An intro to your new freshmen: 60 historical events and facts that shaped their lives

This year's freshmen have never known Russia without Putin

Just as your freshmen prepare to arrive on campus, Beloit College released its annual Mindset List for the entering class.

The list includes a variety of political, historical, and cultural events over the past 18 years that shaped many incoming students. The list aims to help administrators and faculty understand and bridge generational gaps and better communicate with new students.

"The annual Lists are wonderful icebreakers for counselors and professors and students," write authors Tom McBride, Ron Nief, and Charles Westerberg. "Many teachers and counselors alike have used the Mindset List over the years, sometimes as the basis for one-on-one chats, and at other times for class discussions and even personal essays."

They encourage campus staff to reflect on how each event on the list may have affected students' lives and created a different experience than their own. For example, the authors write, "As long as they've been alive, according to this year's list, books have always been read TO them on audible.com. What are the pros and cons of this by now routine technology?"

The art of effective student communication

The list includes 60 observations, including:

  • "The Sandy Hook tragedy is their Columbine;"
  • "Vladimir Putin has always been calling the shots at the Kremlin;"
  • "They have never had to watch or listen to programs at a scheduled time;"
  • "If you want to reach them, you'd better send a text—emails are oft ignored;"
  • "They disagree with their parents as to which was the 'first' Star Wars episode;"
  • "John Elway and Wayne Gretzky have always been retired;" and
  • "While chads were hanging in Florida, they were potty training in all 50 states."

How well do you really communicate with your students?

Meanwhile, The Onion released its own parody list of remarks about the class of 2020, including that most of them:

  • "Likely won't actually graduate college until 2022;"
  • "Don't know what a CD binder is, but who cares;"
  • "Were only able to smoke in bars and restaurants until the age of 5;"  and
  • "Will always be younger and more vital than you."

Clean up your website and better reach prospective, current students, faculty, and alumni

(Beloit College, accessed 8/17; The Onion, 8/15). 


Next in Today's Briefing

Around the industry: University to increase salaries for 51 faculty members

Next Briefing

  • Manage Your Events
  • Saved webpages and searches
  • Manage your subscriptions
  • Update personal information
  • Invite a colleague