Faculty of Business Pilots Personal Development Tool
October 31, 2008
"Emotional Intelligence is a person's ability to understand and manage their emotions," explains Dana Copeland, Fanshawe Student Success Advisor. Various dimensions of social competence are measured including interpersonal and intrapersonal abilities, adaptability and stress management capabilities. "There is potential benefit in EI self-awareness and development in terms of student success and retention," Copeland continues. "The use of EI can address challenges such as discouragement and lack of motivation … we want to see whether knowledge and self-awareness will affect the academic and workplace success of our students."
Fanshawe was chosen by Multi-Health Systems Inc. (MHS) to pilot the EQ-I for Higher Education within the School of Business & Management and School of Information Technology. The company develops standardized psychological assessments and is expanding its focus from the corporate environment to educational environments. They see the potential for increasing students' academic performance and retention.
Student EI will be assessed at the beginning and end of the Fall semester. The assessment is essentially an online self-report that generates information on strengths and areas for improvement and suggests strategies for improving skills. MHS Inc. is in partnership with Fanshawe; they will be funding some of the evaluations while Fanshawe will provide MHS with feedback on the process.
"The pilot will use EI assessment as a personal growth tool," says Copeland. "Assessments allow students to reflect on social and emotional competencies and how they affect success. Our hope is to affect them in a positive way by recommending simple strategies to students and comparing these students to those who do not receive the assessment feedback. We will be determining if there are significant differences in academic results, success and retention."
An added benefit for students relates to job-specific skills; the qualities that individuals tend to possess in specific occupations are grouped into job categories. "It's a great heads-up for students enrolled in the program," explains Copeland. "They can focus on developing specific strengths that will help them in their chosen field. They will learn to push past their comfort zone … learn to affect their own change."
If the pilot is deemed successful, that is if self-awareness and knowledge positively affect students, the School of Business & Management and School of Information Technology will consider implementing EQ assessment to all first-level business and IT students.
This year's Academic Kickoff, presented to Fanshawe faculty in August 2008, highlighted EI and EQ assessment with Dr. Steven Stein, CEO of MHS Inc. as keynote speaker.
Stay tuned for further professional development sessions presented by Copeland, who is also preparing EQ presentations for various educational conferences in the coming year.