Concurrent Workshops

March 25, 2022

Blog, Webinar, Podcast: New Media Resources for Vocation

New media resources have had an increasing impact on higher education over the past decade, and this trend has only intensified during the pandemics of the past year. Blogs, webinars, online workshops, and podcasts have become standard fare on every campus and within every academic organization. How can these resources be used to strengthen vocation-related initiatives? What are the advantages and drawbacks of various media for professional development and student programming? A panel of experienced users of new media in the academic context will lead participants in an exploration of methodologies, best practices, and lessons learned.

Carr Harkrader, Director, Interfaith Leadership Institute, Interfaith Youth Core
Lindsay Monihen, Doctoral Candidate, Azusa Pacific University
Deanna A. Thompson, Martin E. Marty Regents Chair in Religion and the Academy, and Director, Lutheran Center for Faith, Values, and Community, St. Olaf College
Chair: C. Hannah Schell, NetVUE Online Community Coordinator, CIC

Books on Vocation for the Undergraduate Setting

As the literature on vocation and calling has expanded, educators at NetVUE member institutions have found themselves faced with a panoply of choices for student assignments. But how much of the current vocation literature is well suited for use with undergraduates? What features should one consider when assessing these resources and assigning them in the academic context? In this session, four authors who have written books suitable for the undergraduate setting will offer recommendations of other books that can stimulate and supplement vocational conversations among students, both within and outside the classroom.

Jacqueline A. Bussie, Executive Director, Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research
Jason A. Mahn, Conrad Bergendoff Chair in the Humanities, and Director, Presidential Center for Faith and Learning, Augustana College (IL)
Charles R. Pinches, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, The University of Scranton
Patrick B. Reyes, Senior Director of Learning Design, Forum for Theological Exploration
Chair: Maria R. Zack, Special Assistant to the President and Department Chair, Point Loma Nazarene University

Bringing Scriptural Reasoning to Campus

As a sequel to Friday morning’s plenary session on Scriptural Reasoning, this session will provide more detailed suggestions as to how this practice might be employed in the college or university setting. Attention will be paid to the specifics of implementing Scriptural Reasoning among different campus constituencies, including faculty members, staff, administrators, and students. Facilitators will also guide participants in the use of additional resources (many of which are available online) for choosing appropriate texts, training facilitators, encouraging participation, and assessing outcomes.

Nicholas Adams, Professor of Philosophical Theology, University of Birmingham
Emily A. Filler, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Washington & Lee University
Stephen E. Fowl, Professor of Theology and Dean of Loyola College of Arts and Sciences, Loyola University Maryland
Chair: Peter Dula, Professor of Religion and Culture, Eastern Mennonite University

Called to Create Just Futures

How can academic inquiry and community partnerships inform public policy on racial justice? How might undergraduate students be brought into this conversation and encouraged to explore their own callings to this work? What programs and activities can help students understand the issues and seek practical ways to respond? These questions will be addressed by leaders at CIC and NetVUE member institutions that are part of the Just Futures initiative of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Panelists will describe projects that bring researchers and community activists together to examine the history of racial injustice in the institution’s community, assess its impact on contemporary inequities, and make recommendations for reparative policies to local and regional governments. The session will focus on how this work might relate to vocational exploration and discernment among undergraduates.

Vivia L. Fowler, President, Wesleyan College (GA)
Nakia Hamlett, William Meredith Assistant Professor of Psychology, Connecticut College
James Postema, Professor of English, Concordia College (MN)
Kimberly A. Rostan, Associate Professor of English, Co-coordinator of African/African-American Studies, and Director, Intercultural Studies Major, Wofford College
Cynthia Neal Spence, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director, Social Justice Fellows Program and UNCF/Mellon Programs, Spelman College
Chair: David G. Brailow, Senior Advisor, Development, CIC

Narrating Vocation: Institutional Mission, Identity, Saga

The language of vocation and calling has recently expanded its range beyond a focus on individuals and has found a foothold at the institutional level. Speaking about an institution’s mission, identity, and vocation requires a compelling narrative that attends to its past, present, and future. Such narratives do not merely convey information; they presuppose a certain perspective and a particular interpretive stance. This interactive session will examine such narratives as “sagas” and reflect on the connection between personal and institutional vocation as a means of clarifying an institution’s self-understanding. This session will be of interest to those who currently lead (or may apply for) a NetVUE Grant for Reframing the Institutional Saga, as well as others who have responsibilities for stewarding their institution’s mission and identity.

