Lander College for Women, Touro College (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 3648-3662
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Generational Diversity presents new challenges to campus life as individuals born between the 1930s and the 1990s interact in the classroom and elsewhere on the university campus. While the challenges of generational diversity have been comprehensively discussed in the business literature, it is only beginning to enter discussions about campus life and how it might impact the academic environment and the way students are educated. Four generations are typically identified: Traditionals, born before 1945, Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964; Generation X, born between 1965 and 1981 and Generation Y (or Milennials) born between1982 and 2000. In the United States, Generation Y is composed of 70 million individuals, approximately the same size as the Baby Boom generation (76 million) and a significant increase in size over Generation X (48 million).

Four generations interact on campus as faculty members, students, alumni, and university employees, each with different histories, sets of values, expectations for achievement, and preferred methods of communication. Their different styles may lead to synergy and learning, or frustration and friction. Generation Y, for example, who are currently the majority of university students, are viewed as self-confident, capable, multi-taskers who are eager to achieve and value social interactions in face-to-face communication or via technology and social networking. This generation grew up using sophisticated technology in the classroom and at home, which is expected to significantly impact the way that they learn and work. Identifying new technologies for integration in the classroom and leveraging technology to create a knowledge interface among multiple users are issues under discussion on many university campuses.

This presentation will outline the meaning of generational diversity and its impact on college life, focusing on faculty-student relations; career issues for new college graduates; and classroom etiquette, particularly addressing the impact of technology on each of these dimensions. Further, the increase in complexity on the college campus as more non-traditional students return to college life will be addressed.

Participants will build a more comprehensive understanding of the meaning of generational diversity and why it is a significant issue for university life. Questions about what generational diversity means for the way classroom education is conducted and new ways to prepare Generation Y for entering the workforce will be addressed.