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Building a strengths-based institution

January 9, 2020

Building a Strengths-Based Campus
We believe that every member of our Bengal family is talented, and has a lot to offer our students and campus community. Idaho State University is on a journey to build a strengths-based institution. 

What does this mean?
A strengths-based culture supports faculty, staff, and leadership in understanding and developing their own talents, while more effectively recognizing and utilizing the talents of those around them. Strengths-based institutions are able to further the educational mission in the following ways:

  • Faculty - Utilize individual talents to enhance teaching, research, and service; foster innovation and scholarship.
  • Staff - Maximize each individual's potential; leverage personal strengths to achieve work outcomes while increasing engagement and productivity.
  • Leadership - Assist leaders to further develop their own talents into strengths; help leaders recognize and utilize team member talents for the benefit of the entire team. 
  • Students - Support all aspects of a student’s well-being; help students explore their educational pursuits while connecting their strengths to potential career paths.   

The result is a community of faculty and staff who are engaged at work, and who offer their “best selves” to enhance student experiences and outcomes at Idaho State University. Additionally, institutions that take a strengths-based approach reflect higher levels of productivity, engagement, and retention compared to organizations that do not.  


Where are we now?

We are beginning this journey by introducing a strengths assessment tool (CliftonStrengths) which will provide a common language throughout campus. This tool was pilot tested with several campus groups in 2019, and to date 250 of our ISU colleagues have already completed the assessment and some level of associated education/exploration. Additionally, our new employees are now being invited to complete this assessment following their attendance of New Bengal Experience, our reimagined new employee orientation program.

This program is not mandatory. Rather, it’s an opportunity for individuals to explore their own strengths, while learning how a strengths-based approach can benefit their professional development, department and further our mission.

Due to the growing number of requests for strengths-based workshops, HR will begin hosting monthly “Introduction to StrengthsFinder” workshops open to any ISU faculty and staff. Click here for registration info/details (StrengthsFinder tab)


What’s next?

Throughout 2020, we will begin sharing information about this tool, the strengths-based philosophy, and highlighting how our campus community members are putting strengths into action.

Over the next several years, we will be building elements of strengths-based philosophy into our campus culture, programs, processes, and systems.  Eventually, we wish to extend these strengths-based opportunities to our students as well. 

Our hope is that by introducing this common language, our campus community can begin strengths-based conversations that ultimately lead to increased well-being and engagement for all, and the best environment possible for our students. 



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