What is PathFinder?
We believe it is important to find value in everything that you do during your time at Albion College. This program will challenge you to discover meaning from your everyday experiences on and off campus. Meaning shapes our lives and we want to hear how your experiences on and off campus have shaped your life in a new way. You will earn points for every reflection - and these points earn you rewards!
Points Represent Learning
Students will earn points by submitting reflections based on activities and experiences where they find meaning. Reflections are expected to be at least 200 words and will need to reflect an attitude of thoughtfulness.
Activities for submission include: events, sports, clubs/organizations, courses, mentoring, approved meetings, internships, and more.
How to Get Involved
The entry process is extremely simple. To begin the program, all you need to do is submit a reflection for an approved activity. It really is that simple!
The easiest, most convenient way for you to see your accumulated points is through Moodle (courses.albion.edu). This is the one place that almost every student on-campus logs into at least once per week. When you submit a reflection, points will show up in Moodle just like they do when you submit an assignment for class. Upon your first submission, you will be entered as a student in the PathFinder "course" and will be able to track your progress.
Who Should I Contact with Questions?
You can contact the Career and Internship Center at any time.
Office: Ferguson 103
Events listed below are suggestions for reflection. However, we ceretainly have not thought of everything that constitutes a meaningful exercise and experience. If you have an activity that you believe has added to your understanding of meaning and purpose, please submit that under the appropriate category.
Presentation Option | What Matters and Why Dinners | Academic Course Reflection | FYE and IDY 110 Course Reflection | Mentoring Reflection | FURSCA/Elkin Isaac Reflection | Internship Experience Reflection | Leadership/Sporting/Campus Group Participation Reflection | Service Experience Reflection | Activity/Meeting/Presentation Reflection
Presentation Option - additional 50 points to any activity
While most of these options are in essay format, you can really rack up the points by choosing to do a presentation on your experience. Even just attending a presentation will earn you 10 points! Schedule a presention with the Career and Internship Center and it will be arranged. Plan on a 15 minute presentation.
- Provide a basic overview of your experience.
- Why did you think that this would be a meaningful experience prior to completing it?
- Was it as meaningful as you thought?
- What did you learn about yourself (think values)?
- How will you contribute to this area in your future?
What Matters and Why Dinners - 20 Points
The next what Matters and Why Dinner date will be announced shortly. It will likely be on September 16th or 17th. The event, in and of itself, is a reflection exercise. You will receive 20 points for just attending.
Academic Course Reflection - 100 points
We believe that you can find value and meaning in any course and in any field of study. You can earn points toward completion of the Pathfinder program by reflecting on a course you are taking. Reflections on study abroad experiences are also welcome.
If you think that a course you are taking relates to the themes of PathFinder (life calling, purposeful life work), then submit a reflection. You did the work in the course, now think about a broader meaning from this course and how it relates or can be connected to another course. Reflection submissions should communicate how the course has helped you understand passions and meaning in your life. It should also exemplify the spirit of a liberal arts education by connecting what you learned in one course to others that you have taken.
Any course can qualify for points. However, only two courses per semester may be used towards your points and no more than 50% of your total points can be course reflections. Finally, course reflections cannot be retroactive. The reflection must be completed within two months of completing the course.
FYE and IDY 110 Course Reflection - 100 points
FYE courses are designed to benefit students throughout their college experience and beyond. Therefore, reflections for FYE can be written at anytime during your years at Albion.
IDY 110 - Career and Life Planning - 50 Points: Centers on effective decision-making with direct application to participants’ short and long range life goals. Course will emphasize self-understanding and methods for gathering appropriate external information. Recognition of the benefits of liberal arts, including critical-thinking, writing, and breadth of knowledge is emphasized.
Mentoring Reflection - 100 points total for 4 mentoring meetings
What better way to start buiding professional relationships than through a mentoring program? Through PathFinder, you can get connected with a faculty member or staff. In this part of the program, you are required to meet with your mentor four times throughout an academic semester and provide one reflection for each meeting.
Come into the Career and Internship Center and you will be matched with an on-campus mentor to assist you in an area that you wish to improve upon. Click here for more information.
FURSCA/Elkin Isaac Reflection - 70 points
FURSCA is an incredible opportunity to investigate, interpret and present. This experience will expose you to real life problems and will lead to a better understanding about your interests in the field and methods of exploration.
Reflection Guideline: How did your experience help you to either confirm or rethink your life and career goals? Can you see yourself doing the kind of work that you participated in while in FURSCA? How was this experience meaningful to you? How will this experience benefit your community, country, and world?
Internship Experience Reflection - 100 points
Working in a professional environment has immense value and we want to hear how it has impacted your life. We know that you learned about your chosen profession, but tell us what you learned about yourself through this experience.
Did you learn that you:
- love working with people?
- want to give back to society?
- want to work in a big/small city?
- love to be a problem-solver?
- are totally confused now because you thought you would have loved your internship but didn't?
Leadership/Sporting/Campus Group Participation Reflection - 20 points
Albion College students are involved in no small amount of beneficial activities that lead to out-of-classroom learning. In this program, you are to reflect on your experience and think about a deeper meaning. You are not being asked to do more, just learn more about what you are already doing or have done.
