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EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE:
THE ACADEMIC ADVANTAGE

by Faith Breen, Business Management

Police say Odighizuwa, who was suspended Wednesday over his grades, went to the school’s second-floor offices to discuss his academic standing with Professor Dale Rubin.  When the conversation ended about 1:15 p.m., Odighizuwa told Rubin to pray for him, walked down the hall to Dean Sutin’s office and opened fire at close range with a semiautomatic handgun, killing Sutin, 42, a former top Justice Department official in the Clinton administration
                                                                       The Washington Post, January 18, 2002

Could this tragedy have been prevented or was this just another "isolated incident?"  Rather than wait to find out, I think this event should serve as a wake-up call for all of us. Yes, we have excellent campus security, and I understand that we have a committee looking into the issue of "disruptive" students.  And, I notice that there is a trend towards teaching online courses that will enable us to be physically separated, and safe, from our students.  Taken together, increased security, growing concern about student behavior in the classrooms, and our ability to distance ourselves from our students, I see a trend that may inadvertently lead us down the same path.

When I first began my research on EI (emotional intelligence), I was interested in understanding emotional intelligence in the workplace.  I had read studies about how EI was found to be the primary determinate of outstanding performance in managers and leaders.  Daniel Goleman, in his 1998 book, Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace, explained that "emotional competence made the crucial difference between mediocre leaders and the best.  The stars showed significantly greater strengths in a range of emotional competencies, among them influence, team leadership, political awareness, self-confidence, and achievement drive.  On average, close to 90 percent of their success in leadership was attributable to emotional intelligence."  On the other hand, as they reported in the Linkages 2001 Conference, The Center for Creative Leadership found that the primary causes of derailment in executives involve deficits in emotional competence: difficulty in handling change, not being able to work well in a team, and poor interpersonal relations

Recent research also indicates that IQ accounts for only 4 to 10 percent of performance.  Specifically, what we teach and "what they learn in school distinguishes superior performers in only a handful of the five or six hundred jobs for which we’ve done competence studies," according to Lyle Spencer Jr., director of Research And Technology worldwide and cofounder of what is now Hay/McBer.  "[IQ] is just a threshold competence; you need it to get in the field, but it does not make you a star.  It’s the emotional intelligence abilities that matter more for superior performance." (Goleman, 1998)

So, given that Emotional Intelligence (EI) contributes to 90 percent of performance and given our desire to become a student centered learning organization, it seems appropriate that we begin to integrate EI into our curriculum and institutional culture.  So, what is EI?  Goleman defines it as "the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and others."  The five major domains of EI are summarized below:

  • Self Awareness – being aware of and understanding one’s emotions
  • Self Management – effectively and constructively controlling one’s emotions
  • Self Motivation – having the ability and drive to set and achieve personal goals
  • Social Awareness – identifying with and feeling part of one’s social group
  • Social Skills – ability to effectively and constructively establish healthy social relationships

I am planning to teach a workshop on EI and share some of the strategies I learned at the Linkages 2001 conference I attended last October.  In the mean time, if you have some examples of positive and/or negative emotional intelligence experiences that you have had, preferably here at the college, please e-mail them to me and I will use them to help increase our community’s emotional intelligence.

 

The Instructional Area Newsletter, Volume 17, No. 3

Spring 2002