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K-State Today

July 9, 2019

CliftonStrengths initiative moves to Staley School of Leadership Studies

Submitted by Andrea Luke

Mike Finnegan, assistant professor, Staley School of Leadership Studies

The CliftonStrengths initiative at Kansas State University has transitioned from the Office of New Student Services to the Staley School of Leadership Studies.

The mission of the Staley School of Leadership Studies is to "Develop knowledgeable, ethical, caring, inclusive leaders for a diverse and changing world." CliftonStrengths is an assessment that empowers faculty, staff and students to identify and develop our natural talents to help the campus community succeed.

Mike Finnegan, assistant professor, will lead the campuswide strengths effort aimed at increasing the engagement and overall well-being of K-State students. Finnegan provided campus leadership to launch the initial CliftonStrengths program from 2011-2014 and has continued to be an active strengths champion.

In addition to Finnegan's leadership, Erin Guyette, a graduate assistant working toward a master's degree in couples and family therapy, will provide the necessary administrative support to ensure all students new to K-State — undergraduate, graduate and international — receive access codes to complete the CliftonStrengths assessment. Guyette will develop and deliver services and resources so that students may leverage their top five strengths. Also joining the strengths team is Caroline Brock, junior in communication studies, who will support the strengths peer-coaching program.

The CliftonStrengths initiative focuses on student engagement and well-being.

"Capitalizing on the wonderful work of New Student Services, our aim is to help students develop their top five talent themes as they navigate their K-State experience," Finnegan said. "We want students to develop a strong sense of purpose in what they study and what they do, cultivate healthy social relationships, minimize financial stress, work toward their physical well-being and become deeply connected in their K-State community. The five pillars of well-being — purpose, social, financial, physical, and community — provide students with a framework to thrive."

This program continues to be funded through a financial investment from alumnus Rich Mistler.

"We will continue to honor Rich's commitment to student success by helping students leverage their top five strengths as they exercise leadership to improve the communities where they live and work," Finnegan said. 

All strengths related questions, request for peer coaching sessions, and campuswide trainings can be sent through the CliftonStrengths website. The K-State community can connect with the strengths team by emailing strengths@k-state.edu. The team will be happy to launch you on your strengths journey and connect you with strengths champions throughout the campus community.

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