Where is life calling you to go?

Learn to listen during this new lecture series


Bella Pacinelli, FEATURES EDITOR

Ashland University’s College of Business and Economics will hold the McKnight Life Calling Lecture Series on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. in Dauch Room 115. This is the first lecture of the series to be free and open to the public.

Ashland alumni Paul and Lani McKnight donated $250,000 to the Life Calling program at AU. This grant funds the lecture series and the three Life Calling courses currently offered to undergraduate students.

Career Coach and Life Calling Coordinator, Karen Hagans, has spent the past two years of her time at AU helping students find their vocational calling.

With the help of Dr. Khushwant Pittenger and Dr. Daniel Fox, Hagans was able to jump-start Life Calling I, II and III in the Fall of 2016.

“Those of us who are teaching it certainly had plenty to do in our other roles, but we wanted to do this because we felt that it was needed,” Hagans said.

Life Calling I is for students to search for or further explore a major. Life Calling II focuses on resume building and gaining experiences in a career. Life Calling III deals with creating a budget and anything else students may face once leaving college.

These courses “give structure so that when students are going through this process they have a little more organization to it,” Hagans said.

The Life Calling courses are considered to be Special Group status because they are still going through the curriculum committee process.

As of now, Life Calling I is a three credit hour course, while Life Calling II and III are one credit hour courses.

Hagans places an importance on the Life Calling program, as it provides students with support during a time of big decisions.

“It is just really focused on helping students discover more about themselves and help them get to where they want to be,” Hagans said.

Bryan Dik is the guest speaker for the lecture on Jan. 31. He is the author of Make Your Job a Calling: How the Psychology of Vocation Can Change Your Life at Work and the co-founder of JobZology, both of which are used in Life Calling I.

JobZology is an assessment that helps students find career paths that match their personality, interests, values and workplace preference, Hagans explained.

However, career evaluations may produce results that do not seem accurate. “Assessments are important, but realize that they are one measure in one moment of time,” Hagans said.

The purpose of these assessments is not to tell students what they are going to do forever, but rather encourage them to embrace opportunities that fit who they are as a person, Hagans said.

JobZology is a web-based system that is paid for by the university and it is available to all students.

“Bryan has devoted a lot of his career to vocational research and the processes people go through and how challenging it can be to find out what they want to do,” Hagans said. “He just really understands what we’re trying to do on our campus.”

This is the reason for his invitation to speak as part of the Life Calling lecture series.

Freshman Athletic Training major, Nathan Murphy, enjoyed Dik’s book. “He gives good insight into how some people see their life calling,” Murphy said.

The book shares the perspective of others who have found of love with their career. As for Life Calling I, Murphy loved how introspective it was.

“I learned that I have a very good relationship-building set of skills,” Murphy said. “I also plan well and talk to people easily.”

He said this course helped him get to know who he was and what he wants to do in life.

“It gives me a sense of safety knowing what I could do and probably be good at,” Murphy said.

He believes that every freshman should take Life Calling I and he plans on taking Life Calling III in his next years at AU.

“If you want to get a good focus on what you’re doing and making sure that it’s right, these courses would be beneficial no matter the year,” Murphy said.

Jae Weaver, Freshman Early Childhood Education major, was advised to take Life Calling I because she was unsure as to what major to choose. Her favorite part of the course was the jobZology assessment.

“It combined many different personal aspects and then gave a huge list of what jobs would work best for me,” Weaver explained. “It reaffirmed that I want to be a teacher.”

Weaver also learned that she prefers working with a group of people rather than working alone. “I recognized that I feel energized being around people,” Weaver said.

In addition to what she learned about herself, Weaver gained an understanding of how to make any job meaningful. She feels more confident in her future endeavors since taking part in the Life Calling program on campus.

Both she and Murphy plan to attend Dik’s lecture.

This positive feedback from students has kept Hagans motivated in her work to help students recognize the value of self-exploration for the future.

“There are so many benefits to being happy in what you’re doing and to feel like you are giving something to the world,” Hagans said.

The generous donors of the lecture series, Paul and Lani McKnight will also attend the lecture.

“It is also Board of Trustees weekend that week so it is on their schedule as well,” Hagans said.

The event is going to be held in a room that holds 100 people and Hagans says they plan to stream the lecture into two additional rooms in Dauch for overflow seating.

Bryan Dik has also agreed to end with a book signing for any students that would like to meet with him or anyone who would like to purchase his book.

“I hope people see the value of having conversations about these things and I do believe we have the right speaker for that,” Hagans said.

As for the courses, Life Calling I (BUS 1SG) and Life Calling II (BUS 5SG) are currently being offered in the fall. Life Calling I and Life Calling III (BUS 6SG) are being offered in the spring.

For this semester, Life Calling III is not accepting any more students. Life Calling I is at capacity however, students may still register upon approval from their advisor.

These courses are open to any undergraduate student.