Wegmans & University?

by Jennifer Amiccuci, Director of Admissions Operations

While recently browsing LinkedIn, I came across an article that was posted via The Chronicle of Higher Education, entitled “What a University Can Learn from Wegmans”.  While I immediately was drawn to the article because of the mention of one of my favorite grocery chains, I found it to be an interesting read regarding how American University’s research with a grocery store (and the Cleveland Clinic) could relate to their “Reinventing the Student Experience” project.  It details the initiative to research ways to enhance the satisfaction and retention of its students in order to create a strong alumni network of those who will want to further invest into the university post-graduation.

It was another great example of looking “outside-of-the-box” to get ideas that they were seeking, rather than going in circles of trying the same initiatives over again. 

If interested, please click here to read the article.

 

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Strengths Spotlight: Learner

Beth-Moriarty-2by Beth Moriarty, Director – Residence Life and Housing

Top 5:

When I first took the Strengths Finder Assessment and found out my number one theme of talent was Learner, I was really taken aback.  I had some preconceived notions that made me react negatively.  I thought learner = nerdy.  But as a true learner, I set out to find out everything I could about my Learner theme.  Initially, I thought I would “learn” about this theme and prove that it was not a strength of mine.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  I immediately began to use this strength.  The truth is that Learner actually suits me to a “T”.    I love the description from my Signature Theme Report:  “You love to learn and you simply enjoy the process of learning”.  Reading this I thought, wow, how did they know that about me?”

 Q1:  How do you define this theme of talent for yourself?

For me the learner theme manifests itself in my natural curiosity.  I hear about something new and I immediately want to know more.  I want to research what it means.  I want to know how I can use this knowledge.  Most importantly, I want to share what I have learned about whatever it is that I am currently learning about.  I believe this is why I love to teach and I enjoy presenting at conferences so much.  Teaching in the graduate program and presenting workshops at conferences gives me the outlet to share my learner strength with others.

 Q2: When this talent is applied, what has this theme enabled you to do in your role at BSU?

It’s hard to separate my learner strength from the other themes of talent in my Top 5.  I have often stated that having learner, input and achiever together help to make me a strong Director of Residence Life and Housing, however on the flip side, I sometimes feel that this combination can make me difficult to work for.  How this helps to move my department forward, in my opinion, is that I’m constantly looking for new and better ways to do things.  I like to read up on new trends and to be first to try to implement them.  I think an example of this would be instituting on-line room selection for students.  We undertook that process at BSU long before any of our peer institutions did.  I like to constantly raise the bar and my learner strength facilitate that.

Q3: How is this theme of talent sometimes misunderstood?

Again I feel that it’s a combination of my learner and input strengths that are most often misunderstood.  Both of these themes involve a level of curiosity.  When a staff member has a new idea or project that they are trying to pitch usually in a staff meeting, my Learner and Input will often come into play by asking lots of questions.  Often times staff members misread these questions and think I’m against their new idea and I’ll shoot it full of holes.  In fact, it is just the opposite, the more interesting I find the idea; the more questions that I will ask because I can’t wait to hear more.

Q4: What are ways you have helped this talent to “mature” over the course of your career and experience?

Like a true learner, the more I have discovered about this strength the more I want to continue to use it and to embrace it.  In my career, I have most used this strength in my role as an educator; whether it’s one on one learning opportunities with students, teaching in the graduate program here at BSU, presenting at conferences or attending workshops, I’m always trying to take my development to a new level.  On a more personal level, I’m an avid reader and I enjoy reading all types of books.  I seldom go anywhere without my Kindle and I’m often reading more than one book at a time.

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Strengths Spotlight: Intellection

by Kaitlyn Dyleski, Assistant Director – Office of Student Involvement and Leadership

Nerd.

Bookworm.

Daydreamer.

Seeing Intellection in my top 5 initially brought those words to my mind; all of which I fully embrace.  However, as I read more about Intellection as a talent, I began to see the moments in my life when I had been utilizing it. I began to notice moments when a thought would get away from me and I would just start thinking about it and researching more information (this is where my Learner talent intersects). I began to notice that other tasks would be left undone because I had gone on to pursue this other idea or thought. In those moments, I was not just casually thinking about this idea.  I was thinking about it from multiple perspectives, I was considering alternatives, and I was interested in gaining a deep understanding of the concept. Basically, I like to think, a lot.

