Lewis University

DISCOVER Initiative - The DISCOVER Initiative is a University-wide effort to facilitate the exploration of vocation and calling in the undergraduate student experience. DISCOVER stands for: Development, Inquiry, Self-Exploration, Calling, Openness, Vocation, Experience, and Reflection. This initiative advances and promotes the University's understanding of vocation as it relates to our Catholic and Lasallian Mission. 

Format

  • Audience: Any undergraduates.
  • When: Various events throughout the year. Mini-grants for course revisions are offered each semester and during the summer. Our annual “This I Believe” event showcases essays written by students.   
  • Frequency: Yearly; “Advising season” in the spring and fall.  Other components include the “DSCVR” retreat offered through our campus ministry office, which is held in the spring.
  • Approximate Number of Participants: Several dozen students currently participate in our retreat programs and other activities. Three dozen faculty members regularly participate in a variety of activities.
  • Focus of Retreat: The “DSCVR” retreat offered through our campus ministry office, which is held in the spring. It is geared primarily for sophomores and is a two-day, overnight experience.

Funding and Operations

DISCOVER has been the recipient of the NetVUE as well as the Lilly Endowment grant. 

  • External Support: We received a 2-year $50,000 NetVUE Program Development Grant offered through the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the Lilly Endowment in 2012.
  • Operations: DISCOVER costs between $35,000 - $40,000 a year to operate, but that cost is likely to decrease when the grant funding comes to an end. Many of the expenses are those that are embedded in other department budgets or programs.

Description

The goal of the DISCOVER Initiative is to facilitate the exploration of vocation and calling in the undergraduate student experience at Lewis University. DISCOVER focuses on advancing the understanding of vocation in four different ways: (1) student reflection through new and existing retreats; (2) curricular enhancements (one-credit workshops and mini-grants for integration of vocation themes into existing courses); (3) infusion of vocation themes into academic advising and career counseling; and (4) development of university-wide resources. 

The program has also been strongly endorsed by faculty and members of the administration who see significant potential for growth. The President of the University, Brother James Gaffney, FSC, has remarked how the DISCOVER Initiative has the potential to evolve into a “Center of Excellence” at the University and that the positive momentum has been quite significant in changing the culture on campus as it relates to vocation. 

History

Lewis University’s DISCOVER Initiative was launched in the Spring of 2011. DISCOVER stands for: Development, Inquiry, Self-Exploration, Calling, Openness, Vocation, Experience, and Reflection. The DISCOVER Initiative was created as a natural outgrowth of our University’s Catholic and Lasallian Mission and it is meant to advance and promote the University’s understanding of vocation as it relates to our Mission. After joining NetVUE, participating in conferences, and taking part in a national dialogue about vocation, we were inspired by an opportunity to apply for a 2-year $50,000 NetVUE Program Development Grant offered through the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the Lilly Endowment, which we received in 2012.  Today, the DISCOVER Initiative is a major mission-related program on campus which brings together faculty from several dozen academic disciplines, as well as staff from our academic support center, career center, library, and campus ministry department.

Recommended Resources

The Discover Page: www.lewisu.edu/discover

The DISCOVER Vocation Resource Library – which is a collection of approximately 50 volumes on the topic of vocation and calling.

Administration/Operation

  • External Support: We received a 2-year $50,000 NetVUE Program Development Grant offered through the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the Lilly Endowment in 2012.
  • Operations: DISCOVER costs between $35,000 - $40,000 a year to operate, but that cost is likely to decrease when the grant funding comes to an ended. Many of the expenses are those that are embedded in other department budgets or programs.

Assessment

For the curricular (mini-grant) components of the program, questions have been included in course evaluations. In addition, essays and other written assignments from courses are being reviewed as well. The University will administer a “mission effectiveness” survey in Spring 2015 to all faculty and staff, and several questions about general awareness of the DISCOVER Initiative and it’s various dimensions have been incorporated in the instrument.