Sunday, February 26, 2017


We are continuing to showcase growth mindset language in the syllabi and course materials developed by CSULB faculty. The examples below are borrowed from the Spring 2017 syllabi by Ladera Barbee, Rebecca Bishop Jen-Mei Chang, Joshua Chesler, Gerald Geier, Andrea Johnson, Florence Newberger, T.R. Rubino-Schaefer, Kagba Suaray, and Truong P. Tran,  Department of Mathematics & Statistics, CSULB.

Dear Student,
I’m looking forward to working with you this semester! I know that Business Calculus has a reputation as being a hard class. It can be challenging and time consuming but if we both work hard and do our best, I believe that this class will be a valuable learning experience for you. I promise you that I will do my best to provide information in a clear and understandable way. I will be here to answer your questions. In turn, I ask you to try your hardest, don’t give up, and ask for help when needed. When you succeed on an assignment, I hope you experience the reward and pride from working hard. If you don’t do as well as you wanted on an assignment, know you are not a failure. Use that non-desirable outcome as a learning experience, make changes, and grow. Here is to a GREAT semester!
Ladera Barbee

First, you must recognize there is a difference between understanding something and knowing how to do it. For example, if you play basketball, you may understand the job is to score a basket, but you may not have the skill to get the ball through the hoop. In math, you may understand a question, but you may not have the algebraic skill to do the question. In basketball, the only way to get the shooting skill is to shoot lots of baskets; in math, the only way to get the algebraic skill is to do lots of questions. If you can’t do a question at first, look
back at the text, notes, etc, find out how and then repeat it until you can do it completely without help. / Truong Tran

Ready? Let’s get to work! Your brain is not in a fixed state; in fact, it physically grows and develops as you learn. Your job now is to grow your brain! This class is not trying to test to what degree you are a “math person,” or how smart you are. Instead, it’s going to provide resources and strategies, and then help you see how well you can use them to train your brain. / Rebecca Bishop, Gerald Geier, Florence Newberger

We are committed to your success and willing to do anything to ensure that happens. If you are not being successful in the class, please do something or say something right away, don't wait until it's too late! Suggestions and comments are always welcome and strongly encouraged. There is not an one-size-fits-all way to promote learning for everyone, we are always willing to work with students individually to help them learn. All you need to do is ASK!Jen-Mei Chang, Joshua Chesler

My Role as Your Instructor. I view my role as instructor as part safari leader and part personal trainer – my job is to guide you safely through the math I love so much. I try to offer opportunities for you to learn, think, try new things, and practice. I try to give you tips and warnings about how not to get hurt – one of the biggest of which, both for this course and in “real” life, is – don’t assume, ASK. If you’re struggling, ASK. If you’re upset with some part of the course, ASK. If you’re upset at me, ASK. I encourage you to reach out to me and to each other whenever you have questions or concerns. / T.R. Rubino-Schaefer

Evaluation: Grades are designed to measure the level of your understanding against the learning objectives I proposed earlier. They are not indicators of your smartness nor goodness of fit (for math); rather, indicators of your efforts by the time the exams are taken. / Jen-Mei Chang

Exams are designed to assess your mastery of core concepts and they are written at a level for you to be successful. Exams take approximately 60 minutes to complete, but you should take your time and you may use the entire class period to work on it. If you find the first exam difficult or have trouble completing it, you may not yet have mastered the material for the exam. You may need to implement alternative study strategies or dedicate more time practicing problems. / Andrea Johnson

For final grades, I do consider improvement over time if you start slow. / Kagba Suaray

The Maintenance / Improvement portion of your grade is based  on  you  maintaining  a  70%  grade  on  each midterm and quiz (assessment). If you receive a score below 70% on a particular assessment, you must show evidence of attending at least two tutoring sessions or office hours for at least one hour each before the next assessment. / Kagba Suaray

Important Administrative Dates. You have until the “last day to withdraw without a W” (the date is given below) to decide if you wish to commit to this course. If you remain enrolled after that date, you are committing to monitor your progress, and make timely adjustments to your study strategies until you find one with which you can succeed and complete the course. Once you commit, do not plan to give up and withdraw. Come see me before it’s too late. We’ll work together to make it happen. / Florence Newberger

Sunday, February 19, 2017


This is the first post in a series that intends to showcase growth mindset language in the syllabi and course materials developed by our outstanding CSULB faculty. The examples below are borrowed from the Spring 2017 syllabi by Drs. Judy Brusslan, Ashley Carter, and Jesse Dillon, Department of Biological Sciences.

1.       Focus on process and effort

Studies show that people become better writers by writing often. / Dr. Brusslan

In this course, you are developing your writing skills.  A writer needs to convert ideas into written words.  This is a process that requires continual practice, but will be necessary in whatever professional career you choose. / Dr. Brusslan

Assessments are designed to measure the level of your understanding against the learning objectives. They are not indicators of your intelligence; rather, indicators of your efforts in meeting the course objectives. / Dr. Dillon

2.       Mistakes, asking questions, and struggling with the material

To take charge of your own education, you must be willing to read the texts, ask questions, actively engage in discussions, write scientifically and learn to think critically about challenging material. Every mistake you make, every question you ask, and every time you successfully struggle with a concept, your brain grows a little bit stronger and smarter. / Dr. Dillon

Midterm and Final exams will be used assess your learning of core concepts presented in class and readings. They are written at a level for you to be successful, challenging but fair. I understand that not everyone is great at test taking, so I also use other assessments of your understanding. / Dr. Dillon

3.       Opportunity to improve

Extra credit is available for this course after the first three exams by retaking the multiple choice sections at home. After each of the first three exams the multiple choice section will be posted, you may redo the multiple choice section and hand in completed scantron forms on the next class meeting (or to my mailbox by 12:00 the next day for the third exam). These submissions will be graded and all students receiving whatever the highest score is will receive an additional 1% added to their final course grade. You must take this seriously; any students scoring below 60% on the submitted scantron will have 1% deducted instead. / Dr. Carter

Sunday, February 12, 2017


“ What it is, How it Works, and Why it Matters” by Trevor Ragan

“Fullerton College Student, Alan Brantley, shares how learning about growth mindset transformed both his approach to learning and his response to challenge.”

 “Dr. Angela Little from the University of California Berkley and others introduce the concept of student and instructor “mindsets”.

Sunday, February 5, 2017


I highly recommend the new materials available on the PERTS (STANFORD UNIVERSITY’S CENTER ON LEARNING MINDSETS) website.

The PERTS blog  ("Can we raise college completion rates by dispelling a myth?" post is particularly worth reading.)

Mindset Meter (quick on-line mindset assessments for students)

The Mindset Kit (several new features – really worth checking…)