The Principles of Good Practice for Student Affairs Professionals at Catholic Colleges and Universities: Principle #8

Principle #8: The effective administrator assists students in discerning and responding to their vocations, understanding potential professional contributions, and choosing particular career directions.


The Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7): “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God”

Christians believe that their lifework is accomplished in partnership with the God who gives us life and talents. Student affairs professionals often guide students in their discernment of life-choices. At Catholic colleges and universities, these privileged conversations can help students in their search for meaning and purpose, by integrating their beliefs, gifts, ambitions, and hopes with the world’s needs.  This discernment process seeks to equip students to balance and integrate professional, personal, and relational commitments.

Assessing this Principle

1. What does this principle mean for the institution?

2. How do you apply this principle through programs, policies & practices?

      a. To what extent are career and other life choices understood and articulated in terms     of vocation?

     b. How do career services staff, faculty advisers, and others engage students in a discernment process that integrates their vocation and their career choices?

     c. To what extent are there opportunities to implement this integration in areas such as the career center, academic advising, the curriculum, and campus ministry programming?

     d. To what extent are student affairs staff and other professionals in these    areas prepared to assist students in this discernment?

     e. How are students invited to consider “careers” in church leadership and    ministry, not exclusive of, but including, religious vocations?

3. What evidence do you have to judge the effectiveness of your efforts?

4. What does this evidence tell you about your effectiveness?

5. What will you do with the information you have gathered about effectiveness?

A Catholic Perspective

“The classes and duties of life are many, but holiness is one-that sanctity which is cultivated by all who are moved by the Spirit of God, and who obey the voice of the Father and worship God the Father in spirit and in truth. These people follow the poor Christ, the humble and cross-bearing Christ in order to be worthy of being sharers in His glory. Every person must walk unhesitatingly according to his own personal gifts and duties in the path of living faith, which arouses hope and works through charity.” (Lumen gentium 40, 41)


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