June 1, 2020
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Huntingdon Receives Grant to Expand Study of Race, Justice in Vocation
Montgomery, Ala.—Huntingdon College has been notified by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) that the College will receive a Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) Vocation Across the Academy Grant, allowing the College to expand its Vocation and Calling Initiatives to an exploration of race and justice.
“As a College of the United Methodist Church, Huntingdon is committed to helping students find their professional and vocational pathways beyond the undergraduate experience,” said Huntingdon President J. Cameron West. “In partnership with CIC and NetVUE, Huntingdon has implemented a series of courses and experiences that allow students to explore what they are being called to do in their lives. This new grant will allow us to take that exploration, literally, where we live—using the history and lessons learned in this city to maximize vocational support for underserved and underrepresented students and weaving that awareness into the fiber of each academic program.”
“Clearly, given current events in the United States and the world, a deeper understanding of race and justice is vital for our shared future. Huntingdon is poised to facilitate and foster civil dialogue and reasoned action among our students, whom we know will be leaders in their communities and churches after they graduate,” West concluded.
“The grant funding will enable the College to make use of the unique opportunities afforded us because of our location in Montgomery, birthplace of the civil rights movement,” said Dr. Jennifer Fremlin, professor of English, who will captain the grant initiatives. “A campus-wide shared experience and discussions around vocation and justice, along with the introduction of a common reading focused on issues of justice and race, are two of the grant components we envision as we move forward. We also expect to expand vocation-related programming as early as freshman orientation and to develop pedagogies and programs of study that meet the needs of traditionally underserved populations.”
Huntingdon College is a charter member of NetVUE, a CIC program launched in 2009 as a network of colleges and universities committed to fostering the theological exploration of vocation in their campus communities. According to the grant award letter, NetVUE Vocation across the Academy Grants are intended to help colleges and universities develop more effective ways to strengthen the link between the liberal arts and career preparation, and to include faculty members and students in a wide array of academic disciplines and applied fields in the institution’s vocational exploration programs. Through previous NetVUE grants, Huntingdon created the Sophomore Year is Calling program and three courses centered on exploration of calling and vocation.
“Through our Sophomore Year Is Calling program, we introduced every Huntingdon sophomore to the lessons learned in our city by touring the Equal Justice Initiative’s Memorial for Peace and Justice,” said interim vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty Dr. Tom Perrin. “We used that shared experience for deeper discussion around disparities of race, difference, and privilege. Students found those discussions both engaging and thought-provoking. Their comments led us to examine ways to begin students’ vocational awareness in the freshman year and to deepen students’ understanding of race and justice throughout their college experience.”
As stated on the NetVUE website, “Colleges and universities rooted in the liberal arts are particularly well-suited to undertake the task of educating future leaders who are theologically literate, whose attitudes and behaviors are shaped by their values and commitments, and who are eager to sustain a life of service that is guided by a sense of calling.”
The grant award period begins July 1, 2020, and extends through June 30, 2023. The base grant is in the amount of $24,900. In addition, if the College raises $24,900 from third-party sources, the CIC will award an additional $24,900 in the grant’s second and third years. The funds are made possible by a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. to CIC.
Huntingdon College continues a legacy of faith, wisdom, and service through a residential liberal arts academic tradition grounded in the Judeo-Christian heritage of the United Methodist Church. For more information on Huntingdon College, see www.huntingdon.edu. The College motto is, “Enter to grow in wisdom; go forth to apply wisdom in service.”