Rochester Institute of Technology
Understand the question “Why?” can be the first step in maintaining their success.
At the Rochester Institute of Technology Center for Academic Success, student staff and employees work with students to discover their intrinsic values and inspire them to live up to those values. In partnership with the Career Services and Cooperative Education Office, RIT students can explore their motivations to study and work, and plan a values-based life for the future.
“Connecting what is happening intrinsically to students with external demands and deadlines is where the magic is,” says Glen Dornsife, coordinator of peer education and academic coaching at the Academic Success Center.
View split: For most students, their priority lies in productivity and achievement, not their own desire to work.
“Most of the learning tools and resources we provide are aimed at helping students become more efficient and effective,” says Dornsife. “Empowering students to be more productive does not establish overall student well-being habits.”
Instead of prioritizing skills like time management and organization, Dornsife and her team prioritize students’ values.
Identify core: To identify student values, RIT academic and workshop trainers ask questions such as, “What is most important to you?” “How do you define success and why?” and “What would your ideal semester be like?”
“This type of question elevates the conversation by making it more about their concerns or goals for this exchange, and, at the same time, underpins their sense of existence and action, by linking who they are and their values to the concerns they carry. to us,” explained Dornsife.
The office has been using values-centered conversations in mentoring and coaching for about a semester and a half now.
From academics to career life: The theme of values at RIT is connected beyond the Center for Academic Success and to the Cooperative Education and Career Services Office.
Career counselor Chris O’Connor focuses on connecting students’ values to their career goals, he says. Workshop called “Conducting Values-Based Job Search,” “What Do Values Have To Do With Choosing A Major?” and related topics allow students to reflect on their career work and its eventual impact on their community.
“Many studies show that individuals who engage in work that is aligned with their values are more motivated and engaged in work and report higher levels of job satisfaction than their peers,” added O’Connor.
Workshops address the use of personal values in future work experiences, looking at future employer mission statements and of course linking values to current academics.
Together, ACS and Career Services created a resource that integrates themes both offices have looked at when talking about values with students. The advice is intended to help students more easily identify what is important to them and how they can prioritize assignments.
Data requirements: The success center’s peer-mentor program tracks student confidence and persistence before and after receiving academic coaching or participating in workshops, but the team currently lacks data around value conversations specifically.
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