Benefits for Faculty and Staff

The Be Better initiative will provide students with the tools to excel and engage in their learning and development in order to help them be prepared for whatever challenges they undertake. One goal for this initiative is to assist students in articulating what they learn at the University of Iowa using an evidence-based common language. Using the Gallup StrengthsFinder Assessment and Student Leadership Competencies will support this specific goal. In addition the initiative may:

  • Help students know the value of what is learned from a class/major/experience
  • Increase enrollment in classes and participation in specific co-curricular experiences
  • Increase number of declared majors for departments based on their connection to competency development
  • Help students articulate what they gain from their major/minor/certificate


Training on how to use the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment with students is offered regularly through the University of Iowa's Learning and Development. Sign up through My Training on Employee Self Service


The Resource Toolkit provides materials (outlines, handouts, activities, powerpoints, etc.) for faculty and staff implementing Strengths and Student Leadership Competencies.

About the Gallup StrengthsFinder Assessment

The Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment (or Clifton StrengthsFinder) is a web-based assessment of personality from the perspective of Positive Psychology. It is the first assessment instrument of this type developed expressly for the Internet. Specifically, the Clifton StrengthsFinder measures the presence of talents in 34 general areas referred to as “themes.” Talents -- the ways in which we naturally think, feel, and behave as unique individuals -- serve as the foundation of strengths development. Over a secure connection, the Clifton StrengthsFinder presents 180 items to the respondent. Each item consists of a pair of potential self-descriptors, such as "I read instructions carefully" versus "I like to jump right into things."

The descriptors are placed as if anchoring polar ends of a continuum. The respondent is then asked to choose from that pair the statement that best describes them, and also to what extent that chosen option is descriptive. The respondent is given 20 seconds to respond to a given pair of descriptors before the system moves on to the next pair. (Clifton StrengthsFinder developmental research showed that the 20-second limit resulted in a negligible item non-completion rate.) Upon completing the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment, respondents receive a report displaying their top five (most dominant) themes. The respondent then has the opportunity to delve into those themes to discover their greatest talents. The Clifton StrengthsFinder and the top five themes report were designed in keeping with a major component of Gallup's mission: help individuals learn about and build upon their greatest talents to create strengths that will enhance all aspects of their lives. 

Learn more about Strengths here

About Student Leadership Competencies

Student Leadership Competencies were developed from five years of research conducted by Dr. Corey Seemiller who analyzed learning outcomes in all 522 accredited academic programs in higher education. The results: 60 essential leadership competencies for the 21st century. Student Leadership Competencies can be used as a framework to develop a program or course, infuse meaningful competency-based activities into the curriculum, assess competency learning and development, and help students reflect and apply their learning in future academic, professional, and life contexts.

Learn more about Student Leadership Competencies here

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