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In my work, I have found Intellection to be useful because for me it is inherently interesting to research things that are only slightly relevant to my specific job responsibilities.  For example, I am not directly responsible for deciding how a lounge space is shaped, furnished or painted, yet I have read several different articles about what makes a room functional and comfortable for students to study in, build community in, or have an event in. What type of seating is best, what color paint should be used, etc. I know, I sound like I should have considered a career in interior design.  Still, for me, having that information in my back pocket makes me feel prepared to talk to students and colleagues about what might be needed in the campus center. Simply having the information makes me feel comfortable. And, I found it really interesting to read about; just because.

Like any other theme of talent, Intellection has not been without its downsides. I have always been slow to add my two cents to a conversation, both personally and professionally.  I used to attribute this to my introvert personality, but now I understand that Intellection was likely playing a role as well.  I like to really process whatever is being talked about and develop my own opinion internally before voicing it.  Unfortunately, many times this has led to me not sharing at all because the group has moved on to a different topic or the meeting has ended altogether. Missed opportunities, for sure.  When I was in graduate school, this was incredibly frustrating for my supervisor.  He kept saying to me, “your ideas and opinions are valuable, but the whole group needs to hear them.”  After that, I worked to add my opinion more quickly and frequently.  It was becoming apparent to me that the thinking I was doing would only be valuable if I shared it.

On the other side of that coin, however, is the great benefit that I usually fully filter and vet whatever is about to come out of my mouth.  My initial, knee-jerk reaction is rarely shared because I spend so much processing before I vocalize my thoughts.  This has saved me on countless occasions.

I have also found ways to utilize my talent of Intellection in tandem with my other talents (Learner, Context, Input, Connectedness). With four out of my five falling in the Strategic domain, I have found ways to use these to collect information that will help me to accomplish my tasks if I can plan them out appropriately.  Now in the day to day life of student involvement, the best-laid plans are usually interrupted, but because I have collected the information and planned ahead of time, I am also able to adjust because I feel prepared.

In a society that values the non-stop, go, go, go mentality I am challenged by my Intellection talent, but I also find immense value in it. I try to create moments to tease out a concept or dissect a new article about student development. Only if I utilize it can this talent become a Strength and only if I share my knowledge can it be valuable to my team.

Introspective.

Philosopher.

Scholar.

I think those are a better fit.

“I don’t pretend we have all the answers. But the questions are certainly worth thinking about.” –Arthur C. Clarke, writer

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Strengths Spotlight: Input

by Ann Doyle, Coordinator – Outreach Education

Top 5: Learner, Individualization, Intellection, Relator and Input

I am so excited to share some information about my talent of Input. It’s #5 on my list after Learner, Individualization, Intellection, and Relator.

Input makes me inquisitive and a collector. As a talent it can be super helpful and it can also be overwhelming. I love to gather information and make sure I know just about everything about a topic – which is great when I have the time to really do thorough research. Frequently though, deadlines approach and I have to stop collecting and start writing.

In my role in Outreach Education, I use Input daily. It is so important to be current on health related topics to be sure I am providing the best information to the BSU Peer Educators. I follow several online digests that provide information in summary formats and then if I want to do more research, I can later. The summarized formats keep me current without bogging me down.

At meetings, I have learned to hold myself back from asking too many questions. In the past, my inquisitive nature has been seen as ‘questioning’ of those who are trying to make a quick decision. I need information to feel well informed, doesn’t everyone want as much information as possible? Combine my Input with my Learner and you get the idea that I can be full of questions and just love to learn new things, which can make some people a bit put out. People who want a quick decision, and don’t want lots of questions, can become frustrated with my asking and processing but those who know me and have worked with me appreciate the thorough nature with which I approach problems. Plus, I have knowledge that can be shared later. I collect information just because it’s fun!

Related to work, I have developed the skill of limiting my information gathering. I get so excited about the research that I would spend far too much time doing the research. I have learned that most people are not that excited about research and data. Sad, but true!

