September 25, 2019
Volume 3, Number 3
Two Strategies to Promote a Growth Mindset
Direct instruction on effective study strategies and concrete
feedback about the quality of learning
The consequences of fixed or growth mindsets (Dweck, 2006) have been a powerful influence on thinking about teaching and learning. Dweck found that successful students have a growth mindset and advocates using teaching strategies that promote a growth mindset.

Individuals with a growth mindset believe that expertise emerges from practice. Students with a growth mindset perceive difficult tasks as opportunities to stretch and learn new skills. They try tasks that challenge their current level of skill and accept the risk of making mistakes as an opportunity to learn. Constructive feedback from mistakes helps them improve.

In contrast, students who believe talent is an innate characteristic have a fixed mindset and avoid challenging tasks. Students with a fixed mindset fear that mistakes made on a difficult task expose their lack of talent. They believe that mistakes expose their weaknesses and reveal that they are overreaching or studying the wrong discipline. Students who believe performance depends entirely on talent prefer tasks for which they are confident they will excel. When learning gets difficult or they make mistakes, they tend to give up.

Dweck notes that many teachers and students falsely claim to have a growth mindset (Gross-Loh, 2016). Because a growth mindset is the socially correct attitude to espouse, people believe they ought to subscribe to a growth mindset. However, their behavior suggests that they believe performance is really determined by fixed talent. Instructors with a false growth mindset place too much emphasis on rewarding effort and too little emphasis on providing specific guidance on effective strategies for completing challenging tasks. They may fail to provide diagnostic feedback about errors to guide future efforts. Dweck argues that teachers who subscribe to a “false growth mindset” offer empty praise for effort as a sort of consolation prize, given to students they believe lack the talent required to perform well on a task. They fail to provide the constructive feedback students require to correct errors and improve learning. Empty praise for effort without constructive feedback perpetuates the notion of talent and promotes a fixed mindset.

What actions will nurture a genuine growth mindset?
The hallmark of a genuine belief in a growth mindset is students who seek challenging tasks that stretch their skill. They risk making mistakes to obtain beneficial feedback from difficult learning experiences. Their persistence and effort are rewarded with personal growth and development of expertise. Thus, although effort and persistence are necessary, they are not sufficient to achieve benefits for learning. Students need more.

Complex learning seldom occurs in one trial or through a single insight. Expertise, particularly expertise with cognitive skills (critical thinking, professional writing, problem-solving) develops when practice is repeated over time. Persistence is important and must be encouraged. But persistence is effective only when combined with practice guided by formative feedback from a skilled expert.

Instructors who want to encourage a growth mindset and develop expert skill in their students need to offer more than praise for effort or simply give “lip service” (empty endorsement) to adopting a “growth mindset.” They must offer specific, concrete, constructive feedback to guide future efforts and correct errors.

  • Teach students about specific study strategies that are known to be effective. Don’t simply encourage students to persist, try harder, or study longer. Too many students believe (erroneously) that spending more time studying (exerting more effort) will improve their learning. They waste time re-reading, highlighting, and engaging in mechanical rote repetition study tasks that produce little benefit for long-term retention. Instead, advise students to change the way they study and adopt strategies known to produce good long-term retention. Dunlosky et al. (2013) identified six strategies that have been shown to produce superior long-term retention, based on substantial laboratory evidence. Sumeracki and Weinstein (2017) created a one-page, open access infographic that describes these six strategies. Instructors can distribute this infographic to their students as a course handout, discuss it in class, and refer to it again when advising a student who is struggling in class. The infographic describes the following strategies: retrieval practice (using self-tests), elaborative interaction with course content (posing and answering “why” and “how” questions), practice distributed over multiple sessions, interleaving practice on different topics, frame abstract content in terms of concrete examples instead of memorizing textbook definitions, and use multiple methods (visual, verbal) to represent and encode information.

  • Provide specific formative feedback about the nature of errors in performance. Describe concrete actions students must take to correct errors and produce more skilled performance. Students need more detailed feedback than simple identification of errors (what they did wrong). They also need to know what they should do. Describe new strategies students should use and the actions they should take to correct errors and meet expectations for skilled performance.


by Claudia J. Stanny, Director for the Center for University Teaching, Learning, & Assessment, University of West Florida
What I Love About Teaching Campaign
Hello Educators,
We are looking for your response to the question "What do you love about teaching?"

While enjoying the summer, take a few moments to share your response by clicking the link below:
Events on Campus
Here are opportunities for students (and maybe you) on campus:

MSU Event  :
  • Career Fair - Tuesday, October 1, 10am to 1pm, ADUC Ballrooms. Don't miss the opportunity to connect with more than 80 employers and graduate schools. In addition to full-time candidates, many organizations are seeking students for internships/co-ops and part-time positions. Free professional headshots available. Dress professionally. Bring resumes, Be prepared to introduce yourself. See who's coming with the free "Career Fair Plus" app.

