The F File

Kelly Petryszyn

One list helps bridge the generation gap

Read the complete list.

This year’s freshmen think that some people “just don’t get it,” others were given a Nintendo Game Boy in the crib, and most have never known life without “Seinfeld” references.

Or at least that’s what Tom McBride, professor of the humanities, and Ron Nief, director of public affairs, from Beloit College in Wisconsin think about today’s crop of freshmen. The two annually compile a mind-set list catered to the new freshman


Some faculty at Kent State are aware of the list and even reference it in class.

“I like to get the list every year to bounce ideas off students and see if it is true,” said political science professor Richard Robyn. “It helps as a faculty (member) to look it over every year to see that things like the Cold War are not as popular.”

The list is designed to help faculty from a different generation understand current students.

History professor Kim Carey said she relates to students because she is very technology-oriented. She also relates to the going green trend that is now popular among students because she is a product of the ’60s and ’70s when going green first became popular.

“It is interesting to see how generations link forward,” she said.

Robyn said his generation thought change was not possible in the ’60s, so they got on the street and protested. Some change was happening through this, but he said the real change will happen with the students’ generation, citing the Democratic nomination of Barack Obama for president as an example.

Some freshmen view themselves as revolutionary.

“We’re all trying to change the world in our own ways,” said Katrina Krise, freshman middle childhood education major .

Freshman English major John Pfanz thinks that in comparison, his parents’ generation was more conservative and not as diverse as his generation.

“(My parents’ generation) is like a Lunchable – vacuum-packed,” he said. “Everyone was in their own compartment and didn’t touch each other.

“Now we are all mixed up.”

Another aspect that separates generations, including students and professors, is technology.

“I would be lost without technology,” Krise said. “My cell phone and iPod are always in my pocket.

“I don’t know how anyone can live without a computer.”

Robyn said constantly incorporating technology is a challenge, especially since computers were not even available beyond rudimentary models when he first started teaching.

Even so, Pfanz said in order to keep a generation who grew up glued to the TV interested, the material has to be presented in a way that captivates students.

But Carey said she feels she is on “the crest of the wave of technology” and tries to include technology in her lesson plans regularly.

Stephen Keto, a sociology instructor, said professors feel that technology opens a door for learning.

“There is an exciting potential with technology,” he said.

Contact news correspondent Kelly Petryszyn at[email protected].