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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

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

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

What will i become exploring vocation and calling

Cell-Phone Text Message Poll

What is Vocation?

Defining 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

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

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

Academic Majors

Ego identity status survey

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

Identity Development

Keith cantu s story

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

My faith/religion is NOT very important to me.

Faith attitudes and behaviors

Faith Attitudes and Behaviors

Strength of belief faith behavior and application of faith

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

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

Vocational barriers

Vocational Barriers

Barriers to life purpose

Barriers to Life Purpose

  • Total Personal Barriers scores varied over time, marginally

Nicole wallace s story

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

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

How to Contact Us

Cindy Miller-Perrin:


Don Thompson:


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