Many small, faith-based colleges have long embraced the centrality of their students’ vocational discernment but sometimes find it difficult to help prospective students connect with these significant goals. This challenge rings true for us at Bluffton University, a Mennonite-affiliated liberal arts college in northwest Ohio. Students often have important questions about their life’s direction, but they have been conditioned to have a clear, simple answer to the “what is your major” question.
To create space for students to reflect together on key vocational questions, we have developed the Bluffton Blueprint, a four-year sequence of courses taken by all students. We have made the Bluffton Blueprint a central part of our message to prospective students. The Blueprint allows us to engage students, most of whom know little about Mennonites, with vocational ideas from an Anabaptist perspective that resonate with a wide audience. As our vice president of enrollment and advancement described in a recent Inside Higher Ed article, we believe that foregrounding these key questions of meaning and purpose has resonated with prospective students.Continue reading