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Photos of the deaf focus team teaching inside the Bailey Education Complex for the Theory and Practice in Teacher Education department. Photo by Steven Bridges.

Strengths for Faculty and Staff

We want all students to know that they matter and belong, and we want them to be able to thrive on campus and in their life after graduation. One way to meet this goal is to lean into their talents which can be developed into strengths. Helping students utilize the skills they have naturally will help them feel a greater sense of accomplishment.

Based on Gallup’s psychological research, the CliftonStrengths tool helps individuals identify their natural talents; Gallup then provides a multitude of resources to help individuals consider how they can focus on their strengths to live a more fulfilling life.

Take the Assessment

Chancellor Donde Plowman takes a selfie with students during the Homecoming Kick-Off and Pep Rally at HSS Plaza.

Chancellor Plowman knows and uses her top 5 strengths:

  • Strategic
  • Achiever
  • Positivity
  • Futuristic
  • Maximizer

Do you know your strengths?

Professional staff and teams perform at their best when everyone knows what their strengths are and when everyone has an appreciation for what each person brings to the table.

If you are a faculty or staff member or partner of the university and interested in taking the CliftonStrengths assessment through UT, please complete the request form.

Top strengths for faculty

  • Learner
  • Achiever
  • Input
  • Relator
  • Intellection

Top strengths for staff

  • Learner
  • Achiever
  • Responsibility
  • Relator
  • Developer

Over 2,000 faculty/staff have taken the assessment.

How can the CliftonStrengths assessment be embedded in your work?

You can help build a campus-wide strengths-based culture by embedding language and activities into your day-to-day work environment. The following are some ideas to consider.

One-on-One Conversations

  • What are your top 5 strengths?
  • What do your talent themes mean to you?
  • How have you used those talents in the past?

As they are processing through these, you may easily be able to provide your student or colleague with examples of how they have used their natural talents over time.

When engaged in strengths, organizations report:

  • 15% higher employee engagement
  • 72% lower attrition in high-turnover organizations


Team or Organizational Meetings

  • Review your team’s domain grid.
  • Complete the The Best of Us activity (PDF), which helps team members identify working commitments that allow everyone to bring their best self to work.
  • Ask each person to define what their top strengths mean to them.
  • Engage in a case study activity and discuss.
  • Have each team member find a .gif or image that describes them and how their top strengths show up.

Professional Development

In the Classroom

  • When creating groups, mix up students based on their dominant domain to see how it impacts group dynamics.
  • Ask students to reflect on which of their strengths they leaned into to complete an assignment/activity.
  • Before class, have students reflect on how they can use their strengths to improve their well-being.
  • On an assessment, ask students questions that tap into all four domains.
  • For more ideas on Integrating CliftonStrengths into the classroom, see these resources and the supplemental materials.

How Do Students Access CliftonStrengths?

Students can learn more about their top strengths and what they mean to them by reviewing their insight report which can be found on UT Portal. They should select Single Sign On, type utk as the organization or institution name, and then use their UT netID and password to log in. If they have not yet taken the assessment, they should request to take it for free.

Want to Learn More?

There are several ways to learn more about CliftonStrengths from the philosophy behind the initiative and how to leverage the assessment to how it can be used to foster positive outcomes for both individuals and teams. Check out ways you can learn more from trained faculty and staff members who are certified strengths coaches.