Date of Conferral







Alice Eichholz


Growth mindset is an important component for a journey towards self-actualization. It is unknown if whole-person learning can assist development of that growth mindset for first-generation learners. The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to examine if exposure to whole-person learning positively influences a growth mindset by exploring the relationship between whole-person learning and a growth mindset in first-generation learners. Whole-person learning was presented as a vehicle for developing that growth mindset towards self-actualization. Dweck's Mindset Survey scores were collected from first-generation learners who participated in orientation courses either with or without whole-person learning in 4 institutions (n = 177) using a pretest/posttest control group design. A mean analysis of the overall pretest and posttest score was conducted using a factorial ANOVA. No significant change in mindset was detected from the pretest (first week of orientation courses) to posttest (last week of orientation courses) based on exposure to whole-person learning. It was discovered through one-way ANOVA demographic analysis that Black first-generation learners had a significantly higher mindset mean score (7.1) than White first-generation learners. While it is still unknown if exposure to whole-person learning pre-disposes first-generation learners towards growth mindset, there was a positive implication in that Blacks appeared more pre-disposed to a journey of self-actualization when exposed to whole-person learning. The social change benefit for this implication is that an increased focus on affective learning may lead to higher success rates within academics, career, and personal satisfaction for Black first-generation learners. Future researchers should include faculty engagement with whole-person learning and the development of an instrument more conducive to measuring mindset for adult learners.