Brock University’s Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre (SWAC) wants to support students to have a successful year by helping them face challenges with a growth mindset.
Dawn Shickluna and Suzanne Zook-Johnston, both registered psychotherapists with the SWAC, have developed growth mindset webinars and workshops for undergraduate and graduate Brock students.
Originally coined by Carol Dweck, Psychologist and Professor at Stanford University, the term ‘growth mindset’ means to recognize that individuals’ intelligence and abilities can be developed, as opposed to a ‘fixed mindset,’ which is when individuals believe their intelligence and abilities are static and limited. Dweck’s research illustrates the positive impact that developing a growth mindset has on all aspects of life.
SWAC is implementing this concept to help Brock students remain resilient and experience success in both their personal and academic lives. This is accomplished by giving students the tools they need to become more aware of how their mindset impacts overall mental health and how to take proactive action to shift their state of mind.
“Our focus is students’ wellness, which in turn supports their academic success,” said Shickluna. “Fostering a growth mindset builds mental health and agility. It decreases the risk of personalizing mental health problems and strengthens characteristics that will benefit students personally and professionally during their time at Brock and beyond throughout their lives.”
Using growth mindset as the basis of the workshops, Shickluna and Zook-Johnston combined Dweck’s research with the work of other mental health scholars to create a Brock-specific program with practical exercises for students to learn about mental health concepts and how to apply these learnings to their own lives.
“Counselling students to have a greater understanding of the correlation between their state of mind and their state of well-being, while witnessing their ability to build a growth mindset and change their lives is one of the most rewarding aspects of my work with students,” said Zook-Johnston.
The workshops offer students the opportunity to be aware of their mindset using concrete experiences from their lives, mapping out triggers that may keep them in a fixed mindset and planning out practical next steps in developing a growth mindset.
There are two different workshops, one for undergraduate and the other for graduate students, which both cover the essentials of a growth mindset, but offer unique aspects tailored towards the different student experiences.
The undergraduate workshops are being offered twice per month throughout the Fall Term to accommodate as many schedules as possible. The first live workshop will be held on Friday, Sept. 18 from 1 to 2 p.m. Undergraduate students can register for the workshop and see the schedule on ExperienceBU.
The graduate student workshop will be offered on Friday, Oct. 23 at 1 p.m. and Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. These are the same workshops being offered at different times to accommodate schedules. Graduate students can register on ExperienceBU.
For both workshops, there is a prerequisite recorded webinar that students must watch to develop basic knowledge of the topics before the live workshops. Undergraduate students are required to watch ‘Becoming a Growth Mindset Badger,’ while graduate students are required watch ‘Growth Mindset for Graduate Students.’ Both webinars can be found on the SWAC website.
Additionally, there is a growth mindset workshop available for Brock’s teaching assistants (TAs) as a part of the TA Days workshop series. The focus of the workshop is to bring the growth mindset concept to TAs for both their personal development and to provide them with the tools to help their students. The workshop will be held on Saturday, Oct. 17 at 9 a.m.