Strengths at U of A
“As educators, our challenge and our joy is helping students move to levels of personal excellence by becoming the persons they have the potential to be. And the marvelous thing about this perspective is that in the process we also move toward our own levels of personal excellence, becoming the persons we have the potential to be.” — Chip Anderson
“In the context of strong mentoring relationships and a stimulating, safe environment, capitalizing on human strengths enhances motivational forces and promotes academic achievement and personal adjustment, leading to college retention and civic engagement.” — Shane Lopez
“It takes a whole campus of whole persons to develop whole students.” - Larry Braskamp
College is the place where students discover, develop, and apply their talents to become the whole persons they are meant to be. First, the major goal of a college education throughout its history has always been one of helping students “know thyself.” Students come to college with potential, but often undeveloped or at least not yet fully developed, and during college they have opportunities to explore, experiment, learn, and develop in ways that prepare them for life and a career. Second, those who can learn what is meaningful to them, rewarding to them, and reflective of their desires and inner self, are more apt to be engaged. Thus, knowing one’s strengths has a strong motivating factor. Third, persons who build on their strengths are more likely to succeed in what they pursue. (Braskamp, 2006)
Within the last several years, nearly 500 colleges and universities have explored the application of strengths through the implementation of strengths-based programming. This programming attempts to identify and apply a student’s individual strengths to various aspects of life (Lopez & Louis, 2009). Research from using the StrengthsQuest program indicates that students improve in their confidence, motivation, sense of direction and compassion toward others as they become aware of their strengths and how to use them. Research investigations also indicate that by building upon their greatest talents, students can improve their academic performance and persistence to graduation (Braskamp, 2006).
Anderson, Edward C. (2004). StrengthsQuest: Curriculum Outline and Learning Activities. Princeton, NJ: Gallup Organization. Anderson, E. C. (2004). What is strengths-based education?: A tentative answer by someone who strives to be a strengths-based educator. Unpublished manuscript. Braskamp Larry (2006) The StrengthsQuest Guidebook: Introducing Strengths-Based Development and StrengthsQuest to Higher Education Leaders. Princeton, NJ: Gallup Organization Braskamp Larry (2008) StrengthsQuest on the College Campus: From Concept to Implementation. Princeton, NJ: Gallup Organization