Spring Hill College Quality Enhancement Plan Report




Students will ask and explore fundamental questions of vocation


Students will integrate and make sense of those moments during their college experience when they felt called, purposeful, or inspired


Students will demonstrate an understanding that vocational discernment is an ongoing process




Pathways to Purpose will develop a campus-wide culture of vocational discernment.


Developmental Learning

To better understand how students develop their ideas of vocation and purpose throughout their college experience Pathways to Purpose gathered a group of 8 faculty and staff members to rate a collection of 150 essays pulled from student ePortfolios. 50 essays from each level were pulled at random from a collection of over 500 ePortfolios. Students were asked to respond to prompts at three points along their undergraduate experience: during the fall of their first year, after completing an experiential learning course or project during their sophomore or junior year, and as part of a reflection during their final year. In order to rate the responses to each prompt, assessors were trained on the Pathways to Purpose Rubric via a norming activity, and each essay was rated by 3 different individuals, yielding an inner-rater reliability rating over .8 for all learning outcomes. Student Learning Outcomes were rated on a 1 (Insufficient) to 5 (Exemplary) scale.

Student Learning Outcome Development

First Year2.011.851.64
Middle Years3.032.352.26
Final Year3.753.833.57

Unique students engaged in Pathways to Purpose


Unique faculty/staff engaged in Pathways to Purpose

*All first year students engaged in Pathways to Purpose through their required LEAP course.

Guidebook for Vocational Discernment

A Guidebook provided the structure for students to map out their progress through the Pathways to Purpose program. The Guidebook outlined activities from across campus to guide students in a developmental structure for vocational discernment. The Guidebook was designed to be a collection of activities that successful students did; therefore, many of the activities found in the Guidebook pre-date Pathways to Purpose and the implementation of the program.

Virtual Guidebook | Print Guidebook


Guidebook activities completed


Unique students completed at least one Guidebook activity



"I really valued the chance to get to know students I had never met."

80 sophomores and 34 faculty and staff members joined together for the Sophomore Dinner.

Sophomore students, faculty, and staff gathered during the first week of classes in the fall for a ceremonial dinner. Vocation and vocational discernment were introduced to the sophomores at the first annual Sophomore Class Dinner. Faculty, staff, and students were encouraged to meet new people and interact on topics of values, goals, and community. This gave students an opportunity to see their sophomore year as an important moment in time when they could really start to consider their place in the world and what it means to have a vocation or a calling.




10 students and 16 faculty/staff members joined Small Group Discussions.

Small Group Discussions gave the campus community an opportunity to deepen their understanding of vocation as it related to a specific topic or field. All Small Groups met at least three times throughout the year for discussions or activities that furthered their own ideas about vocation.

Examples of Small Group Activities

→Lunch with President Puto

→Attendance at a chemistry conference

→Faculty dinner discussions of ways to integrate vocation into Math courses

→Tour of the Southern Light Data Center




Students completed one of 14 courses specifically focused on vocational discernment.

Any faculty member could choose to focus their course on topics of vocational discernment. The majority of the vocational discernment courses offered were classes in the core curriculum.

The following graph shows a comparison between non-participants (students who did not take a vocational discernment course) and participants (students who completed at least one vocational discernment course). Participants had significantly higher mean ratings on the Pathways to Purpose rubric five-point scale, indicating that these courses may have had a positive effect on their understandings of vocation compared to those students who did not complete one of such courses.

One-sided t-test for difference in means, Ha >H0. Significant at p < 0.05 indicated by “ * .” and at p < 0.01 indicated by “ ** ”.



Unique students attended an overnight retreat on vocation.

The Student Retreat on Vocation was open to all Sophomore and Junior students. Students were joined by faculty and staff facilitators and several students served as student leaders for small groups at the retreat. The overnight retreat provided an opportunity for students to explore vocabulary around vocation, to reflect upon where to find meaning and purpose in daily life, and to hear the stories of faculty and staff members.

"I gained a greater perspective of my own future, but also learned so much about those of others' as well. I was challenged and often taken out of my comfort zone, but it was all so worth it."



Faculty and staff members attended the overnight retreat on vocation.

The Faculty/Staff Retreat on Vocation was open to all faculty and staff members. The overnight retreat gave faculty and staff an opportunity to reflect upon their own vocations, to deepen their appreciation for what makes their lives meaningful, to explore their own motivations in life and how these insights manifest into actions and impacts on the world.

"[This retreat] helped me find much more value in my work and bond with other departments."


"[As an ambassador] you're the set example to leading others to fully expressing themselves."

3 students served as ambassadors for Pathways to Purpose.

Students represented three different classifications and three different majors. These students provided support at events, as retreat facilitators, and assisted with the development of social media outreach campaigns.




86 unique students and 21 unique faculty attended a Vocation Lunch.

Vocation lunches provide an opportunity for students and faculty to engage in dialogue over a lunch in the cafeteria. Vocation lunches allowed us to formalize some of the informal conversations that were already happening between students and faculty/staff. Faculty and staff members invited specific students and shared their own vocation story, allowing the students to see the faculty/staff member as a whole person.

"It truly was a wonderful experience, I felt honored to have had this opportunity to get to know our students on a different level. "

Spring Hill College's Quality Enhancement Plan Year One

Students, faculty, and staff have all been central in cultivating a culture of vocational discernment through reflecting as a campus community on what it means to live a fulfilling and meaningful life. This report doesn't cover the vastness and detail of the effort, reflection, and activities that make Spring Hill College a place of vocational discernment. The work of the Quality Enhancement Plan extends well beyond the work of Pathways to Purpose, as faculty and staff across campus integrate topics of purpose and vocation in their courses, their programs, and their daily conversations with our students. We aim to continue to provide experiences that give students opportunities to discover their unique service to the world.

Pathways to Purpose Website | Contact