Millennial students mix it up at Baker

Baker officials started off the year learning how to deal with today’s generation and the role in which access to technology 24-hours a day affects how these students learn and interact with others.

David Krug, assistant professor of accounting at Johnson County Community College, hosted a seminar for Baker faculty members Aug. 21, discussing how different life is for this year’s generation of freshman college students than previous groups.

Krug focused on how these differences affect the way in which “millennials,” those born between 1981 and 2001, think and learn because of the use of e-mail, cell phones and 24-hour news channels.

“A lot of it gives us insight to help them be more successful,” Jo Anne Gibson-Lucas, instructor of mass media and communications, said about what she learned in the seminar. “It’s helpful to carry it into the classroom.”

Krug’s speech contained information from Neil Howe and William Strauss’ research on the subject. He said Howe and Strauss identified seven common traits among millennials — most of them are sheltered by parents, they hold a high degree of confidence, they are team oriented and conventional, they often feel pressured in life, they strive to achieve and their family puts the child’s life first.

After describing these traits, Krug gave tips directed toward instructors and administrators that would help them aid and appease millennial students.

The seminar concluded with a group of six Baker students, junior Wes Comfort and seniors Rachel Kilian, Alex Dingman, Erin Yosai, Erin Blackburn and PJ Matulka, participating in a student panel discussion. They answered questions from audience members and discussed what millennial traits did and didn’t apply to them personally.

“I liked the openness of the student panel,” Gibson-Lucas said. “It was refreshing to hear them talking about these traits.”

Krug, who has never held a student panel at his speaking events, was also pleased with the panel.

“I was nervous at first,” Krug said. “I feared that the students would tell me that I was way wrong about everything I said, but they didn’t at all. It’s been fun.”

Kilian, who was invited to be a member of the panel by Robert Flaherty, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, also had fun participating in the student panel and listening to Krug.

“I had a good time,” Kilian said. “This speaker was so good and so funny. I never identified myself with a generation before because I always thought of myself as ‘special,’ so it was funny to realize that a trait (of millennials) was feeling that they are important and ‘special.'”

Krug said he has spoken about this topic many times at conferences and schools.<br/>He was inspired to speak about millennials after he heard a speaker discuss the topic. However, Krug said the speaker left out an important part.He was inspired to speak about millennials after he heard a speaker discuss the topic. However, Krug said the speaker left out an important part.
He was inspired to speak about millennials after he heard a speaker discuss the topic. However, Krug said the speaker left out an important part.

“The speaker didn’t go into applications, how everyone can teach different and better,” Krug said. “I think that if I can understand this generation, I can teach more effectively and know that my students are learning.”