Monmouth College has received a NetVUE Program Development Grant of $46,960 from the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) to develop programming centered on the idea of vocational discernment, or finding a fulfilling calling in life.
The grant, funded by a partnership between CIC and the Lilly Endowment, spans two years, beginning in January. Monmouth is among 36 NetVUE institutions selected in this second round. NetVUE, the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education, is composed of 179 member institutions.
The grant underwrites opportunities for members of the college community to engage in discussions about their own sense of calling – why they do what they do. It also provides funds for vocation-centered conversations among 40-60 students as a pilot project in what will become a larger program. Additionally, the grant funds alumni involvement in the vocational initiative, first on campus during Homecoming and then over time to a widening network of alumni. Grant funds will also enable better coordination of campus efforts to support students in vocational discernment. Finally, the grant underwrites community-wide reflection upon Monmouth’s institutional commitment to vocation in the context of the liberal arts and the college’s Presbyterian heritage.
The grant-funded programs will be coordinated by philosophy and religious studies faculty members Dan Ott and Hannah Schell, working with the offices of the chaplain, academic affairs, student affairs and the Wackerle Career and Leadership Center.
In his letter of support, President Mauri Ditzler emphasized the cultivation of an understanding of vocation as one of the key elements of the college’s new strategic plan. The grant “will reinforce our college’s commitment to ensuring that every student seeks a noble purpose (or vocation) during and beyond their years at Monmouth College.” Ditzler added, “This opportunity truly comes at a propitious time” in the life of the college.
Monmouth College has been involved in NetVUE since 2011. The college received a small grant to host a successful regional conference in 2012, entitled “Loaves and Fishes.” Earlier this year, a team composed of the Rev. Dr. Teri Ott and professors Jane Jakoubek and Schell presented a version of the program at the national NetVUE meeting in Indianapolis. Schell was subsequently invited to be part of the NetVUE Scholarly Resources Project, a group of faculty from colleges and universities across the country who are preparing a set of essays about vocation and higher education.
Monmouth’s program will be inaugurated in January with a formal dinner and a keynote speaker, the details of which will be announced soon.