Why Mindset Matters and How Higher Ed Helps Develop it with Dan Porterfield

Mike Palmer welcomes Dan Porterfield, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute and author of Mindset Matters: The Power of College to Activate Lifelong Learning, to discuss the value of higher education in fostering growth mindsets. Dan shares his background and explains why he wrote the book, emphasizing the importance of appreciating what college offers to young adults during a formative time in their lives. We explore the five growth mindsets Dan identifies: discovery, creation, collaboration, mentorship, and striving. The conversation touches on how these mindsets prepare students for a rapidly changing world and work life.

We delve into the role of productive struggle, resilience, and overcoming imposter syndrome in college experiences, especially for first-generation students. Dan provides examples of students he mentored while President of Franklin and Marshall University who successfully navigated these challenges. The discussion also covers the importance of faculty mentorship and creating a supportive culture on campus.

Key takeaways:

  1. Growth mindsets developed in college are valuable assets in today’s fast-changing economy.
  2. Faculty play a crucial role in helping students develop confidence and overcome challenges.
  3. Investing in education at all levels is vital for national competitiveness and democracy.

Dan concludes with an inspiring message about the power each individual has to create their own education and growth opportunities.

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Episode References

Porterfield, D. R. (2024). Mindset Matters: The Power of College to Activate Lifelong Growth. Johns Hopkins University Press.

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