engagement, part 1…

Hello everyone!  A couple of days ago, I was reading the book, “Back of the Napkin” by Dan Roam, a book about visual thinking.  I’ve been trying to figure out a “last” project for the students in my “HHS126: Design Your Life II: Engaging Experiences Through Coaching” course, since all of these students would have taken my HHS125 course, “Design Your Life I: What Could I Do With My Life” course within the last year.  As I was thinking through this process, something hit me like a ton of bricks!  First, I remember one of my favorite definitions of engagement (but viewing it from a student perspective), from from the book, “MAGIC: Five Keys to Unlock the Power of Employee Engagement” by Tracy Maylett and Paul Warner):

“Engagement is an emotional state where students feel passionate, energetic, and committed toward to work they do (could be done within and/or outside the classroom).  In turn, they fully invest their best selves – their hearts, minds, bodies and spirit – in all of the work that they do.”
Okay, now a challenge for you – if you were an employer, an admissions representative, or someone who recruits students, which would you choose: a successful student or an engaged student?  Think about this for a minute – based on the definition above, a student could be successful without being engaged student, but an engaged student will ALWAYS be successful!  What do you think about that?
We have student success center, student success coaches, student success coordinators (wait, that’s me), student success blah, blah, blah – all trying to find ways to help students be successful IN COLLEGE.  Predictive analytics are focused on students being successful IN COLLEGE!  Public institution funding is based on students staying IN COLLEGE (it’s called retention)!  But if there’s no passion, no energy, and no true commitment, a student’s chance to be successful will be hindered/limited while in college – and in life.  So, coaches and advisors and most people working with students, for the most part, are focused on students being successful IN COLLEGE!
However, now that I’ve done two trainings, I find that Purpose and Vision Navigators (PVN’s) are focused on more than that – yes, success in college is a great starting point, but being ENGAGED IN COLLEGE – AND IN LIFE is definitely more important!  PVN’s help students answer the “why” of being in college.  PVN’s help students navigate a path to take steps to be successful – whether that means in college or in something bigger and better.  Not everyone needs to go to college, but everyone could surely use a helping hand (a PNV) to be more engaged in life, don’t you think?
Here’s another quote for you: “”As you move through life, YOU get to choose whether or not to be engaged.  Know that the most successful always choose to be engaged.”  As a side note: It would be great if UNCG (my institution) would commit to develop TRUE engagement for the entire campus community – think how that could be a great marketing tool to separate UNCG from other schools!  And to be honest, that would be much different (and better) than being an institution know for the number of community service engagement hours that our student accumulate – we know that current and prospective students don’t care about that!
My thought process came up with the following vision/mission statements, perfect for my Purpose and Vision Navigators, my Make College Matter Project, and my Office of Life Planning and Personal Development (and would be great for the School of HHS):
  • Vision: We believe in “holistic” health, developing the “whole” person to ensure that every member of the community is truly engaged in a life that matters.
  • Mission: We will live this vision by fostering an environment that integrates the heart, mind, body, and spirit, so that every student, faculty, and staff member feels passionate, energized and committed toward work that matters to the self and to institution.
I don’t know about you, but that’s a vision and mission that would get me excited to come to work every day!  (Actually, I already get excited about coming to work!)
Purpose and Vision Navigators are here to develop ENGAGED Students!
As for their final project, I will have the students create a poster that outlines what it means for them to live an engaged life – in their education, in their work/career, in their relationships, and in their life.  If I require it, I must do it myself – therefore, it sounds like a great project for me to do during Spring Break next week!
One last thought…
MAGIC (Meaning, Autonomy, Growth, Impact, Connection) provides the framework why engagement is important.
SPARCK (Story, Purpose, Aspirations, Reflection, Connection, and Kick-Start) provides the process on how we can become more engaged.
How about that?  Thanks for “listening.”  I love you all!

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