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IC faculty launch project linking student strengths, career goals and values through “holistic advising”


College students today need more than advice when it comes to choosing courses. With the help of a $50,000 grant awarded to Illinois College from the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE), faculty will develop strategies for advising a student’s short- term goals, career plans and even how to make life meaningful.

Called “Fulfilling Lives: the Holistic Advising Project,” this new initiative takes into account the whole student and their whole life. Elizabeth Tobin, dean of the college and vice president of academic affairs, said, “We want to help students identify a purpose in life that connects their daily actions and careers to meaningful goals broader than their self-interest.”

NetVUE supports this two-year project through a generous Lilly Endowment, Inc. grant to the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC). This project will enhance students’ vocational discernment which encourages their reflection about individual courses and extracurricular activities, religious identity and interfaith dialogue, as well as choosing a major and decisions about careers.

Illinois College faculty will learn the best practices in holistic advising through a yearlong faculty development seminar and visits from expert speakers. The grant will give students the support they need to make effective career choices and will give the college’s Office of Career Services the tools it needs to help first-year students explore their values, interests, personality and skills. Knowing their own strengths will aid them in discerning their vocations and in selecting an academic major. The grant will also fund a January 2015 Discovery Workshop to provide in-depth career exploration opportunities for 30 first-year and sophomore students who haven’t declared an academic major.

“We are grateful to NetVUE, the CIC and the Lilly Endowment for supporting this initiative,” Illinois College President Barbara Farley said. “Holistic advising can help us put into practice a 21st century version of our founders’ vision, in which today’s students discover how to articulate a sense of meaning and purpose.”

About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Ill. With an enrollment of nearly 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs and a Master of Arts in Education degree program. In 1932 the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state. Illinois College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Visit www.ic.edu or call 217.245.3149 for more information.

About NetVUE

NetVUE is a nationwide network of colleges and universities committed to enriching the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation among undergraduate students. This initiative is administered by the CIC with generous support from Lilly Endowment Inc. and members' dues.

The purposes of NetVUE are to:

• Deepen the understanding of the intellectual and theological dimensions of vocational exploration;
• Examine the role of vocational exploration in a variety of institutional contexts;
• Share knowledge, best practices and reflection on experiences across participating campuses;
• Develop a network for sustaining an extended program in the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation; and
• Facilitate the incorporation of additional colleges and universities into this enterprise.


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