Bethany College has been awarded a prestigious Professional Development Grant from the Council of Independent College’s Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE).
According to the college, this $15,000 grant will support a year-long initiative to study and address barriers to vocational reflection and exploration faced by our students. The project will culminate in strategic curricular and co-curricular adjustments to help lower these barriers and provide a more inclusive and supportive environment for all students.
The project leadership team, comprised of Chad Moore, Director of Path To Your Purpose, Benjamin Austin, Career Pathways Administrator, and Melissa Woeppel, Campus Pastor, played instrumental roles in the successful grant application process. Their dedication and commitment to fostering student success have led to this exciting achievement.
At Bethany College, the Core Education program has traditionally provided students with opportunities for vocational reflection and discernment throughout their college journey. However, recent challenges have highlighted the need to better connect with students and overcome the barriers they face in exploring their vocations. This grant will enable the college to understand these barriers better and implement effective pedagogical practices to engage all students.
The project will follow a comprehensive three-step process.
Firstly, a book study group consisting of core curriculum faculty and staff will delve into texts exploring vocational thinking from the perspectives of first-generation, BIPOC, and Pell-eligible students. The group aims to develop new pedagogical approaches that resonate with every Bethany College student by centering these perspectives. The book study group will also have the privilege of hosting the author of the selected text for in-depth discussions and an address to all first-year students and new transfers.
Secondly, organizing focus groups with key student constituencies will gather experiences and insights on vocational thinking and discernment at Bethany College. These focus groups, guided by a NetVUE consultant, will ensure that the voices and perspectives of first-generation, BIPOC, and Pell-eligible students are at the forefront. The valuable feedback gathered will inform pedagogical and policy recommendations to enhance the vocational development of all Bethany students.
Lastly, the project leadership team will integrate the insights gained from the book study group and focus groups into the college curriculum. Through workshops and retreats, they will collaborate with faculty and staff to implement necessary changes, ensuring that the benefits of this grant project are sustainable and spread throughout the institution.
The success of this project will undergo assessment through comprehensive feedback provided by all participants at each stage. The insights gained will inform ongoing improvements to the curriculum and programmatic changes that will benefit current and future students.
Bethany College is deeply grateful for the support of NetVUE and its commitment to fostering vocational exploration in higher education. This grant will enable us to create a more inclusive and supportive environment, allowing all our students to discover their unique callings and thrive in their personal and professional lives.