Gallup StrengthsFinder in engineering

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings

Publication Date



The Gallup StrengthsFinder® Inventory identifies individual's top-five Strengths from the 34 themes in the inventory [1]. Strengths such as Activator, Deliberative, and Restorative are grouped into four domains: executing, influencing, relationship building and strategic thinking. All of our first-year students at Elizabethtown College complete the Strengths Inventory. Throughout the two-semester Introduction to Engineering (ItE) course sequence, we contextualize Strengths for engineering students by contrasting strengths and skills. We use the StrengthsFinder to capture personal strengths and define engineering skills through the lens of the ABET a-k outcomes. We frame developing the required engineering skills from the foundation of their individual strengths. Our "One-Minute Engineer" assignment requires students to describe why they are pursuing engineering as a career path. Again, the framework of StrengthsFinder helps students clearly express their motivations. Team projects form the framework for ItE course sequence. We sort students into teams with diverse Strengths [2]. Students utilize team contracts in which they develop team roles based on individual Strengths [3]. A team mapping exercise reveals that our engineering students tend to overpopulate the executing and strategic thinking domains of Strengths. Less stereotypical engineering students with Strengths in relationship building and influencing realize their position to uniquely contribute in areas that are often undervalued in student engineering teams. This paper will examine our use of Gallup StrengthsFinder as a case study. Additionally, we compare the distribution of Strengths among our engineering students to those college-wide and at engineering students at MacEwan University. We found that using this approach helps students capitalize on unique strengths, build more diverse teams, foster student confidence, and fight imposter syndrome.





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