Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Cynthia A. Wells


Growth mindset is the belief that general intellectual ability is malleable and can be developed. This thesis describes the presence and cultivation of growth mindset in the academic experiences of six undergraduate students in the social sciences at a medium-sized, liberal arts and sciences college. Individual interviews were analyzed using narrative inquiry to explore the impact of instructor philosophy and pedagogy on student mindset and learning engagement. Research findings highlight that instructor embodiment of growth mindset, including relationality, modeling, and constructive delivery of feedback, as well as assignment design, were instrumental. Participants did not share a common definition of growth mindset, but that concepts of competence, choice, and grit were shared. Additionally, participants recognized that mindset exists on a continuum and articulated one or more ways they experienced a shift in their mindset. Recommendations for further research and pedagogical practice are provided.


Completed as part of HIED 565: Thesis