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The Millennial Student: A slightly different take. Michael J. Rosenberg, MA Director of Student Affairs & Academic Advising College of Allied Health Sciences.

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Presentation on theme: "The Millennial Student: A slightly different take. Michael J. Rosenberg, MA Director of Student Affairs & Academic Advising College of Allied Health Sciences."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Millennial Student: A slightly different take. Michael J. Rosenberg, MA Director of Student Affairs & Academic Advising College of Allied Health Sciences University of Cincinnati UCUAADA January 20, 2010

2 “The older generation thought nothing of getting up at five every morning - and the younger generation doesn't think much of it either.” -John J. Welsh “It's hard for me to get used to these changing times. I can remember when the air was clean and sex was dirty.” -George Burns

3 What do you remember? No “These kids today...”

4 The “slightly different take…” Two views of this generation’s students and our roles in working with them. “Who are they?” vs. “Who can they be?”

5 The Millennials – Who are they? Sometimes called: “Generation Next” “Generation Tweet” “Echo Boomers” “Reagan Babies”

6 The Millennials – Who are they? Various timeframes: Begins:1976-1982 Ends: 1994-2001 Howe & Strauss definition Born 1982-2000

7 Howe & Strauss – Who are they? Strauss, W. & Howe, N. (2000). Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation. New York: Vintage Books.

8 Howe & Strauss – Who are they? Backgrounds in history, economics, law, and comedy. (Strauss founded the Capital Steps) Credited with coining the term “Millennial Generation.” Writings focus on “generational cycles” in Western (largely Anglo) history over the past 500 years.

9 Howe & Strauss – What did they do? Four generational archetypes:  Hero (Greatest Generation: 1901-1924)  Artist (Silent Generation: 1925-1942)  Prophet (Boomers: 1943-1960)  Nomad (Gen X: 1961-1981) Described current generation as the next “Greatest Generation” (back to “Hero”) if the predicted patterns hold. Millennials, as a generation, display “Seven Core Traits.”

10 Howe & Strauss’ “Seven Core Traits” Special – Convinced their future is the nation’s future. Problems are with the individual, not the system. (VT, NIU, for instance.) Have been taught that they deserve praise. Sheltered – Children of Boomers, most childproofed, scheduled generation ever, but they’re largely appreciative of the “extra protection.” Confident – 80% they’ll be better off (not necessarily just financially) than their parents [95% Latino, 97% AfrAm]. Team-Oriented – aversion to disorder, individualism can be a problem, like to be part of a group w/in a structure.

11 Howe & Strauss' “Seven Core Traits” Conventional – return to respect for elders, share easily with parents, believe “values and manners” should be taught. Pressured – “What you do this week will affect you 5-10 years from now.” Resume building is an “arms race.” Achieving – Students identify goals early and pursue them. Do not want extraneous information. Balance what they want to do and need to do, instead of compartmentalizing (X) or merging (Boomers) the two.

12 OK…So What? “Wherever you are in University life, you face a choice. You can ignore this breaking Millennial wave, by treating today’s collegians as you did the last generation. You can resist it by pursuing decades-old agendas. You can ride it, by adapting as fast as you can to new needs as they arise. Or you can lead this new youth wave, by embracing Millennials as they arrive in full force.” (p.5) Strauss, W. & Howe, N. (2003, 2007). Millennials Go to College: Strategies for a New Generation on Campus. New York: Life Course Associates.

13 Howe & Strauss Howe & Strauss made suggestions for institutional practices based upon their Seven Core Traits. Was a “popular” look at this new bunch of students – easy reading, easy to draw from, easy to implement (in theory). Became widely used by institutions to set institutional priorities.

14 Howe & Strauss’ Suggestions: “Special” “Copurchase” students & parents, so pitch “life plans,” constant feedback, 24/7 resources, and close supervision. Large projects & major exams “trigger anxiety and resistance,” so consider changing pedagogy accordingly.

15 Howe & Strauss’ Suggestions: “Sheltered” Give students “security” by stressing the “safe environment” of campus. Expect scrutiny and complaints from parents about everything from class content to grading fairness to advisors’ personal values. Help parents understand (and get around) FERPA.

