Wild Hope Initiatives

Engaging the mind, shaping the future

The success of the Wild Hope Center for Vocation was established, in good measure, through the lives of the faculty mentors who engage their students with questions of meaning and purpose—in the classroom, during a casual conversation, through collaborative research, or even by speaking at Wild Hope event.

Rooted in the conviction that purposeful learning shapes meaningful living in a complex world, the Wild Hope Center for Vocation asks faculty to consider these facets of the liberal arts foundation that frames the university’s educational mission:

  • An education that is sensitive to intellectual and affective development
  • An education that embraces questions of purpose, faith, and fulfillment
  • An education that revolves around meaningful service in the world

Wild Hope provides a range of opportunities for faculty to reflect on their own vocation of teaching through faculty study seminars, a number of workshops sponsored in conjunction with the Center for Teaching and Learning, an annual advising retreat, coordination and preparation for service learning in university courses, Wild Hope sponsored lectures, semi-annual gatherings for staff and faculty alumni of study seminars, and participation in the annual Meant To Live conference.

Join Us

The Wild Hope Center for Vocation supports a diverse array of ongoing activities for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends. Explore some of its various events below.

Endowed by the class of 1958, these events bring alumni back to campus to talk about vocation with current students. A different academic division is celebrated each year. At the Meant to Live lecture, a distinguished alumnus returns to campus to describe their vocational journey to fellow alums, current PLU students and friends of the University. These events give alumni the chance to mentor current students, and help students begin to think of vocational exploration as a lifelong endeavor. View more about Meant to Live.

Each academic year, groups of up to eight faculty members meet regularly to discuss readings related to their roles as professors and mentors to students, their work as scholars, and questions of great significance in the world. These seminars are especially appropriate for pre-tenure faculty, as they offer an opportunity to meet colleagues from across campus and think more deeply about mentoring students.

Read more here!

From June through January, groups of up to eight staff members meet monthly for a set of workshops on discovering their own vocations and mentoring students. The Lutheran understanding of vocation is also presented, along with sessions designed for self-reflection and awareness.

In late 2022, the Wild Hope Center successfully applied for a grant from the Network on Vocation in Undergraduate Education (NetVUE), a grant supported by the Lilly Foundation. This grant enables PLU to consider how voices old and new to the university are shaping the story or vocation of PLU, now and into the future.

The PLU project includes a faculty-authored book on the university’s educational mission, first approved in 1993; a timeline that indicates the persons, groups, events, and practices that have shaped and continue to form the university’s identity, especially the voices of indigenous people, women, international students, students, staff, and faculty of color, those who identify as LGBTQ, and those who represent a broad range of religious and ethnic backgrounds; and a video that highlights the gifts of Lutheran education for a student body, staff, and faculty no longer largely Nordic and Lutheran.

Let us help you create...

In addition to the activities described above, the Wild Hope Center for Vocation is available to assist you in planning a workshop or event relating to vocation. Some of its recent activities include: a workshop series for those working in the sustainability office, a seminar on choosing a major put on for students in the residence halls, a workshop entitled Vocation for Life with members of the alumni board, and a book discussion series for faculty on teaching outside of their comfort zone. We would be happy to help you with your ideas as well—for these types of gatherings or other possibilities you may have in mind.

Find us in the PLU News

Laree Winer and Jen Rude detail how the Wild Hope Center and Campus Ministry are collaborating to combat a growing "culture of busyness"