August 9, 2023
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Perrin Article Discusses Huntingdon’s Vocation and Calling Emphasis
Montgomery, Ala .— An essay written by Dr. Tom Perrin, professor of English and chair of the Huntingdon College Department of Language, Literature, and Communication and published in the July 24 issue of the journal, Christian Scholar’s Review, discusses Huntingdon College’s approach to teaching and helping students answer questions of vocation and calling. The article posits that, although students tend to believe that discerning their vocational calling is a mysterious process akin to a gradual unveiling of messages from God, there are also rational, thought-based ways of learning what one is called to do as a profession or vocation, and that learning and practicing critical thinking also changes the dimensions within which students can explore their relationship with God. Dr. Perrin recently stepped down as chief academic officer to return to the classroom, but in his role as CAO, prior to which he served as associate dean for academic affairs, he was instrumental in leading the creation of Huntingdon’s vocation and calling courses and curricula.
In the essay, Dr. Perrin explains that Huntingdon’s approach to teaching calling and vocation, as a church-related, liberal arts college, relies on students weighing evidence from both thought and feeling. “Discerning a vocation need not be mysterious, but it does require strategies, it is inherently dialogical, and it takes time,” writes Dr. Perrin in the article. “… [Our students’] thinking about vocation mirrors their thinking about their relationship with God in that they conceive of both as fundamentally mysterious. Students come into the college convinced that vocation is a matter of feeling only. Our aim with the programming we offer is to help them develop strategies, not only for attending to their feelings about their vocations, but for thinking about them as well.”
Huntingdon’s vocation and calling courses and activities begin with a one credit course in the freshman year, followed by courses and experiences in the sophomore and junior years. The coursework and outside study marry the concepts of vocation and ethics, encouraging students to regard their work or avocation as a means of bettering society. Students graduate having considered the fundamental questions of “who am I” and “what matters to me,” in addition to contemplating what matters in achieving a better, more justice-filled society.
“Huntingdon’s model for vocational calling and discernment has been praised widely in higher education circles and by members of the review committee for our accreditation agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC),” says Huntingdon President J. Cameron West. “I believe one of the reasons we have received such acclaim is that we look carefully at student evaluations and listen to student and instructor comments, constantly tweaking the program to make it as strong and relevant to the student experience as it can be.”
The essay, “The Taylor Paper: God and Vocation in Christian Higher Education,” is accessible online at https://christianscholars.com/the-taylor-paper-god-and-vocation-in-christian-higher-education/ .
Huntingdon College is a coeducational residential liberal arts college of the United Methodist Church offering more than thirty undergraduate programs of study , an Honors Program , Presidential Fellows Program , Kingswood Initiative , choral and instrumental music programs, dance and cheer teams, student organizations including Greek life and Campus Ministries, 21 NCAA-Division III athletic teams , and coed Esports , new for fall 2023. The College also offers the Master of Athletic Training.
Huntingdon College, in accordance with Title IX and Section 106.8 of the 2020 Final Rule under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, other applicable federal and state law, and stated College policy, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex. Similarly, it prohibits discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, religion, age and/or national origin in its education program