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»What is Vocation?

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Lilly Grant Program for Lives of Worth and Service
Bruce Dalgaard Program Director
Modular Village
1520 St. Olaf Avenue
Northfield, MN 55057

507-786-3268
507-786-3626 Fax
dalgaard@stolaf.edu

 

Faculty and Staff

Lilly Teaching Fellows

One faculty member in each of the five Faculties of the College received one course release to reflect upon and prepare teaching and other materials relating to the concept of vocational discernment under the original Lilly grant program. In each of the three years of the Lilly Sustainability Grant, these fellows are invited to participate in ongoing conversations through the Sustaining Fellows program.

2007-2008 Lilly Teaching Fellows

Diane Leblanc photoDiane Leblanc (English and Interdisciplinary Studies) redirected her GE 111 course (newly entitled Family, Vocation and Work) to incorporate the topic of vocational discernment into the discussions of work and family.

 


Mark Pernecky photoMark Pernecky (Economics) incorporated topics related to vocation into his labor economics course, considering how creativity, control, compensation and conscience enter into labor market decisions. Click here for a course syllabus.


Tom Williamson photo

Thomas Williamson (Sociology/Anthropology) extended his "vocational discernment presentation," currently incorporated into all his courses, to wider audiences; he also more comprehensively integrated vocational conversations into his anthropological theory course.

 

2006-2007 Lilly Teaching Fellows

Doug Casson, (Political Science) developed a course on the vocation of civic leadership that explores the possibilities and limitations of leadership and helps students achieve self-understanding without discouraging ambition. Click here for a course syllabus.

 


Eric Fure-Slocum photoEric Fure-Slocum, (History) developed the course "Work in America: Dignity at Work," which asks students to broaden their perspective as they consider both their vocation and the place of work in our society. Click here for a course syllabus.

 

 

Rebecca Judge, (Economics/Environmental Studies) inquired into the connection between vocation and property, by exploring the question of the property right itself within the context of vocational discernment. Click here for a draft of the course syllabus.

 



Dolores Peters photoDolores Peters
, (History) developed a new course, "First Do No Harm: Medical Vocation in Historical Perspective," anchored in the history of the modern medical profession in the U.S. and Europe. It approaches vocation as a lived experience shaped by the values and expectations of practitioner, profession, and society.

 

Mary Trull, (English) worked to develop a course entitled "Against Alienation: Vocation in Twentieth-Century Literature," that uses literature and guest speakers to help students explore ethical issues and vocational discernment within their own lives.



2005-06 Lilly Teaching Fellows

Rich DuRocher (English) developed the course "Living by Words: Exploring the Vocations of Writing." This course explores the idea that writing, more than a source of income, may be a calling or vocation in which one uses his or her literary talent to serve higher goals. In this course, students meet and interview writers from a variety of professions -- ministers, lawyers, journalists, creative writers, therapists, and others -- who see their work with words in that spiritual way. Students begin by reading some classics from Christian literature (such as Martin Luther's formative discussion of vocation and John Milton's sonnets on the talents), then turn to recent nonfiction essays (by writers such as Studs Terkel, Martin Luther King, Jr., Kathleen Norris, and Heidi Neumark) that show a range of ways in which writing can involve a calling. Click here for course outline.

Dan Hofrenning (Political Science) reorganized the introductory course "American Politics" (Political Science 111) to include a "politics as a vocation" theme. Students reflect upon their personal political vocation in addition to exploring the components that comprise American government.

Donna McMillan (Psychology) adapted the course "Psychology of Personality" (Psychology 271). Students study personality theories, research, consider questions of self and identity, and create a personality portfolio for vocational reflection. Click here for a course outline.

Barbara Reed (Religion and Asian Studies) added a vocational component to her existing EIN course “Buddhism, Peace and Justice” (Religion 289) with a new unit called “Buddhism, Christianity and Vocation.” She compares Buddhist and Christian writings on the meaning of vocation and right livelihood.

Matt Rohn (Art & Art History) added a vocational perspective to his EIN course "Issues in Art Criticism" (Art 270) where students examined major issues in the contemporary art world and contemporary artists who have demonstrated vocational issues through their work.

In Fall ’05, Rohn created a segment on vocation for Environmental Studies 101, The Culture of Nature. The main stress was on students thinking about everyone in daily life pursuing environmental stewardship as a life's vocation. Click here for the course outline.

Bill Sonnega (Media Studies/Theatre) developed an introductory-level course, part of a two-course sequence, that encourages students to critically assess and shape their personal relationship to mass media. Its premise is that we are all, to some extent, uninformed and uncritical consumers of mass media products, services and effects rather than conscientious and socially minded users of them. In this spirit, the course provides a comprehensive historical overview of the various print and electronic media that have shaped, and continue to shape, our lives. By examining the issues that have influenced the development of the mass media, the course considers ideological, cultural, aesthetic and ethical perspectives. Click here for course outline.

2004-05 Lilly Teaching Fellows

Kathy Shea (Biology) added a section on vocation to the Conservation Biology course and used some of the same materials in other biology courses. Click here for a course syllabus.

Carol Holly (English) This course is entitled "Callings: Stories of Identity and Vocation." Focusing on a selection of memoirs by contemporary American women, addresses the issues of identity formation, vocational discernment, and spiritual calling (broadly defined) that emerge in women's life stories. Supplementing the reading of women's memoirs will be conversations about vocational issues with women from the St. Olaf community and selected essays on such topics as the value of work, the role of motherhood, and the meaning of vocation. Students are also be required not only to interview and write a biographical sketch of an older woman--someone from home or the St. Olaf community--but also to write an autobiographical essay reflecting on their lives, their educations, their aspirations. Click here for a course outline.

Mary Carlsen (Social Work) developed discrete modules on vocation and service for two social work courses; one the introductory course open to any major (SW 221), and one the senior seminar (SW381). Click here for a course outline.

2003-04 Lilly Teaching Fellows

Karen Cherewatuk (English) developed a new theme for a portion of her First Year Writing course which she titled "Work, Profession and Vocation."

John Barbour (Religion) adapted a new course, "God and Faith in Autobiography," to incorporate questions of vocation. Click here for a course outline.

Elizabeth Hutchins (Library) prepared a detailed bibliography on the topic of vocational discernment. For the complete bibliography, click here.

Vocational Readings

Elizabeth Hutchins, former Teaching Fellow, prepared a detailed bibliography on the topic of vocational discernment. For the complete bibliography, click here.

Vocation Resource Library
A vocational resource center has been established in the CEL that offers resources for student, faculty and staff and that relate to vocation, as emphasized through the Lilly Grant Program. Some books of interest may be:

Vocation: Discerning Our Callings In Life; Doug Schuurman

Big Questions, Worthy Dreams; Sharon Daloz Parks ~ Soul of a Citizen; Paul Rogat Loeb

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People; Stephen Covey

Exploring Leadership; Komives, Lucas and McMahon

Common Fire; Daloz; Keen and Parks

Answering Your Call;
John Schuster

Crossing the Unknown Sea; David Whyte

Let Your Life Speak; Parker Palmer

These titles, along with a variety of many other resources, are in the CEL (Old Main Annex 3) and available to check out for three-week periods during office hours of 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., M-F. Please stop by and see what is available for your summer reading!