The Council of Independent Colleges recently awarded Our Lady of the Lake College a two year, $47,000 NetVUE Program Development grant to enhance its current efforts to develop a sense of vocation among its students and graduates.
Frederick Buechner has described vocation as “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet,” which can include a strong inclination to a certain career like teaching or healthcare as well as a divine call to the religious life. The College plans to encourage a sense of vocation through a series of coordinated campus programs that will support and give students the tools for exploring their aptitude and calling.
Currently OLOL College undergraduates are exposed to the concept of vocation during initial orientation sessions and via a first-year academic seminar. With support from the grant, selected faculty and retention advisors will continue to work with individuals to help them broaden their vocational aspirations. In addition, faculty will coordinate planning so that vocation is better integrated into courses across the curriculum and among the various programs. Additionally, the College’s retention advising program will be strengthened, with a particular emphasis on helping those not accepted into their first choice academic or clinical program to find a way to explore vocational possibilities in different academic or clinical programs.
Dr. David Whidden, Assistant Professor of Theology at Our Lady of the Lake College, is a member of the committee that developed the grant. He says, “Because of our tradition of excellence in nursing and health sciences, Our Lady of the Lake College already has an established campus culture of service. This grant will allow us to expand our program to help students to think more carefully about the difference between career and vocation and about what they are called to do with the talents that God has given them. Our goal is to prepare them not only for technical and academic excellence, but for lives of joyful service to others.”