10/5/16 ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University has created a series of three Life Calling courses with the NetVUE Expansion Renewal grant that was awarded to AU in July by the Council of Independent Colleges.
“This $25,000 grant has allowed us to design a series of Life Calling courses that are offered under a special topics status in 2016-17,” said Karen Hagans, executive director of AU’s Career Services Center and project lead for the Calling to Career project. “Ashland University is committed to the development and expansion of life calling for all students and this grant provides the structure we need to propel the momentum of our life calling initiative forward.”
According to Hagans, the Life Calling courses are designed to: 1) offer life calling immersion experiences to aid in moving vocational discernment beyond the traditional classroom experience, and 2) enhance the ability of faculty and staff to support students with vocational discernment through the use of speakers and roundtable discussions. The courses are team taught by Hagans; Kayla Smith, career specialist in the Career Services Center; Dr. Khush Pittenger, professor of business management and internship coordinator for the Dauch College of Business and Economics; and Dr. Dan Fox, associate professor and academic chair in the Dauch College of Business and Economics.
The Life Calling 1 class, which will begin on Oct. 25, has enrollees identified by AU’s professional advisers as students who are seeking additional opportunities to explore their life calling. Hagans said half of the students taking this class will be students who are undecided about their major and the other half will be students who have dropped a class and are beginning to explore new career-related options this semester.
“We anticipate using several assessments such as a learning style inventory, a career exploration inventory and a ‘strength finder’ type inventory in this class,” Hagans said. “Using the results of the assessments, students will explore opportunities and career direction through individual and group research along with ‘experiencing’ aspects of careers though employees in career fields, events and activities such as a day trip to employer sites.”
Hagans said students will learn about careers, but equally important she hopes they will learn about themselves. “We will strive to help them take responsibility for their decisions, own the outcomes and exercise resiliency, which includes seeking the help and resources needed to move closer to their career goals,” she said.
The other two classes, Life Calling 2 and Life Calling 3, will be semester long classes that will be offered at the start of the spring 2017 semester.
The Life Calling 2 course will be taught by Hagans and Pittenger and, according to Hagans, will focus on experiential education and helping students delve deeper into their career field through experiential experiences. “It’s really about getting them in direct contact with what they hope to do in the future,” she said.
The Life Calling 3 class is designed to better prepare students for life after graduation.
“This is all about making sure they know what they are able to do with their degree,” Hagans said. “Some students are so busy with all of the commitments we want them to engage in on campus, many don’t devote enough time to prepare for life after graduation while they are students. This class will be structured so that incrementally they will engage in and activate a personal and professional strategic plan to aid them in moving closer to their life calling.”
Two grant-funded undergraduate interns will contribute to meeting the goals of the Life Calling classes: one focusing on program activities and one focusing on program assessment. An inaugural program, which will be launched by the programming intern, will be a reverse internship fair featuring AU students who successfully participated in an internship. “This fair will allow these students to talk to peers about their internship experiences with the goal of building on the internship experiences across AU majors,” Hagans said.
The Calling to Career project established a steering committee that includes Hagans; Jason Barnhart, executive director of Office of Christian Ministry; Dr. Dan Fox, associate professor and academic chair in the Dauch College of Business and Economics; Dr. Ray Jacobs, associate dean and professor of management in the Dauch College of Business and Economics; Megan Sherar, academic advisor; Sharon Lowe, proposal specialist; Kayla Smith, career specialist in the Career Services Center; and Khush Pittenger, professor of business management and internship coordinator for the Dauch College of Business and Economics.
Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2016, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###