16 Howe & Strauss’ Suggestions: “Confident” Celebrate students, and no need to remind them college is hard (they expect it to be). Play up college traditions and rituals so they feel a part of something larger that will help them succeed after college. Students are used to getting A’s. Some students want it known they’ve achieved more. Add A+’s or other distinctions.

17 Howe & Strauss’ Suggestions: “Team-Oriented” Recruit groups of students from the same place (ready-made peer groups) and provide many opportunities for volunteer and extracurricular activities. Students expect team teaching/flexible grading. Short attention spans – avoid ongoing major projects.

18 Howe & Strauss’ Suggestions: “Conventional” Like “big brands” (Pink, iPhone, American Eagle) because of what the brands say about them – stress institution’s “brand” and live up to it. They respect authority (but should be able to negotiate). Be ready for them to talk a lot about sex and drugs, but know they don’t do it as much as previous generations – so there may be confusion as to what “normal” is.

19 Howe & Strauss’ Suggestions: “Pressured” Show them how institution fits “life plans” and will help them be more balanced than their overly-focused parents. Since students expect to succeed, provide opportunity. For example, “team-oriented athletic pursuits for students who aren’t good at sports.” Be flexible on the definition of cheating and plagiarism, because the students have been taught to get things done well at all costs.

20 Howe & Strauss’ Suggestions: “Achieving” Extracurriculars more important than academic achievement (resumé wars). Provide them the latest technology so they feel they’re on the cutting edge. Keep resources available 24/7, since they’re used to constant activity and lots of work, but they work on their own schedules.

21 Howe & Strauss’ Suggestions: Overall Themes (Paraphrased) These students are different from any students before. (Post WWII – boom in enrollment) College is largely a stop on the “life path.” Give them what they want, because that’s what they expect. Consider changing institutional practices to better serve student needs.

22 This relates to us…how? This relates to us…how? Consider the parallel: Academic Advising & Student Affairs in general = Social Work in the 80’s? Are our practices evidence-based vs. “doing what feels right?” Are there required competencies to do what we do? Are we “touchy-feely helping folks” providing support or are we practitioners who can predict the outcomes based on research and inquiry? Social Service or Social Science?

23 What does the research tell us? What does the research tell us? Several decades of research on student development has informed how we’ve created advising programs and other services for students. To this point, however, this research is largely read and used in academic and practitioner circles, not among the general public – it’s not “sexy.” Student development theory tells a different story about this generation.

24 Student Development Theory Student Development Theory Chickering – “Seven Vectors” of college student development and the environmental effects on psychological development. Perry – Cognitive development. Change comes through negotiating and managing conflict. Progress is more effective when appropriate support exists. Kohlberg – Stages of moral development. Gilligan – Ethic of care. Female vs. Male development. Pascarella & Terenzini – Impact of the college environment on students and their development. King & Kitchener – Reflective judgment – using reason to manage issues. Environment can promote use of increased critical thinking. Astin, Kuh, Gardner, Tinto, etc. etc. Paraphrased from Evans, N. et al. (1998). Student Development in College: Theory, Research, and Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

25 Student Development Theory Overall Themes -- paraphrased Student Development Theory Overall Themes -- paraphrased Students and their developmental challenges have remained fairly constant over the last 60 years or so (post WWII). Educational institutions and practitioners have strong, enhancing effects on the development of students. Institutions and practitioners have a responsibility to provide a balance of “challenge and support” (Perry) for students.

26 So, what do you think? So, what do you think? Consider the implications for… Orientation/Initial Advising Ongoing Academic Advising Warning/Probation/Suspension …with each model Which do you prefer?

27 Final Thoughts… Are students really that different…or are they reacting in predictable ways to the world created for them? What’s best? Do we continue to follow the research on our campuses over the last several decades – or are the students so different that we need a new way of looking at things? Do we as practitioners need to champion one over the other at our various institutions to benefit both ourselves and our students?

28 “We need to remember across generations that there is as much to learn as there is to teach.” - Gloria Steinem

29 The Millennial Student: A slightly different take. Michael J. Rosenberg, MA “The Naked Vine: Wine Advice for the Rest of Us” Thanks for attending!

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