Vocatio center offers training, development for students

Jacqueline S. Taylor, assistant dean of students, and Hannah Pipes, freshman biology major, discuss changing majors in the Vocatio Center. | Photo by Zac Calvert

By Kathryn Flippin, Life Editor
From the time one enters college, the future is never far from his or her mind. For those looking to stay on track through professional development, Union offers the Vocatio Center for Life Calling and Career, formerly known as Career Services.
On Sept. 12, the Vocatio Center opened its doors with a new name and mission statement.
After recognizing the need for a more holistic approach focused on servant leadership and vocation, Jacqueline Taylor, assistant dean of students and director of the Vocatio Center, along with her department, implemented a strategic plan to move to a concentration in individual ministry within each student discipline. Their comprehensive plan was to identify life calling and career development with the goal of authentic service.
“We seek to empower Romans 12 whereby students learn to exercise their differing gifts in service to church and society,” Taylor said. “Their service is not just done with expertise, but with the understanding of a higher calling.”
This calling, or Vocatio in Latin, embraces the idea that students are called by God to a vocation that, according to Taylor, can and should be lived out as a ministry of service to others.
Therefore, considering these things, students should be aware of services offered through the Vocatio Center. Not only does it offer life calling and career counseling, but also professional resume and cover letter development, personality and interests assessment and interpretation, interview preparation and a referral service.
Their goal of professional development for students is achieved through multiple steps with each of these services.
“Students should be proactive in starting early,” Taylor said. “If they take advantage of our resources, they will not only be more prepared in the workplace, but we at the Vocatio Center will know how to recommend them to future employers.”
On top of all regular opportunities, the Vocatio Center offers weekly seminars. They have almost 50 workshops planned for the 2011-12 school year.
One, which has already been a success for the education department, is “Resume Writing for Educators: Life Calling and Career Development Seminar.”
Students such as Kristen Wilson, junior elementary education major, attended to learn how to make themselves stand out among their profession.
“It is such a useful thing to know how to make oneself look professional and educated,” Wilson said. “On top of knowing how to present your credentials, I loved learning about what sets you apart from the next person.”
For those looking for any kind of direction for the future, the center also provides individual assessments. The Myers-Briggs Assessment offers a full interpretation regarding personality types and interests. While it is currently not a requirement for every Union student, Taylor said she is open to offering it for all freshmen in the future.
“You can never start too early in developing a plan,” Taylor said. “Tools like assessments help any student realize early on whether or not they are on track with a certain calling.”
Even for those still making up their minds, the Vocatio Center has resources. Internships, part-time employment options and a prestigious benefit called the Five-Star Aspiring Pre-Professionals process all serve to help in the development of students’ chosen vocations.
While it is always a good idea to utilize free resources to better one’s career, Taylor said the most important thing is to seek God’s call first and know how a chosen major will later affect the ability to serve. It does not matter whether or not it is ministry related, it is about understanding one’s calling.
To learn more about resources at the Vocatio Center or to sign up for future seminars, visit the center’s website at www.uu.edu/studentservices/vocatiocenter.

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The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.