MSU Event  :
  • LinkedIn Lab - Wednesday, November 6, 2:15pm to 4pm, Bert Combs Building, Room 302. Drop in and learn how to build or improve your LinkedIn profile and use it to expand your professional network. Come professionally dressed for a free photo.
Call for Proposals
(Due: September 13th)
KOSS (Kentucky Organization for Student Success) Conference, October 24-25, 2019, at the Historic Boone Tavern Hotel in Berea. For more information, checkout their FaceBook page:
12th Annual Conference on

Higher Education Pedagogy

 February 5-7, 2020  

Virginia Tech /   Blacksburg, Virginia, USA   

Registration will open in October. For information about conference registration and associated fees, visit the conference website:
2019 Tri-State Conference on
Diversity & Inclusion

The Conference will be held September 27, 2019 at Morehead State University and is being chaired by staff in the Office of the President and Communications and Marketing. The 2019 conference theme is Equity in Education: Erasing Opportunity Gaps.  All workshops will be centered on the central theme of diversity and inclusion with a focus on achievement gaps for marginalized student populations. Information on past workshops can be found at
Sponsoring Institutions
Ashland Community & Technical College
Marshall University
Marshall University School of Pharmacy
Ohio University-Southern
Morehead State University
Morehead State University-Ashland
Mountwest Community & Technical College
Shawnee State University
University of RIO Grande
Leadership in Higher Education Conference
October 3-5, St. Louis

A Leadership Conference that Gives You More!
Seven Unique Conference Tracks:
  • Academic Leadership and Professional Development
  • Administrative Leadership and Professional Development
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Program and Department Evaluation and Assessment
  • Faculty Hiring, Development, and Assessment
  • Institutional Culture and Climate
  • Special Topics in Academic Leadership

Scaled for networking and reflection, this conference provides multiple opportunities to meet with other like-minded peers. 

The Leadership in Higher Education Conference limits registrations to a manageable size to support a collaborative gathering of higher education professionals. We’ll examine trends, strategies, and best practices over two and a half impactful days.

Budgets are scarce. That’s why this year, we’ve reduced our registration fee by $200. Still the same great conference—at an even better value!

For more information, click here .
19th Annual Posters-at-the-Capitol
March 5th, Frankfort
Submission Due: Friday, October 11 by 3pm

(Click the “Submit to Posters-at-the Capitol" link on the left - You must create an account to register)
The Deadline for online registration/submission is Friday, October 11, 2019 by 3:00 PM CST/4:00 PM EST
(No registrations/submissions will be considered after this date)
Participants click Poster Presentations: Conceptualizing, Construction and Critiquing for general advice on preparing a research poster.
Posters-at-the-Capitol , an event hosted collaboratively by Eastern Kentucky University, Kentucky Community and Technical College System, Kentucky State University, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University, University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, and Western Kentucky University, is intended to help members of Kentucky’s legislature and the Governor better understand the importance of involving undergraduates in research, scholarly, and creative work. It provides undergraduates with the opportunity to engage in scholarship, research, and creative work that is important to their educational experience and professional development. We encourage faculty to have their students participate in Posters-at-the-Capitol to help those in Kentucky who fund higher education understand why these experiences are so important. 
For further info and questions concerning registration and submission DO NOT REPLY to this email. Contact:
Mr. A.J. Boston
Posters-at-the Capitol Coordinator
Please copy:

Mr. Evan Prellberg
Coordinator of Undergraduate Research
Morehead State University
Dr. Michael Henson
Associate Provost for Research & Dean of the Graduate School
Morehead State University
Magna (Online) Webinars
24/7 Professional Development for Faculty
Featured Webinars:

How Can I Assess Critical Thinking with Student-Created Work?
Critical thinking applies to many aspects of student learning. This webinar explores strategies to:
  • define learning goals
  • create assignments; and
  • draft rubrics that boost and measure critical thinking outcomes.

How Do I Create a Lively, Yet Functional, Online Classroom?
Explore strategies to build and support an engaging online course experience. This environment supports student success by being:
  • efficient;
  • predictable; and
  • authentic. 

Accessing Webinars:

These licensed Magna resources are available through a password-protected website. For access, faculty need to:
  • Log into MSU’s employee portal;
  • Look under the My Classes (Blackboard) section for the Magna Training Site;
  • If Magna isn't showing up in your list of courses, please send a request to be added to
  • When you click on the Magna Training Site, the Blackboard shell will open. Please note, you will be asked to submit a "Terms of Use" agreement before viewing any webinars.

Benefits of Magna Webinars:

I understand that you have a lot on your plate, so let me give you a few reasons why you should consider trying a Magna webinar:
  • Each webinar takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.
  • All webinars are available on your schedule since they are online and easily accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Webinars include supplemental materials such as bibliographies and handouts.
  • Certificates of completion are available for professional portfolios and Faculty 180.
Ambassadors for Excellence in Teaching
Morehead State University