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Teamwork, at its most elementary level, is what you would assume from its name—working together as a team.
Teamwork relies on setting a goal, understanding that goal, and moving toward that goal while respecting different points of view, different ways of knowing, and different ways of doing. It is rare that there is only one way to do something. Teamwork is the collaborative effort of a group to decide on a path and walk it together to reach a shared vision.
Employers rarely accomplish anything alone. This is why they hire employees. Teamwork is a skill that ensures you will be a valuable addition to the team you work with. Everyone wants their voice to be respected, and everyone wants a job to be completed. Teamwork is the ability to balance these goals in a way that respects multiple opinions but operationalizes one plan to achieve the desired outcome. Research teams and architects, business consultants and computer programmers may all need to work on a team at one point or another. There are few jobs that would not benefit from the ability to work well with others.
Communities need people who don’t mind opposing views but still value coming to an agreement. From household challenges like “Who should do the dishes?” to more global issues like “Who should pay for higher education?,” people need to both understand multiple points of view and work together to come to some shared process to reach mutual goals. Teamwork can be helpful in community service events, parent teacher meetings, neighborhood organizations, religious events, and, of course, sports teams.
We ask students like you. In focus groups, in survey, and in written reflections we look for evidence of teamwork and teamwork-related skills. Some of these skills are evaluated using an Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) rubric that investigates contribution to team meetings, facilitation of team member contributions, personal contributions to the team, ability to foster a constructive team climate, and ability to respond to conflict.
Teamwork is a challenging objective to measure because instead of measuring a finished product, we are focused on measuring the process that led to the product. That said, teamwork is one of the most important core objectives as it evaluates students’ abilities to work collaboratively and respectfully.
Below are some of our recent reports that explain how we are doing as an institution.