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Unsure and Unaligned: Student’s Perception of Faculty’s Growth Mindset

Presenters Name: 
Mary Rose Philipoom
Co Presenters Name: 
Primary Research Mentor: 
Stephanie Wormington
Secondary Research Mentor: 
2:00 - 3:15
Time of Presentation: 
2019 - 2:00pm to 3:15pm
Newcomb Hall Ballroom
Presentation Type: 
Presentations Academic Category: 
Social Science
Grant Program Recipient: 
USOAR Program

We surveyed STEM students and faculty at Kennesaw State University to explore how their perspectives and mindsets, including growth mindset, aligned. Growth mindset is the belief that intelligence is malleable and can grow with effort and strategies. Faculty’s mindsets have recently been shown to predict students’ course grades. In STEM classes where the faculty member had a fixed mindset, students’ grades were lower and achievement gaps between underrepresented minority (URM) students and majority students were larger (Canning et al. 2019). In our survey, students reported on their own growth mindset and their perceptions of their instructor’s growth mindset. Faculty reported on their own growth mindset. When students were asked about their faculty’s growth mindset, 39% were unsure how to respond. This number is even higher for URM students--44% of URM students were unsure compared to only 35% of majority students. Students who were unsure of their instructor’s growth mindset also reported significantly lower motivation, including growth mindset, interest, and feelings of belonging. In reality, STEM instructors at Kennesaw report having very high growth mindsets (5.2 on a 6-point scale), yet their messages are not reaching their students. Thus, work must be done to expose these gaps and realign the faculty and student perspectives.