Students learn about emotional intelligence at symposium

Students learn about emotional intelligence at symposium

As part of the first breakout sessions at UT Martin’s Women’s Symposium on March 29, Dr. Mary Radford, Nursing Department Chair and associate professor, gave a presentation about emotional intelligence titled, “I Second that Emotion!”

Throughout her presentation, Radford outlined the concept, gave some of its history and benefits and listed six ways to increase your own emotional intelligence.

To begin, Radford explained her acquaintance with the concept as a nursing teacher. A professor for 16 years at UTM, she noticed that some students, while being very smart, did not know how to deal with the emotions of others or themselves.  Others that struggled academically, excelled in those areas. The contrast became the focus of her doctoral research on the correlation between emotional success and student success in the nursing program.

Emotional intelligence was described by the nursing professor as the ability to perceive the emotions of others and ourselves to use them for good and relate to others by being aware of their emotions.

The concept goes back to the 1930s when psychologist Edward Thorndike labeled it “social intelligence.” The idea gained nationwide recognition through works in well known publications and was further defined by psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer in 1990 in their article “Emotional Intelligence.”

Overtime, researchers analyzed EQ (emotional quotient) and IQ (intelligence quotient).

“At one point in time, IQ was viewed as the primary determinant of success.. Critics began to realize that high intelligence was no guarantee for success,” said the Union University graduate.

As part of the session, a survey was given to student participants to judge their own EQ.

Benefits outlined by Radford of emotional intelligence included better communication skills, ability to handle stress, ability to inspire and motivate others and better health.

The last portion of the seminar consisted of six tips and corresponding activities to increase your emotional intelligence.  Tips included reducing negative emotions, expressing different emotions when necessary and staying proactive in dealing with difficult people.

“I want them to be able to use their negative emotions I know they have right now, like stress, and maybe discouragement if they’re not doing well in a class and being frustrated with their classmates and take that and learn to deal with it better so that they are happy and successful,” Radford said.


Dr. Mary Radford speaks at a break out session about emotional intelligence (Pacer Photo/Kristina Shaw).

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