Exploring the mindset of veterinary educators for intelligence, clinical reasoning, compassion, and morality

Talia Guttin, Tracy Penny Light, Sarah Baillie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Mindset theory describes whether an individual believes their intelligence is inherent and fixed, or whether it can be honed and improved with effort. These different perceptions are called a growth or a fixed mindset. Previous research has shown that students with growth mindsets embrace challenges, strive for mastery, have better psychological well-being, and are more resilient than students with fixed mindsets. Mindset is contagious, and teachers’ mindset can influence students’ mindset, motivation and feedback-seeking behaviors. This is the first study of veterinary educator mindset. As previous research has shown that mindset can vary by subject or personal attributes, called domains, this study investigated mindset in 4 domains: intelligence, clinical reasoning, compassion, and morality. A survey was developed by combining 2 previously published mindset scales and was distributed electronically to the veterinary teaching faculty at St. George’s University, Grenada. The survey participants (n=38, response rate 56%) showed predominantly growth mindsets, with some variation by domain: for intelligence, 84.2% growth, 5.3% intermediate, 10.5% fixed mindset; for clinical reasoning, 92.1% growth, 5.3% intermediate, 2.6% fixed mindset; for compassion, 63.2% growth, 2.6% intermediate, 34.2% fixed; and for morality, 60.5% growth, 13.2% intermediate, and 26.3% fixed mindset. Fifteen participants (39.5%) had fixed mindsets in one or more domain. Twenty participants (52.6%) had growth mindsets in all 4 domains. There were no associations found between demographic variables and mindset. This study found that the majority of the veterinary teaching faculty at this university had growth mindsets in all domains investigated.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Veterinary Medical Education
Early online date5 Aug 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Aug 2021


  • veterinary medical education
  • psychology
  • professional development
  • student health and wellbeing


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