Joliet, Ill. – The University of St. Francis (USF) is pleased to announce it has received a $10,000 NetVUE Professional Development Award through the Council of Independent Colleges. The award will fund a yearlong initiative (July 1, 2020–June 30, 2021) to foster the exploration of vocation and mentoring in our curricula and co-curricular activities.

Starting in August, Joliet’s only four-year university will launch the yearlong initiative focused on mentoring, mission and vocation as we celebrate our centennial and envision the next 100 years for fulfilling the mission of the University of St. Francis (USF). A kick-off workshop with breakout sessions will feature an invited keynote speaker, Dr. Kevin Godfrey, Associate Professor of Theology at Alvernia University in Pennsylvania, to connect USF’s Franciscan, Catholic identity with its call to educate the next generation of servant leaders. Building from the framework presented at the kick-off, USF will then host a series of “Engaging Mind and Spirit” monthly meetings focused on selected chapters from a book discussion open to all faculty and staff members – because vocational mentoring happens in a variety of professional relationships: faculty with students, staff with students, faculty with faculty, staff with staff, student with student, and supervisor with employee.

The initiative will culminate in May 2021 with all faculty and staff participating in our annual Strategy Day, which will be focused on bringing together the instruments, artifacts, metrics, and results to assess the initiative’s intended outcomes. This reporting out will also provide an opportunity to reflect upon and design new projects for continuing the connection of mentoring in the exploration of vocation for the university’s faculty and staff, and primarily, its students.

USF Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Beth Roth, Ph.D., believes the initiative’s alignment with USF’s mission will be of strong benefit to students as they pursue the answer to one of life’s most challenging questions: what am I called to do in this world?

“Our mission affirms that USF is a ‘welcoming community of learners,’ and a theological exploration of vocation will bolster our understanding of how mentoring fulfills our mission and dedication to student success,” Roth said.

USF President Arvid C. Johnson, Ph.D., also sees the benefit of continued and deeper engagement with other institutions of higher education through a partnership with NetVUE.

“USF has been doing so much in this area for so long across virtually all of its Colleges and majors. This is a wonderful opportunity to join and engage with a broader community of learners committed to helping students discern and respond to their callings,” Johnson said.

About NetVUE

According to the organization’s web page, “The Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) is a nationwide network of colleges and universities formed to enrich the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation among undergraduate students. This initiative is administered by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) with generous support from Lilly Endowment Inc. and members’ dues.

CIC administers NetVUE with guidance from an advisory council comprised of representatives from participating institutions.

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Currently celebrating 100 years of higher education rooted in Franciscan values, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 50,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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