Education for Persistence and Innovation Center (EPIC)

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Education for Persistence & Innovation Center

About Us

Education for Persistence and Innovation Center (EPIC) is a global interdisciplinary research center at Teachers College, Columbia University, dedicated to figuring out how to turn failure into success.

We use techniques from cognitive science, social-cultural psychology, neuropsychology, oral history, and education to study the critical role that failure plays as a catalyst for learning, innovation, and career development.

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News & Events


Turn Your Failure into Future Success: EPIC in ESPN and The Atlantic

Check out the news article featuring Dr. Xiaodong Lin-Siegler in the ten-part podcast on Tom Brady and also EPIC's work in The Atlantic


How to Be Happy After You Fail: An Article on The Atlantic

Nuances between Happiness and Strategies to Cope with Failure

Academic Alert

  • Math Anxiety Affects Not Only Your Academic Academic Performance But Also Your Biological Responses

    Math anxiety is a relatively common experience, in which students often see math as a threat and thus, avoid situations involving math. It is commonly known that high math anxiety is correlated with low performance in a given course. However, not much literature has linked math anxiety, academic performance, and biological responses (such as changes in cortisol and testosterone levels) together. In Jamieson et al., (2020)’s study, the researchers try to define the relationship between these three facets.
  • How Do Students Perceive Academic Failure?

    Failure is a common experience among students, regardless of their backgrounds. But what personal traits and/or circumstantial factors contribute to failure? If a student fails once, do they continue to fail in school, or do they try to persist and achieve the academic milestones? How do students feel about failing a course in school? Let’s take a closer look at Ajjawi et al. (2020)’s study to learn more about students' experience with failure.
  • What Motivates Students’ Academic Choices?

    As high school students transition into college, they begin to think about their potential majors and future careers. Many college students have a difficult time determining their passion and strengths when it comes to declaring their majors. But what motivates students to make course selections and decide their career paths? Let’s take a look at the factors that motivate students’ academic decisions, as explained by Malte et al., (2021).
  • What Makes Some Students Good at Math?

    Understanding the characteristics of high achievers in mathematics has important implications for teachers and educators to better support these students’ learning. Let’s take a look at what Bakker et al. (2021) found out about these high mathematics achievers.
Background Image: Einstein Background

Research Spotlight: “Even Einstein Struggled

Students’ beliefs that success in science depends on exceptional talent negatively impact their motivation to learn. For example, such beliefs have been shown to be a major factor steering students away from taking science and math courses in high school and college. In the present study, we tested a novel story-based instruction that models how scientists achieve through failures and struggles.

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