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Explore Your Purpose program expands

Wheel of Purpose and Ozanam Faculty Fellows introduced

How are your students using their abilities and resources to develop themselves and their community during their time at DePaul? Whether it’s meeting with an academic advisor to map out a career path, connecting with a spiritual mentor in University Ministry to grow spiritually or attending one or more of the many events that our 300+ student organizations offer, there are a multitude of ways for students to explore their purpose at DePaul.

Explore Your Purpose (EYP), formerly Vincentian Vision and Values (V3), is a two-year initiative launched in September 2016 that encourages purpose exploration among students, staff and faculty at DePaul. The Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE) awarded DePaul a $50,000 Program Development Grant in November 2015 to help support the project. The overall goals of the Explore Your Purpose effort are to support community members’ ability to envision a meaningful life, discern a sense of vocation (personal meaning and social purpose), understand the Vincentian heart (a commitment to service and the common good) and be equipped to sustain the lifelong journey toward purpose.

With these “enduring understandings” in mind, University Ministry and a core team of partners across various departments in the university developed the “Wheel of Purpose,” a teaching tool that facilitates conversation about questions of purpose and vocation. The Wheel of Purpose’s 12 slots, literally on a spinning wheel much like the Wheel of Fortune, each contain a question that pertains to one of the four enduring understandings. A facilitator can use the wheel to aid dialogue about purpose and vocation. 

The Explore Your Purpose team engaged students with the Wheel of Purpose during fall 2016 events, reaching more than 1,700 students. At those events, they also talked generally about the program and distributed Explore Your Purpose t-shirts, which you may have seen around campus.

After evaluating early Explore Your Purpose and Wheel of Purpose results, the team expanded the initiative’s presence to the web. Students can now access Explore Your Purpose content online through the Student Success website​, and faculty and staff can access content in the Teaching Commons.
An upcoming initiative related to purpose exploration includes the Ozanam Faculty Fellows Program, which will launch in June 2017. The program supports post-tenure faculty in further developing their personal and professional sense of purpose at DePaul. As part of the program, a $500 grant will be awarded to faculty members to create a course module, workshop or presentation about purpose exploration related to their field of interest or academic discipline.

Ultimately, the EYP team aims to more thoroughly integrate Explore Your Purpose into central activities at the university, starting with building EYP content into the First-Year Program’s Common Hour curriculum, which is planned for Fall 2017.

If you or your students have questions about Explore Your Purpose, contact purpose@depaul.edu. More information on the background of the EYP initiative can be found on Newsline.