Career Development

Questions about any of the following programs should be directed to Jim Hayes, associate dean and director of the Center for Vocation and Integrative Learning (CVIL) at 515.961.1281.

Advisor Training

CVIL offers an annual advisor-training program for interested faculty as well as a training program for staff, coaches and work-study supervisors throughout Simpson who are in a position of “informally” advising students on campus.

Faculty Advisor Training

The advisor training program for faculty begins with a one-day workshop followed by regular meetings throughout the academic year to continue to build on the dialogue that began at the workshop.  Participants will focus on the development of “deep listening” skills that will assist in engaging students in conversations about meaning, purpose, and calling in their life. Faculty will also explore how their own call developed, and how they sustain their passion to do the work to which they have been called to do.

Staff Advisor Training 

Staff, coaches, and work-study supervisors mentor students in significant ways.  Students often encounter a variety of people who influence the quality of their Simpson experience and their life choices.  Each “informal” advisor can serve an important role in the lives of students they are in contact with.  This training will help staff from throughout the campus reflect on their own personal life of commitment, and how the concept of vocation can be applied in their daily routine.  The training sessions will also focus on providing skills for engaging students in conversations about how the ideas of vocation affect the whole of one’s life, not just a specific job or career.

Alumni Workshops 

The Lilly Initiative has developed and now offers workshops for Simpson College alumni.  The workshops are for alumni interested in reflecting upon the meaning of John Wesley’s charge to “do the good” in their own personal lives.  In consort with the Alumni Office we would be happy to offer these workshops to local alumni gatherings or even workplaces that include many Simpson alumni.

CVIL Mentoring

 What should I do with my life?  What are my gifts?  How can I best use them to serve the common good?  What’s the best major/career for me?  These are all big questions and sometimes it helps to have a guide, mentor, or conversation partner to walk with us as we wrestle with the questions. They don’t answer the questions for us; they just help us by making space for the conversation and being there when we need them.  For more information on this program check out the application (pdf file) or the Big Questions (pdf) handout which can be used as a discussion starter for such conversations.

Exploring Religious Leadership

Simpson College seeks to identify  and support students who are strong candidates for ministry in the broadest sense of the term and for leadership in a religious community. Check out the pre-ministry program.


CVIL offers a series of vocationally oriented vocational exploration retreats each fall and spring.  The retreats assist students who may be struggling with issues of finding “meaningful work,” and those working to balance “doing the good,” earning a living and leading a meaningful life.

Sophomore Forum 

The Sophomore Forum is designed for second year students who are looking for some guidance in focusing their studies (and life!) as they determine a major and a life direction.  The Sophomore Forum is offered each semester.  Look for course SF 290A, Sophomore Forum for 1 hour of credit.

Tuesdays With a Professor

CVIL sponsors a number of vocational conversations with faculty members.  The program, normally held in Dirlam Lounge is informal and conversational in nature.  We gather at 12:30 p.m. (snacks provided) as the professor du jour recalls selections of her/his vocational journey — basically responding to the question: “how did life lead me to Simpson College and why am I passionate about teaching here?”  We end promptly by 1:20 p.m. Upcoming presentations may be found on the Simpson Forum Web page.