Grant to help students, faculty explore intersection of faith and vocation

Bob Yoder (second from left) will facilitate the “mini-grants,” in which employees will lead small group of students to explore the role their faith might play in their future jobs. 

Goshen College has received a grant from the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), made possible with funds from Lilly Endowment, Inc., to provide students an opportunity to explore the role their faith might play in their future jobs.

The $25,000 NetVUE Vocation Exploration Renewal Grant will go toward 10 “mini-grants” for employees to design projects for small groups of students, to help them better understand how the interfaith, intercultural context of Goshen College will impact their specific major and vocational interests.

“Not only will the grant help us look inward at our own campus realities, but outward and into the future as we prepare students in their own vocations to effectively listen, appreciate and engage people in whatever interfaith settings they find themselves,” said Bob Yoder, campus pastor.

Although each mini-grant will be distinct based on employee’s strengths and interests, each group will meet a minimum of five times and engage the same book, “Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation” by Eboo Patel.

“I hope that students and employees will come out of this common experience with a greater awareness, appreciation and respect of the diverse religious backgrounds that we come from,” Yoder said. “The reality is that not only are our campus demographics changing, but globally there is a greater need for religious understanding and appreciation.”

In addition to the mini-grants, the grant will help develop and support a Faith and Vocation Lunch Series, a series of nine lunchtime conversations between students and staff about their faith and vocational journeys.

“This grant project will strengthen our college as a faith mentoring environment that benefits our students and employees in their respective journeys so that we can be positive influencers in our circles and the world,” Yoder said. “I am excited about the future possibilities that will grow out of this project.”

NetVUE is a nationwide network of 192 colleges and universities formed to enrich the intellectual and ethological exploration of vocation among undergraduate students. The network strives to better understand the dimensions and roles of vocational exploration and share the knowledge, best practices and experiences they discover with the network of members they’re developing. The NetVUE initiative is administered by the Council of Independent Colleges.

The CIC strives to advance higher education and its leadership by fostering connections between the leaders of private liberal arts colleges and universities and promoting ways for institutions to collaborate, and develop and strengthen their programs.

(The deadline for mini-grant applications is September 15, 2016, with groups meeting in October and projects carried out during the 2017 spring semester.)