Apr 29, 2019
Dmitriy Ivanov

New Center to Empower Students to Discover their Passions and Purpose

Center for Purpose and Vocation to Connect Students to Assumption’s Many Services Provided to Help Them Make a Meaningful Impact on Society

Assumption has established a new Center for Purpose and Vocation (CPV) to advance institutional efforts to build a dynamic and inclusive culture of vocational engagement at Assumption. By connecting students with its many resources and events across campus, Assumption’s new Center will encourage students to explore their passions and explore how their chosen vocations can benefit the world in which they live. 

CPV programs and events support students in building strong character and leading a more meaningful and purposeful life. The CPV will support the exploration of vocation in its many forms —active, contemplative, creative, religious, social, communal, personal, professional—through courses, events, and initiatives sponsored in partnership with various academic departments, programs, and offices such as the Career Development and Internship Center, the Community Service Learning Program, the D’Amour Center for Teaching Excellence, Campus Ministry, and the Offices of Student Affairs and Residential Life.

“At Assumption, learning to develop and lead a life that matters is one of our guiding principles,” said President Francesco C. Cesareo, Ph.D. “Seeking one’s purpose and vocation is a lifetime journey, but that journey begins during the formative undergraduate years by responding to the needs of the world and those around us. Encouraging students to formulate their life goals, develop their interests, and reflect on their values so that they can make contributions to the world beyond themselves complements the liberal arts foundation of an Assumption education.”

Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of the Sophomore Initiative at Assumption (SOPHIA) Program, Esteban Loustaunau, Ph.D., has been appointed founding director of the Center for Purpose and Vocation. 

“The CPV will advance Assumption’s vision to build a dynamic and inclusive culture of vocational engagement at the institution by integrating current and future initiatives on meaning, purpose, and vocation across campus,” said Prof. Loustaunau.  “The CPV fosters collaboration of academic inquiry, personal and career exploration, spiritual discernment, and service engagement, by supporting existing and new initiatives for students, faculty, staff, and alumni.  It also promotes academic department initiatives, course development on vocation across the disciplines, internships and career planning, Campus Ministry retreats and SEND trips, and campus and residential life gatherings and conversations.”

Since the SOPHIA Program was established at Assumption, Prof. Loustaunau has developed a number of new opportunities for purpose and vocational engagement for students and faculty.  SOPHIA is an exclusive program for sophomores to engage in the discovery of deeper connections between their personal, intellectual, professional, spiritual, and social lives. By combining academics, mentoring, and travel opportunities under the guidance of dedicated faculty mentors, SOPHIA strives to support students as they pursue productive lives of meaning

Through Prof. Loustaunau’s leadership, Assumption has been invited to participate in the Project on Purpose and Values in Education at Harvard University, and awarded several grants on teaching for vocation and professional development from the Network on Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE).

The Center’s April 29 opening event featured two Assumption administrators whose lives have been guided by their own of vocational discernment. Provost and Academic Vice President Louise Carroll Keeley, Ph.D., and Vice President for Student Affairs Catherine WoodBrooks, Ph.D., who shared their experience creating the academic program that later became SOPHIA, as well as their involvement in cultivating vocational engagement on campus.

The Center is supported by an Advisory Board consisting of Assumption directors of centers and programs that promote student engagement and learning in the areas of purpose and vocation. The inaugural Advisory Board includes Professor David Crowley, Ph.D., CRS Global Campus coordinator and SOPHIA faculty mentor; Professor Mike Land, Ph.D., director of Assumption’s Community Service Learning program; and Professor Jim Lang, Ph.D., director of the D’Amour Center for Teaching Excellence. Assumption administrators serving on the Advisory Board include Conway Campbell, Ph.D., dean of students and future vice president for student success; Deacon Paul Covino, director of Campus Ministry; Shannon Curtis, director of the Career Development and Internship Center; Eloise Knowlton, Ph.D., dean of undergraduate studies; Fr. Richard Lamoureux, A.A., ’64, vice president for Mission; and Sandy Piwko, director of the associate ministers of the Assumption. Professor Robert Bellin, Ph.D., director of Vocare at the College of the Holy Cross, will serve as an external member on the advisory board.