Reflection Guideline: How did the experiences in this experience help me to either confirm or rethink my life and career goals? What impact do I wish to have in the future? How can I use my academic major to make a difference in society? How will I know that I’ve had a meaningful or purposeful role in society? What counts as success in my community, my country, and my world?
Service Experience Reflection - 20 points
Albion College students participate in a vast arrary of community service experiences. For this program, you are being asked to spend some time reflecting upon what you have learned from your experiences.
Reflection Guideline: What are the ethical dimensions of the experience as you observed it in the location of your service experience? What needs to be changed (and who needs to lead this change) to make the situation better? What different cultural perspectives were at play in this context? How will you be better leader in the future because you have learned more about yourself? What can one person do in the face of complex and multi-layered societal issues?
Activity/Meeting/Presentation Reflection - 20 points
Albion College offers a plethora of speakers and events to attend that would count for points.
These are some ideas about what these might include:
- Smooth Transitions meetings
- Lunch meeting sponsored by the Chaplain's Office
- Speaker presenting on an important current topic
- Employer information meeting
- Graduate school information meeting
- FURSCA Presentation (attended not presented). Presenting will earn more points and is a separate category
- Elkin Isaac Presentation (attended not presented). Presenting will earn more points and is a separate category
- Tutoring at a local school (must be at least four separate tutoring sessions)
- Career Vision Trip
- Connecting with an alumni mentor through the Albion College Mentoring Program
Reflection Guideline: What did you learn about yourself? Did you discover an interest or passion that is new to you? Did you discover that you were not as interested or passionate as you thought you might be? In what ways will you use this information in the future? Can you see yourself in a career related to this meeting or activity?
- Mentoring can help you develop knowledge and abilities from others that have expertise in areas that interest you
- The relationship can help you grow professionally and personally to lead to future success in life and work
- Mentoring can help you make connections to professionals that you would have never otherwise met
The PathFinder Mentoring program is a partnership where both you and your mentor will learn from each other. You will meet during the course of the semester and work together to accomplish your learning objectives.
What Does Mentoring Involve?
Your mentoring experience should not be an activity that takes you away from being a successful student. Having a mentor might involve meeting for lunch once per month (you eat lunch anyway) and discussing your agreed upon topics. The only assignment that you have to complete is the initial (one-page) agreement that you and your mentor will work together on to state your learning objectives.
You and your mentor will determine when it works best to meet throughout the semester. We ask that you meet 4+ times during the semester to accomplish your learning objectives and develop a relationship with your mentor.
How Do I Get a Mentor?
You might already know of a staff member or faculty that you admire and would like to learn from. If that is the case, come and talk with us and we'll help arrange an agreement. If you just have a topic in mind, we'll help you get matched up. If you have no topic in mind, we can help with that too!
We hope that you are open to meeting someone new to help you to develop professional networking skills and broaden your connections on campus.
Begin the discussion about mentoring today by contacting The Career and Internship Center via email
or in person (Ferguson 103).
Topics Might Include (but are not limited to):
- Budget Management
- Communications careers
- Developing confidence & self-esteem
- Decision making
- Diversity issues in leadership
- Fair trade
- Faith in the workplace
- LBGTQ issues and leadership
- Grant writing; starting a non-profit
- Graphic design/publishing
- Leadership in community schools
- Maximizing academic success
- Organizational skills
- Purposeful life work
- Servant leadership
- Spirituality and leadership
- Time management
- Vocational calling
- Women in leadership
- Work/life balance
Internal Advisory Committee Members and Affiliated Faculty
Jon Hooks, Chair and Professor, Department of Economics and Management
B.S., 1984, Cameron University; M.A., 1985, University of Texas, Dallas; PhD, 1989, Michigan State University
Bindu Madhok, Chair and John W. Porter Endowed Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy
B.A., 1983, University of Calcutta; Ph.D., 1990, Brown University
William Rose, Chair and Professor, Department of Political Science
B.A., 1981, & J.D., 1987, University of Toledo; Ph.D., 1999, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Gregory Saltzman, Professor, Economics and Management
S.B., S.M., 1976, MIT; Ph.D., 1982, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Kyle Shanton, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Education
B.A., 1985 University of Iowa; M.A., 1990; Ph.D., 1998, University of Arizona
Douglas White, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Biology
B.S., 1976, Pennsylvania State University; M.S., 1978, University of Tennessee; Ph.D., 1989, Rutgers University
External Advisory Committee Members
Joseph Calvaruso, ’78, Executive Director, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation
Raymond Davis, ’84, Attorney, Thrun Law Firm, P.C.
Herold “Mac” Deason, ’64, Attorney, Bodman PLC, Detroit
Brett Decker, ’93, Consulting Director, White House Writers Group
Leslee Fritz, ’94, Director of Public Affairs & Administrative Services, Michigan Department of Civil Rights
George Heartwell, ’71, Mayor, City of Grand Rapids, Michigan
David Hogg, ’69, Retired District Court Judge, 84th District, Michigan
Paul Huth, ’77, Attorney, Paul H Huth PC
Craig Kirby, ’85, Managing Director, Savannah LLC