Several people have read about the College's recent gift of nearly $2 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. for the support of an "Initiative on Vocation."
But what will that mean for students?
Taking one fictitious, prospective student and three real students on the Maryville College campus, we explain the Maryville College Initiative on Vocation.
Note: Currently, the specific details of the Initiative on Vocation are being finalized by College administrators. The examples below are intended to illustrate Initiative concepts, not students' concrete plans.
Freshman Fred. Fred is enrolling at Maryville College with no clear idea of what he would like to study. In his Freshman Seminar 120 course, he and other freshmen will be introduced to the concepts of "calling" and "vocation." And during this first year, Fred will take at least two diagnostic tests (as part of the Freshman Seminar course) to assess his personal and vocational interests, leadership and personality qualities. Later, the College's Director of Assessment and a faculty advisor will assist him in interpreting the diagnostic tools and analyzing their findings.
Rising sophomore, Kristina Anderson. Kristina is working toward a double-major in child development and learning and religion. Her vocational plans include becoming a youth minister. With the Initiative on Vocation, Kristina may have the opportunity to attend an evening or afternoon retreat in the College's House in the Woods with her peers and advisor. Because she is interested in the ministry, Kristina may attend an Advocates for Ministry Dinner, which will give her the opportunity to meet dynamic ministers and listen to them talk about the rewards and challenges of a life devoted to lay or ordained ministry. And in the summer of 2003, Kristina might take advantage of the opportunity to intern at a church. She may choose, also, to go on an all-expense-paid visit to a seminary or divinity school during her junior or senior year.
Rising junior, A.J. Ierulli. A.J. is majoring in computer science/business and plans to pursue a career in law. During his junior and senior years, he may attend a vocation dinner in the Proffitt Dining Room where professionals in the legal field may offer advice, answer questions and recommend graduate schools or employers. During the summer of 2003, A.J. may apply for a Lilly Summer Internship that would provide him with room, board and a stipend while he gains first-hand experience in a professional setting.
Rising senior, D'Lisa Hopewell. D'Lisa is majoring in Sign Language/Interpreting with plans to interpret in the deaf community. Like Kristina and A.J., D'Lisa may take advantage of advisor/mentor retreats or vocation dinners. As a senior, she will explore the moral, philosophical and theological dimensions of vocation in her Ethics 490 course. She may want to apply for funds to attend a professional meeting or conference of interpreters or volunteer for organizations that assist the deaf community. While the Center for Calling and Career will assist all students - underclassmen and upperclassmen - D'Lisa may use the office as a resource to facilitate her post-college plans.
And just as parents and faculty members are partners in the education of their children and students, they will not left out of the Initiative.
This summer, faculty will explore vocation in their annual Faculty Retreat.
Parents will be invited to a workshop during Family Weekend in the fall. At the workshop, the meaning and significance of vocation within the context of the Christian tradition as well as in broader cultural terms will be addressed.