Class of 2016: the New Normal


Our daughter Ashley graduated from college this year, so this news item naturally caught my eye.  The Mindset List  was created at Beloit College to highlight the contemporary worldview of entering first year students. The list started with the members of the class of 2002, born in 1980. For the class of 2016 there is a new normal. Does it seem like the world is changing faster now?

Here are some of the interesting changes. They have spent much of their lives helping their parents upgrade to the digital age, although I like to think of myself as tech savvy. The class of 2016 grew up with MP3 players and iPods, they seldom listen to the car radio or watch network TV. Texting is the preferred way of communication and any social plans are usually kept quite fluid. Ok, I added the last one!

Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall. The creation of Beloit’s former Public Affairs Director Ron Nief and Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride, authors of The Mindset Lists of History: From Typewriters to Text Messages, What Ten Generations of Americans Think Is Normal (John Wiley and Sons), it was originally created as a reminder to faculty to be aware of dated references. It quickly became an internationally monitored catalog of the changing worldview of each new college generation.







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