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Compare YOUR mind with that of 18 year-olds using the Beloit Mindset List

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John W. Eyster
August 20, 2013

I was watching for the 2017 MINDSET LIST from Beloit College today having read promo reports that it would be released today.  Since the first MINDSET LIST in 1998, I have carefully studied the annual MINDSET LIST.  WHY?

First, as an instructor of high school seniors before I retired from the high school classroom in June 2000 and subsequently as an instructor of college students, I wanted to be attuned to the MINDSET – context of the students' awareness.  Valuable reminders each year.  Right now, I am preparing to teach “American Government & Politics” at UW-Whitewater this fall starting on Tuesday, September 3.  The 2017 MINDSET LIST is helping me prepare.

Second, I am a parent and grandparent who wants to be attuned to the MINDSET of 18 year-olds and adjust for my grandsons who are in Milton schools – ages 9 and 13.  They keep reminding me of what I do NOT know from their worlds in this DIGITAL AGE and I try to help them consider what I DO know about history at least since they were born in 2000 and 2004.

Third, I find that the MINDSET LIST is healthy to enkindle and enrich conversations.  I often use the MINDSET LIST for illustrations as I am preparing to share a message as a Guest Pastor in Christian congregations. Yes, the congregation is usually older, but they do ENJOY the reminders which come from the MINDSET LIST in terms of what they remember from their own LIFE EXPERIENCES and what YOUTH have NOT experienced.

I salute Beloit College for its support of the Beloit College Mindset List which it releases each August.  The MINDSET LIST was developed by and is maintained by former Public Affairs Director Ron Nief and Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride.  I note that the list 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.

You can use one of the following links for full online information:

The official home of the Mind Set Lists of American History: http://themindsetlist.com/lists/.

Beloit College website MINDSET webpage: http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/.

You may want to check the Mindset Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mindset-List/132608700111389.

I look forward to meeting the freshmen in my “American Government & Politics” class on Tuesday, September 3 at UW-Whitewater.  I am intrigued by the assertion by Nief and McBride that these students/persons – DIGITAL NATIVES – “…will already be well-connected to each other.”  I am going to TEST this hypothesis using a survey in the first session of my class.

I know from personal experience the TRUTH of their assertion about these incoming freshmen, “…most of them will take a few courses taught at a distant university by a professor they will never meet.”  I myself have been teaching ONLINE courses for years.  This fall semester I am teaching the Viterbo University seminar for students who are working to earn a 4-year degree.  These students are NOT traditional incoming 18 year-olds.  They are non-traditional students in their 30's and 40's who have a professional degree/certification and are seeking academic advancement in their lives and careers.

I thought their strong confidence in the incoming freshman class was EXCITING, “They will study hard, learn a good deal more, teach their professors quite a lot, and realize eventually that they will soon be in power. After all, by the time they hit their thirties, four out of ten voters will be of their generation. Whatever their employers may think of them, politicians will be paying close attention.”

I urge you to access the FULL Mindset List for the Class of 2017.  The KEY points for me are:

2. They are the sharing generation, having shown tendencies to share everything, including

possessions, no matter how personal.

3. GM means food that is Genetically Modified.

8. Having a chat has seldom involved talking.

11. They have known only two presidents.

12. Their TV screens keep getting smaller as their parents' screens grow ever larger.

14. Rites of passage have more to do with having their own cell phone and Skype accounts than with getting a driver's license and car.

15. The U.S. has always been trying to figure out which side to back in Middle East conflicts.

17. Threatening to shut down the government during Federal budget negotiations has always been an anticipated tactic.

20. The Pentagon and Congress have always been shocked, absolutely shocked, by reports of sexual harassment and assault in the military.

28. With GPS, they have never needed directions to get someplace, just an address.

30. Americans and Russians have always cooperated better in orbit than on earth.

35. Congress has always been burdened by the requirement that they comply with the anti-discrimination and safety laws they passed for everybody else to follow.

42. There has never been a national maximum speed on U.S. highways.

47. Dayton, Ohio, has always been critical to international peace accords.

50. A Wiki has always been a cooperative web application rather than a shuttle bus in Hawaii.

54. Washington, D.C., tour buses have never been able to drive in front of the White House.

60. They have always known that there are “five hundred, twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes" in a year.


Which of the MINDSET items are MOST meaningful for YOU?  I'll be interested to read your comments.

I enjoyed hearing Ron Nief and Tom McBride discussing the 2017 MINDSET LIST with Joy Cardin on Wisconsin Public Radio this morning (Tuesday, 8/20).  You can use this link to access the podcast to listen online, “For Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 6 am.”  ENJOY!

Here we go…

Mr. E.

UPDATE, Wednesday, Aug. 21: This morning I read -I encourage you to read for perspective - the very interesting discussion of Beloit College's 2017 MINDSET LIST in Karen Herzog's feature, "Beloit College's annual pop culture list mocked by rivals."  What do YOU think?  Here we go...


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