A Message From Academic Affairs
The Vocation of Augustana College
What are we about in the Center for Vocational Reflection? I have heard that question many times over the four years I've been involved with the CVR...and continue to hear it even now. I'm not going to use this brief notice to try to tell you all we do and why, but I do want to raise up one thing that is important to who we are as the CVR. It is our belief that it is not only individuals who are called to be who they are. This is also true of institutions, maybe especially institutions like Augustana College .
When we talk to students, we always ask three sets of questions. What are you good at? What are your skills, gifts and talents? How do you know that?
What are you passionate about? What gets your interest? What makes it worthwhile to get up in the morning (OK, at noon )?
What are the needs of the community? Where do your skills and passions meet the needs of the community?
The Center for Vocational Reflection, at the urging of President Bahls, has been sponsoring a series of talks that hopes to raise these same questions about us as an institution. What is Augustana good at? What are our talents? How do we know that? What are we passionate about? What keeps us coming back to this place to do our work each day? What needs of the community are we meeting? What communities do we serve? What communities should we serve?
We have had four great beginnings of conversations about these questions—from Jason Peters, Dave Crowe, Lou Belby and Paul Olsen. Dan Corts and Steve Bahls are scheduled to share their thoughts in the upcoming weeks. One thing that ought to be true of this place is that it is a place where we are in conversation—all of us. For that conversation to take place, we need to speak—and to listen. The CVR hopes to provide a forum where this can happen.
How do we accomplish this? It's not as easy as just saying “Y'all come!” How do we encourage the voices that might not be willing to speak up? How do we ensure that even those who feel they are on the edges of the community are well heard? How do we say the things that we believe without fear that the community will fray? I wish I had the “magic” answer to these questions. But striving for such a conversation and such a place seems worth the effort. If we can create a place of conversation where all are heard and valued, we will have come some way to discerning our vocation as Augustana College.
– Bob Haak, Director of the Center for Vocational Reflection