Monday, December 3, 2018

Dr. Faulkner: Last of the 20th Century Students

I read today a short article in the Campbell University Magazine.  Campbell is a small, faith-based, liberal arts institution in North Carolina.  Their student body is majority traditional aged.  The article was reminding the University that their newest class was the first to have never lived in the 20th century.  This poses some challenge to those of us who lived the majority of our life in the 20th century.

That realization reminded me of the Beloit College Mindset List created by Ron Nief, Public Affairs Director Emeritus, Tom McBride, Professor of English and Keefer Professor of Humanities, and Charles Westerberg, Brannon-Ballard Professor of Sociology.

The list explores the culture of the 18 year old incoming class and is a window into the experiences that shaped them. I’ve often shared from the list and find it interesting and challenging. 

Here are a few excerpts from the list:

-Among the iconic figures never alive in their lifetime are Victor Borge, Charles Schulz and the original Obi-Wan Kenobi, Alec Guinness.

-Outer space has never been without human habitation.

-They have always been able to refer to Wikipedia.

-They have grown up afraid that a shooting could happen at their school, too.

-They've grown up with stories about where their grandparents were on 11/22/63 and where their parents were on Sept. 11.

-The Prius has always been on the road in the U.S.

-They never used a spit bowl in a dentist’s office.

-A visit to a bank is a rare event.

-None having served there, American presidents have always visited Vietnam as commander in chief.

-Donny and Marie who?

-Films have always been distributed on the Internet.

So given that this generation of students has an entirely different frame of reference and a vastly different cultural experience is it time to change the “what” and “how” we teach?  Is it time change the “when” and “why” of our processes at the college?

I’ll be thinking about that as I recoil back to the safety of the 20th century.

P.S.  The Mindset list is moving to Marist College

-Dr. Faulkner

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