A NetVUE gathering at SPU – October 25 – 26

By: | Posted: August 30, 2013

Weaving Vocation into Campus Life: The Warp and Weft of Holistic Education

Weaving Vocation into campus lifeWhile NetVUE schools have a wealth of vocational programs in different stages of maturity, the most effective work does not occur in stand-alone programs: vocational exploration is most successful when owned and woven into multiple aspects of campus life.  Just as a weaver girds an underlying textile with warp strings and artistically creates with the weft, successful vocational programs have both institutional structure and fluid practices to meet changing student needs. While most begin as small wins that are then intentionally woven together by champions who care, this conference is designed to focus on both warp and weft to strengthen and move our vocational programs forward.

This mini NetVUE retreat will create time and space for smaller conversations among Netvue members to explore four big questions as next steps to strengthen the weave of our vocational programs:

  1. How to introduce or strengthen vocational exploration into general education and major coursework?
  2. How to strengthen vocational exploration in academic advising?
  3. How can faculty and co-curricular staff partner for the purpose of enhancing vocational exploration?
  4. How to celebrate and tell the story of our vocational exploration successes to those inside and outside our campus communities?

NetVUE institutions, especially West Coast schools, are encouraged to send a team composed of 2 or 3 campus champions (administration, faculty and staff) to learn from the experiences of other institutions and to work on developing curricular and co-curricular initiatives for their own institutions. Insitutions not associated with NetVUE are welcome to send a team also).

Rather than holding sessions where experts give 50-minute talks, the schedule and sessions are designed to create time and space away from our own busyness for teams to collaborate; to take stock of what we have done and create actionable next steps for our own campuses. The last goal is to create and support relationships among colleagues who are passionate about the theological implications of vocation for creating meaning and purpose in students’ (and our own) lives.

Download PDF here.


Registration deadline is October 15, 2013

Conference fee is $25 per participant to cover the cost of facilities rental. Non-NetVUE schools may send delegates at full conference cost ($60 per participant). Meals are included in the cost of the conference. Stipends for hotel expenses to cover one or two nights lodging are available on a first come basis for those traveling more than 75 miles.  Residence Inn on south Lake Union in Seattle is conveiniently located less than 2 miles from campus.

Click here to register


Friday October 25th

 8:00–8:50 Continental Breakfast, registration and meeting Location: Fine Center, First Free Methodist Church (FFMC)
8:50-9:00 Welcome: Shirley Roels: Senior Advisor, Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) Council of Independent Colleges



Jeff VanDuzer: SPU Provost  – Vocation as an organizing goal for campus life.

Goals of the retreat:
Margaret Diddams, Ph.D. Director SPU Spiritual and Educational Resources for Vocational Exploration (SERVE) Program.


Question 1: How to introduce or strengthen vocational exploration into general education and major coursework?
9:20-10:15 Table Discussion: Possible discussion questions include:

(a)   How to emphasize vocation in first year, general education and capstone courses?

(b)   How to weave vocation into the major?

(i)     1 credit exploration courses in majors

(c)    How can study abroad be used as an opportunity for vocational exploration?

10:15-10:30 Break
10:30-11:00 Sharing across tables: What did you hear at your table? What ideas excite you?
11:00-12:00 Team Work—next steps for your own university – ideas and possible paths for      implementation.
12:00- 1:00 Lunch and small group conversations –things I wish we were doing.
Question 2: How to strengthen vocational exploration in academic advising?
1:00 – 1:45 Table Discussion: Possible discussion questions include:

(a)   What is the appropriate developmental sequence: what questions are best for freshmen to explore? Juniors? Seniors? Can vocation take away some of the sting associated with sophomore slump?

(b)   What is the most effective and efficient way to check in with advisees above and beyond course selection, holds etc. Can we ask students to do pre-work on vocation before they meet with us for academic advising appointments?

(c)    Who am I?: What tools are available for exploring students’ gifts, talents, identity, passion and personality?

1:45- 2:00 Break
2:00-2:30 Sharing across tables. What did you hear from each other that would be useful at your own institution?  What questions need further answers?
2:30 – 3:15 Team Work — next steps for your own university – ideas and possible paths for implementation.
3:30- 4:30 Key Note Address: Vocation as an organizing theme for campus lifeLynn Hunnicutt –Director of Pacific Lutheran University’s Wild Hope Center for Vocation Location: SPU Library Seminar Room
5:00 Vespers – Guided by Rev. Priscilla Pope-Levison Ph.D., Professor of Theology Location: Demaray Chapel, FFMC
7:00 Dinner: Harborside – McCormick & Schmick’s
Saturday October 26th
8am Guided Morning Prayer – Lectio Divina with the PsalmsLocation: Demaray Chapel FFMC
8:30-9:00 Buffet Breakfast Location: FFMC
Question 3: How can faculty and co-curricular staff partner for the purpose of enhancing vocational exploration?———————————————————————————————
9:00-10:00 Table Discussion: Possible discussion items include

(a)   Partnering with staff to use service learning, internships and self-awareness activities as vocational exploration in coursework?

(b)   Institutional wide: Weaving the “common” in community: institutional wide activities that ask people to think together about important questions. Common books? Grants to faculty? Speaker series?

10:15-10:30 Break
Question 4: How do we celebrate and tell the story of our vocational exploration successes to those inside and outside our campus communities?
10:30-11:00 Table Discussion: Possible discussion items include

(a)   How do we create a common language around vocation on our campuses?

(b)   What are appropriate communication strategies on campus and to alumna and the community at large? Centralized? Decentralized? Websites?

(c)    What resources do faculty and staff need to be successful in creating a wholistic vocational program?

 ————-  ——————————————————————————-
11:00- 12:00 Next steps – what can we take back? What are next steps for our campus?
12pm Evaluation and box lunches and evaluation (We will use the standardized NetVue conference evaluation for Regional gatherings).
1pm Trip to the Pike place market for those who want to get in a bit of sightseeing.

Vocational Exploration Websites

Before arriving take some time to peruse university websites with an integrative focus on vocational exploration  (Here are two examples)

PLU’s Wild Hope Vocational Center

Covenant College

Pre-conference Readings

Delbanco, A. (2012). What is college for? Columbia Forum

Gallagher, S. (2007). Speaking of Vocation in an Age of Spirituality. Change, 39(3), 32-37.

Sullivan, W. (2004). Vocation: Where Liberal and Professional Education Meet. The fourth annual Conversation on the Liberal Arts. Westmont College.

A Guide to Theological Reflection on Vocation at Whitworth University


About NetVUE

NetVUE has its roots in the Lilly Endowment’s major initiatives on 88 college and university campuses over the previous decade through its Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation (PTEV). As Lilly’s direct support of the PTEV effort concluded, The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) was asked by a number of college and university presidents to develop a national campus-supported network to extend and deepen the conversation about vocation. Since the fall of 2009, 174 colleges and universities have joined NetVUE, to foster the theological exploration of vocation in their campus communities. These campuses, most of which are rooted in the liberal arts, represent a range of religiously-affiliated institutions as well as a number of secular institutions. All show a desire to address the theological and intellectual implications of vocation, both in the classroom and in student life. In addition to the NetVUE-sponsored biennial national conference, the network also supports regional and themed gatherings hosted by its members.

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