What’s your calling? This question resonates deeply with me –both as a Christian called to share the love of Jesus and as a career development professional passionate about empowering others to use their gifts and talents to glorify God. What I have learned is that career is more than what I do for a living; it’s my calling – a deeply motivated sense of purpose to use my gifts and talents to make a difference in this world. I guess you could say that my calling is helping people find theirs, which is why I am thrilled to be part of a group of faculty and administrators who recently received significant grant funding for the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation for NCU students!
Distributed over the next two years, this grant funding will provide a variety of vocational education endeavors with the intent of equipping and empowering students to discover and pursue their calling. Here’s what students have to look forward to:
- Exploration & Affirmation – Various standardized career assessments and spiritual gifts inventories will be embedded in courses like “First Year Seminar” and “All are Gifted, All are Called,” giving students an opportunity to explore their giftedness, affirm their career direction, and begin to establish academic goals related to vocation and calling.
- Life Coaching – Coaching will assist students in identifying specific goals and creating an action plan to achieve those goals. It involves an increased level of accountability, allowing the individual to select the direction he or she wants to go. Coaches may serve as a “thought partner” or sounding board for students to reflect on and process their goals. Campus Pastor Troy Dean and I are currently taking courses in coaching and will become credentialed through the International Coach Federation(ICF) with the intent to train other faculty & staff to use coaching in their interactions with students.
- Support for Success – Students will also have an additional source of support in a part-time Vocation & Student Success Coordinator. The Coordinator will provide coaching related to assessments, academic goals, vocational direction, and job skill development. We are currently in the process of interviewing, hiring, and training this individual. He or she will work closely with the “First Year Seminar” and “All are Gifted, All are Called” courses.
- Internship – Almost all of the majors at NCU already require an academic internship. Through this internship experience, students have the opportunity to pursue their calling while acquiring practical skills. In addition, students have site supervisors who possess expertise in the area over which they are supervising. Students will engage in exercises to reflect on and evaluate their progress, both in writing and through coaching sessions.
Since its establishment in 1895, NCU has been committed to preparing and equipping students for their chosen field. With the generous support of this grant, we are able to address vocational education with greater intentionality. This deliberate approach sets us apart from other institutions in that students from NCU emerge with a clearer sense of purpose and calling, as well as the skills to fulfill that purpose academically, spiritually, and professionally.
I’d like to express my sincerest gratitude to the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and Lilly Endowment Inc. for their generous support of our endeavor to develop and expand existing programs for the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation at the undergraduate level. I look forward in joyful expectation to how the Lord will bless and multiply the efforts related to finding your calling.
Contributed by Angela J. Doty, M.A., GCDF