegiate presidencies, as well as the dynamics of their family’s life and the effect of such career changes.
Beyond the perspectives of the program’s leadership team, CIC’s Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission program is structured to foster honest contemplation of participants’ own calling or vocation. From the serene landscape of Vermont’s Green Mountains and Lake Champlain to the coordinated off-site dinner and tour at Essex’s Black Flannel Brewery, V&M encourages self-discovery and realignment of every participant’s mission whether they participate solo or with their spouse or partner.
CIC is grateful to Lilly Endowment Inc. for its ongoing support of the Presidential Vocation and Institutional Mission program.