Grant to fund vocational discernment programs for first-year students
The Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) awarded Rivier University a $49,000 grant to initiate and strengthen vocational discernment programs for undergraduate students. Vocational discernment in the context of a Catholic university education begins with the discovery of meaningful life's work followed by thoughtful academic, cocurricular, service and professional preparation.
"Vocational discernment is the cornerstone of Rivier's core curriculum Journeys of Transformation and its mission of transforming hearts and minds to serve the world," says Sister Paula Marie Buley, IHM, Rivier's president. "Through the discernment process, students are able to articulate their goals and craft pathways to fulfilling careers."
Currently, all Rivier undergraduate students take part in one of two courses supporting discernment: Student Success: Campus to Community (day students) or Dignity, Work, Vocation (adult learners). Grant funds will enhance activities in these courses, as well as create a new experiential program to help students explore compatible career options.
"Programs developed with these grant funds will help students discover where their gifts and the world's needs can meet, supporting their personal and professional success," says Professor of English and Coordinator of General Education Dr. Bradford Stull, the grant's author.
The new initiative, titled "Living a Life that Matters," will immerse students in discernment work, community service, and engagement with community and business leaders. Preference will be given to Pell-eligible and first-generation college students, and others from under-represented groups, who may benefit most from guidance in the discernment process. The program is scheduled for the week before students begin their first year at the University.
Active learning applications built into the process underscore Rivier's commitment to incorporating real-world experiences into students' career preparation. The "Living a Life that Matters" experience will support the University's new Employment Promise Program
which promises enrolled students the academic rigor, active learning experiences, leadership and career development opportunities to fully prepare them for meaningful employment upon graduation.
"Determining personal strengths, interests, and values, and identifying relevant career paths when students enter college enables them to have a more powerful academic experience," notes Vice President for Student Affairs Kurt Stimeling. "Graduates are better prepared for successful and satisfying careers when they enter the workforce."
Rivier University offers more than 50 of the region's leading programs at the undergraduate, graduate, postgraduate, and doctoral levels. Classes are held at Rivier's campus in Nashua, and many degree programs are available 100% online. This initiative is being administered by The Council for Independent Colleges (CIC) with generous support from Lilly Endowment Inc.