Vocation Across the Academy: A New Vocabulary for Higher Education

ISBN : 9780190607104

David S. Cunningham
376 ページ
156 x 235 mm

Although the language of vocation was born in a religious context, the contributors in this volume demonstrate that it has now moved well beyond that context to be of value to a much wider range of concerns. This volume makes a compelling case for vocational reflection and discernment in undergraduate education today, arguing that it will encourage faculty and students alike to venture out of their narrow disciplinary specializations and to reflect on larger questions of meaning and purpose. In conversation with a growing range of scholarly resources, these essays advance the cause of vocational reflection and discernment well beyond its occasional mention in general education courses and career placement offices. The book's thirteen contributors include biologists and musicians, sociologists and engineers, doctors and lawyers, college presidents and deans, and scholars of history, literature, and business administration. Together, they demonstrate that vocation has an important role to play across the entire range of traditional academic disciplines and applied fields. Regardless of major, all undergraduates need to consider their current and future responsibilities, determine the stories they will live by, and discover resources for addressing the tensions that will inevitably arise among their multiple callings. Vocation across the Academy will help to reframe current debates about the purpose of higher education. It underscores the important role that colleges and universities can play in encouraging students to reflect more deeply on life's most persistent questions and to consider how they might best contribute to the common good.


Richard H. Ekman, President, Council of Independent Colleges
Vocations of the Contributors
Language that Works: Vocation and the Complexity of Higher Education
David S. Cunningham
Part One: Calling without Borders: Vocational Themes across the Academy
Chapter 1
Vocation is Responsibility: Broader Scope, Deeper Discernment
Margaret E. Mohrmann
Chapter 2
The Conflicts in Our Callings: The Anguish (and Joy) of Willing Several Things
Jason A. Mahn
Chapter 3
Called to Tell Our Stories: The Narrative Structure of Vocation
Shirley Hershey Showalter
Part Two: Calling in Context: Fields of Study as Resources for Vocational Reflection
Chapter 4
Calling over the Life Course: Sociological Insights
Catherine Fobes
Chapter 5
To Whom Do I Sing, and Why? Vocation as an Alternative to Self-Expression
David Fuentes
Chapter 6
Coordination, Community, Covenant: Insights from Organization Theory
Michael E. Cafferky
Chapter 7
The Art and Science of Vocation: Wisdom and Conscience as Companions on a Way
Celia Deane-Drummond
Part Three: Called into the Future: Professional Fields and Preparation for Life
Chapter 8
Laboring in the Garden: Vocation and the Realities of Work
Christine M. Fletcher
Chapter 9
Unplugging the GPS: Rethinking Undergraduate Professional Degree Programs
Jeff R. Brown
Chapter 10
Of Doing and Being: Broadening Our Understanding of Vocation
Jerome M. Organ
Part Four: Vocation for Everyone: Overcoming Obstacles to the Language of Call
Chapter 11
Colleges Have Callings, Too: Vocational Reflection at the Institutional Level
David S. Cunningham
Chapter 12
Religion, Reluctance, and Conversations about Vocation
Mark U. Edwards, Jr.
Chapter 13
Good Teaching: Character Formation and Vocational Discernment
Mark R. Schwehn
Vocabularies of Vocation: Language for a Complex Educational Landscape
David S. Cunningham
Index of Names
Index of Subjects


David S. Cunningham is Professor of Religion at Hope College, where he also serves as Director of the CrossRoads Project and of the Klooster Center for Excellence in Writing. He is the author of five books and editor of three collections on various topics in theology, ethics, and higher education. In 2009, he helped to launch the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE); he currently serves as the Director of the NetVUE Scholarly Resources Project.