The Vermont Connection


Deficit thinking centers an individual's background or identities as the reason a student struggles or faces challenges in college. Higher education practitioners have a drive to shift policy, programs, and perspectives away from the harmful influence of deficit thinking. Asset-based approaches, such as psychologically attuned communication and growth mindset messaging, instead focus on student experiences and backgrounds as an opportunity rather than a burden. The question before practitioners is: where to start? We present options to consider.