In my outside work life, I can spend all the time I want researching and making a decision. I start my buying process, or better said, my buying research, much earlier than most. I began looking for a car about two years before I really needed one. I read Consumer Reports, check websites, read all sorts of reviews on repairs, owner satisfaction, car buying experience with various dealers. Some would find this overwhelming but I enjoy the experience. It’s so fun to know almost as much as the dealers! I want to be armed with all the info I might possibly need.

So, need a person for a trivia team? Find someone with Input. They enjoy gathering information and are generally able to pull it back out to share with others.

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Strengths Spotlight: Individualization

by Maribeth Flakes, Associate Director – Office of Student Involvement and Leadership

Top 5: Woo, Empathy, Communication, Individualization, Discipline

In elementary school, I was always most interested in the comments my teachers would leave, I distinctly remember hoping they would write something about how I got along well with my peers or I was a team player in the classroom, but then my mom would tell me the same consistent message… my teachers always wrote that I talked too much. To this day my talking to people is sometimes a little much, particularly to introverted types (like my husband) but, everyone has a different story and I am always interested in knowing getting to know what makes you, you so now I see it as a strength, a quality of what makes me unique and thankfully, now I have some backup for my thoughts…

I describe my Individualization as what drives that curiosity behind people and their individual stories. I listen to the nuances of when people share and I try to ask questions that allow people to know I am not hearing them, I am genuinely listening, and I want to know more. Getting an accurate ‘read’ on people has always come easy to me, I try to determine how people like to work with others, what makes them upset or happy, and what drives them to do what they do, and when working with others, I try to accommodate to the style and preference of the team members.

talking

In my work at BSU, it is important to me to get to know the students and colleagues I work with, our work at the University is only a part of who we are, and to best work together, I always feel like it is important to appreciate the other parts of who we are. I often feel like my individualization helps me be a good judge of character. I really value how my individualization works alongside my theme of Empathy, and my theme of Communication which allows me to articulate how people are different and have different approaches. Alot of the work I am most passionate around are issues of social justice and diversity and I believe that comes from my general appreciation of difference, individualization helps me see people for who they are as individuals not necessarily as a group or some social construct. It’s important to me that students and colleagues know I appreciate them for who they are, where they are. Another area that has helped me best understand myself and my individualization is around giving recognition, I have always loved celebrating people’s successes and wins, for me it isn’t enough to just thank everyone, I like giving meaningful and individualized recognition that is thought out just for that person, and the truth is.. that’s how I like to receive recognition too.

Looking back, I understand how my teachers may have misunderstood my talent of Individualization and through time I have learned the rules of ‘time and place’. I like to believe, however, that the time and energy I took getting to know my classmates, even in elementary school, was valuable to them and to me in the long run.

 

 

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Student Affairs Technology Week

BSU Student Affairs Technology Week

BSU Student Affairs Technology Week

Over the past three years (2013, 2014, & 2015), our division’s Technology Committee has offered Social Media Week programs in person and online to support our colleagues’ various social media uses. This year, the Technology Committee is expanding our scope of topics and providing all the education online!

Before diving into the online training, please login into the Atomic Learning online platform using your BSU credentials.

Tuesday, May 31st: Microsoft Office 365
As BSU fully migrates over to Microsoft Office 365, learn more about all the new features to get a head start on how you and your staff could fully integrate the numerous new features available!

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Wednesday, June 1: Refreshing Presentations
The summer is a great time to refresh those presentations that you plan on using for your student and/or staff training. Below are some great resources for you to help rethink and reframe how you great dynamic and engaging presentations!

Books:
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Once you have your presentation slides updated, give them a test run at the BSU “One Button Studio!” For more information on this exciting BSU resource, click on the link below and send any question you may have to Eric LePage in the Teaching and Technology Center!

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Thursday, June 2: Social Media Marketing
As more of our departments use social media to communicate and engage with students, our use of paid social media advertisements on Facebook and Twitter needs to become part of our digital communication strategies. Check out these resources to enhance your social media messages and to get them seen by more people!

Facebook Blueprint: Online modules to learn how to best advertise on Facebook!

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Looking for presentation ideas? Check out the “social network” for presentations: SlideShare!

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We hope that you take full advantage next week (and beyond) of all the available training modules on the Atomic Learning Platform!

