Driver 2 - Supportive Instructor & Course Interactions

Resources in this Change Idea

Evidence Base

When instructors take a growth mindset approach to convey course expectations, they communicate an institutional growth mindset about students’ abilities, which in turn has been shown to bolster student engagement and improve student learning and academic outcomes (Rattan et al., 2018; Canning et al., 2019). Using a growth mindset approach for establishing course expectations can also decrease students’ experiences of identity threat and increase levels of trust among students who belong to groups who are targeted by negative stereotypes about their abilities (Murphy & Jones Taylor, 2012). 



College Transition Collaborative/Equity Accelerator

Sushilla Knottenbelt
Senior Lecturer III, Department of Chemistry, University of New Mexico


Instructors across the SEP network used evidence-based resources in the SEP Classroom Practices Library to develop their approach to establishing expectations about academic standards and course expectations. The resource guides in the Classroom Practices Library assisted instructors in normalizing the experience of being challenged by course material and using support resources as standard aspects of the learning process. The guides also helped instructors provide students with opportunities to reflect on their learning, make use of resources to address gaps in their knowledge, and grow their abilities. Dr. Sushilla Knottenbelt (University of New Mexico) sent weekly emails to her students with growth mindset messages and reminders about relevant resources to support student success. The materials in the Classroom Practices Library help instructors like Dr. Knottenbelt be successful in implementing these practices in ways that are attuned to students’ experiences. Click the link below to learn more about establishing expectations, review the evidence-based implementation guide, and see how Dr. Knottenbelt adapted this practice for her classroom context.