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Welcome from the Provost

Provost Robertson with her students
Provost Robertson with her first-year seminar students

Adopt a Growth Mindset!

Though the leaves are turning colors and starting to fall, I see autumn on our campus as a season of growth. Students are now fully immersed - balancing curricular and co-curricular work with countless other responsibilities.

As the semester progresses, however, it is inevitable that our students will experience moments of uncertainty and challenge.

In order to help our students build skills and negotiate difficult times, we have intentionally embraced Carol Dweck's growth mindset here at Geneseo.

As Dweck explains, people who practice a growth mindset "believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work" which "creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment."

Conversely, those stuck in a fixed mindset "believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits" which cannot be developed.

It is why we sometimes hear students say, "I'm not good at math." or, "I'll never learn how to play the piano." That fixed mindset closes doors and limits growth.

For example, I grew up believing I could not sing, but never took voice lessons or joined a choir. Nor did I seek education to learn how to sing. I just accepted that I lacked the talent and could not improve.

Today, I have reframed that into a growth mindset perspective and tell myself, "I am not a good singer yet" - with the goal of singing Geneseo's alma mater at convocation one day!

At Geneseo, we are focusing on teaching growth mindset to help ensure student success. Growth mindset is about hope and lifting up our students. It's about the future and ensuring success by providing them with tools to become the best possible learner - here at Geneseo and for the rest of their lives.

By learning about and teaching growth mindset in various contexts, including our pilot first-year seminar, our faculty play a key role in reaffirming that everyone has the potential to reach their goals through hard work and study, commitment and dedication, and collaboration and mentorship.

As we step into our challenges - whether providing our students with outstanding learning opportunities, living our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, or meeting enrollment goals - growth mindset allows us to think creatively about the future and to leverage our strengths even as we broaden our horizons.

Stacey Robertson, Provost