Are People With Higher Emotional IQs Drawn to Student Affairs Work? Can It Be Taught?

After coming across this infographic below (from UMD’s online MBA program), it got me thinking about the above questions.  Although I do not believe that all student affairs professionals have high levels of emotional intelligence, I do think it’s highly probable that people who are naturally skilled in this area are likely drawn to it and that the successful ones are more likely to persist.  I also believe it can be taught.  Many of the hallmarks of high emotional intelligence relate closely with issues addressed in our preparation programs.  Given the highly reflective nature of our graduate programs and their focus on theory-to-practice, the development of emotional intelligence seems requisite for success in most jobs within the field.

What do you think?

  • Are People With Higher Emotional IQs Drawn to Student Affairs Work?
  • Can Emotional Intelligence be learned?
  • Is Emotional Intelligence even a useful or valid construct?  Or perhaps is it just emotional maturity?

A quick Wikipedia search reveals:  Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.[1] There are three models of EI. The ability model, developed by Peter Salovey and John Mayer, focuses on the individual’s ability to process emotional information and use it to navigate the social environment.[2] The trait model as developed by Konstantin Vasily Petrides, “encompasses behavioral dispositions and self perceived abilities and is measured through self report”.[3] The final model, the mixed model is a combination of both ability and trait EI. It defines EI as an array of skills and characteristics that drive leadership performance, as proposed by Daniel Goleman.[4]


Credit to: University of Maryland’s Online MBA Program

2 thoughts on “Are People With Higher Emotional IQs Drawn to Student Affairs Work? Can It Be Taught?

  1. Reblogged this on Brandon B. Barile and commented:
    EI and Student Affairs! This post from PGB traces the models to seminal authors Salovey and Mayer to the popularized Goleman model.

    I think the task of helping students increase their adaptability, social empathy, and overall social connectedness is one of the foundations of my student affairs work. Thanks, Paul!

  2. Absolutely can be taught!

    I coordinate the Personal Empowerment Institute at my institution, and teach two sections where students learn core values, the difference between positive self interest and selfishness, and how to practice social recognition and empathy. Now, do these skills come more easily to some, absolutely. Are some unwilling to move beyond self centered thinking, absolutely. But, those willing and mature enough to take the step, learn something!

    Thanks for this post…reposting!

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