Hollins Receives CIC Grant to Support “Partners in Purpose” Project

Library Chapel

Hollins University is welcoming a $10,000 Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) Professional Development Award for activities that strengthen vocational exploration programming for students.

Supported by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), the grant will bolster the establishment at Hollins of Partners in Purpose (PIP), a project intended to build effective strategies for advising and mentoring undergraduate students.

“PIP will provide invaluable opportunities for Hollins faculty, staff, and alumnae/i to think deeply and collectively about the role of vocation and purpose as it relates to undergraduate education,” says Hollins President Mary Dana Hinton. “Our goal is to prepare campus leadership to do the meaningful work of discernment and life purpose.”

PIP is made up of three components:

  • A faculty/staff development initiative will launch in September and continue through May 2022. The series of monthly workshops will be facilitated by Rev. Catina Martin, university chaplain, and LeeRay Costa, director of faculty development and professor of anthropology and gender & women’s studies, and will include guest speakers, a curriculum on vocation and purpose, and contemplative activities. The workshops will emphasize the unique college and life experiences of underrepresented, disadvantaged, or marginalized students, and provide a space for faculty/staff to read, learn, and reflect together. Quarterly workshops led by professional development speakers will be recorded to create a library of vocational learning for faculty, staff, and alumnae/i mentors.
  • Alumnae/i mentoring workshops will begin in Spring Term 2022. This series will draw from the work of Hollins’ Center for Career Development and Life Design, as well as from a tested mentoring model used for students participating in the university’s Batten Leadership Institute.
  • PIP’s experiential component, which is not funded by the grant, will involve the development and implementation of a new vocation-based program in which Hollins faculty/staff and alumnae/i mentors work closely with a cohort of 12 Fellows made up of students representing first-generation, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), and low-income populations. Starting in the 2022-23 academic year, campus leaders will conduct monthly sessions that focus on vocation and life calling, meaning, and purpose. This pilot program will expand to future generations of Hollins students after the grant project is completed.

Martin and Costa are developing the PIP curriculum this summer and will share further details with faculty and staff in the coming weeks. “We are focusing on the language surrounding these discussions,” Martin explains. “We want to be attentive to the role of spirituality in exploring vocation and discernment, as well as factors such as gender and sexual identity, class, race, culture, and community identity that shape students’ conceptualization of purpose and vocation. As we prepare campus leaders to think about working effectively and meaningfully with students around vocation and purpose, it is imperative that our approach be as inclusive and diverse as possible.”

NetVUE is a nationwide network of colleges and universities, of which Hollins is a member, formed to enrich the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation among undergraduate students. In support of this goal, members may request funds for activities that enhance the knowledge, skills, capacity, and expertise of campus leaders.