Joshua Canada, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Azusa Pacific University
Claire M. Noonan, Vice President for Mission and Planning, Dominican University (IL)
Chair: Thomas G. Perrin, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty, Huntingdon College

New Scholarship on Vocation and the Common Good

The three volumes published thus far through the NetVUE Scholarly Resources Project have served as an introduction for newcomers, as a means of deeper engagement for faculty and staff reading groups, and as resources in the undergraduate classroom. NetVUE has now begun work on a fourth volume, which will focus on vocation and the common good. In this session, the new director of the Scholarly Resources Project will lead an interview-style discussion among five of the contributors to the forthcoming volume, focusing not only on their individual essays but also on the themes of the book as a whole. Participants will have an opportunity to offer suggestions as to the shape and content of the volume as it comes into final form.

Jonathan Golden, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Comparative Religion, and Director, Center on Religion, Culture, and Conflict, Drew University
Michelle Hayford, Associate Professor of Theatre and Director, Theatre, Dance, and Performance Technology Program, University of Dayton
Robert Pampel, Director, University Honors Program, Saint Louis University
Meghan M. Slining, Associate Professor of Health Sciences, Furman University
Monica M. Smith, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Augustana College (IL)
Chair: Erin A. VanLaningham, Director, NetVUE Scholarly Resources Project, CIC

Self-Assessment Instruments for Vocational Reflection

A number of instruments that are designed to help students explore their own gifts, talents, and strengths are available to faculty members and staff at NetVUE institutions. How useful are these instruments as resources for genuine vocational reflection? When properly used, can they be an important first step for undergraduates who are beginning to consider their many callings in life? Or do they sometimes tend to become a substitute for more rigorous and hands-on vocational conversations? A panel of NetVUE leaders with experience of various instruments will offer advice on the best use of these resources for vocational exploration and discernment. Specific attention will be paid to StrengthsFinder, PathwayU, the Intercultural Development Inventory, and the Life Design/Career Construction instrument.

Bryan J. Dik, Professor of Psychology, Colorado State University–Fort Collins
Kassia D. Krone, Assistant Professor of Composition, Friends University
David K. Miller, College Minister and Director of Justice Initiatives, Union College (KY)
Chair: René E. Johnson, Director of Vocation and Servant Leadership, Finlandia University

Vocation and the Religiously (In)Different Student

An increasing percentage of undergraduate students at NetVUE institutions have grown up in faith communities other than the ones that have traditionally marked the college or university that they attend. Other students—perhaps a yet larger number—find themselves at the margins of (or completely outside of) traditional religious communities. Although the language of vocation and calling is certainly employed in secular as well as religious contexts, some students may assume that vocational reflection is primarily a religious (and often a specifically Christian) undertaking. How might educators help these religiously different (or indifferent) students recognize the importance of vocational reflection? Three NetVUE leaders who have worked with students who embrace a variety of lifestances will offer advice and resources for bringing these students into the conversation about vocation and calling.

Florence D. Amamoto, Professor Emerita of English, Japanese Studies, and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, Gustavus Adolphus College
Younus Y. Mirza, Director of Global Virtual Learning and Religion Scholar in Residence, Shenandoah University
Matthew R. Sayers, Professor of Religion and Director of Religion and Philosophy, Lebanon Valley College
Chair: Nicole L. Johnson, Professor of Religious Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Mount Union

Vocation beyond the Undergraduate Setting

The focus of NetVUE has traditionally been on undergraduates, but member institutions have important constituencies that fall outside this group—including the institution’s graduates, members of the local community, faculty and staff retirees, and prospective students (and their parents). How might NetVUE member institutions extend the conversation about vocation and calling to these constituencies? How might this work also serve as an additional resource for undergraduates who are discerning their own callings? Three academic administrators will describe initiatives and perspectives that can help broaden the scope of vocation and calling beyond the undergraduate setting to those in all stages and walks of life.

Dorothy C. Bass, Senior Fellow, The Lilly Fellows Program, Valparaiso University
Jodi L. Porter, Director of Coordination, Forum for Theological Exploration
Paul C. Pribbenow, President, Augsburg University
Chair: Roslyn C. Artis, President and CEO, Benedict College