Paul Hanselman is one of 30 recipients of a 2018 National Academy of Education Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship. UCI

Paul Hanselman, UCI assistant professor of sociology, has been named a 2018 National Academy of Education Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow. The honor, which includes $70,000 in grant funding and is awarded annually to 30 early-career scholars engaged in critical areas of education research, supports Hanselman’s study of conditions fostering a growth mindset in school-age students. “Recent findings highlight the benefits of a growth mindset, the belief that intelligence is malleable, which leads to resilient responses to academic challenges,” he said. “Brief interventions promoting this mindset show positive impacts for low-achieving students.” His goal is understanding in what kinds of schools and classes students’ mindsets matter and how these conditions can be maximized to reduce educational inequalities. Hanselman will draw from a large-scale administrative data set that tracks the courses, academic progress and mindsets of middle and high school students in five large California school districts, as well as a new experimental test of mindset interventions among ninth-graders around the country. Taken together, the data will help explain factors encouraging a growth mindset and, in the process, academic success. The study builds on Hanselman’s previous research on social psychological interventions that change how students think about themselves and their social environment.