• Innovation

    for student engagement

    As a new day dawns for colleges and universities, innovation must drive emerging forms of student engagement. Embrace the conversation to stir the creative spirit.

  • Leadership:

    a strengths approach

    The key to effective leadership is leveraging one’s strengths and the unique perspectives of others to acheive extraordinary results. Join the strengths exchange.

  • Positive

    College Student Development

    The Commons is dedicated to enriching college student’s lives through the development of hope, curiosity, and other positive character strengths. Come explore with us.

Student Engagement Innovation

Giving voice to new ideas
The growing challenges and opportunities faced by higher education present an unmatched opportunity for innovative approaches to engaging students. Colleges and universities have primarily focused on academic innovations such as MOOCs, on-line courses, and learning technologies as a means of addressing today’s changing environment. The co-curricular offerings on most campuses have changed little over the past two decades. Perhaps students can climb a synthetic rock or live with a faculty member but the existing paradigms that guide student affairs work remain constant. The Commons seeks to collaboratively introduce new ideas and technologies to invigorate an essential element of the college experience.

Positive Student Development

Engaging new perspectives
This emerging student development framework utilizes positive psychological research to augment existing student development theoretical frameworks. Character strengths such as curiosity, hope, and zest serve as the foundation for a novel perspective on student engagement. The Commons blog contains important information, relevant research, and recent presentations regarding the development of both thriving and positive engagement.

Strengths-Oriented Leadership

Strengths-oriented leadership is a perspective that emphasis the development of one’s natural giftedness and the deep understanding of the viewpoints of others. The Commons seeks to enrich the use of a strengths approach in the education of tomorrow’s leaders by engaging an ongoing conversation regarding the strategic implementation of this perspective. Practical resources, emerging research briefs, and innovative presentation guides will supplement the exchange.

From Our Blog

  • Embracing the Uncertainty Part 2

    Developing the ability to create innovative ideas and produce game changing programs, classes, and services, should be on the top of everyone’s must-do list this summer. As I wrote in part one of this series, embracing uncertainty is essential for stirring innovative ideas and preparing for the...
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  • Embracing the Uncertainty Part 1

    Risk taking is at the heart of the game changing innovation that is desperately needed in the co- curricular aspect of higher education. However, taking risks is a challenging adventure that requires we live with uncertainty. Jonathan Fields, author of Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt...
    Read more
  • Developing Curiosity in Students: A New Focus for Student Development

    Today’s college students face a future that it is difficult to imagine. Yet, college is not simply preparing them to be good students now, but also to be influential, global citizens of a world filled with significant challenges and opportunities. The question arises: What characteristics...
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  • The Two Most Important Elements of a Strengths Program

    As the strengths movement swept the country, colleges and universities struggled to determine the best way to make their strengths-based approach to college student development successful.  After working in the strengths movement for the last 15 years (yes, I am both an original user and...
    Read more
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