The Sense of Vocation program at Luther began in 2002 through a generous five-year gift from the Lilly Endowment's "Programs for the Theological Exploration of Vocation” initiative. Luther was one of just 88 church-related colleges selected for the award nationwide. The program was further enhanced by a second smaller Lilly grant about five years later.
The two gifts enabled Luther to establish wide-ranging campus initiatives that integrate the concept of vocation more fully into the intellectual and residential life of the college, both for students considering a vocation in lay or ordained church ministry and for all students discerning their life’s callings.
As the Lilly funding neared its scheduled conclusion, Luther College served as the lead institution of a special Lilly-sponsored tri-college collaboration (with Augsburg College and Augustana College, Rock Island). Working with the Wilder Foundation, the multi-year survey process meticulously assessed the impact of the Vocation grants on undergraduate students at each of colleges. The results showed that the Vocation programs on each of the three campuses were having a significant impact on the quality of student awareness of vocational discernment.
As planned from the outset, the Sense of Vocation program at Luther continues as an integral part of several departments across campus including College Ministries, the Center for Ethics and Public Engagement, the Office of Student Life, and the Office of the Academic Dean.
Luther College became a founding member in 2009 of the Council of Independent Colleges’ Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education initiative, also funded by the Lilly Endowment. Continuing its leadership in Vocation-related work, Luther has been awarded a Lilly/CIC-NetVUE grant to host an innovative regional workshop: “Interreligious Reflection on the Vocation of Sustainability.” The workshop is scheduled for March 7-8, 2014 on the Luther College campus.
Currently, Sense of Vocation on the Luther College campus includes the following: