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Mindset Scholars Network Extends Reach, Influence

David Yeager
David Yeager

CASBS increasingly is positioning itself as a magnet for interdisciplinary, collaborative groups of researchers who focus on major tractable social science issues and problems over time.

This broad effort has begun to produce significant, innovative advances in research, with the Mindset Scholars Network as an excellent, early exemplar.

Housed at CASBS, the Mindset Scholars Network is a group of leading social scientists – from economics, psychology, sociology, and statistics – dedicated to improving outcomes and expanding educational opportunity by advancing our scientific understanding of mindsets about learning. The Network articulates a new interdisciplinary research agenda for mindset scholarship that is grounded in the needs of practice. It is co-chaired by current CASBS research affiliate and former fellow David Yeager (University of Texas, pictured below) and CASBS research affiliate Barbara Schneider (Michigan State University). The Network currently is comprised of 22 researchers representing 12 universities.

The Network started as a series of workshops that germinated, then flourished at CASBS beginning in 2014. It conducts original interdisciplinary research, builds capacity for quality mindset scholarship, and disseminates the latest scientific knowledge through outreach to educators, policymakers and other key stakeholders.

In 2015 the Network launched a web site featuring a searchable online research library, more than a dozen new briefs translating decades of mindset research, and a blog that shares the latest news and insights from mindset research.

Co-chair David Yeager appreciates the role CASBS has played in MSN's development.

"CASBS is a legendary center that, for decades, has generated some of the most important advances in all of the social and behavioral sciences, by having a unique commitment to interdisciplinarity and protected time to think and work. We are thrilled to have been invited into this incomparable environment. Although mindset research has produced extremely important insights and interventions, it was time to move beyond narrow disciplinary work. CASBS has provided a home for us to plan and execute ambitious, field-transforming studies and convene leading scholars for crucial theoretical discussions. We can't wait to see all the ways that CASBS's hospitality will result in systemic improvements in education."

To date the Network has placed three scholars at CASBS as fellows. They have made critical progress on the Network’s first two flagship studies – the National Mindset Study and the College Transition Collaborative.

During the 2015-16 year the Network is providing support for CASBS fellow Mary Murphy, a psychology professor based at the University of Indiana. She is studying how mindsets can be an institutionalized feature of classrooms, schools, workplaces, and companies. Rather than existing merely as a personal belief in one’s head, Murphy is examining how mindsets can shape organizational cultures, thereby influencing the way students and workers think, feel, interact, and behave.

Murphy is taking full advantage of her fellowship here.

“Being at CASBS this year as the Mindset Scholars Network fellow is a tremendous honor,” she says. In many ways, Stanford in the heart of mindset research. Being here and interacting with the Network truly is enrichening and broadening. My work certainly will be better because of this opportunity.”

Many thanks to Lisa Quay of the Mindset Scholar’s Network for her assistance with this piece.

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