I Was Once in Their Shoes: Exploring Vocation in the Health Professions

A series of posts about a collaborative project at the University of Dayton to develop courses, programs, and opportunities for undergraduate vocational discernment in the health professions, including a first-year course, “Discover Health and Medicine.”

 “I’ve always wanted to help people” or “I’ve always wanted to be a doctor” are common student responses when I ask them why they are interested in pursuing a career in the health professions. This is true particularly among those students who were not initially accepted into a health professions major or who are struggling in classes and second-guessing themselves. Each time I hear one of these statements, it takes me back to my own experience as a teenager and as a first-year college student. I, too, was that student who decided at age twelve that I wanted to be a doctor. I was that student who excelled in science classes in high school but for whom first-year chemistry and biology were unexpected, anxiety-provoking struggles.

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Rowan Williams on Imagining and Creating Common Ground

The most recent episode of NetVUE’s podcast series Callings features a conversation with Rowan Williams, one of the most recognized Christian leaders of our era. Rowan is a professor, public theologian, author, and poet, and from 2002 to 2012, he served as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, which is the senior leadership position in the Church of England and the ceremonial head of the Anglican Communion worldwide.

Rowan describes his youth as being “immensely well-blessed with communities and pastors who encouraged that sense . . . that living with the Christian Gospel was living in a larger world, not a smaller one.” Even in retirement, his sense of vocation is grounded in the call from others’ needs and pain. He is guided by the questions, “What is being given to me here? And what is being asked of me here?” Our calling, he says, comes from those around us who are saying, “We want to see Jesus.”

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Building Career Readiness

Two recent Inside Higher Ed pieces challenge us to consider how successfully we are preparing students for life after college.

In Career-Readiness Initiatives Are Missing the Mark, Matthew T. Hora (UW-Madison) suggests that many job-readiness initiatives on college and university campuses are not effective in part because  of “an overreliance on off-campus work-based learning as opposed to more accessible work-integrated learning in the classroom.” In the classroom, faculty can contextualize soft skills and build an equitable and inclusive environment, which is much different from exclusionary off-campus internship programs. He offers suggestions for academic departments to incorporate career-readiness into their curricula.

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Responding to Hora, Matt Reed reflects on Career Services in his latest post for Confessions of a Community College Dean. He advocates for faculty engagement with Career Services and the overt discussion of transferable skills in the classroom. “Faculty members who engage with career centers, and who share those lessons with students, can make an enormous difference” in the lives of students, he writes.

Stephanie L. Johnson is the editor of Vocation Matters.