Student Trends  -- Part 2


In this part of the environmental scan, we wanted to go beyond demographics to create a snapshot of student characteristics into the next five years. Questions of interest included



Our effort to gather data on these and related topics included contact with professional organizations (NASPA, ACPA), Univ. of California Higher Education Research Institute, National Study of Student Engagement, Syracuse University - Cultural Foundations Dept., BEACON, colleagues, student focus groups.


Very little information was identified, therefore, there will be a gap in this section of the environmental scan and we may wish to discuss future ways to develop and/ or identify sources for this type of student information. 


There follows a summary of information we did gather that may be applicable for the scan.


·        A new generation of students is being identified as the Millennial Generation (born between 1982-2002) who will be different than Generation X students and will provide challenges to Baby Boom faculty and administrators. Just what are those challenges and differences in characteristics, traits, beliefs, values and behaviors has yet to be determined. (NASPA)

·        College freshmen (2001) are more politically liberal as evidenced by views toward the death penalty(abolish), drug testing(require)/legalization(marijuana) and gay rights(same-sex couples have right to legal marital status); show signs of political interest and activism; record high level of volunteerism; show increased awareness of racial issues; show decline in health and emotional self-ratings. (CIRP)

·        Transfer students interact less with peers and faculty and are less involved in campus life, but perform academically on par with non-transfer students. (NSSE)

·        Future students will want to learn through many avenues including electronic, traditional classroom, credit for experience, internships, travel and so forth; nothing will totally replace faculty both inside and outside the classroom; students do like to watch more than listen; learning must be hands on and apply concepts learned in class; internships should be required for graduation. (Student Focus Group)

·        Trend will be toward increase in divorced families and students basically raising themselves which will result in increased disrespect for adults and lack of motivation; harder to find ways to keep up with costs of technology and supplies; students will need more attention and support from peers and University employees; students will have to work more to support themselves; students will come from more same-sex households and more racially integrated families; 5 years to graduation will become the norm. (Student Focus Group)

·        Meaningful learning is learning that contributes to the real world and real life; research is a way to gain great experience; more internships will be desired by students; volunteering is a way to apply learning and also feel good. (Student Focus Group)

·        Student behaviors will become increasingly disrespectful of faculty and adults; short attention spans call for interactive learning and lots of stimulation in classroom; less inhibited in front of adults and therefore more evidence of violent behavior; less respect for teachers; students will be more lazy, apathetic. (Student Focus Group)  


December 2002