The DISCOVER Initiative

DISCOVER Initiative

The DISCOVER Initiative is a University-wide effort to facilitate the exploration of vocation and calling in the undergraduate student experience. DISCOVER stands for: Development, Inquiry, Self-Exploration, Calling, Openness, Vocation, Experience, and Reflection. This initiative advances and promotes the University's understanding of vocation as it relates to our Catholic and Lasallian Mission.

The DISCOVER Initiative is further inspired by:

  • The story of Saint John Baptist De La Salle, the Patron Saint of Educators and founder of the De La Salle Christian Brothers.
  • The intersection of the liberal arts curriculum and professional preparation as identified in the Lewis University Mission Statement.
  • The gifts of the University’s Catholic and Lasallian values.
  • The opportunity that the college experience provides to students searching for meaning and purpose in their lives.


The first goal of the DISCOVER Initiative, when it was created in 2011, was to better understand and organize the University’s existing efforts to integrate vocation themes across the institution. The second goal of the DISCOVER Initiative was to develop co-curricular and professional development programming exploring vocation themes.

Thanks to generous support from the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the Lilly Endowment, a two-year project (2013-2015) expanded, strengthened, and energized the DISCOVER Initiative, with a particular focus on four major areas:

  • Opportunities for undergraduate student reflection through existing retreats and the creation of a new vocation-centered retreat program
  • Curricular enhancements (one-credit workshops and mini-grants for integration of vocation themes into existing courses)
  • Infusion of vocation themes into academic advising and career counseling
  • Development of University-wide resources

Additional funding from CIC and Lilly in 2017 supported the DISCOVER Stories Project in which faculty members were invited to write their vocation stories for a publication to be used by first-year students enrolled in the one-credit seminar, Introduction to College Experience (ICE) and featured in other University-wide events. Students can read about their professors’ vocational journeys, how they discovered and followed their calling to teach, create, conduct research, and serve others through their work.

Additional DISCOVER Initiative activities and resources include an Arts & Ideas Films Series and an extensive DISCOVER Research Guide, featuring numerous scholarly and non-scholarly articles, books, websites, and podcasts, all in support of exploring calling and vocation, living and working with greater purpose and meaning.

For additional information about the DISCOVER Initiative, please contact Dr. Kurt Schackmuth, Vice President for Student Life and Chief Mission Officer at (815) 836-5810 or via e-mail,

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