Maryville College's new Center for Calling and Career in place; director and staff named

Maryville College's new Center for Calling and Career in place; director and staff named

July 1, 2002

MARYVILLE, Tenn. - Thanks to a $2 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., Maryville College has established a new Center for Calling & Career, which has replaced its former Office of Career Services.

Part of the College's Initiative on Vocation, the Center is designed to give students an integrated four-year opportunity to explore and consider their future lives and work in relation to a sense of calling, wider purpose and religious faith.

The Center will offer individual assessment and information on the following: selecting a major, summer internships and shadowing experiences, conducting job searches, writing resumes, networking, interviewing and applying for graduate and professional degree programs. Counseling students in exploring their future work is highly recommended as part of the Center's mission to help students find their "calling" or vocation.

The official start date for staff and name change took place June 1. The Center is located in the Bartlett Hall Student Center.

Ms. Tracy Gartmann has been named the director of the Center and the director of placement. She comes to Maryville College from Emory University's Candler School of Theology in Atlanta where she was director of admission. Gartmann has a bachelor's degree in religion and psychology from Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pa., and a master of theological studies degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory.

Gartmann's responsibilities for the Center will be to meet with alumni and corporate, professional and non-profit contacts to place students into valuable internship and shadowing experiences. She will assist graduating seniors and others with exploring, securing, and responding to meaningful post-college opportunities. Gartmann will provide overall leadership for the Center.

"We assist students with learning how to integrate life and work," says Gartmann. "This is what we believe calling and vocation is all about."

Dr. Harry Howard, MC professor of political science, has been named director of education and discernment. Dr. Howard will shift his role from full-time teaching to full-time leader, providing workshops and retreats for faculty and leading students as they seek to discern their sense of calling. He will meet with students for guided reflection after internships and community service. He, too, will provide vocational counseling and continue to teach classes.

Dr. Howard has been teaching at MC for 26 years, which makes him the fourth longest tenured professor on campus. Howard has a bachelor's degree in social sciences from Tennessee Wesleyan College, a master of theology degree from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, a master's degree in political science from Southern Methodist University, and a doctorate degree in political science from the University of Tennessee. He has been United Methodist clergy for 29 years, and is currently working toward ordination in the Episcopal Church.

"To discern is to discover a life path that fits with who you are, at the core," Howard says. "Maryville College is all about 'whole person education' and this is one part of that."

Dr. Trinh Greene has been hired as the director of assessment. Greene comes to MC from the University of Tennessee's Career Services, where she served as a career counselor for seven years. She completed her doctorate in counseling psychology last year at the University of Tennessee and holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Furman University.

Greene will be responsible for administering assessments required for all freshman and other students. She will meet with all students to provide appropriate interpretation of assessment results. Organizing and leading workshops for faculty on properly interpreting assessment results will also be one of her duties.

"Assessment isn't about tests or scary diagnostic evaluations," says Greene. "It's about finding out who you are - what makes you unique in relation to other people. It's becoming aware of your gifts and your strengths."

Ms. Charlotte Morgan has been hired as office manager for the Center. Morgan comes to MC from Randy Allen and Associates, a local investment advisory firm, where she worked as office assistant since 1998. She serves as an elder at Maryville's New Providence Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), and is currently the chair of the worship and music committee.

Dr. Bill Meyer, MC associate professor of religion and philosophy, authored the grant proposal for the Initiative on Vocation and has been appointed executive director of the Initiative. The Center of Calling & Career is a major component of the Initiative. Dr. Meyer will also continue to teach.

"The Center will help students discern whether their calling is into areas such as business, education, medicine, law or ministry by enabling them to examine their own interests and talents, as well as to listen and talk to people experienced in and dedicated to various callings and professions," explains Meyer.

Ms. Melanie Rasnake has been named director of operations. Rasnake, a 2000 MC graduate, served as project assistant during the planning stages of the grant proposal and will now oversee the Center's budget.

The Center for Calling & Career differs from traditional career services, says Gartmann.

"Because we all believe that the question of making a life and making a living cannot be separated, we are not simply an employment agency," Gartmann explains. "Exploring one's calling is not a problem to be solved but an ongoing process in which the student should be personally involved. We will help guide students through this process of exploration step by step."

The Center's employees say they are extremely excited to be a part of this unique program.

"We were all personally and professionally in the right place to make this happen," says Gartmann. "We were ready in each of our own professional paths and Maryville College was ready in its path to bring this program to life. It was truly a window of opportunity - there's tremendous energy here."

The Center has been moved from Student Development to Academic Affairs. Gartmann and Howard explain that the concept of calling and vocation has been included across the curriculum, thus warranting the move. The faculty's guidance of students' exploration of vocation is crucial too, Howard says.

Maryville College is one of over 30 colleges and universities that was awarded Lilly Endowment grants for theological exploration of vocation.

Currently, the Center's staff is busy making a schedule of events for fall. Workshops, job fairs and other events are being planned.

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,197.