The Wisconsin Women in Higher Education Leadership group, hosted by Dean Sue Mattison, met on campus recently to discuss the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

As an introvert myself, the book spoke to me with its portrayals of awkward small talk, nerve-wreaking meetings and the constant professionalfocus on brain-storming and group-work. The book restrains itself from devolving into stereotypes and instead offers introverts and extroverts alike, an important insight into how people process and share information. Cain shares her own experience from the workplace, marriage and as a parent, and provides useful and concrete advice for readers from both camps. To get a glimpse into the book, check out Cain’s immensely popular TED talk on the same topic.

With participants from across campus, the discussion mostly focused on the importance of valuing introverted traits in colleagues, supervisors and employees. However, as there were a number of faculty members present, some of the discussion focused on how to best accommodate both introverted and extroverted students in the classroom. Many faculty stated that the sophisticated facilitation of discussion in class was important to make everyone feel comfortable. The book also suggested that splitting larger classes into smaller groups that were consistent for the whole semester may help. Finally, participants in the book club reminded faculty to consider offering all students the option to offer their opinion in other ways beyond group discussions.

Interested in reading more about the power of introverts? Check out Susan Cain’s book at the CATL library.

Joanne DolanJoanne Dolan
Instructional Design Coordinator, CATL

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