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Institute for Pastoral Initiatives News

Flyer 'Faith'ful

By John LeComte

As a retired colonel in the U.S. Air Force, and now career advisor at the University of Dayton, Lisa Witt gives new meaning to "flyer" and "faithful."

After seeing the announcement that University employees can register for 3-5 week online classes for free, Lisa Witt seized the opportunity.   

"I participated in online courses but this was the first one that focused on faith," said Witt. "I was not raised Catholic but I converted in college."

When I asked Lisa to tell me about herself, and why she decided to enroll in our online program, I had no idea she was an Air Force colonel.  Retired in 2012, Witt oversaw people and resources in support of the Air Force's primary scientific intelligence mission. It was here she developed her passion for working with different cultures which transferred to her work at the University in designing programs to support international students. Early in her Air Force career she also managed the support functions of instructor pilot school with the 25th Flying Training Squadron at Vance AFB in Oklahoma. 

"I never flew, but I did everything to support the mission of training new pilots," said Witt, who has an aerospace engineering degree and held active duty and reserve positions for the National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) which is now one of the many employers who come to the UD career fairs.

So what made Witt check out the free online faith formation courses?

"I have been struggling with my prayer life," she admitted.  "I wanted the ability to feel connected with my faith again and the online course helped me."

After completing a Master in Community Counseling, Witt started working for the University's career services office in 2013.  In her role, she provides assistance to students and alumni on a wide variety of topics, including career development, job searches and networking strategies.

So her main challenge while attempting to learn online?  Her demanding work schedule.   

"My experience is that everyone is so busy, there is no time to take advantage of such opportunities," said Witt. "I had visions (when I first started here) of going to mass on my lunch break and really being able to deepen my spirituality.  This course provided a myriad of ways to continue my faith journey. 

Perhaps the biggest payoff for Witt was the community aspect of the course, sharing her thoughts with people all over the world on the discussion board.  The program is known as the Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF) 

"I met Gina Greenwood (Department of Facilities Management) through the course," she said. "I would never have met Gina in my day-to-day interactions. We started having lunch and our friendship and faith have grown from there. I truly believe God intervened with me taking the course and meeting Gina."

God certainly does work in mysterious ways, and for Lisa Witt, makes her "Flyer Faithful."

The University's Department of Human Resources covers the cost of the VLCFF courses for faculty and staff.  Dayton alumni are welcome to register for a course at a reduced rate of $40 per e-seminar and $50 per e-course.  Currently 80 Arch(dioceses) partner with the VLCFF for adult religious education, faith formation and teacher certification. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Linkedin.

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