What other technology or social media education are you looking for? How can the Technology and/or Professional Development committees support departments and individuals better?

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Strengths Spotlight: Includer

Justin Mug shot 2011by Justin McCauley, Assistant Director – Residence Life and Housing

Top 5: Arranger, Includer, Developer, Connectedness, Learner

Hello, my name is Justin McCauley and I am an Includer.  That is, Includer is my second strongest theme of talent out of my Strengths Quest Top 5.  Arranger, Developer, Connectedness and Learner are my other four themes.  This is important to know in order to view my Includer theme in the proper context.

My journey into Strengths Quest began after some of my friends, co-workers, peers and – most notably my wife – had already engaged in learning about their themes of talent and had begun training on how to utilize this new information.  I was lucky to be surrounded by a lot of people, who spoke the language, when I finally completed the assessment.

Runner crossing finish line

Nobody that knew me well was surprised to learn Includer was one of my top themes of talent.  I am infamous for always wanting to “expand the circle”.  Anybody that has worked for or with me knows that I try to solicit all opinions prior to making decisions in committee or team settings.  My wife will tell you that there is no such thing as small, intimate group outings or gathering because I always think of “just one more” person to invite.  You should have seen me when we were planning our wedding.

I joke about the little annoying intricacies of being an Includer but I genuinely relate to this theme of talent.  It is a part of me of which I am very proud.  I see being an Includer as a kind and caring strength that is beneficial to others.  It also helps to fuel my desire to socialize and interact with people.  It helps me to engage in small talk and really learn about people that others may not take the opportunity to.  I feel an obligation to engage with other when they seem lost, in need or uncomfortable.  I am they guy that makes friends while waiting at the DMV.

My Includer talent has also helped me to remain mindful of other people and their needs.  While this can sometimes feel suffocating when I have to make quick decisions, it has most often serves me well and helps me to build and maintain important relationships.  I like to believe that this helps people to view me as genuinely interested in their stories and situations.

This talent has helped me a lot in my work within Residence Life & Housing.  When I think back to my days working as a resident director, one of my favorite memories is of my large office assistant staff.  The Includer in me just couldn’t see any way around hiring students that I knew had work study funds and needed a job despite the lack of a need for that many student employees.  The Includer in me kept hiring these students and the Arranger in me then forced me to find creative ways to utilize them all.

Each year I would hire a lot more office assistants than my peers.  I didn’t need to hire all of these student employees and I had to work hard to create a system where managing such a large staff would yield a positive benefit.  At the end of the day it wound up serving me as a strength that was worth the extra coordination and the processing of all of those timesheets.2012 Office Assistants

This large, diverse office assistant staff allowed me to serve my residents better and helped me to form relationships with students that I might not have been able to reach if it hadn’t been for the endorsement of students on my staff.  These student employees felt valued and included as a part of something bigger than themselves and these positive feelings seemed to form a sort of student referral system.  Students I had not interacted with previously would feel familiar with me and approach me with an initial level of trust because of their preexisting relationships with our office assistant staff.  This was such a blessing and a true gift for an Includer because other people were “expanding the circle” for me.

The Includer theme of talent can often times be misinterpreted or misunderstood as being wishy-washy or indecisive.  I strongly argue that this isn’t the case.  This talent pushes you to look under every rock and make sure that you aren’t leaving people behind.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t already have strong thoughts, opinions or convictions.  It just means that I am not going to sacrifice somebody else’s feelings or best interests in order to get something done quickly or be seen as being “in charge”.  Let me clarify that I don’t think that most people intentionally sacrifice other’s feeling or best interests.  I think that it is just mostly the byproduct of passion and a need for efficiency that can unintendedly lead to this happening.

I have learned when it is important and appropriate to embrace my Includer talent and when efficiency or urgency must rule.  This oftentimes comes along with learning about the people that you work (or live) with and knowing how to gauge the appropriate times to exert you Includer talents.  I am often able to indulge my Includer-ness when working on long-range projects at work.  I have learned to see the importance of not engaging it when handling immediate problems/projects.  The Includer in me does take notes though and does follow up with people that I may perceive to have been slighted by being left out or forgotten.  This has served me well.

 

 

 

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