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Growth Messaging: Communicating a Growth Mindset to Our Students


Psychologist Carol Dweck originally coined the term “growth mindset” to describe the way our beliefs about learning affect the outcomes. People tend to believe either that traits like intelligence are fixed or that they can be developed over time. The idea that they can change with effort and strategy underscores the Growth Mindset. Stephanie Fryberg revised Dweck's model of growth mindset from an individual to a communal model and showed how the concept of the malleability of the brain could positively impact Native students by countering negative stereotypes about intelligence. Years of research has connected the growth mindset to improved motivation, persistence, and learning, especially in times of transition and for students structurally excluded from higher education. This session will review how mindset practices can provide a foundation for equity in education and mediate difficult transitions and suggest changes in everyday communication on campus that can foster student perseverance and begin to normalize help seeking behaviors. 


  • Jennifer Considine, Communications Studies Department, Oshkosh Campus
  • Erik Heller, Undergraduate Advising Resource Center, Oshkosh Campus
  • Heidi Nichols, Indigenous Studies Program and Anthropology, Global                                                 Religions and Cultures Department, Oshkosh Campus
  • Angela Westphal, Communications Studies Department, Oshkosh Campus
  • Mai Khou Xiong, Multicultural Student Services, UW Sto


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