November 16, 2008

New in the Toolbox: Emotional Intelligence

My spare time this month has been used to prepare for and complete certification in the use of the Emotional Quotient inventory or 
EQ-i. Emotional-social intelligence is a cross-section of interrelated emotional and social competencies, skills, and facilitators that determine how effectively we understand and express ourselves, understand and relate with others, and cope with daily demands. Understanding and assessing EQ in business and leadership coaching is common and research indicates that that the tool is equally useful in the academic setting with an 85% predictor rate for college success. I look forward to building expertise with this assessment and employing it to assist the transition of my first-year students.

The EQ-i is assessed through an online survey resulting in measurements of five areas: interpersonal, intrapersonal, stress management, adaptability, and general mood. Fifteen subscales or facets provide dimension to these scale areas.

EQ-i will join the College Student Inventory and MAP-Works in the toolbox of assessments that I rely upon for identifying issues challenging students in those first few crucial weeks of college. The College Student Inventory provides me with timely and strategic information on my students prior to their enrollment. Most importantly, it allows me to identify those with high need for student service intervention. MAP-Works is offered to students in the third week of enrollment and is a new complement to our campus retention initiatives. It aggregates student perception upon arrival and integration to the institution. Both surveys are great mediums for creating relationships with new students.

I will introduce the proportions of the EQ-i in greater depth with future posts.

What's in your student retention toolbox?  


Venkat said...

A question (questions?) popped up in my mind after reading your post.

External help to young people disturbs me to an extent. What I mean to say is that at the ripe age of 18 or 19, I would want to explore and look at things that affect me. Once I experience those "factors", I would make changes to my habits, my styles, my communication skills, and perhaps my overall personality.

If I am made to interact with new/different people, exposed to new concepts, ideas, practices, groups or whatever, I would anticipate uneasiness, stress, and anxiety, but at the same time I would get a chance to develop new methods/styles to deal with the same factors that cause one or all of the things I just mentioned. I am talking about "self development", if you will. If I learn to tackle problems/issues initially then my confidence level would increase, and I would know that I have the capability to face even bigger problems somewhere down the line. If I think I cannot cope with stress or other similar negative factors then I will ship out and look for other alternatives. Isn't "survival of the fittest" about all that anyway?

I guess the message I am trying to convey is that people who need help at initial stages may develop a habit/tendency of seeking external help whenever and wherever they want it, which of course, is not always available. And would a mentor go out of their way to provide help to these kids whenever they cry (or do not cry) for help? Or do we just help them initially and tell them later that they are pretty much on their own?

I understand that these tools and concepts can be very helpful in understanding a person/group/team. But do all the youngsters really need such assessments? Can't we just let development happen naturally?

Please let me know if I do or do not make sense, and my sincere apologies if I have offended you in any way. That was clearly not my intention.

Debra Sanborn said...

Venkat, thank you for your comments. I completely agree with you that strengths that develop from demonstrating independence should not be impeded. Additionally, the role of a mentor or student affairs administrator should never be to rescue or solve problems, but instead to offer guidance and/or facilitate decision-making.

Where I think assessments are useful are with allowing student self-assessment. U.S. Department of Education statistics show that only 55% of undergraduates who begin their bachelor’s degree studies at four-year institutions complete that degree within six years at that same institution. This tells us that retaining and helping students complete their degree is vitally important and identifying resources and programs to enhance this process are needed.

Each of the assessments that I wrote about above are self-assessments and provide students with direction. What they do with that information is up to them. As you suggested, the travel plan is best left up to the individual.

Thanks again for your insights.

U.S. Department of Education. (2002). Descriptive summary of 1995-96 beginning
postsecondary students: Six years later. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of
Education, National Center for Educational Statistics.