Engaging Students Outside the Classroom

Engaging Students Outside the Classroom

On September 20, Deerwood Center hosted the kickoff event for the StrengthsFinder Learning Community sponsored by Professor of Mathematics Paula Risko and Professor of English and Student Life Skills Rawlslyn Francis. Associate Vice President of Student Success Dr. Erin Richman, a trained Clifton Coach, was invited to speak to students about their strengths. 

Known as the father of strength-based psychology, Donald O. Clifton invented the Clifton StrengthsFinder to start a conversation about what is right with people by focusing on their strengths. He established 34 talent themes and used an assessment to measure them. 

Professor Risko and Professor Francis were introduced to this idea when Dr. Richman held a Faculty Interest Group several years ago. Over the summer, the two decided to try the Clifton method with FSCJ students.

Prior to the workshop, students were asked to take the Clifton StrengthsFinder and bring their results with them. Dr. Richman spoke about how our students should use their natural talents and focus on their top five strengths, not their weaknesses, because it is more effective to improve strengths. She spoke about how to use these on resumes and during job interviews and pointed out that people who have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life.

Dr. Richman also talked about the importance of surrounding ourselves with a supportive network of people and focusing on the positive interactions those networks provide. The students were engaged and excited about their discoveries and look forward to continuing the conversation.

Professor Risko said, "This event enriches our students' lives by helping them grow as lifelong learners, which is at the heart of our mission here at the College. Ultimately, this will also improve the Jacksonville community at large. Professor Francis and I want to give a big thank you to everyone who participated and helped make this event a success."