The Center for Connection Culture is planning to create a Student Ambassador program, as well as hosting events on campus.
The center serves to both highlight and strengthen the way that TCU operates as an organization by focusing on relationships rather than tasks.
Two years ago, Chancellor Boschini appointed Chancellor’s Associate for Strategic Partnerships Ann Louden to direct a newly established TCU Center for Connection Culture.
“The idea for the center is to spotlight the connection work that is already being done so well on campus,” Louden said. “This means making the campus more aware of the connection activities, terminology and advantages that focus on relationships.”
A TCU student committee has been named to increase awareness and grassroots connection initiatives within the student body. More than 40 faculty and staff already serve on a campus committee providing advice and support to connection programs.
“This semester, I am working with a group of student workers to help me reach the student body,” Louden said. “Aside from creating a website, we will be working on student programming and on bringing in speakers for a symposium about connection cultures.”
Following the success of last year’s event, the second Center for Connection Symposium Speaker Series is planned for the spring. This year’s speaker will be announced soon.
Senior Colton Perry, who is on the student committee for the center, looks forward to the center having a stronger presence on campus.
“We want to focus more on the students, such as highlighting stories of students living out the connection culture,” Perry said.
The center plans to have a section of the website that highlights “connection culture heroes,” where students or faculty and staff can nominate a person on campus that they believe embodies what it means to be a connector on campus. This section will feature both a faculty or staff member and a student.
Along with Perry, students Alix Rice, Ben Thompson and Kat Edmond are recruiting other students to join them in promoting student connection activities.
Another new initiative that the center announced is the opportunity to collaborate with TCU Career Services on seminars for students seeking their first jobs.
The seminars will advocate for placing collaborative relationships above tasks in the work environment. This mindset stems from the way that TCU operates as an organization.
Mike Stallard, business consultant and founder of E Pluribus Partners, outlines three qualities of a successful work environment in a book to be published in April, titled “Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy and Understanding at Work.”
Stallard said vision, value, and voice are the three traits TCU embodies.
“TCU’s connection culture is a result of many factors from Chancellor Boschini and the TCU leadership team’s example, to mentoring faculty to caring and friendly staff,” Stallard said. “I’ve not seen a better culture on the campuses I’ve spoken at around North America.”
Stallard features TCU in his book as an example of a connection culture. Chancellor Boschini wrote the forward for the book.
For the past three years, Stallard has worked with the university through teaching, training and exploring his theories of connection culture within the community.
“TCU has a connection culture which is in contrast to a culture of indifference on many college campuses today,” Stallard said.
“This culture is exemplified by a caring, engaged and friendly faculty and staff. Connection, which can also be thought of as relational support and a positive bond among people, makes us smarter, healthier and happier.”
“This campus is built on the three qualities that Mike [Stallard] outlined in his book,” Louden said. “The vision, or the view of the CEO, or in this case Chancellor Boschini, is a relationship-based culture. The employees are treated with value and thus feel like their voice truly matters.”
Stallard added this “is one of the reasons year after year the Chronicle of Higher Education has TCU as one of the best universities for faculty.”
The Center for Connection Culture plans to make great strides in the coming semester. By calling attention to what TCU already does well and striving for improvement, the center hopes to increase awareness of the importance of a culture that fosters relationships.
“For most students, there is something they love about TCU that they just can’t quite put their finger on,” Perry said. “That thing is called connection culture.”