Faculty, Staff Participate in Discussion about Students' Vocational Discernment
On Dec. 5, SLU hosted renowned sociology professor and author Tim Clydesdale, Ph.D.,
who gave an address about the importance of vocation, titled, "Why SLU Must Talk to
Its Students about Vocation."
More than 120 faculty and staff attended the presentation in Busch Student Center's
St. Louis Room.
Clydesdale, who is the author of the books “The Purposeful Graduate: Why Colleges
Must Talk to Students About Vocation” and "The First Year Out: Understanding American
Teens After High School," presented research on best practices from other campuses,
and the impact that discussions about calling and purpose can have on students.
Most notably, Clydesdale highlighted research that showed students who participated
in vocational discernment programs and conversations on purpose during their time
as an undergraduate displayed more resiliency and had higher levels of career satisfaction
as alumni. In addition, more than 80 percent of students desire to have such conversations
and reflection opportunities.
Attendees also spent some time reflecting on their own vocational path.
"If we want Saint Louis University graduates to be purposeful, productive and resilient,
we must make conversations about calling and vocation a priority across campus,” said
Jaime Reed, academic advisor in the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business. “Dr. Clydesdales'
research provides us an excellent starting point to incorporate discussions and programming
about meaning and purpose into our everyday work."
"One of the most helpful aspects of Dr. Clydesdale’s work is its focus on concrete
examples,” said Debie Lohe, director of the Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching
and Learning. “As educators at a Jesuit university, many of us feel a strong philosophical
commitment to supporting students’ vocational discernment. Seeing example programs
helps us begin to imagine more systematic ways to enact that commitment, both in and
out of the classroom.”
The event was facilitated by the VITAS program (Vocational Inquiry Through Advocacy
and Service), with generous support from the Lilly Endowment. It was also co-sponsored
by the Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning and the Division of