About Us

Mark Pogue with Student

About Us

Clifton Strengths Institute Mission and Purpose

The Institute’s purpose is to identify and maximize the talent of college students to guide their personal, professional, and leadership development through the use and application of strengths-based sciences. The goal is to help Nebraska, the nation and the world identify the next generation of high-achieving leaders, entrepreneurs, and business builders to develop economic growth and prosperity.

The Clifton Strengths Institute is a model for other organizations to learn to recognize individual potential and develop leaders who build and strengthen booming businesses and create more great jobs and great lives.

Don Clifton Legacy

Don Clifton artist rendering

For two decades, from 1950 to 1969, Dr. Donald O. Clifton was a popular professor of educational psychology and researcher at UNL, where he first began his experimentation with strengths. He was chairman of Selection Research Inc. and later chairman of Gallup. Clifton was recognized with a Presidential Commendation from the American Psychological Association as the Father of Strengths-based Psychology and the Grandfather of Positive Psychology.

His research led to the Clifton StrengthsFinder, a powerful online assessment released in 1999. The assessment has been used by most Fortune 1000 companies, plus famous NGOs such as the World Bank and United Nations, as well as many federal government agencies and departments, including the military. Today, the assessment has helped more than 14 million people worldwide discover, understand and maximize their innate talents. The accompanying book, StrengthsFinder 2.0, was named Amazon's No. 1 bestselling book in 2013 and 2014. Clifton StrengthsFinder is used in most of the Fortune 500 along with hundreds of schools and universities.

His passion was centered around the question, "What will happen when we think about what is right with people rather than fixating on what is wrong with them?" He spent his life researching and teaching human development, discovering the true power of people developing their innate talents to lead productive lives of high value and high well-being.

Building on the work of Clifton, the Clifton Strengths Institute is a long-term partnership with the Clifton Foundation and Gallup.

"The University of Nebraska-Lincoln was the birthplace for Don Clifton’s early strengths research, which later culminated into the now world-famous Clifton StrengthsFinder," said Jim Clifton, chairman and CEO of Gallup. "We are proud to be creating this Clifton Strengths Institute as a model that can be replicated at universities around the world."

Clifton Strengths Institute Team

Pogue, Mark
Executive Director of Clifton Strengths Institute
Kennelly, Samantha
Clifton Strengths Institute Coordinator