Piedmont Community College Afternoon Session (PowerPoint)

How Today’s Students Are
Different Than Those Who Went
Before - (This Is Not Your Father’s
Terri M. Manning, Ed.D.
Central Piedmont Community College
Generations Living in
America in 2010
• Veterans 1925-1942
– 23.8 million living
• Baby Boomer 1943 – 1965
– 84 million born - 62 million living
• Generation X – 1966-1981
– 41 million born - 84 million living
• Millennials – 1982 – 2002
– 81 million born - 110 million living
• Generation Z 2003-2022
– About 29 million so far
All Age Groups Growing in NC
Each Generation
• Consists of approximately a 20-year span
(not all demographers and generation
researchers agree on
the exact start/stop dates)
• Has a unique set of values
• Reacts to the
generation before them
• Looks at their own
generation as the standard of
• They are either idealistic, reactive, civic or
Oldest Generation Still Working
• They are the “ruling class.”
• Most all institutions are run by baby
The Baby Boomers 1943–1964 (84 million,
• Divorce reached a low in 1960 of 9%
• Families moved due to GI Bill, GI housing
and industrialization
Core Values
• First generation to live miles from
extended family
Team Orientation
Personal Gratification
• Family size smaller (2-3 children)
Health and Wellness
• Few grandparents in the home
Personal Growth
• Moms stayed home, dads carpooled
• Children spent significant time with
adult role models
• Perception of the world as “safe”
Our adolescence and young adulthood
It’s a miracle any of us survived………
How Boomers Learn
Want things to fit into the “big picture”
Want recognition for how well they have done
Team oriented, work well in groups
Like to explore and analyze, look at different
• Follow instructions well
• Good with content – most
are content specialists
Boomer’s Educational Experiences
Overwhelmed the school system, large class sizes
Ability grouped (red birds and blue birds)
Question authority but respect position
See life as an adventure (and school)
Emphasis on team work (cohort
Need silence to concentrate
Were told “you are lucky to be here,
others are standing in line to get in.”
Want to feel valued
No special ed students in school but honors courses in a few
Rarely tested and not for school performance (PSAT, SAT)
College Experiences
• Attending more common – boom in 60’s and 70’s
• College campuses a reflection of turbulent times – faculty
often rebels – Kent State Massacre, etc.
• Emphasis on self-exploration, mind expansion, lots of
philosophizing in classes - content over-explained and overanalyzed – deep thinkers (not necessarily critical thinkers)
• Aspire to intellectualism
• Some career emphasis but still heavy general education and
• Left home and never looked back
• Emphasis on memorization and skill built
upon skill
• Taught by process and to be content experts
• No technology – (mimeograph machines)
Boomer Faculty/Staff Values
• Majority of faculty and significant number of students (age
• Always share personal experience – “what has happened to
me is relevant to you”
• Value stability and respect
• Like to see their successes
• Tend to “workaholism” and have
difficulty balancing their lives,
working 40 hours is “slack.”
• Are competitive
• See themselves as the standard of comparison
• Appreciate technology because of how easy it makes their
work – still fear they might “break it” and may have a
“back-up plan.” Some still refuse to use it.
Boomers at Work
• Ethic = long hours
show commitment
• Team oriented and relationship
builders (don’t like conflict –
can’t we all just get along)
• Not budget minded
• Sensitive to feedback
The Gen Xers 1965–1981 - A Lost Generation… A Nomadic
Generation….. Half the Size of the Baby Boom (41 million, reactive)
• Divorce reached an all-time high
• Single-parent families became the norm
• Latch-key kids were a major issue of
the time
• Children not as valued – looked at as a
• Families spread out (miles apart)
• Family size = 1.7 children (many onlychildren)
• Perception of the world as “unsafe”
• Average 10 year old spent 14 ½
minutes a day with a significant adult
role model
How Gen Xers Learn
Task oriented – like to learn new skills
Speed is important
Self-paced learning, independent learning
Want to have fun while they learn
Informal learning environments are best
Hate group work
Want feedback from teacher
Educational Experiences
Learned to rely on self (don’t like group work)
Distrust authority
Seek challenging environment (career education emphasis)
Want feedback on progress
Want to do things their way – like no rules and freedom on
Had special ed classrooms in school but separated
Had honors programs
Funding cut to education
Testing “mania” began with them
First daycare centers
Many latch-key kids
College Experiences
• Numbers dropped from 60’s and 70’s
• More emphasis on career education
• Technology began to emerge (Eric Silver Platter,
FAX machines, PCs [Apple and Tandy], calculators)
• More extracurricular activities
• Some self-paced learning
• Costs increased, more financial
• More structure and group activity
• Experiential exercises emerged
• Began “learning on my own” due to technology
Gen Xers as Faculty/Staff
• Significant number of faculty and significant number of
students (age 35-50ish)
• Cynical and pessimistic
• Want work-life balance
• Think globally and seek independence
• Like technology and want an informal work environment
• Don’t want the boomers’ work ethic
• Communication is important and talk to adults as
friends/peers (not impressed with authority)
• Believe reward should be based on productivity not hours
• Want control of self, time and future
• Loyalty to people not a company
• Impatient with poorer people skills
The Echo Boom/Millennials…
 The Millennials are almost as large as the baby boomsome say larger - depending on how you measure them
(approx. 81M).
