New course analyzes students’ strengths

By  Jen Taylor

Most people entering the work force have spent between 17 to 22 years of their lives devoted to preparing for their future careers, according to UK professor Gregory Bocchino.

In response, Bocchino developed a course in the Department of Arts and Sciences.

A&S 350 was designed to help students think critically about their career options.

According to Kelly Higgins, an instructor for the course, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is an assessment used in the course to increase self-awareness and discover personality types.

StrengthsQuest is another assessment used to identify students’ top five strengths.

These strengths can be utilized in school, work and everyday social life, Bocchino said.

“I have had students that implemented their strengths into their resume and interviews, giving specific examples of individual strengths and explaining how they have demonstrated them,” Higgins said.

Gordy Hoagland, a senior taking the course this semester, said one of the assignments he found most eye-opening was one that asked students to list between 20-25 big events in their lives.

That information was used for reflection, helping the students see what they like and what is important to them.

Most people are not shocked when they find out their strengths, Bocchino said.

Hoagland had considered sales before, and taking the A&S course helped him decide his major.

“I love people and helping people, so I decided going into sales and interacting would be good for me,” Hoagland said.

Along with learning individual strengths, the course asks students to think critically about their career choice.

An important assignment in the course is to map out every detailed step that needs to be accomplished so students can reach their career goal, Bocchino said.

Steps include getting letters of recommendation from professors, applying to grad school and studying to take the GRE.

“Many students know what they want to do,” he said. “This just enhances that.”

The three-credit hour course, titled “Personal Strengths and Your Career Development,” has had positive feedback.

The fall course filled up, so a 10-week course in October was added. It will be offered again in the spring.

For arts and sciences majors, the class counts as a social sciences credit.

The class will fill different requirements depending on the college.

Hoagland suggested this course for anyone at UK, especially freshman.

“I’m trying to get younger guys to take the class,” Hoagland said, “because it’s so helpful in deciding your future.”