Hellenic College Faculty, Staff, and Administration Reflect on the Vocation of the College

Brookline, MA — February 23, 2005 — When Hellenic College received a $1.9 million grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. , there was great excitement on the Brookline campus. Now, only two years into the grant funding, the College is getting a taste for the positive long-term impact this funding will have on the school. This academic year, the faculty, staff, and administration of Hellenic College are taking the time for day-long retreats where they reflect on the vocation, mission and vision of Hellenic College, and their own vocations as the key contributors to the institution.

The first of these retreats took place on December 13th when the Hellenic College faculty met to discuss what drives them as members of the college faculty—how they envision their task, what inspires them, and how such elements contribute to their role as faculty at the school. They came away from the retreat with concrete action steps that included informal monthly faculty lunches, faculty and student research symposia once a semester, and plans for future faculty retreats. Demetrios Katos, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, said, “The retreat offered us an opportunity to develop our commitment to one another, the institution, and all its constituents.” John Chirban, Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Human Development program, added, “Our focused time together brought the faculty to address institutional and personal concerns, to move beyond usual topical exchanges, and to deepen our appreciation of our multiple perspectives and the strengths in both our similarities and differences.”

Using a similar retreat format, the staff from every department of the college met on February 17th to engage in conversation about the College mission statement and its value in helping them envision their roles in the College. There was animated discussion about what inspires them and how they each contribute to the educational experiences of the students. Richard Vanderhoef, an M.Div. Graduate of the school and current Cataloger/Systems Manager for the Archbishop Iakovos Library, said, “I found the staff retreat to be very helpful in helping me to better understand my calling to serve Hellenic College and to better appreciate the talents and contributions of everyone. I hope that we may continue with such retreats as we work to strengthen and fortify the community of Hellenic College for the future.”

Later this spring, the senior administration will hold a retreat to review the information that was gathered from the faculty and staff retreats, along with information collected by a committee on student life. This information will inform a larger discussion concerning the direction and vision of Hellenic College. Ultimately, the whole community of administration, faculty, and staff will then gather to continue dialogue on the vision and vocation of the school.

Maria Georgiopoulos Mackavey, a consultant and a professor in the School of Management at Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, led both retreats. Dr. Mackavey has had similar experience running retreats for Harvard Business School and Daniel Webster College. In Dr. Mackavey’s facilitation of the retreats, faculty and staff clearly saw her clear commitment to the Greek Orthodox faith and the mission of the institution.

The Lilly Endowment Inc. is interested in keeping religious communities strong and vibrant, and in encouraging colleges to mentor a new generation of talented, energetic, creative and committed pastors and religiously informed lay leaders (www.ptev.org ). Ann Bezzerides, Director of the grant-funded Office of Vocation and Ministry (OVM), explained, “Hellenic College has the exciting opportunity to contribute Orthodox Christian wisdom to a wider nationwide conversation on vocation and education. The grant programs for the College aim to aid in the vital preparation of future leaders for our Church and world.” For more information on the innovative programs being funded by the OVM please visit the website.

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