2023 Don Clifton Strengths for Students Award Winner
This award recognizes colleges, universities and districts that enable students to learn what they naturally do best and apply their strengths to thrive in school and all areas of their lives.
By making strengths a way of life, these exceptional institutions help students turn their talents into strengths and foster greater academic achievement, engagement and wellbeing -- setting them up to succeed far beyond the classroom.
Meet the Winner
Founded in 1878, Western University is one of Canada’s top research-intensive universities, delivering an exemplary learning experience that engages the best and brightest people, challenging them to meet ever-higher standards in the classroom and beyond. The Western Student Experience is committed to using strengths-based tools as a vehicle to guide students in understanding when they are at their best and how to apply their natural talents to thrive.
At Western, CliftonStrengths® is embedded in numerous spaces across campus: as part of the curriculum in multiple academic faculties, as the foundation for Western’s transition to university and orientation programming, and as a key tool for Western to facilitate leadership programming for students. Through the Parr Centre for Thriving, Western has grown a strengths-based model of education that involves faculty and staff discovering their own strengths and applying them to improve their teaching methods and program design. Over 50 faculty and staff have received formal training through Gallup across a wide range of campus divisions to further support the student journey as coaches and mentors.
To further enhance strengths education at Western, a set of three e-learning modules was created in 2022. These interactive modules provide users with an introduction to the strengths-based approach, information about positive psychology and the history of the CliftonStrengths assessment, as well as several guided reflection activities that help users delve deeply into their own strengths and explore how they can apply them towards success at Western. In the university’s current strategic plan, Western commits to “build on our model of ‘thriving’ that is at the heart of [Western’s] student experience.”
These strengths-based initiatives showcase that commitment, which has made it possible for more than 7,500 members of the Western community to complete the CliftonStrengths assessment, identify ways to be at their best every day and use their talents to thrive at Western. This work is not only imperative in supporting Western Student Experience’s priority of cultivating a thriving campus ecosystem, but also reflected in Western’s Strategic Plan, Towards 150 at Western, which notes that the institution is committed to enriching and “deepening” the student experience.
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