At TSTC Waco, Texas we are still using SQ to assist students in serious academic and financial aid trouble through a program named ACTS (Another Chance To Succeed). We are looking at expanding the program to assist first time, full-time students scoring a 6 or above drop out prone rating on the Noel Levitz College Student Inventory assessment beginning this fall of 2008 semester.
Larry, I am currently working on my EdD dissertation in the area of developmental students and strengths-based programs. I would like to talk with you about your ACTS program. Could we possibly talk over the phone about this? I'm interested in looking at the data and maybe comparing it to a national data set. I would also be open to any ideas you might have since you have been using it on your campus. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let me know when it would be convenient to talk.
I would also be interested in anyone else's comments and input who are using SQ with students in remediation or developmental courses.
Larry, I appreciate you sharing about your program with SQ in Texas. I think I may have heard you speak about the program at last year's "Building a Strengths-based campus" conference in 2007 and was excited to see what you all are doing there with SQ.
Would you mind uploading more information about the program. I've gone from the 4 year school to community college system and am trying to maintain some momentum that I've started with SQ here.
Hi ... I'm from Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Michigan, we are embarking on using strengths theory for both our employees as well as our students. We just started a Student Success Center last Fall, and I've been trying to "push" strengths theory through a Managers Book Discussion. I'm interested in talking with anyone else who is using/implementing this on the employee side.
Our college, Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) in Canada began a college-wide initiative a little over a year ago, introducing Strengthsfinder2.0 to all staff and faculty, holding staff pd days that are focused on engaging employees in the strengths approach. In conjunction with the awareness campaign, the college has gone with a strengths-based Employee Success Plan approach to performance review and goal-setting, and managers are beginning to coach their staff towards strengths-based professional development. Some amazing stuff happening as a result ... people getting turned on to their own career path (which warms the heart of we career counsellors :) . This year coming will see some implementation of strengths with the students. So, we've come a the process in the reverse order to some colleges in the states ... employees first, then students.
Hi Sheila ... thanks for the response. I actually met two of your colleagues, Lindsey Oram and Libby LaVatte, at Gallup's Strength Advocate training last week! I got Lindsey's business card as I really like what you're doing in terms of the Employee Success Plan. In fact she's going to share some of your goal-setting materials with me.
I agree that the majority of schools seem to jump in on the student side first, which I suppose is natural because that is, and should be, the focus of colleges. I'm of the mind though that we need to be "walking the talk" for this to be truly successful. A woman I met from a private school in Indiana told me that they jumped in on the student side first and then realized that most of the staff, including those on the Student Services side, didn't have a clue what the students were talking about!
We started Strengths through a faculty team and now we have facilitated training for 20% of our faculty and staff. The North Lake College Leadership was so excited they had the Organization and Development arm of the college institute the training. My email is email@example.com. Maybe we can start a conversation.
Hi Sherry ... I guess you could say I am the OD department at KVCC - formally known as Staff Development with a 29 hour a week assistant. But, I think we're doing lots of different stuff around talents and strengths. Under a current college initiative "Managing Enrollment", we have a committee charged with developing a platform for a strengths-based community. As a result, we're re-doing our performance appraisal system with a whole new focus - strengths-based (no more "competency" ratings), future focused, designed to facilitate conversations between employees and supervisors around strengths, work styles, accomplishments, motivators, recognition preferences, etc.
All employee's are hired using a talent/strengths based profile, and employees go through a series of workshops: Talent: The Foundation (introductory), then get their access code for the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment, then take Strengths Discovery and Exploration (where talents come from, affirmation of their top 5 from the assessment, and how they apply them in their current roles). From there, I work with individual units on topics like theme dynamics for both individuals and teams.
I've also developed an 8 session workshop around Marcus Buckingham's book "Go Put Your Strengths to Work". I limit participation to 8 people as it requires a lot of introspection and discussion. The outcomes for this workshop are for folks to focus in on the essence of what they do well AND enjoy doing, how to push more of their time towards doing more of whatever that is AND help the unit/college accomplish the work that needs to be done, and finally prepare to have conversations with their colleagues and supervisor about how they can contribute more if they could use these strengths more (without coming across like a self-centered jerk).
On our campus, Ken Barr, Jr. works with our faculty to introduce strengths into the classroom. Honestly, we got off to a rough start with our faculty. When we began this journey, it started on the staff side with a consulting company that had no experience with higher ed. They did have some profiles for secondary ed that we had some of our instructors take, which where not "sophisticated" enough. As a result, some of the language of the initial work we did was either too "corporate" or "insulting" on the educational side. We're hoping time will heal the wounds. After about a year or so, we realized that Gallup was working extensively with higher ed AND had resources for the business side, so we switched.
My goal for the next year is to work more with supervisory groups on Gallup's Q12, recognition, motivation, goal setting (around strengths), etc.
So, these are the kinds of things we are doing at KVCC. It's a journey, and a great one. Of course, all of this is based on positive psychology, and Positivity is my #1 talent theme, so, duh! To me it's such a win-win-win. Employees win because the organization focuses on what they're good at and asks them to do more of it (versus a focus on "areas of opportunity"), the organization wins because engaged employees are more creative, resilient, and productive, and our students win because we help them discover, develop, and determine their future based on their own natural talents.
I use Strengths in a 2nd-year course, where the students are also required to perform internships with local companies. I have them do self-reflection each week, via a log entry. Two of the questions I ask on the log are "Describe an instance did you use (or wish you had used) your signature strengths" and "Describe a time when you observed someone you were working with using one of their strengths."
I think Strengths Quest is valuable not just for helping students recognize their own strengths, but in recognizing that we all have different strengths, and just because someone else doesn't approach a problem the same way they do doesn't make them wrong.