 The Millennials are the children born between 1982 and 2002
(peaked in 1990), a cohort called by various names:
Echo Boom
Generation Y
Net Generation
Millennial School Experiences
• Many private schools, charter schools, magnet schools – all
to meet the needs of the individual child –many, many
• School uniforms, child safety, high performance standards,
character education, cooperative learning and community
service to graduate
• Goal oriented – outcome based education (what’s in it for
• School is a means to an end –
must endure until the next level
• Interactive, participatory and
engaging – are consulted by adults
• Everything 24/7 and available
Millennial School Experiences
• No “grunt work” - must do “meaningful work”, participate in
• International flavor, celebrate diversity, different is okay
• Motivated by working with bright, motivated and moral
• Student makes judgments about truth and believability of
what is taught
• Classroom mainstreamed – multiple levels based on ability
and interest
• Constantly tested and compared to peers (learned to take
tests so now of little use for college admissions)
• Feel pressure for high achievement
How Millennials Learn
• Try it their way – always looking for better, faster
way of doing things
• Prefer graphics before text, reading of excerpts
• Like small and fast processing technology – best
when networked
• Want instant results and frequent rewards (spot)
How Millennials Learn
• Focus on skill development – not memorization of
what they perceive they don’t need to know
• Productivity is key – not attendance – so make
class worthwhile or they won’t come
• Have different critical thinking skills based on their
high tech world not thought processing (need help
• Rely on teacher to
facilitate learning
• Group think and
Millennial College Experiences
• Multiple options – state, private, proprietary schools,
community colleges, dual and concurrently enrolled, middle
college, etc. (Where does one start and another begin?)
make the choice by “what’s best for me.”
• Fast paced learning
• Group activities (learning
communities, peer tutoring,
service learning, supplemental
• More assumed responsibility from colleges for the social
issues of students (before, faculty weren’t concerned)
• Don’t want or need silence to concentrate – freaks out the
Millennial College Experiences
• All possible content is on the internet – need
process and skills-based
• Get out as fast as you can
• Stay home as long as you can – are protected and
• Get “do-overs” often
• Lots of technology, no tolerance for delays
• Are not hardy, drop out and quit easily
• Dislike ambiguity – “just tell us what we need to
Millennials - Not Very Hardy
• Seems like the tougher you are, the quicker
they quit
• Have no preconceived ideas about
• See a lack of consistency among faculty
• Have to tell them more than the generation
before them and we resent it
5 minute table activity #1
• Have you noticed any differences in how the
various generations process information and
organize their thinking?
• Discuss what changes you have had to make
to keep students engaged?
Cognitive Psychologists and Learning Styles
• Cognitive psychologists such as Kolb, Honey and
Mumford, Jung, etc. who have done the major work
on learning styles recognize four basic styles:
Concrete Experience (feeling)
Active Experimentation (doing)
Abstract Conceptualization (thinking)
Reflective Observation (watching)
• Those probably don’t change dramatically with
generations. What may change are the perceptual
modalities such as preferences for print, aural,
interactive, visual, kinesthetic, and olfactory
What We Do Know
• Faculty tend to teach in the same style by
which they prefer to learn.
• We also tend to teach by the methods we
were taught – “if it was good enough for me,
it is good enough for them.”
• Students prefer faculty who teach
according to their learning style.
• The key is to learn to
address all styles
of learning.
5 minute table discussion #3
• Do you have parents calling
you wanting to talk to you
about their son/daughter?
• Do parents show up for
teacher conferences or to
help their son/ daughter enroll?
• How are parents undermining the learning
experience of their children?
• What should the college do to “head off”
Issues for Discussion - Dealing With Parents
• The last group of millennials will begin
college in 2020.
• We should have addressed this in 2000 but
should be proactive now.
