Profiles in Strengths: Rey Rivera, Ed.D.
Dr. Reynaldo (Rey) Rivera, Vice President of Learning
Q: How do your Top 5 Strengths relate to your leadership philosophy?
I strongly believe in creating collaborative teams, so once the institution has an initiave or goal, and I’m asked to accomplish it, I start thinking about individuals who would make a good team to define the problem, come up with solutions, and implement them. I don’t think any one person has all the answers. I think that’s part of my Relator Strength. People who are invested in a solution will come forward naturally. My role is to facilitate – that’s where my Analytical and Strategic Strengths come in. With my math background, I’m always looking at an issue from all the angles to find a solution. I try to look at the realities of the situation. I like to get stuff done, so that’s where my Achiever comes in. Once I start something, I have to accomplish it. Finally, as a Learner, in the process of problem solving, I learn a lot: I learn about people and about the situation.
Q: In your new position, do you find yourself allowing one or two Strengths to become more instrumental while downplaying any others?
I don’t know where Adaptability is in my 34, but I feel it charging to the forefront. Sometimes I have to tone down my Analytical side because at times a solution needs to be reached quickly, and you can’t keep looking at different options. Sometimes you have to just trust that you’ve done enough. As a Relator, when I have to work with large groups, it’s not necessarily my comfort zone, but I’m starting to get better about it, so perhaps I’m refining that Strength. On the other hand, there are days that the Achiever in me gets frustrated that I don’t get to scratch anything off my list. Especially at the institutional level, change can be incremental – unlike the classroom where you see change immediately – I just have to be patient.
Q: What are your thoughts on knowing others’ Strengths and engaging others in terms of those Strengths?
The group matrix exists, so as VPs we do need to know how to utilize that. At the same time, you don’t want to use that exclusively to ask people to get involved, but it certainly helps to have a well-balanced team. For example, trying to get through the scheduling process, I’ve invited Student Services, Financial Aid, and Advising to the table to get their viewpoints on the important issues because faculty and chairs see one aspect, but having different perspectives will help us create a solution that the whole college can live with and, most importantly, to help students complete with minimal impact on financial aid and other factors.
Q: Efforts to educate new students about Strengths are well underway. Do you have a vision for the relationship between students and faculty in terms of Strengths?
That’s been a major challenge on the Academic side. I think faculty see the benefit of recognizing their own individual Strengths and they see how knowing one’s own Strengths can also help students – but that’s where the missing link is right now: How do we integrate it into courses, and how do we document that integration to gauge its positive impact? Creating a resource or repository for helping faculty infuse Strengths into their curriculum is an idea with a lot of potential. It can be a resource for thinking about the relevance of Strengths as well as opportunities for experiential learning.