Playing to Your Strengths
The students who start South Mountain Community College this fall will be the first to be exposed to the new strengths-based curriculum. What the heck is that, you ask? Simply put, each person associated with the college — faculty, staff, and students — takes a brief assessment to identify where his or her strengths lie. Armed with that knowledge, we are then able to capitalize on them and enhance learning at the college.
Typically speaking, classrooms are led in a “the teacher speaks and the students listen” kind of way. However, the majority of people don’t learn best from talking heads. With the strengths assessment, both students and instructors at SMCC are able to play to the way people learn best, creating a more supportive environment that leads to future successes.
The four types of strengths include executing, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking. While most people are dominant in one area over the others, we all have a little bit of each of the differing styles to make us the unique individuals we are. The convergence of these strengths builds our way of thinking, feeling, or behaving, and that is called our Signature Theme.
SMCC is leading the charge among colleges and universities in strengths-based curriculum, as we are the first school in Arizona to move in this direction. The assessment itself will be integrated into all of new students’ initial tests, and students can then incorporate that information into their college and career choices. Since all SMCC employees have completed the assessment already, students will find a wealth of resources across campus.
High-school students involved in this summer’s minority male program on campus completed the assessment and saw great benefit in knowing their preferred way of relating to the world. As one young man shared, “I learned that I can use my strengths to my advantage.” And having that innate advantage will make college — and life — that much more rewarding.