About Strengths @ WMU

about Strengths

The Office of Student Transitions has run a two-year pilot program, in fall 2017 and fall 2018, in approximately half of First-Year Seminar sections.  Students in these sections were provided with an access code.  During the semester, they took the assessment, participated in an in-class presentation and Strengths activities, and had 1:1 coaching sessions with WMU Strengths Champions.

Data collected from the Fall 2017 pilot indicated:

  • Students improved in self-knowledge and self-confidence
  • Engaging in Strengths activities helped students better connect with their peers and work on teams
  • Strengths understanding affirmed major/career choices
  • Students saw how Strengths can help them plan their future

All of the themes that emerged from the fall 2017 pilot qualitative data also emerged from the fall 2018 reflection papers.   Strongest themes included:

  • Self-awareness and self-discovery
  • Understanding how to use Strengths in academics, career paths, and future planning
  • Interpersonal development
  • Deeper Strengths knowledge

Additionally, of the 416 active pilot students from fall 2018, 89% said Strengths should be included in all First-Year Seminar classes.

Strengths will continue to be used in First-Year Seminar sections during fall 2019, and Strengths has been used in other leadership classes with upper-class students.  Anyone on campus who has taken Strengths can request a 1:1 coaching session, and Champions are available to do Strengths presentations and activities with student or professional staffs.

 Many units on campus are invested in helping students identify, understand, and apply their Strengths.  In addition to the Office of Student Transitions, the following departments use Strengths:

 

What are the 34 Strengths?

Curious to know what all 34 Strengths are? Download the quick reference document.

When you take the assessment you will receive your Top 5 Strengths, along with several reports explaining the terms and offering insight as to what that means for you. You will also have life-long access to your Gallup account, which will provide you with valuable resources as you continue to dive deeper into embracing your Strengths.

Your Strengths truly make you a unique individual.  In fact, the chances of you having the same Top 5 in the same order as someone else are 1 in 33 million!

It is important to know that everyone possess all 34 Strengths. All 34 signature themes are ranked for you in some capacity and it is important to know that you are not lacking in any of them. Those towards the top of your list simply come more naturally to you than others. You receive your Top 5 because it has been scientifically proven to be the easiest number to memorize in numerical order.

It is also important to remember that CliftonStrengths are not prescriptive. You can do any job or study any major with any combination of Strengths. There is no direct correlation between individual Strengths and success in academic majors.  Instead, we encourage you to understand what you do best and determine how to apply it to be successful in any major or career.

How Do I take Strengths?

Access codes for Strengths cost $12 each.  They can be purchased at StrengthsQuest, or the following ways:

 Incoming First-Year Students (new beginners and new transfers)

  • If you will be a first-year student this fall, be sure to opt into a First-Year Seminar class that uses Strengths.  You will purchase a copy of CliftonStrengths for Students as one of your textbooks, and that will include your access code.

 Current Students

  • Visit Career and Student Employment Services in Ellsworth hall.  You can receive a free access code, but must also schedule a 1:1 coaching session to discuss the results of your assessment.

 Adult Learners (age 25+)

  • Visit Office of Student Transitions in Ellsworth hall.  You can receive a free access code, but must also schedule a 1:1 coaching session to discuss the results of your assessment.

 Faculty/Staff

  • Purchase codes for students, student employees, G.A.’s, or professional staff through the Office of Student Transitions via fund transfer from departmental funds.

How to Use Strengths

For students

  • After you take the assessment, meet with a Strengths Champion for an individual coaching session.  Many students say this is the best way to help them truly understand what their Strengths mean and how to productively apply them.
  • Use Strengths language to convey what you do best on resumes and in interviews.
  • Find good-fit extra-curricular activities that fit your passion and help you thrive.
  • Understand how to leverage your Strengths to be successful academically – how and when do you best think, study, retain information, and take tests? Having this self-awareness can help you be a more engaged and productive student.
  • Know what value you bring to a group and understand what type of partners you need to come alongside you so that you have a dynamic team.

 For Faculty/Staff

  • Discover your Top 5 and have an individual coaching session. Beginning to speak the language of Strengths will allow you to connect with students and/or colleagues who also know their Strengths.
  • Consider having your department sponsor the purchase of access codes so that you can integrate Strengths into your current classwork or work environment.  Strengths is not about adding “one more thing” to your agenda, it is about intentionally incorporating awareness into what you already have planned. It is also a great professional development tool to create a culture of affirmation and engagement.
  • Request a Strengths Champion to facilitate an Intro to Strengths presentation in your classroom or for your staff as professional development.
  • Additional Strengths activities can also be added to your class or staff during the semester.
  • Participate in Strengths Academy to be WMU Strengths Champion.