What will i become exploring vocation and calling
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What Will I Become? Exploring Vocation and Calling. Christian Mission Heritage Series September 15, 2009. Presenters. Don Thompson Professor of Great Books & Mathematics Cindy Miller-Perrin Professor of Psychology Chair of Social Science Division.

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What Will I Become? Exploring Vocation and Calling

Christian Mission Heritage Series

September 15, 2009


Don Thompson

Professor of Great Books & Mathematics

Cindy Miller-Perrin

Professor of PsychologyChair of Social Science Division

Lilly Endowment Sponsored Research at Pepperdine

  • Student Development Survey

  • Goal: To understand how students define vocation and develop their own personal sense of vocation

  • 2002 – 2006

  • Surveyed 300 students

  • Surveyed at 5 different time periods

    • Baseline – summer before beginning at Pepperdine

    • Each spring throughout undergraduate career

Cell-Phone Text Message Poll

What is Vocation?

Defining Vocation

  • The secular definition views vocation as work or career

  • Vocation is God’s calling for one’s life – the reason God made you

  • Vocation is the intersection of faith development and identity development

  • Vocation is “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet”

The Critical College Years

  • College years are “critical years” in vocational development

  • College students consider issues associated with personal identity, faith beliefs, and career options

  • Faith, identity, and vocational development are not uniform across the college years

Who are you as a class?

  • Total applications: 6407, total enrolled: 815 (13%)

  • GPA 3.66

  • SAT Verbal 604

  • SAT Math 623

  • SAT Writing 610

Academic Majors

Ego-Identity Status Survey

  • Students receive scores on four identity scales:

    • Diffusion: no exploration or commitment

      • “I haven’t really considered politics. It just doesn’t excite me much.”

    • Foreclosure: no exploration, but commitment

      • “My parents decided a long time ago what I should go into for employment and I’m following through with their plans.”

    • Moratorium: exploration without commitment

      • “Religion is confusing to me right now. I keep changing my views on what is right and wrong for me.”

    • Achievement: exploration and commitment

      • “It took me a while to figure it out, but now I really know what I want for a career.”

Identity Development

Keith Cantu’s Story

Universal City, TX

International Studies - Political Studies

Class of 2010

Fulbright Scholarship to Bangladesh or Peace Corps or

Graduate School at Columbia U.

My faith/religion is NOT very important to me.

Faith Attitudes and Behaviors

Strength of Belief, Faith Behavior, and Application of Faith

  • Strength of Belief varied significantly over time

  • Faith Behavior varied significantly over time

  • Application of Faith did not vary significantly over time

I am motivated to choose a career that will provide/fulfill…

Vocational Barriers

Barriers to Life Purpose

  • Total Personal Barriers scores varied over time, marginally

Nicole Wallace’s Story

Seattle, Washington

Psychology Major

Class of 2009

Clinical Ph.D. student - Fuller Theological Seminary Student


  • College students experience significant developmental variation over time

    • Strength of faith belief

    • Faith behavior

    • Identity development

      • Foreclosure, Moratorium, Achievement

    • Personal Barriers

Lessons & Opportunities for First-Year Students

  • Faith matters – Stay spiritually nourished, seek wisdom

  • Know Thyself – look for ways to challenge your assumptions

  • Barriers are real – live through and with them

  • Sophomore year - expect a watershed

  • Purpose - bigger and broader than your career

How to Contact Us

Cindy Miller-Perrin:

[email protected]

Don Thompson:

[email protected]

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