The University of Tennessee helps each scholar maximize their individual strengths and understand how their strengths contribute to their academic dreams, career paths, and personal well-being. A deficit mindset impedes our scholars’ success by limiting their potential. To enhance our scholars’ success, we encourage the shift from a deficit to a strengths-based mindset.
Increase Deficit Mindset Decrease Deficit Mindset
Decrease Retention Increase in Retention
|Deficit Mindset||Strengths-Based Mindset|
barriers to our scholars’ success because of our high levels of expertise
|Does not blame the scholar|
or their background
for equity gaps
|Makes assumptions that a|
scholar who is underperforming is lazy, unmotivated, or underprepared for college
|Asks you to avoid assuming|
that under preparation, lack
of interest, or lack of effort
are the most likely causes of
|Oversimplifies the complexities of scholars’ learning||Engages all scholars|
with the same intellectual
curiosity we apply to
A strengths-based mindset means…
We believe that all scholars can learn at high levels. We share this message often and consistently.
We challenge every scholar intellectually. We believe high expectations are attainable.
EVERY STORY MATTERS
We will provide the structures necessary for every scholar to reach their potential.
A strengths-based mindset and approach clearly defines our high expectations of scholars and broadens opportunities for all scholars. Scholars should know we expect the very best of them and that they are capable of demonstrating their excellence. It is important to use language that promotes excellence and clarity.
|Improve, Support||Enhance, Enrich|
|Increase||Sharpen, Hone, Perfect|
Click here for a PDF version of the Challenging your Mindset handout.