Research study showed faculty and students improved confidence and positive mindsets after completing Effective Teaching course

Results have been announced for the study conducted by the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) that included Cincinnati State as one of 10 participating colleges and universities from throughout the U.S.

The study demonstrated that when college and university faculty participate in high-quality comprehensive courses in effective teaching practices, they report substantial increases in their confidence in using these proven practices. They also see significant, positive changes in their mindsets about their ability to have an impact on student learning and their students’ ability to learn.

The study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also revealed that students taught by faculty who participated in ACUE courses perceived significant increases in their own growth mindset, as well as their confidence participating in class, attending office hours, and managing their coursework and deadlines. The data analyzed came from nearly 3,000 student surveys.

Click to download a 4-page visual summary of the study findings, and a list of participating colleges and universities.

More than 50 Cincinnati State faculty members (full-time and adjunct) have earned the ACUE Effective Teaching Credential, which required completing a two-semester online course with weekly viewing and reading of resource materials, assessment and discussion of examples and case studies, and implementation of new teaching practices.

The faculty members who completed their ACUE Effective Teaching credential during the period from Spring 2022 to Fall 2022 were participants in the research, and their students in Spring and Fall 2022 classes were part of the group surveyed for the study. Faculty and students at two other Ohio community colleges also participated in the study.

Dr. Stephanie Stafford, Assistant Dean of Online Learning and coordinator of the College’s ACUE involvement, said, “Cincinnati State faculty are leading the charge in prioritizing effective teaching practices.”

“I’m truly thrilled by how our faculty have embraced ACUE training and put their new skills into practice,” Dr. Stafford said. “Their commitment to effective teaching is making a big difference in our courses, and it’s sparking positive changes all across the College.”

“It’s clear that when we make great teaching a part of who we are, it ripples through the entire student experience and boosts the success of our College as a whole,” she added.

The ACUE study, “Impacts of Faculty Development on Faculty’s Mindsets and Self-Efficacy,” focused on “gateway” courses that students complete early in their pathway toward a degree. Data was collected from more than 570 faculty who participated in ACUE’s Effective Teaching courses, as well as more than 1,000 faculty, who have not yet participated in ACUE’s training.

Faculty were surveyed four times over two years, including using mindset items originally developed by noted researcher Carol Dweck. Students enrolled in gateway courses taught by faculty who participated in ACUE’s comprehensive Effective Teaching courses also were surveyed.

“Mindsets matter. What we believe about our students’ ability to learn affects what they will learn, or won’t,” said Jonathan Gyurko, Ph.D., ACUE President and Co-founder. “Even though beliefs are famously hard to change, the strong findings of this study show that minds change when professors become better teachers. It’s more evidence that the best way to educate many more students for purposeful lives is to ensure effective instruction in every class.”

Meghan Snow, Ed.D., Chief Data Officer at ACUE said, “The colleges and universities that participated in our study represent the geographic and demographic diversity of the U.S. higher education landscape. ACUE will use this enhanced understanding of how confidence and mindset develop alongside teaching practices to deliver even more effective strategies to support faculty growth and foster positive learning environments.”

More information about the study is available for download at