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by Tiera S. Coston

Growth Fixed Image

How would you feel if someone told you that your intelligence, talents, and personality were fixed traits that could not be changed? What if someone else told you that these same traits could be nurtured, developed and grown throughout your life? How would you feel then? The answers to these questions have an enormous impact on a person's mindset, and consequently, in mentoring. A mindset is a set of beliefs that an individual has about his/her most elemental traits. When we, as mentors, foster a fixed mindset (whether consciously or unconsciously), we may leave our mentees with the belief that their intelligence, abilities and talents are already determined and nothing can be done to change them. However, when we foster a growth mindset, our mentees are shown that their traits can be developed throughout their lives with conscious and sustained effort. Mentees can then begin to see a world without limitations. GROWTH AND FIXED MINDSETS IN MENTORING: THE TALE OF THE HELP AND THE HINDRANCE focuses on examining those behaviors, many of which we may be unaware, that foster the growth and the fixed mindsets. It also provides some helpful scenarios that demonstrate how to foster a growth mindset and discourage a fixed one. Finally, a mindset quiz is included to help you (and your mentees) determine what kind of mindset you have.

by Karen Nichols:  I'm posting this message for anyone who may be interested.


Please join me, Emily Ryan, Education Manager with The New York Times, for a brief demonstration of the various academic resources from on Thursday, November 20th at 10AM PST / 1PM EST.

Learn About:

Academic resources inside that will support your courses
Examples of how others have incorporated into their curriculum
Special programs for core curriculum instruction and the study of leadership

Please feel free to register in advance and add this event to your calendar.

Click or copy/paste this link into your web browser:

To join the webinar on November 20th at 10AM PST/ 1PM EST simply click on the link below and dial into the toll-free conference line noted below.

Presentation Link:

Dial in:
United States: (888) 419-5364
Conference Access Code: 3977-6248

I look forward to seeing you online.

Emily Ryan
Education Manager

The New York Times
Sold by PCF, Inc.
(201) 560-2564

by Karen Nichols
I attended my first POD conference last week and the theme was Leverage.  POD is our faculty development organization and such a wonderful group of people. I returned with a number of ideas and tools, not only for online teaching, but teaching with technology and general faculty development best practices as well.

I'd like to share a couple of links with you.  You'll be able to see the conference theme is well-used in a variety of ways.

One fun tool I learned about was 3M's Post-It Plus app. If you use post-it notes in workshops or classes and the students have to affix them to a board in order to see the responses from the entire group, this nifty app will allow you to snap a photo of the post-it-filled board. It then digitizes each note and allows you to organize them and share the board with everyone else. Here's a demonstration:

I'll be sharing more goodies from the conference in upcoming posts. Meanwhile, let us know if you try this app or find something that interests you in the conference links.

What? The Center for the Advancement of TEACHING, is telling me to spend less time on my teaching?

We all know that Xavier is a premier undergraduate university.  This is largely in part due to the dedicated faculty who put teaching first in order to help students achieve their goals.  However, we as faculty have goals too, and some of those goals extend from the classroom.  It is our job to balance those goals and obligations so that each facet of our careers can thrive.  So to that end, what are the best practices, and easiest pitfalls, that new faculty can fall into?

Dr. Robert Boice, Professor of Psychology at SUNY in Stony Brook, NY, has done extensive research polling and following hundreds of faculty members across disciplines and institution types and then charting their success in the tenure and promotion process.  Overwhelmingly, the most common problem among faculty was not spending enough time on scholarly writing (proposals and papers) but that was linked hand-in-hand with being over prepared for their classes.  When faculty were reporting spending nearly 30 hours a week preparing for class, it is clear that some other aspect of their job was going to suffer for it.  However, not all faculty suffered from this lack of balance.  Boice identified 5–9% of new faculty as "quick starters," who in their first few years were well on their way to promotion and tenure especially with respect to scholarship. Moreover, they also scored in the top quarter of peer and student ratings of teaching; so their scholarly success was not achieved at the expense of their students.

You can read a brief article from Chemical Engineering Education summarizing his findings here:

And if you think this might be helpful, you can find Dr. Boice’s book here (among other places):

However, at Xavier, it can be quite easy to quickly achieve a balance.  As I mentioned, one of our greatest assets, and your greatest resource, are our faculty.  Here are some tips to leverage the resources you have in order to prepare a better class, in a reasonable amount of time, leaving sufficient time for scholarship:

  • Ask for and accept help from senior faculty.  If someone has taught a course that is new for you, odds are they are happy to share their notes, slides, test, etc.  Certainly you will want to make the courses you teach your own, but there is no need to spend hours reinventing the wheel (or at least reinventing the diagrams on a PowerPoint slide).
  • Do not be afraid to protect your writing time. We all want to have “open door” policies to our students and be generally available to them, but that does not mean you need to be on call 24/7.  Do not fear your student evaluations suffering if you close your door sometimes to write.  As long as you are available without fail for your classes and office hours as promised, no one will fault you for attending to other parts of your job. (I personally was reluctant to do this years ago, and speak from experience that there was no negative effect on my student evaluations.)
  • Visit CAT. OK, you knew this one was coming.  There are many faculty resources here in CAT including a staff that is eager to help you, not only with your teaching, but with incorporating your teaching into your job as a well-rounded (and successful!) Xavier faculty member

-Stassi DiMaggio