Suggest Themes for Scholar’s Compass

Scholar’s Compass, ESN’s new devotional by and for scholars, is taking shape. We’ll be launching September 8 with posts three times weekly. We’ve had about 55 responses to our survey, and we’re excited to talk more with each of you. If you haven’t had a chance yet to respond, we’d love to hear from you.

Image courtesy of nuttakit at

Image courtesy of nuttakit at

Which themes do you want Scholar’s Compass to engage? We’ll be exploring a number of themes and ideas as the work takes shape, and we’d love to know which ones interest you. We envision this as a collaborative project from start to finish, and we’d love to know which of the following themes you find especially compelling–or if you have other ideas.

The fundamental question of the devotional will be how faith and academic vocation fit together, and that can work itself out through many different themes. Here are some we’re considering:

Based on Your Title Ideas 

  • Well-versed–becoming knowledgeable and skilled in your vocation
  • Works in Progress–growing across time in your vocation
  • Midnight Oil–thriving in the busy times
  • Deeper Roots–growing into your vocation
  • The Table–hospitality and your vocation, the theology of food and your vocation
  • Thriving in Season–growing in the seasons of academic life (times of the semester, different career points)
  • Charting a path–charting the shape of your career, whether tenure track, adjunct, or in between
  • Choices on the Way–making wise decisions about how your vocation intersects with the Way of Christ
  • Gathered Pieces–bringing different parts of your vocation together
  • Iterations–Learning from revisions (of papers, plans, etc.)
  • Ora et Labora–weaving together prayer and work in vocation

Based on Other Conversations

  • Loving God and Vocation
  • Worship and Vocation
  • Starting Well (the year, the semester)
  • The Work of Our Hands: Academic Vocation and Physical Work
  • Avocation and Vocation: What We Learn About Vocation from Other Skills/Interests
  • Family and Vocation
  • Friendship and Vocation
  • Loving Your Neighbor and Vocation
  • Vocation When Things Don’t Go As You’re Expecting
  • Caring for God’s Creation and Vocation
  • Advent and Vocation – how Advent reminds us of our vocation as believers and scholars living in God’s larger story
  • Lent and Vocation
  • Easter and Vocation
  • Challenge and Vocation

Others You Suggest

We can’t wait to hear what interests you.

Let us know your favorites or new ideas in the comments, or drop us an email.

8/20/2014: Scholars’ Compass revised to Scholar’s Compass. More on the revision in a future post.

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Hannah Eagleson

Hannah Eagleson is Interim Associate Director of InterVarsity’s Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). She launched and still edits ESN's collaboratively written devotional for academics, Scholar's Compass. Hannah also crafts other community-building events and materials for ESN. She holds a PhD in English literature from the University of Delaware, and an MA from St. John's College in Annapolis, MD. she’s working on a novel about a dragon who gave up fending off knights to become a tea importer in eighteenth-century England.

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    mark commented on August 14, 2014 Reply

    Starting an adult teaching series in September at my church entitled “Vocation as Ministry.” Happy to do three posts on “‘Student’ as Vocation.” Other ideas on vocation would include “Creator-creature-creation” biblical foundation for vocation. I would love to do a post on “‘Housekeeping’ as Vocation.” Also a series on movies (via this website).

    David D. Chen commented on August 14, 2014 Reply

    From medicine, thinking about writing a devotional about making mistakes: the anxiety over making a “bad decision” that causes harm, the distinction between divine and personal responsibility, and the liberty and humility that comes from believing in God’s sovereignty.

  • David Eric Carlson commented on August 15, 2014 Reply

    Can I suggest “Town and Gown” that is making the connection between academia and the surrounding community. In Wisconsin we talk about the “Wisconsin Idea” where back in the early 20th century there was research on agricultural issues that were directly tied to improve farming in the community. it takes being bi-cultural – or translating academic information to non academic people. the same concept can apply to bringing insights of academia to the church community – an obvious example is to teach. Others might be if say someone had experience in environmental studies could help the church be better stewards with their building and grounds. Obviously in both cases of the general community and the church community the examples can be multiplied depending on the academic discipline.

  • Tom Grosh IV commented on August 15, 2014 Reply

    Wow! Housekeeping, making mistakes, and ‘town and gown’ are all excellent suggestions. Thank-you Mark, David, and David!

    PS. With “Town and Gown” and the “Wisconsin Idea” igniting my mental motor I’m hoping that I can get back on track with other tasks which I have in queue. . . .

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