MC receives NetVUE grant focused on vocation

MC receives NetVUE grant focused on vocation

Dec. 14, 2018

Maryville College recently received a NetVUE Program Development Grant designed to strengthen the MC community’s exploration of vocation. 

“As Maryville College begins to celebrate its bicentennial, we focus on statements of institutional and personal purpose that still ring true for our students, faculty and staff today,” the grant proposal states. “So we are seeking ways to renew and strengthen our founder’s charge, to ‘do good on the largest possible scale,’ at every stage of college life, both inside and outside the classroom, and on into lives of responsible citizenship.”

Maryville College is a member of the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE), a nationwide network of colleges and universities formed to enrich the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation among undergraduate students. NetVUE is administered by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) with support from Lilly Endowment Inc.

The $50,000 grant, which will be used during the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years, is titled “Broad Vistas, Deep Commitments: Nurturing Vocation at Maryville College” and will support programs that will undergird the conversation about vocation to accomplish goals in three areas.

The first goal will provide Maryville College sophomores with experiences that “offer a renewed sense of commitment and hope to their educational and vocational process.” The focus of the program is “Broad Vistas,” which is designed to provide a significant experience for sophomore students, to celebrate their achievements in being half-way through college and to encourage persistence in their degree. Activities will include a spring reflection and celebration dinner for sophomores, with table conversations led by faculty and staff around the themes of vocation, and a “Broad Vistas” ceremony that will encourage students “to look back, look ahead and imagine the next steps.”

The second goal focuses on a review of the College’s Ethics 490 course, a core course that is required of all seniors. This process will “help recruit and equip a broader network of faculty members to teach this class and will develop teaching resources around ethics and vocation,” according to the grant proposal. The comprehensive review of the course will include an examination of how matters of vocation are addressed in the course, allowing conversation about successes and challenges in teaching the class. In addition to faculty participation in conferences and related correspondence with colleagues, teaching resources will be developed “to deepen a shared conversation around vocation into and across all sections of the class.”

The third goal emphasizes “continued conversations around vocation, bringing together faculty and staff to consider both individual callings and the call of the College in today’s world.” The program’s focus is on faculty and staff reading and reflection groups to continue conversations that were begun through funding from a recent NetVUE professional development grant. Groups will read and discuss a common text, “touching on the intersection of vocation with the liberal arts, especially focused on the challenges of small liberal arts colleges in today’s environment.”

There are three project leaders: Rev. Dr. Anne McKee, campus minister (and principal project coordinator for the grant); Kristin Gourley, assistant dean of students; and Dr. Andrew Irvine, associate professor of religion and philosophy.

“I am excited that this proposal strengthens the vocation conversation in both curricular and co-curricular parts of the student experience and also provides professional development opportunities among faculty and staff. This broad commitment to reflection about calling will nurture the deep roots of vocation across the College,” wrote Maryville College President Dr. Tom Bogart in his letter of support for the grant.

Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”