1) Getting to Know Students
During the conversation I had with Dr. Tyus, he emphasized the importance of getting to know students.
It’s one thing to call on students when they raise their hand in the classroom, and another thing when you actively seek to start a dialogue with them and try to gain better context around who they are and what they’re interested in.
As a student of Dr. Tyus’, I can remember him actively trying to involve students in multiple ways, he even went so far as to invite a whole class over to his home for a field trip out to a restaurant. Those types of professors are far and few in between.
This is unfortunate because this is this type of environment that students should seek in the workforce. It’s nice to work for an organization that places emphasis on relationships and working together collaboratively, and professors will never realize who a student is to the best of their ability if they’re waiting back and only hearing from them when the time comes for them to raise their hands.
Dr.Tyus mentioned the relationship approach might by other professors deemed “too close” but how close is close enough?
Are you close enough when sending out a job opportunity in an email blast? Or are you close enough when you can send a one-off personal email to a student who you know is well-suited and would benefit from a job position someone in your network is looking to fill?
It’s best for everyone involved to have a better understanding of each other because it opens up a lot more opportunities for students and educators alike in the long run.
2) Individuals vs. The Collective
One of the things employers are looking for when hiring students out of college is how well they perform in a group setting.
A critical aspects of any collaboration is communication, and that’s why there's an emphasis on group communication in college programs.
Dr. Tyus pointed out during our episode was that he'd seen cultural differences in group communications over the course of his career.
Some cultures emphasize collectivism as opposed to our general preference towards individualism here in the US.
The collectivism idea is one where the primary driver of success is that the group will be recognized rather than one single individual.
In the land of “anyone can be famous” type of culture, it’s more of a challenge to take our individualistic orientation and make it work efficiently in a group setting.
But groups are scalable because it combines perspectives, skill sets, and creativity in a more efficient manner. In short, two heads are better than one.
An excellent approach to incentivize a collective strategy is to shift the mindset from scarcity to one of contribution.
The mindset of scarcity is one of supply and demand; when you have less of something, that thing increases in value. This is the idea that the less there is out there, what is available will be more valued. This ultimately leads to a race to the bottom.
However, the mindset of contribution is one where the race to the top has no ceiling. The potential opportunities are endless because you have more resources to tap into. Adding your piece to the bigger picture enables you and your team to work with a much broader canvas.
We are living in a time where scarcity is not so much the focal point, but the opportunity for abundance is. With that in mind, working together encourages more growth than working alone does.