Course Syllabus

IST 1000 1: Vocation & Orientation

Winter 2019

Instructor: Caran Ware Joseph Email: Phone: 303.765.3111
Student Hours: I will be contacting you to discuss some of your personal learning goals but I also want you to know that I am available by appointment during the quarter. Please, contact me by email or phone to make an appointment.

Welcome! In this course, we will learn from spiritual practices, each other, texts, music, film, poetry, visual art, and a variety of communities. This course is designed to meet some of the learning goals for your degree. It might also offer a few surprises along the way.

Through our work together over the quarter in a small group setting, we will attend to the following purposes:

  1. Providing a small group “sacred space” where you can come to know one another, including your different faith understandings and traditions, at a deeper level than is usually experienced in your other courses. Sacred space has the expectation of honesty, transformation, and healing. It may sometimes be uncomfortable, much as athletic training can be challenging in a way that does not harm, but yields greater strength and skill.
  2. Introducing you to Iliff (if you're a new student), and assisting you in understanding and adjusting to the framework and characteristics of theological education, which is somewhat different from those in other kinds of educational programs you may have experienced in the past. You will be invited into agency about your negotiation of these experiences throughout your time at Iliff.
  3. Assisting you to reflect theologically on and speak about your personal and professional identity, and your ongoing vocational discernment. The focus will move back and forth between who we are as unique individuals and the needs of institutional contexts for particular kinds of leaders.
  4. Empowering you to engage in spiritual practices that enable you to navigate a vocation towards and/or in social justice.
  5. Providing you a space to practice spiritual, imaginative, courageous and nonviolent dialogue around complex social justice concerns.
  6. Assisting you in accomplishing an additional goal you may wish to achieve as a result of taking this course. I will be in conversation with students individually about what they are hoping to achieve in this course.

You will not need to purchase a text for this course. All readings will be posted on Canvas.

Course Requirements



Credit Hours:  For each graduate credit awarded by a course at the Iliff School of Theology, students should be spending approximately one hour (50 minutes) in contact with the instructor and three hours (150 minutes) on course work outside of class per week over the equivalent of a 10-week quarter. This applies to residential, intensive, online and hybrid classes alike. For more details see Iliff's Credit Hour Policy.

Absences: As published in the Masters Student Handbook, absence from classes equivalent to 20% of course work (two weeks for a ten-week course) may be grounds for suspension from a course with WF (Withdrawal Failing) recorded on the transcript. 

Academic Integrity and Core Values:  All students are expected to abide by Iliff’s statement on Academic Integrity, as published in the Masters Student Handbook.  All participants in this class are expected to be familiar with Iliff’s Core Values.

Accommodations:  Iliff engages in a collaborative effort with students with disabilities to reasonably accommodate student needs.   Students are encouraged to contact their assigned advisor to initiate the process of requesting accommodations.  The advising center can be contacted at or by phone at 303-765-1146. 

Writing Lab:  Grammar and organization are important for all written assignments.  Additional help is available from the Iliff Writing Lab, which is available for students of any level who need help beginning an assignment, organizing thoughts, or reviewing a final draft. 

Inclusive Language:  It is expected that all course participants will use inclusive language in speaking and writing, and will use terms that do not create barriers to classroom community. 

Course Summary:

Date Details Due