A group of twelve faculty and staff are currently reading a book called, The Purposeful Graduate, in anticipation of a planning retreat we are having later this Fall. The book details research done among the initial universities (60+) who received Lilly grants for vocational exploration on their campuses. The universities were diverse, from Ivy League institutions, to Christian universities of every size and stripe, to historically African-American schools.
Despite the diversity of the schools, a remarkable picture of shared positive outcomes emerged from the longitudinal study. We’ll devote more space to the specifics of the study later this semester, but I just want to point out now that the effort to provide a vocational journey experience for students, not only impacted learning outcomes, but also deepened the meaning of the work performed by staff and faculty.
We hope that will be true of our experience as well. As we think more about how to engage students around their vocational journeys, our own sense of calling will be deepened.
We’re trying to create a shared vision and language about vocation around the phrase “trustworthy world.” Two weeks ago we searched for initial descriptions of what might make for a trustworthy world. You had great suggestions.
This week I’m wondering if we can see ways that our work participates in the creation of a trustworthy world. For instance, someone who works in admissions might say, “When I accurately portray the RU experience to a prospective student, I’m giving then a trustworthy picture of our campus and the place they could have here.” A student services staff person might say something like, “When I invite students into opportunities to serve our community, I’m hoping they’ll develop a desire for a more just world.”
A faculty might say, “When I teach someone how to accurately account for a company’s finances, I’m preparing servants for a more trustworthy world.” Or, “When I design a service learning project, I’m trying to connect course content to a trustworthy engagement with the world in which we live.” Or, “When I give students detailed feedback on their work and ask for a response, I’m providing an opportunity for them to deepen their understanding of the material and their relationship to it.”
These lists could go on and on. I’m wondering if you have a sentence that describes your work in this way. Share them in the comments section.