Each fall, Beloit College provides an insightful overview of the incoming class of college freshmen. As the years fly by, it is easy to forget the unique worldview and history that shapes our students. A review of this list is a helpful read for all of us who will be interacting with this class in the year ahead.
I have edited Beloit’s list to 25 items. The original list can be accessed here.
Students heading into their first year of college this year are mostly 18 and were born in 1997. Among those who have never been alive in their lifetimes are Princess Diana, Notorious B.I.G., Jacques Cousteau, and Mother Teresa.
Since they have been on the planet:
- Hybrid automobiles have always been mass produced.
- Google has always been there, in its founding words, “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.”
- They have never licked a postage stamp.
- Email has become the new “formal” communication, while texts and tweets remain enclaves for the casual.
- Hong Kong has always been under Chinese rule.
- They have grown up treating Wi-Fi as an entitlement.
- The announcement of someone being the “first woman” to hold a position has only impressed their parents.
- Cell phones have become so ubiquitous in class that teachers don’t know which students are using them to take notes and which ones are planning a party.
- Their parents have gone from encouraging them to use the Internet to begging them to get off it.
- If you say “around the turn of the century,” they may well ask you, “which one?”
- They have avidly joined Harry Potter, Ron, and Hermione as they built their reading skills through all seven volumes.
- Kyoto has always symbolized inactivity about global climate change.
- When they were born, cell phone usage was so expensive that families only used their large phones, usually in cars, for emergencies.
- The therapeutic use of marijuana has always been legal in a growing number of American states.
- Teachers have always had to insist that term papers employ sources in addition to those found online.
- Surgeons have always used “super glue” in the operating room.
- Fifteen nations have always been constructing the International Space Station.
- 32. The Lion King has always been on Broadway.
- At least Mom and Dad had their new Nintendo 64 to help them get through long nights sitting up with the baby.
- CNN has always been available en Español.
- Splenda has always been a sweet option in the U.S.
- Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic have always been members of NATO.
- TV has always been in such high definition that they could see the pores of actors and the grimaces of quarterbacks.
- The proud parents recorded their first steps on camcorders, mounted on their shoulders like bazookas.
- Vote-by-mail has always been the official way to vote in Oregon.
Dr. Jeff Suderman is a lifelong learner, consultant, professor and pracademic who works in the field of organizational development. He partners with clients to improve culture, leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational future-readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman
Ironically, the ivory towers of education are regarded by many to be slow learners. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that they are slow at change, not learning. The Education Design Lab recently released an insightful white paper that provides an overview of where the challenges of post-secondary education lie and where future change is likely to occur. This is part 1 of a 2 part article.
“Numerous factors are causing deep disruption in the current higher-education system: public institutions are having their appropriations cut by governments, private institutions have raised tuition but many have been unable to increase net revenue, collective student debt is now greater than credit-card debt, and colleges and universities are seeing sudden and potentially catastrophic drops in enrollment. Moody’s Investors Service, the credit-rating agency, has had a negative outlook for at least part of the higher-education industry since 2009. It reiterated its negative outlook in July. Outsiders have been forecasting for years a sudden demise of the traditional higher education system” (Education Design Lab).
CHANGES PAST & PRESENT
It’s not that change has not occurred. Rather, the focus of change efforts have been skewed towards efficiency more than effectiveness. The Education Design Lab has outlined three major phases of educational change over the past two decades. The third phase is just beginning and holds the most promise of helping us move towards a learner-effectiveness model.
- Phase 1 – Learner management systems. We began to use integrated databases to consolidate
processes and enhance learner experience. This has ranged from enterprise data systems to digital
libraries to on-line grades.
- Phase 2 – Courseware tools, data analytics and dashboards, and software platforms. This phase focused on enhancing the pedagogy of learning with on-line learning platforms, and software which began to blend virtual and physical classrooms. It also began to provide consolidated data and the means to track history, trends and make more accurate future projections.
- Phase 3 – Learner-centric education. Both of the previous phases have largely focused on how the institution can do its job better. Phase three will focus on products and services which will ‘reach out to individual learners, define pathways for their success and travel down that path with them (Education Design Lab).
SO WHAT’S NEXT
There are five major categories in which change can occur: cost, accreditation, credit-hour structure, pedagogical innovation and meeting employer needs. In part 2 of our article next Tuesday, we will examine 8 ideas which will change how we educate.
Jeff Suderman is a strategist, professor and consultant who works in the field of organizational development. He works with clients to improve leadership, teamwork, organizational alignment, strategy and organizational Future-Readiness. He resides in Palm Desert, California. Twitter: @jlsuderman
Martin Van Der Werf. Education Design Lab (2015). The ed tech revolution is about to become the learner revolution.
Nick Anderson and Susan Svrluga (March 3, 2015) . Sweet Briar College to close because of financial challenges. The Washington Post.
The expressions of anxious mothers, too-cool freshmen and a steady train of boxes into residence halls this week heralds the arrival of thousands of new students to our universities. Having recently returned from work with a university in Europe, I can report that university orientation norms like these are very similar wherever you go.
As recruitment offices, we are quickly shifting to efforts to recruit our class of 2015. As you do so, I thought that a quick summary of the 2014 Noel Levitz E-Expectations survey would be a helpful way to refocus your efforts. While a full read of the report is highly advisable (E-Expectations Report) , here is a quick list of the insights which should influence your efforts:
- Parents are important. VERY important! About 3 out of 4 high school seniors list their parents as having the greatest influence on their college choice.
- Web sites are critical! As the most important recruitment resource, the importance of your recruitment web site is paramount! Programs, costs and financial awards are the top three things they look for. Furthermore, mobile-friendly browsing is important as 40% of student state that they use their mobile phone browser for nearly all of their web browsing. Less than 10% of students rarely use their mobile device for browsing.
- Texting is becoming acceptable. About half of your recruits are fine with texting as a means of college communication. Similarly, 55% of parents are willing to receive college texts.
- Use many social media channels. Prospective students are active on Facebook (74%), YouTube (73%), Instagram (49%), Twitter (39%) and Snapchat (39%).
- Invest in your campus visit program! Three out of four students and parents agree with the statement that “schools should put more effort into getting prospective students to campus for visits and admissions events”.
- Tie education to careers. Students and parents want to see that their program has career value. Ensure you provide stats on job/graduate school placement, testimonials (current students, alumni, and faculty) and have robust program information.
I wish you success in your recruitment efforts this year!
Noel-Levitz (2014). 2014 E-Expectations Report: The Online Preferences of College-Bound Seniors and Their Parents. Available at https://www.noellevitz.com/papers-research-higher-education/2014/2014-e-expectations-report