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StrengthsFinder - StrengthsFinder - A Comprehensive Strengths-Based Approach

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January 2005
Since its implementation in August 2000, the StrengthsFinder and a strengths-based approach to student success have had a noticeable impact on the Greenville College campus. Individually and collectively, many students, faculty and staff have integrated strength-based thinking and language into their daily lives.

Students:

 

  • Students use StrengthsQuest as part of the first-year seminar (COR 101) required of all freshmen and transfer sophomores.
  • Each COR 101 instructor is asked to devote at least three class sessions to the StrengthsFinder results. Often class work and assignments enhance the students' understanding and application of their strengths.
  • The COR 301 course for transfer students has been redesigned with a strengths-based perspective.
  • The interdisciplinary senior capstone course (COR 401) involves students working in small groups which must reflect a variety of academic majors and a constructive mix of students' strengths.
  • Resident Chaplains are encouraged to facilitate discussions in the residence halls with individuals and small groups of students.
  • Some of the coaches are intentional about meeting discussing with athletes how to transfer the application of strengths from the athletic arena to student success in the classroom. Last year the Women's Basketball Coach gave each student a photo and plaque on which he identified two strengths that had contributed to the team's success that season.
  • "Care Team" meetings with at-risk students always involve, and usually begin with, a conversation about the student's strengths.
  • Faculty advisors are encouraged to include strengths in conversations about academic and career planning.
  • Each spring, a special "strengths" dinner is hosted in the Dining Commons with students sitting at a table identified for conversation about one of the 34 strengths. Faculty and staff guide conversations over the dinner hour.
  • The "Learning Contract" completed by each student on academic probation includes a listing of the student's strengths.
  • The "Counselor Intake Form" used in the Counseling Center includes a listing of the student's top five strengths.
  • Students on probation sometimes are asked to meet with the Strengths Program Coordinator to explore ways the student can use strengths to improve study habits, comprehension etc.
  • The student newspaper ran a very amusing weekly "StrengthsFinder Horoscope" for several months, as well as several articles about the strengths project.
  • Student information on the campus Intranet site includes the students' strengths, unless they request that information not to be public.
  • All students in Greenville's degree completion program (currently 200+) use Now, Discover Your Strengths as a textbook in the first module, with about two hours devoted to helping the cohort understand and apply their strengths as these older students return to college.

Faculty:

 

 

  • Faculty members and many of their spouses have completed the StrengthsFinder. Faculty members have been provided with training on how to incorporate strengths in advising students and in applying their strengths to improve teaching and student learning.
  • Approximately 20 faculty and staff were trained as Strengths' Coaches by Gallup.
  • Greenville 's Intranet site includes a "sort" mechanism allowing employees to see the strengths of other employees (with their permission) and to do a sort by each of the 34 strengths to see which employees have that strength.
  • All faculty and staff have been given a personalized "strengths plaque" that can be posted outside the office door or on a desk or shelf in the office.

Board:

 

 

  • The Board and spouses spent a half-day workshop session with Dr. Chip Anderson in order to better understand what it means to be a strengths-based campus and how the Board could work more effectively with their combination of strengths.
  • In November 2003, each Board committee spent time with a campus "Strengths Coach" to discuss their individual strengths and how the committees could work more effectively around their strengths.

Hiring and Evaluation:

 

 

  • Every new full-time employee hired by Greenville College completes the StrengthsFinder instrument, with the employee's strengths listed on the Personnel Action Form.
  • Goals of the President's Cabinet members are articulated in relation to strengths.
  • The annual performance reviews has, in some years, incorporated elements of the "strengths" project; conversations about the 12 "workplace audit" questions that were developed by Gallup have also been included.

Staff:

 

 

  • Staff members have been provided several in-service "strength-based" training opportunities which were designed to enhance understanding of their own strengths as well as the strengths of others.
  • New Employee Orientation has included a block of time at which the strengths-based approach is discussed, with conversation about the strengths of the new employees.

Student & Faculty Top Strengths:

 

 

  • The top five strengths of Greenville College students are: Adaptability, Developer, Empathy, Belief and Positivity.
  • The top five strengths of Greenville College faculty members are Learner, Input, Connectedness, Achiever and Responsibility.