Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Committee Chairperson

Jeff McLaughlin, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dana Morrison, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline Hodes, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James Tweedy, Ph.D.


This thesis is concerned with how higher education has contributed to a rigid, inequitable view of intelligence that stifles education experiences for the sake of quick return on investment. Historically, this view of intelligence was used to justify slavery and other means of integrating people as human capital in society. I propose a one semester workshop intervention, based on Carol Dweck’s research into mindsets, for first-year students to increase the salience of growth mindsets in new students. Research suggests that growth mindsets will increase students’ resilience and adaptability when faced with adversity (Yeager & Dweck, 2012). Increasing growth mindsets may also mitigate multicultural student stressors, increase their connections with the university community, and help them persist until graduation (Kovach, 2018) (Broda, 2018). This thesis outlines the learning goals and student first design for a successful growth mindset workshop including the incorporation of peer mentors and experiential learning to connect growth mindset broadly to first-year student life. Future application can focus on increasing the community engagement of the Growth Scholars Leaning Community in order to continue the work of changing higher education’s mindset on intelligence.