by: Dr. Paul Criss
Dean of Faculty – Memphis and DeSoto
It is not a new word, but it is a word that is taking on new permutations. It is the word quotient. It has been used for measuring levels of intelligence or, actually, the intellectual potential of individuals. Recently, the word “quotient” has been used to describe several facets of learning that adult learners need to experience. This learning is described and best experienced in an ongoing fashion; thus, the use of continuum and the faculty member can be a facilitator of the student’s continual process of learning. What are these facets of learning?
The first Q is Intelligence Quotient. It is about developing each adult student’s intellectual potential and skill capacity. It is measured through performance. It is ongoing development and is inclusive of many concepts in education…everything from learning styles and multiple intelligences to academic language and quantitative reasoning. We likely focus on this the most in academia, especially within the various disciplines; therefore, it needs the least explanation. The other three Qs, however, may need further explanation: Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Intelligence, and Ethical Servant Leadership Intelligence.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the ability to gauge our own and others’ emotional state and what we do with that understanding. I want to discuss this in depth in the next article EQ in the Adult Learner Classroom. Cultural Intelligence (CQ), much like EQ, is the ability to gauge cultural distinctiveness in ourselves and others and also considers what we do with that understanding. Those who discuss CQ start with an individual’s CQ drive – the motivation to learn about one’s own culture and to engage in another’s cultural distinctiveness. CQ knowledge includes one’s knowledge about and experience with another culture. Some of my cultural distinctiveness comes from my Greek heritage. I jokingly tell my students if they want some insight into my childhood and the culture in which I grew up, they should watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding. CQ strategy includes the plans one can make to intentionally learn about or become immersed in a specific culture. Everyone comes from a specific culture and sometimes a different culture is right next door. CQ action describes putting the plans into practice – what is a person willing to do garner these experiences and this knowledge.
Cultural Intelligence can help us learn about others, overcome language barriers, and accelerate conflict resolution. It also assists in emerging from a “my way” attitude to an “our way” attitude in accomplishing goals. In the adult learner classroom this begins with simply learning about the person sitting next to you and can evolve into learning about the people around the world through courses such as international business to international immersion experiences. David Livermore states in his book Cultural Intelligence: Improving Your CQ to Engage Our Multicultural World, “Rather than CQ conflicting with Christianity or being merely a reflection of politically correct agendas, CQ is most at home in Christianity. The commitment to express and communicate love in ways the other can understand is one of the distinctions of our faith compared to many other religions.” As those called to be agents of cultural transformation, we should be leading the way in cultural understanding.
The Bible tells us that Jesus was full of “grace and truth” (John 1:14b New International Version) and that He “grew in wisdom and stature, in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). That is the goal of true Christian higher education – the goal for every member of the faculty and every student under the institution’s care. Ethical Servant Leadership Intelligence (ESLQ) is the ability to lead others by serving with integrity within the highest ethical realm defined by the Christian Worldview. The phrase “servant leadership” was “coined” by Robert K. Greenleaf in an essay he wrote in 1970 called The Servant as Leader; in the essay he said, “The servant-leader is servant first…It beings with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead…care taken by the servant – first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?” The adult learner classroom focuses on the growth of students in servant-leadership by sharing leadership through roundtable dialogue, putting the needs of the student above the needs of the faculty member (without compromising personal conscience or institutional faithfulness and policy), and assisting students in developing the highest performance possible. Of course, we know that the originator and exemplar of true servant-leadership is the one who said, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45) and He continues to calls us to sacrificial service through our calling in academia.
Overall the Q Continuum is about providing a holistic educational experience that not only addresses intellectual development, but emotional, social, ethical, and spiritual development as well. I believe this kind of development is what the Apostle Paul referred when he states, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” So it seems that the physical is based on the spiritual; what we do with our hands, is based on what is in our heart and head; our actions are based on our beliefs. By renewing our mind with God’s Word, literally God’s perspective, not only can we change our actions, but we can discern what is truly “good, pleasing, and perfect” and, in doing so, influence others. Surprisingly, the Q Continuum is very biblical and practical; it is actually what those who will employ our students desire in their employees. The Association of American Colleges has stated, “Ninety-one percent of employers say it is important that those they hire demonstrate ethical judgment, integrity, intercultural skills, and the capacity for continued new learning.” Imagine that!