The Purposeful Graduate (2015)

Listen to a 90 second synopsis of the book’s key findings on WAMC’s Academic Minute. Read why ‘Vocation’ is not a dirty word. Learn about a network of 250+ campuses now engaged in vocational exploration with undergraduates. Or find out what I mean by “Holy Grit.”

You can also listen to my podcast interviews with the staff of Callings, in an episode titled “California Freeways and New Jersey Diners,” with Professor Bradley Wright (UConn) on his School of Purpose, with Dr. Bryan Dik and his Purposeful Work Podcast, with Professor Tony Gill, host of the “Research on Religion” podcast, with Dr. Al Zambone on Historically Thinking podcast #69, and with Dr. Bonni Stachowiak on Teaching in Higher Ed podcast #083.

From the dust jacket:
“At this time of increasing doubt and uncertainty in higher education, Clydesdale has given us a shining path forward. The Purposeful Graduate is well reasoned yet passionate in its recommendations. It is also a good read, filled with compelling stories of young people searching for meaningful vocations in our complex world. I recommend it to anyone who cares about the future of higher education in this country.”
—William Damon, Stanford University

“An impressive, large-scale mixed-methods, and richly qualitative examination of a program funded by the Lilly Endowment. . . . Clydesdale usefully points to the institutional exigencies that make higher education both a difficult and a fruitful place for change. He finds that these programs, with the right institutional location, leadership, and focus, can make an extremely positive impact on student resilience, engagement, and mental health and on faculty and staff connections to their work and their professional communities. . . . Clydesdale’s book holds higher education to its potential and its promise to nurture our search for purpose on our campuses and—with an important optimism—concludes that this is within our reach.”
American Journal of Sociology

News & reviews: The book was featured in a Dec 2016 essay in America magazine, cited in the AAUP’s Academe in the Sept/Oct 2016 issue, reviewed by Marc Thomas for NAFSA in May 2016, reviewed by Lisa Stulberg in the July 2016 issue of the American Journal of Sociology, and reviewed by Cara Arena in the 2017 Winter Issue of the Review of Higher Education. The Purposeful Graduate was also recommended by Education Dive as one of six books “educators should catch up on over the holidays.” I was interviewed by Tim Goral, and his article, “Reclaiming the Higher Calling of Higher Education” appeared in the Oct 2015 issue of University Business. I was also interviewed for Duke University’s Faith & Leadership Project. Jessica Robinson of Baylor University reviewed the book for Christian Higher Education, Robert Osburn reviewed it for First Things, and Luke Hlavin reviewed it for the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. Tim Muldoon wrote about the book on his Patheos blog, Dr. McPhail of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering blogged about the book on Oct 6, 2015. And Michael Sean Winters reviewed the book in the National Catholic Reporter; his review appeared in two parts: NCR part 1, NCR part 2. He concludes “The skepticism with which I began the book – purpose exploration sounded a little Oprah-ish to my ears – was dispelled by the time I finished it. If your school does not have such a program, it should. If your child does not engage such a program, they should. And, if you care about higher education and you have not read this book, you should.”

panel pic with book background  Clydesdale response
I was honored that my colleagues at TCNJ organized a student reader panel and celebratory reception in September 2015. Here’s the student newspaper article about the event, along with a 4 minute highlight video.