Vocational Reflection

Who is invited to Vocational Reflection? Everyone! No matter where you might be on your journey at Butler, having opportunities to reflect on what gives your life meaning and purpose is essential for pursuing an intentional future.   Vocational reflection is about exploring how best to make a contribution to the world with your life’s work.

What do we mean by “vocation”? At Butler, we use the word “vocation” in a broad sense. A vocation is a way of contributing to our world that provides meaning and purpose to you. Many of us have several vocations over a lifetime, sometimes simultaneously. There is no one way to think about vocation, and although the term stems from a Christian context, we are committed to providing authentic pathways for all students to explore vocational questions.

How does the CFV facilitate vocational reflection? The CFV provides students, faculty, and staff with ways to assess your values, make hard decisions with confidence, use choices as opportunities for self-authorship, and find mentors and networks of support as you pursue your journey.

See below for more details and resources on vocational practices and well as specific programs that foster vocational reflection.

Vocational Reflection Practices

Knowing what your values are is important to knowing how best to spend your time. If your time, energy, area of study, or other commitments are in alignment with your core values, we believe you are more likely to be fulfilled. But first, you must ask “What are my values right now?” And you must have a way to know the answer.

The CFV works with various partners on campus to facilitate values assessment exercises.

Students are welcome to schedule an individual appointment to undergo a values assessment and reflect on what your values mean about living your life for meaning, purpose, and making the best contribution while here at Butler and beyond; faculty are welcome to explore how best we can bring this process into your class. Please reach out to Daniel Meyers to begin a conversation.

Making decisions is essential to leading a full life; not all decisions are easy. During a college experience, many students will have to decide what their major is, whether to study abroad, what extra-curricular communities to which to commit, what internships to pursue, and how to explore life after Butler. All of these moments require thought and intentionality.

The CFV provides resources for making hard decisions as an opportunity for vocational clarity. Using your values as a starting point, decisions become a moment to self-author the next chapter of your life. We provide resources for reflecting on a decision through writing, prayer, and meditation. We provide analytical resources to assess how different options align with values. We also provide relational resources grounded in the Quaker practice of Clearness Committees to use your community and mentors as part of your decision-making process.

Students are welcome to schedule a 1:1 conversation to learn more about resources and have a conversation partner for a hard choice you are making; faculty are welcome to reach out to the CFV to explore ways we can bring this decision-making content into your classroom. Please reach out to Daniel Meyers.

Most of us are not equipped to navigate college and our future direction all on our own. Mentors create opportunities to affirm students, open new doors, challenge them into new opportunities, and show examples of how to grow. Mentors are essential for vocational development and it’s important that Butler students know how to pursue finding mentors on and off campus.

Students are welcome to schedule a 1:1 conversation to learn more about how to build mentoring relationships and perhaps even use the CFV network to make some new connections; faculty seeking to grow in their comfort with supporting students on their vocational journeys are welcome to schedule an appointment to receive and discuss resources the CFV has developed for mentoring. Please reach out to Marguerite Stanciu.

Vocational Reflection Initiatives

Now you can practice vocational discernment by participating in our Canvas class self-paced modules. Follow this with further conversation by joining our (optional) content-based Vocational Leadership Conversation. Understand your values, learn how to make important decisions, explore you work-life calling and engage in wellness practices.

The CFV provides paid internships for students to gain experience working in faith-based or social justice-based contexts in Indianapolis. The internships not only provide experiential learning, but also are accompanied by CFV-led vocational reflection conversations as part of the paid internship.

Full-time faculty are invited to apply for a unique opportunity to infuse Social Justice and Diversity (SJD) with vocational reflection opportunities for students. This fellowship will support faculty who are developing an SJD course, adapting an existing course to integrate SJD, or teaching an SJD-designated courses to help students connect what they study in SJD courses to their own sense of meaning, purpose, and contribution. With generous support from the Council of Independent Colleges and the Lilly Endowment Inc., selected faculty will receive a $1000 mini-grant for the thinking, learning, and course design work that is necessary to implement vocational reflection into their course. This faculty cohort will meet three times a semester in fall 2019 and spring 2020 to learn more about vocational reflection methodologies, to discuss their plans, and to share implementation experiences. The study of complex real-world issues that relate to social justice and diversity is ripe for thinking about how one’s own purpose and contribution connect.

This opportunity is a result of the CFV, Internship and Career Services, and the SJD Advisory Committee receiving a grant from the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education.

The CFV staff is available for one-on-one vocational reflection conversation. We are here to listen, reflect, ask deeper questions, and imagine new answers with students. Our agenda is strictly to hear you fully and mirror back what we hear you saying.

Often times, students benefit from one to three conversations with CFV staff during a season of vocational reflection. Daniel Meyers, CFV Director, is a confidential resource and is available by appointment.

The CFV has developed a menu of resources for ways to bring vocational reflection into the classroom, whether the topic is in the sciences, the humanities, the Core Curriculum, or one of our professional school settings. The CFV is available for consultation with faculty on how best to adapt a lesson, an assignment, a syllabus, or an arch of lessons with vocational reflection. Some of the techniques we have worked with faculty include:

  • Sharing faculty vocational narratives
  • Sharing student vocational narratives
  • Vocational interviews
  • Regular, in-class “my story” moments or “my mission” moments
  • Values exercises
  • Case studies that put students into contexts of your discipline

Download Strategies for Incorporating Vocational Reflection into Lesson Design.

From 2016–2019, the CFV facilitated a series of workshops for faculty and staff on the topic of “Informal Vocational Mentoring.” As a result, we have developed best practices for mentors on campus and also have a growing list of faculty and staff who are excellent resources on campus.

Resources are available for faculty seeking to grow in their mentoring skills. Please reach out to Marguerite Stanciu to schedule an appointment to discuss these resources.