CMU becomes first Canadian member of NetVUE
CMU is the first Canadian post-secondary institution to join the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE), a North American network of colleges and universities that offers grant funding, resources, and support to enrich the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation among undergraduate students. It is run by the Council of Independent Colleges.
The network's 277 members are all located across the United States, except for CMU, which joined in September 2019. The members are small liberal arts colleges and universities, many of them faith based, linked by their likeminded educational contexts and priorities of interdisciplinary learning and critical thinking.
"What's unique about NetVUE is that it brings together institutions that have an orientation that's more similar to ours," says Christine Kampen Robinson, Director of the CMU Centre for Career and Vocation and Director of Practicum. "While we care about students' employment, the bigger purpose of education at CMU is to equip people to make a difference and plug themselves in in ways their education prepares them for and combines with who they are as people. NetVUE is an organization that is interested in building whole undergraduate educations around that principle."
An important feature of NetVUE is its outstanding grant programs, made possible through the generous support of Lilly Endowment Inc. Their Vocation across the Academy grant is the reason CMU's Centre for Career and Vocation can exist. The grant, which came into effect at CMU in July 2020, helps institutions grow their vocational programming and infrastructure over three years of funding.
The $25,000 (USD) CMU received this first year enabled Kampen Robinson to develop a centralized location for information about the practicum program, career advising, vocational discernment, and more. It also meant she could apply for dozens of grants and partnerships, which will strengthen students' work-integrated learning experiences by creating more placements and opportunities for students to be paid for their work.
CMU is deeply grateful for NetVUE's support, without which these important steps forward would not be possible, says Kampen Robinson. Provided that CMU raises $25,000 (USD) from donors, NetVUE will grant another $25,000 (USD) over the next two years. This matching requirement ensures the funding has a long-term impact and encourages CMU's community to become actively invested in the important work of equipping students to pursue their calling.
In addition to funds, NetVUE provides a multitude of other valuable resources for vocational development, like workshops, an extensive library of research, blog, podcast, and more. Kampen Robinson has attended professional development webinars about antiracism work in vocation, grant writing, and learning about how the pandemic is affecting our understanding of vocation.
They host biennial conferences, which staff and faculty of all member institutions can attend for free after travel expenses. An upcoming online conference taking place March 18-20 will feature speakers like Yale University professor Willie James Jennings, presenting on "Charting Vocation and Belonging in Racial America," and a panel discussion on "'Good Enough' Pedagogy in a Time of Crisis."
They host biennial conferences, which staff and faculty of all member institutions can attend. An upcoming online conference taking place March 18-20 will feature speakers like Yale University professor Willie James Jennings, presenting on "Charting Vocation and Belonging in Racial America," and a panel discussion on "'Good Enough' Pedagogy in a Time of Crisis."
Unlike large universities, which have teams of over a dozen people working in the area of career and vocation, Kampen Robinson operates the Centre for Career and Vocation with one other staff member and several student program assistants. She has immense gratitude for the way NetVUE staff have connected with her and other schools. "They are very big on information sharing and exchange and seeing this as being a community effort... They've been exceptional to work with and incredibly supportive."
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU's Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, and graduate degrees in Theology and Ministry, Business Administration, Peacebuilding and Collaborative Development. CMU is a member of Universities Canada.
For information about CMU, visit cmu.ca.
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Canadian Mennonite University
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