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.
Recently, the Mindset List of the Class of 2022 was released.
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 American History: From Typewriters to Text Messages, What Ten Generations of Americans Think Is Normal, 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.
Leaders – of all ages – need to understand what has shaped the lives of today’s entering college freshman class, those 18 year olds characterized by the following:
- They are the first class born in the new millennium, escaping the dreaded label of “Millennial,” though their new designation—iGen, GenZ, etc. — has not yet been agreed upon by them.
- People loudly conversing with themselves in public are no longer thought to be talking to imaginary friends.
- The Prius has always been on the road in the U.S.
According to McBride,
Students come to college with particular assumptions based on the horizons of their lived experience. All teachers need to monitor their references, while students need to appreciate that without a sound education they will never get beyond the cave of their own limited personal experiences.
Here’s a few more characteristics to whet your appetite:
- Films have always been distributed on the Internet.
- Donny and Marie who?
- Oprah has always been a magazine.
- A visit to a bank has been a rare event.
The original authors have moved on to new projects in their retirement but will continue their battle against “hardening of the references” at their website, themindsetlist.com.
With contributions from parents and academics around the world, the List has tracked cultural change, stimulated intergenerational conversation, and just made older people feel even older.
– Tom McBride and Charles Westerberg