– Orientation for parents
– Materials for parents
– Communication with parents
via newsletter or emails
– Help them learn how to help their student
– Help them understand what it takes for a
student to become independent and help
Dealing With Parents
• FERPA only limits us from
talking to parents about student
progress, attendance, grades,
etc. but nothing else.
• We feel we shouldn’t have to deal with
parents – because our history indicates our
average student age has been about 30.
• Not so today – most rapidly growing group is
under 25 and will continue to be so for a
while (in 13-14, 50% were under 30)
• Parents need to know about FERPA
What Do Universities Do With Parents
Parents organization – great help with fundraising
Parent orientation
Parents’ weekend (or other events)
Mail to parents to purchase care packages during
finals week, etc.
• Parents pay for services for their children
• Could be a great group of volunteers for us
• But it takes staff to coordinate them
5 minute table discussion #5
• Do we have to change our way of
teaching for them or do they have to
adjust to our way of teaching?
Things have changed as generations have arisen – let’s
look at elementary school
How about junior high
How about high school…
How about college/university
• “Once being a professor meant (among
other things) possessing, by dint of years
immersed in library mineshafts, refinements
on knowledge that were effectively
inaccessible to the unlearned person. Now,
most of that esoterica is available instantly
on Wikipedia.”
– Louis Menand, Harvard Professor, 2010, The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform
and Resistance in the American University.
• “A pressing pedagogical challenge right now
is the problem of adapting a linear model
for transmitting knowledge – the lecture
monologue, in which a single line of thought
leads to an intellectual climax after fifty
minutes – to a generation of students who
are accustomed to dealing with multiple
information streams in short bursts.”
Louis Menand, Harvard Professor, 2010, The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform
and Resistance in the American University.
Methods of Teaching
• What world are we preparing them for?
– The one we grew up in???
– A future world unknown to many of us
– Critical topics
• Information literacy
• Language (bilingual a necessity)
• Technology that does work for them
• Critical decision-making
• Dealing with change
• Globalism, world economy
• Rapid disbursement of information around the globe
• Get ahead with process skills, applied knowledge
• “Sheer information is no
longer a major piece of the
value-added of higher
• Elizabeth Renker, The Origins of American Literature Studies:
An Institutional History, 2007.
5 minute table discussion #7
• When it comes to
their schoolwork,
what deficiencies
do millennials
• What great
strengths do they
Instead of Complaining – Do Something
• Complaining about their lack of preparedness helps
no one – we have to develop an approach
• Some are gifted students – smarter than we can
believe, others need serious help
• May need to:
Create special programs
Modularize some courses to work a step at a time
Special labs for skills we used to take for granted
Workshops and tutorials as certain course requirements
Typing help (don’t learn it in high school now)
• Refer to handout
Focus on Retention
• “Ambitious yet aimless”
characterizes this generation
– They work for a while until they
save enough money to live for a while, then quite
– play for several months and then look for work
– They know at the age of 21 that they may have to
work until they are 70 – 75. So why hurry into a
career job now.
– They have the same attitude with school.
– They stop out regularly and see if things work out.
They appear to be in “no hurry. They swirl….
Where are we Going in Higher Education
• It is estimated that major changes are coming.
• Institutions will become
“brokers” of education,
not just deliverers of
• MOOCs and other open
source options will give
student more and better choices.
• Changes in human connections will change
teaching and learning and content delivery.
What about student services….
• Look at Orbitz and Amazon.
• They coach and consult with
• Students may not be sitting in
front of you.
• You will need to know more than just about your
institution, its services and options.
• Transfer and articulation will become the norm
not the exception.
• Students will obtain degrees with coursework
from multiple institutions (on purpose).
Millennials as Employees
• Want to have an impact on the world
• Interested in careers that matter
• Show them aspects of a field or career that
has an impact on society
• Will be attracted to the mission of the
community college as faculty – are beginning
to join our faculty ranks (oldest are 32-33).
• They are the next wave
faculty and staff in
community colleges.
Will Change Jobs
How many jobs do you
think you will hold in
your lifetime?
– 1-3
– 4-6
– 7-10
– Over 10
64% expect to have 4 or more jobs
5 Minute Table Activity
• Do you already have millennials (oldest are
32) working in your department or as faculty
in your programs?
• What have you
noticed to be the
differences in:
– Their work values
– Their ideas about typical work issues (hours in
office, performance standards, reward structure,
ethic, how to interact with students, etc.)
Older Generations Make Assumptions
• That younger generations will measure
success just as we have.
