Intersections Project Adds New Features for 2002-03

Intersections Project Adds New Features for 2002-03

Mentoring program, one-credit course are among the offerings

By Stephen Gawlik
Staff Writer

The fall semester has seen several refinements to the University's Intersections project, which aims to help undergraduates discern their possible vocations.

Intersections has recently produced a new video presentation featuring Theology Professor Rev. Michael Himes and launched a program to foster one-on-one mentoring relationships between faculty and students. Project organizers also have devised a one-credit course based on Intersections' principles and planned a series of dinner discussions for seniors contemplating their next phase of life.

Funded by a $2 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, Intersections formally began its series of offerings during the summer of 2001. Its signature program is the "Halftime" retreat, during which students at the mid-point of their undergraduate years reflect on their college experiences and possible career and life choices.

Earlier this year, Intersections organizers employed the help of the popular Fr. Himes to produce a video centered on the key questions asked during Halftime: "What brings me joy?"; "What am I good at?" and "Does the world need me to do it?"

"Those are questions that need to be asked," said Intersections Program Director Burt Howell, "and Fr. Himes asks them very well."

The 30-minute video features Fr. Himes discussing the questions at length and how they might relate to the life of a college student.

The video will be used during Halftime retreats, which are typically held during the semester break or in the summer. It is also being offered to other universities considering projects with a similar purpose as Intersections.

"The video helped put the process of discerning your vocation into perspective and the way it was formatted made the question easier to tackle," said Hal Mackins '04, who attended a Halftime retreat this past summer.

In response to student requests for more personal and reinforcing conversation following the Halftime retreat, Intersections has begun a mentoring program where both students and faculty and staff involved with the program meet for one-on-one discussions.

Currently, 29 students are paired through the program with a faculty or staff member, with whom they are required to meet at least once a month, said Howell.

"It's basically a great opportunity to get to know a faculty member and have a chance to talk about life in a way that doesn't always come up in the classroom," said Edmundo Lopez '04, whose mentor is Assistant Dean for Student Development Christoper Darcy. "He'll help keep me focused and on the right track while I'm here at BC."

This semester Intersections also launches the "Senior Consilium," a three-part dinner series that offers discussion to help guide seniors through the process of identifying and reflecting on their joys, passions, gifts, and potential career choices.

"Senior Consilium is designed help seniors reflect on the possibilities of life after BC," said Howell. "The program also helps seniors make connections between their college experiences and the implications of their future career choices."

Each section of the Senior Consilium meets three times per semester in a designated area within a University residence hall. Administrators and faculty members who have volunteered to help facilitate discussion include Lynch School of Education Associate Dean John Cawthorne, Assoc. Prof. Candace Jones (CSOM) and Campus Minister Rev. Howard McLendon.
Intersections is also heading into the classroom this semester via a one-credit course, Vertices: From Halftime to Course-Times and Lifetimes, taught by Carroll School of Management Associate Dean Richard Keeley.

Administrators say Vertices enables students to pursue lines of thought and practice suggested by the first two years at Boston College and the Halftime program. Its intent is to encourage the formation of habits, disciplines and practices that will be useful for students as they plan for completion of undergraduate study and beyond.

Keeley, who was one of several administrators initially involved with the original planning of Intersections, said that through partnerships students can engage in conversation about vocations and through the course habits can be formed to help them think about vocations on their own.

"Our hope is that this will help expand the boundaries of Halftime," said Keeley.

Information about Intersections is available at www.bc.edu/intersections.

 

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