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College Receives Grant for Vocational Exploration Efforts

by Web on October 17, 2016

Millsaps College received a grant in summer 2016 from the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE), funded by the Council of Independent Colleges and the Lilly Endowment, Inc, to support the College’s vocational exploration efforts, which are coordinated by the Millsaps Initiative for Vocational Inquiry (IVI).

IVI is the academic branch of the Millsaps’ Institute for Civic and Professional Engagement and includes four of Millsaps’ interlocking programs: Community Engaged Learning; the academic minor in Vocation, Ethics, and Society; the Wellspring living and learning community; and the Center for Career Education. IVI promotes vocational exploration as a critical element of an education that forms individual persons in community to cultivate practices for the common good.

Dr. Shelli Poe, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Director of Vocation, Ethics, and Society, successfully applied for the grant and is joined by Dr. Stephanie Rolph, Prof. Jennifer Lewton-Yates, and Tonya Nations in envisioning and administering its programs. Poe explains, “Millsaps is unique among institutions of higher education in part because it integrates vocational exploration within its academic programs. Through the opportunities afforded by this grant, we seek to raise further awareness among faculty, staff, and current and prospective students about how the Initiative for Vocational Inquiry can help bridge the gap that often exists between academic courses and concrete living.”

The grant will support a number of programmatic efforts during the 2016–2017 academic year, including a series of “IVI Hours.” In one-hour monthly sessions, invited faculty will speak with the campus community about why they do what they do, how they came to be practicing their vocations at Millsaps, and what they have learned along the way. IVI Hours will help our students think in flexible and creative ways about majors, careers, and their lives in the world.

On September 30, IVI kicked off the IVI Hours program with Associate Professor of Political Science Iren Omo-Bare, who shared reflections of his journey from Nigeria to Millsaps—with stopovers in England, Delaware, and Louisiana along the way. The second IVI Hour will feature Associate Professor of Business Administration Diane Baker and will be held on October 28 at 3 p.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Academic Complex, room 137. The full IVI Hour schedule is below. IVI Hours are free and open to the public.

IVI is also using the NetVUE grant to offer a series of workshops to help faculty think through vocational exploration in discipline-specific ways. Four disciplinary workshops, which will be held during the spring 2017 semester, will explore vocation in the context of arts and humanities, sciences, business, and pre-professional programs. These workshops aim not only to aid professors in their own vocational explorations but also to equip them with information and resources to benefit their teaching and mentorship of students in the classroom and beyond.

IVI Hours Schedule: 2016–2017 (All events are held in the Gertrude C. Ford Academic Complex, room 137, at 3 p.m.)

  • September 30, 2016: Iren Omo-Bare, Associate Professor of Political Science
  • October 28, 2016: Diane Baker, Professor of Management
  • December 2, 2016: Cory Toyota, Assistant Professor of Organic Chemistry
  • January 27, 2017: Louwanda Evans, Assistant Professor of Sociology
  • February 24, 2017: Sabrice Guerrier, Assistant Professor of Biology
  • March 24, 2017: Kristen Tordella-Williams, Assistant Professor of Art
  • April 21, 2017: Patrick Hopkins, Professor of Philosophy