Hendrix College

Miller Center for Vocation, Ethics, and Calling - By promoting the service to those in need, the participation in faith communities, and the identification of worthy values, the Initiative encourages students to reflect on what their life’s work should truly be.

Format

  • Audience: All students from four classes, some faculty and staff.
  • When: Multiple programs throughout academic year.
  • Frequency: Weekly programs, service events throughout year, sophomore retreat.
  • Approximate Number of Participants: 130 for weekly programs, 116 for service projects throughout the year, 25 sophomores participants for sophomore retreat.
  • Types of Programming:
-Fall weekend retreat for sophomores undecided about their major.
-Stipends and workshops for students doing internships at non-profits and churches either during the spring semester or the summer.
-Three to four sponsored group service trips a year, using winter, spring, and summer break - funded, intensive, individual summer service experiences with travel grants.     

 

Funding & Operations

$160,000 per year exclusive of salaries.

  • External Support: Grant from the Lilly Endowment and then transitioned to the college budget with the help of a significant donation from the Bob and Nadine Miller Family Foundation.  The Millers are a family active in the Arkansas Conference of the Methodist Church.
  • Operations: Operating budget of $160,000. 

Description

The Miller Center for Vocation, Ethics and Calling designs, funds, and oversees programs for the purpose of helping participants explore their vocational passions and discern their true calling.  In affirmation of the Hendrix commitment to help students lead “lives of service and fulfillment,” many programs immerse students in service to others as they explore the majors, careers, and social roles they will find personally fulfilling. Whether in service to others, on retreats, or in classrooms, Miller Center programs help students explore what they want to do in life and work by integrating what academic study often fragments: information and values, faith and knowledge, material concerns and spiritual strivings, wage-earning and calling, personal care and concern for the other.

History

Our program began as the Hendrix-Lilly Vocations Initiative: A Call to Wholeness under a grant from the Lilly Endowment in 2002 and shifted into a college-supported program, the Miller Center for Vocation, Ethics, and Calling in 2009. Since its beginning, the Vocations Initiative, and now Miller Center, has supported over 20 different programs or on-going activities that invite students, faculty members, and staff members to explore their vocation and the meaning of their life and work as vocation. Many of the core programs supported by the Center immerse students in service to others as an avenue to vocational self-understanding and honors the college’s relationship to the United Methodist Church.

Recommended Resources

Miller Center for Vocation, Ethics, and Calling: https://www.hendrix.edu/millercenter/

 With students:

  • Naomi Remen, My Grandfather’s Blessings;
  • Donald E. Messer, A Conspiracy of Goodness:
  • Contemporary Images of Christian Mission;
  • Philip Hallie, Tales of Good and Evil, Help and Harm;
  • Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking;
  • Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak;
  • Neafsey, A Sacred Voice is Calling: Personal Vocation and Social Conscience;
  • Peace Corps, eds., The Great Adventure: Volunteer Stories of Life Oversees and A Life Inspired: Tales of Peace Corps Service

 With faculty:

  • Parks, Big Questions Worthy Dreams;
  • Schwen and Bass eds., Leading Lives that Matter
  • Schwen, Exiles from Eden.

Administration/Operations

This program costs $160,000 per year exclusive of salaries.  The program began with a grant from the Lilly Endowment and then transitioned to the college budget with the help of a significant donation from the Bob and Nadine Miller Family Foundation.  The Millers are a family active in the Arkansas Conference of the Methodist Church.

Assessment

Assessment tools vary with the activity. For some we employ a participant evaluation form; for others we use journal evaluation.  All programs are reviewed in a day-long staff retreat at the end of each semester and revised accordingly. The Miller Center is included in the college’s rotation of program assessments with an external consultant.