Last year, the university received a two-year grant of $44,000 from a network of colleges across the nation with hopes of enriching both intellectual and theological exploration of vocation called NetVUE.
The grant’s title is “The Calling Plan: Enabling Student Exploration of Vocation,” and its purpose is to motivate and support Wittenberg University’s efforts in allowing students to explore and understand their sense of calling, and where their skills and values merge to contribute to international community. The grant is focused on vocation, and how vocational conversations allow students to understand the whole of who they are.
All freshman students have already been utilizing the benefits of this grant within the First Year Seminar (FYS) course in terms of curriculum, and also with the appearance of 2010 Wittenberg graduate Andrew Steele in early February. While on campus, Steele addressed all freshman students, and expressed the inevitability of getting outside of their comfort zone to find their true purpose and accepting the necessity of failure to achieve true success.
Grant director and university pastor Anders Tune, believes that “The Calling Plan” is a terrific opportunity for the university as a whole. Tune said that aside from encouraging and assisting students to understand their calling and put their calling into practice, it also aims to help students understand the true meaning of vocation, “- the word ‘vocation’ means more than simply finding a career or job after college. Rather, it means helping students explore questions like: What shall I do with my life? What kind of person shall I be? How does my faith relate to my life’s callings? How can I make my studies count toward my personal and life goals?
Tune said the grant is allowing for the fulfillment of one of Wittenberg University’s mission statement goals, to help students “discern their vocations and to understand the meaningful connection between self-fulfillment and service to the world.”
Aside from speaker opportunities, Tune stated that “The Calling Plan” grant also allows for opportunities such as: credit and non-credit small group learning opportunities, projects that allow for vocational exploration, and the comprehensive use of Strengths Finder 2.0 in the FYS. This is a guide that focuses on helping students understand their strong attributes and talents to empower them, and make them more comfortable with their strengths.
Tune said that a vocation is something with many facets; it, of course, includes an individual’s career path and profession, but also how an individual lives with those they know, and those they don’t know — being a citizen, and a community member, “the notion of relationship is at the heart of it, both in how I am called to relate with and serve others, and how I carry that calling out.”
“The Calling Plan” grant is fuel, allowing for expansion in the depth of vocational conversation within the already existing programs in place at Wittenberg that strive to help students navigate a successful path not only to graduation, but to every day that follows, as well.