• Young worker must pay their dues and
follow the same paths to success as previous
• The company ladder will remain intact.
• Workers go where the jobs are.
Marston, Cam, Motivating the “What’s In It for Me” Workforce: Managing Across the
Generational Divide and Increasing Profits, 2007
What Millennials Want
• Ability to work whenever
and wherever they want.
• Variation on the job
• Continual feedback from supervisors
• Opportunities to learn, retool and
reinvent themselves
• Challenge, new problems to solve
• To be in charge of their lives and
Marston, Cam, Motivating the “What’s In It for Me” Workforce: Managing Across the
Generational Divide and Increasing Profits, 2007
Change in Values
Two youngest generations:
– Define success differently
– Their time is equal in value
to money
– Will pursue other rewards for their work
– View their predecessor’s experience as a
warning, not a road map
– Don’t value the rules of management,
motivation and reward
Marston, Cam, Motivating the “What’s In It for Me” Workforce: Managing Across
the Generational Divide and Increasing Profits, 2007
The two younger generations:
– Have been given ample reason to question
– Don’t believe their leaders tell the truth
– Question the motives and truthfulness of
institutions across the board
– Invest their loyalty and trust in individuals and
therefore, the right boss is critical (otherwise
they change jobs, #1 reason they quit)
Marston, Cam, Motivating the “What’s In It for Me” Workforce: Managing Across the
Generational Divide and Increasing Profits, 2007
So Where are We Going?
Who is Next
Generation Z (2003-2020)
• First generation born into a completely digital,
multi-tasking world
• Small families, older parents, mothers work
• Scheduled and bubble-wrapped
• Traditional values, old-fashioned notions in parents
• Incredible achievers, huge capacity to absorb
• Will value social justice,
tech savvy and innovative
• Realistic and balanced
• Not as much disposable income
Some New Trends for Z
1. Interactive devices as
classroom learning tools
2. More homeschooling
3. Collaborative online projects
4. Focus on visual learning
5. Treating learning as a game
6. Focus on critical thinking and
problem solving rather than information memorization
7. A return to occupation-based training rather than
8. Learning in smaller bites
Source: Best College Online
What will school be like?
Each Generation is Influenced and Molded by the
Society that Raised Them
• You’re a child of the 50s if
– You wore a poodle skirt
– You know what paste tastes like
– Your sneakers were made of canvas and
came in black or white
– Your family only had one phone (and it
was black) and one phone number
– Gas stations pumped your gas, cleaned
your windows and gave you green
stamps (and gas was $.19 a gallon)
– Your jeans were called dungarees
– You never heard of McDonalds (unless you
lived in Des Plaines, IL)
You’re a child of the 60s if…..
• You owned several pieces of tie-dyed
• Someone asked you to join the
revolution – you actually knew what
that was
• You wore bellbottoms and head bands
• You slept with an attic fan
• You had a collections of 45s
• You rode in cars without seatbelts
• You tracked John Glenn’s orbit around
the world in grade school (the first time)
• You ate in a McDonalds with in-door
seating (a new thing for hamburger stands)
You’re a child of the 70s if…..
• You had to get off the couch to change
the TV
• You wore leg warmers
• You ever asked to be “gagged with a
• You recognize the phrase “my name
is Charlie and they work for me”
• You have at least one school picture
with the collar turned up
• You know the words to Weird Al
Yankovic’s songs
• This was your first calculator
• You went to McDonalds for the
brand new breakfast item “the Egg McMuffin)
You’re a child of the 80s if…..
• You know who shot JR
• You know the philosophical
meaning of “wax on, wax off”
• There was nothing questionable
about Bert and Ernie living together
• The feeling in your thumb is just now
returning after holding down the
Atari joystick
• You needed a grocery cart to
carry your first portable stereo
• You went to McDonalds for the
Happy Meals (started 1979)
You’re a child of the 90s if…..
You know the Macarena
You had a trapper keeper
You know where Waldo is
You can name the Spice Girls
You owned a razor scooter
You used to end sentences with
“not” or “psych”
• You watched Real World on MTV
• You learned to roller-blade, not
• You went to McDonalds to play in the “Play
If you are a child of the 2000s
• You are still a child and have quite a
life ahead of you
• You cut your teeth on your
mother’s cell
• You Skype with your grandmother
• You’ve been working on
computers since you were born
• And your mother probably won’t
let you eat at McDonalds –
unless you get the apple slices
and low fat milk – while she has
a Cappuccino at the McCafe
Copy of Presentation:
• http://www.cpcc.edu/millennial
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