Benedictine shares success of NetVUE grant initiatives

October 21, 2015

Lisle, Illinois ~ Benedictine University has successfully employed two grants from the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) to help students better identify and pursue a life calling. Now, faculty members are extending the goals of the program to graduate and professional education and helping other schools follow their lead.

A team of Benedictine faculty recently met with faculty from Calvin College, a Christian, liberal arts college in Grand Rapids, Mich., to discuss the programs they started with some start-up funding from NetVUE, which is a national network of colleges and universities formed to enrich the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation among undergraduate students.

During the visit, the teams examined the application of each university’s mission and emphasis on vocation discovery in graduate-level programming, and the importance of balancing a strong religious identity – Benedictine is Roman Catholic while Calvin was founded by the Christian Reformed Church – while still preserving religious diversity.

In 2014, Benedictine University received a NetVUE grant to strengthen and integrate vocation discovery across every academic discipline to help students more intently and purposefully identify a career path that leads to success in work and in life.

Earlier this year, the University received a Chaplaincy Implementation Grant from NetVUE which is supporting a new program, BenUnited, designed by Benedictine’s Campus Ministry to help students make connections between their talents, academic career and participation in community service.

BenUnited provides new freshmen and transfer students with the opportunity to further develop their values and reflect on their career aspirations at events such as New Student Orientation, the Student Employment Fair and the Community Service Fair.

“In all of these activities, students are made aware of the support that is available to them from the Office of Admissions, the New Student Advising Center and the Career Development Center and the central role Campus Ministry can play for students from all different faith backgrounds,” said Christine Fletcher, Ph.D., Benedictine’s administrator for both NetVUE grants.

“Students also enroll in a BenUnited website which aims to keep students connected with Campus Ministry and with each other throughout their first year at Benedictine.”

The team from Benedictine included President Michael S. Brophy, Ph.D.; Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs María J. de la Cámara, Ph.D.; Sandra Gill, Ph.D., dean of the College of Business; Peter Sorensen, Ph.D., professor and director of the Master of Science (M.S.) in Management and Organizational Behavior and Ph.D. in Organization Development programs; Therese Yaeger, Ph.D., professor in the M.S. in Management and Organizational Behavior and Ph.D. Organization Development programs; and Jim Ludema, Ph.D., director of the Center for Values-Driven Leadership.

Also, Tim Goines, Ph.D., assistant professor in the International Business and Economics program; Elsie Yuan, associate vice president of the Office of International Programs and Services; Jennie Erickson, director of the Office of International Programs and Services; and Alicia Tait, D.M.A., assistant to the President for Mission Integration and director of the Center for Mission and Identity.

The faculty team from Calvin College included Tracy Kuperus, Ph.D. associate professor of International Development Studies; Leonard Van Drunen, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Business; Barbara Timmermans, Ph.D., associate professor of Nursing; and William Katerberg, Ph.D., chair of the Department of History and associate dean for Programs and Partnerships.


 Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls 10,058 students in 56 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. Benedictine University is ranked No. 2 among the country's fastest-growing campuses between 2003-2013 in The Chronicle of Higher Education's list of private nonprofit doctoral institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the fifth consecutive year in 2015. Benedictine University's Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain's Chicago Business as the fifth largest in the Chicago area in 2015.

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