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First Y2K… Now this??? Understanding the Millennial Generation Chris McGrath, MEd Simon Fraser University.

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Presentation on theme: "First Y2K… Now this??? Understanding the Millennial Generation Chris McGrath, MEd Simon Fraser University."— Presentation transcript:

1 First Y2K… Now this??? Understanding the Millennial Generation Chris McGrath, MEd Simon Fraser University

2 Why use THIS research??? Two surveys of the public school system in Fairfax, VA inform the research: one of 200 teachers in 12 high, middle, and elementary schools, and one of over 600 members of the “Class of 2000” at four high schools While research is American, we need to consider the context of Canadian culture, society, and our educational values Cannot discount however, this research as much of our drive towards innovation in higher education comes from what’s happening in the US – particularly in the principles and practices of the student affairs and services profession.

3 UNDERSTANDING “GENERATIONS” a cohort group whose length approximates the span of a phase of life (about 22 years) and whose boundaries are fixed by peer personality Peer personality is determined by common age location, common beliefs and behaviour, and perceived membership in a common generation. Generational types recur in a fixed order. The “civic” generation that is currently upon us marks the arrival of a “group unlike any other youth generation in living memory” (Howe & Strauss, 2000, p. 4)

4 Millennial students… A LOOK AT DEMOGRAPHICS Generation c to present Larger cohort of students More ethnically diverse Come from more affluent families Have older, better educated parents Come from smaller families More students are firstborn Family breakup has slowed significantly

5 Millennial students… A LOOK AT THEIR PARENTS Kids are getting more supervision Kids are spending more “quality time” with parents Families still do things together Child abuse is on the decline Parents are still disciplining their children, differently Parents are more than likely post-secondary graduates

6 Optimistic Cooperative team players Accepting of authority Rule Followers A watched-over generation Smarter than most think…they’re more sophisticated learners Millennial students… ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOURS

7 Millennial students… TRAITS Special Sheltered Confident Team-oriented Achieving Pressured trophy kids Conventional (rule respecting)

8 Millennial students… GENERATIONAL MARKERS The top events that mark this generation’s life experience… Columbine shootings War in Kosovo Oklahoma City Bombing Princess Diana’s death Clinton impeachment trial OJ Simpson Trial Rodney King riots Lewinsky scandal Fall of Berlin Wall McGwire-Sosa Homer derby Bush – Gore presidential race September 11

9 Millennial students… DEVELOPMENTAL IMPLICATIONS How does a high degree of parental involvement impact an individual’s ability to develop a true sense of autonomy, of interdependence, and sense of overall competence (Chickering & Reisser, 1993)? How does the millennials’ acquiesence to authority and social convention affect their developmental journey through intellectual and moral reasoning (Strange, Lane & McGrath, 2002)?

10 Millennial students… PREDICTIONS Colleges and universities will become more selective Entry scores and grades will rise College and entry-level jobs will act as a societal sorting mechanism Women will win rising shares of campus leadership positions, academic honours, and graduate admissions Men will feel less at home, male dropout rates will rise, and gender- studies programs will come under attack

11 Millennial students… PREDICTIONS Class will rise above gender and race as a flashpoint for student political debate Dating across racial and ethnic lines will increase. Dating across class lines will decrease. The singles scene will lose its edge and be more focused on manners, modesty, and old-fashioned gender courtesies To reduce risk of disease and infertility, the trend toward later marriage and childbirth will reverse Young workers will demand that employers adjust to the needs of workers who wish to build careers and families and lead lower-stress lives

12 Millennial students… PREDICTIONS Millennial women will dominate entry level medical, legal, and media positions. Millennial men will dominate business and technology. The internet and other new technologies will become less chaotic, more reliable, and less dangerous for younger members of the generation. Youth voting rates will rise. Young voters will emerge as a new powerhouse, surprising most older people with activism and determination.

13 Millennials will rebel against the society set up by Boomers by focusing on community, politics, and deeds: clean up the culture, rebel against political cynicism by touting trust, rebel against individualism by stressing team work, rebel against adult pessimism by going positive, and rebel against societal ennui by actually getting things done. Millennial students… PREDICTIONS

14 Millennial students… SERVICE IMPLICATIONS Does their level of protection challenge our expectations about their readiness to assume freedom, savvy with regards to various safety risks, or ability to manage their own time with productive activity (Strange, Lane & McGrath, 2002)? Will generational trends entail a greater emphasis on structure and direction in the design and delivery of student services…while assuming a greater role in teaching students how to relax, use free time, and translate their experience into higher education (Strange, Lane & McGrath, 2002)?

15 Millennial students… SERVICE IMPLICATIONS Will an individual sense of specialness call for greater flexibility in our service structures and ability to help students solve problems (Strange, Lane & McGrath, 2002)? Are our systems and structures prepared to be seamless and consistent, to meet the expectations of more highly educated and sophisticated Boomer parents who will expect diligence, commitment, and excellence from all campus service providers (Strange, Lane & McGrath, 2002)? How will we prepare ourselves to deal with “fussy parents…who will have more than the usual trouble letting go” (Howe & Strauss, 2000)?

16 Millennial students… KNOWLEDGE IMPLICATIONS Beyond the interpretation of demographic information, what do we REALLY know about the values and experience of our students? To what extent are we committed to generating knowledge about our specific student population, to best inform our service design and delivery? In what ways are we prepared to manage the knowledge we already do have to ensure that all services are able to respond to service demands in a manner that balances student development goals, and expectations of millennial students and their parents?

17 References Chickering, A., & Reisser, L. (1993). Education and identity (2 nd edition). San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Howe, N. & Strauss, W. (2000). Millennials rising: The next great generation. New York: Vintage Books. Newton, Fred (2000). The new student. About Campus: American College Personnel Association Strange, C., Lane, H. and McGrath, C. (2002). Millennials Rising in the Academy. Communique. Winter 2002, Pp. 8-9


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