Dear Loyola Families:
I have a friend who has two children, now grown. When they were young, my friend never pushed her kids to any particular strength, talent or skill. While their strengths were evident to her, she consistently encouraged and challenged them to “be” their best selves. She put them in situations that at times highlighted their strengths, and did not overly protect them from circumstances that might prove difficult. Interestingly, her number one strength, identified by Gallup’s StrengthFinder is, “strategic.” She has an ability to anticipate problems and solutions quickly and thoughtfully. Her oldest child has “connectedness” as his number one strength, meaning that he moves through the world with a spiritual orientation, believing things happen for a reason. Her youngest identifies “achiever” as her number one strength. For her, this plays out in the old saying, “if you want to get a job done, ask a busy person.” Her work ethic is stellar at 20.
Live from your strengths: Lead Strong.
Simple. Profound. And entirely consistent with the mission of Loyola University New Orleans: discovering, developing and applying distinctive strengths, talents, and skills for both personal achievement and the benefit of others.
I introduce to you a relatively new program at Loyola University New Orleans, a growing program shaping your student’s way of interacting with the world by focusing on specific, individualized strengths. The pilot program again features Gallup’s StrengthsFinder assessment. To date we have assessed 1,300 first-year students providing them with insights into their top five strengths. The assessment is based on three decades of Gallup’s commitment to studying talent and success with research results supporting criterion-related validity, predictive validity, as well as factor and reliability analysis. Focusing on strength based development is part of our University’s strategic plan and is the fundamental core of The Ignatius of Loyola Institute for Values Education, or ILIVE.
The Ignatius Loyola Institute for Values Education (ILIVE) provides each undergraduate student strategic cocurricular experiences and opportunities to discover, develop, and apply principles for building ethical and meaningful lives. ILIVE gives students ways in which to learn and live the values of Loyola University New Orleans, enhance academic commitments and transition into lives of service to others.
The Ignatius Loyola Institute for Values Education, formed by Jesuit and Catholic values, sponsors programs and activities encouraging the processes of reflection and discernment, that lead students to define their personal ethical code. Activities include opportunities for students to discover, develop, and apply distinctive strengths, talents, and skills to the following: intentional exposure to wellness initiatives; speaker and lecture series on current issues and leadership topics; career discernment; commitment to diversity; character development; and service.
As a result of participating in ILIVE, a Loyola University New Orleans student will be able to:
- Discover personal capacities for leadership and service by identifying distinctive strengths, talents, and skills.
- Develop strengths, talents, and skills through experiential leadership and service opportunities.
- Apply strengths, talents and skills that impact and facilitate the leadership development and growth of peers, promoting a more engaged campus life.
Strengths based development is at the core of ILIVE. We will continue to use Gallup’s StrengthsFinder to assess all incoming new students and provide them with their top five distinctive strengths. Wolfpack Welcome/Orientation continues to sponsor the “Discover StrengthsQuest Conference,” however the conference program will be imbedded in Orientation in such a way that all students will be involved on a deeper level. As a part of Orientation, new students will not only identify strengths but discover how their strengths can be used effectively inside and outside the classroom. This is just the first “touch point” of many. We will work with all students from a position of discovery: Students understand and can define their strengths.
In the Sophomore year, programs and activities are targeted for students to develop strengths, enabling them to see clear connections between their strengths and past and present behaviors, and can also link strengths to their successes.
In the Junior and Senior years, programs and activities are targeted for students to apply the knowledge of their five strengths to plan, strategize, analyze, and direct their behavior to make reflective, thoughtful future decisions.
ILIVE becomes part of the mission of The Office of Student Affairs seamlessly. I’d like to remind you of our vision and values:
To cultivate a learning community in the Jesuit tradition, which engages students in the full development of all human qualities.
To be the leader in student-centered, values-rich, cocurricular education.
The value of each person as created by God.
The call to develop all abilities and talents.
A commitment to mind, body, and spirit.
The awareness of finding God in all things.
A commitment to being people for and with others.
If you’d like to read Loyola University New Orleans Office of Student Affairs, “Living the Principles of Good Practices for Student Affairs at Catholic Colleges and Universities” document in full, visit our Web site: http://www.loyno.edu/studentaffairs/documents/principles.pdf
If you’d like to read the 2008-2009 Office of Student Affairs Annual Report, I invite you to visit: http://www.loyno.edu/studentaffairs/documents/annualreport_0809.pdf
If you’d like to read the Ignatius Loyola Institute for Values Education- Working Draft, White Paper, Office of Student Affairs, Fall, 2009, I invite you to visit:
Your questions and comments about our Principles document, our annual report and ILIVE will enrich our discussion, so please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org anytime!
Let me conclude this letter with a few news items that your student may be sharing with you.
- Students will enjoy a new pizza place in Carrolton Hall, with the Mellow Mushroom opening between January 15 and February 1. The menus look delicious! Check it out: http://www.mellowmushroom.com
- Admissions reports a 40% increase in applications over the same date as last year, so Loyola’s value is being recognized in all corners. This is great news, and comes with a reminder that we can anticipate residence halls will be full again next fall. First-year and sophomore students are required to live on campus, so they, as well as rising juniors and seniors who plan to be on campus, should begin planning for next year now! Room selection for returning students Fall 2010 is in early March. Students receive notice from Residential Life. Contact: Craig Beebe, email@example.com for further information.
- Speaking of residence halls, renovations and refurbishments to all the residential halls will be ongoing beginning in Spring 2010 through the summer. Many program and facility changes are coming to campus.
- Many program and facility changes are planned for the campus. Literally, Loyola University New Orleans will be “under construction” in so many new and exciting ways, and we promise to communicate these changes often and early. Check out the University Master Plan: http://www.loyno.edu/provost/documents
- Keep abreast of health related issues concerning H1N1 on the Student Health Center web site; immunizations for H1N1 are free to the Loyola University New Orleans community.
Best wishes for a blessed holiday season and happy 2010 from your Loyola New Orleans family.