September 18, 2007

University of Nebraska Descends Into Self-Parody.

Sometimes you can't make fun of someone. Sometimes they do such a good job of it themselves that you just have to let the Res Loquate for Ipself.

I give you... the University of Nebraska at Lincoln's "Get to Know Me" packet, sent out to all Faculty and Staff from 5 Vice Chancellors, where college instructors are told how to relate to today's modern college student, a member of the generation commonly known as "Milennials."

Here's a taste, but you have to read the whole thing to believe it.

Traditional motivators may not work, and could actually cause more harm than good.

Attempts to motivate a student out of their respect for authority, their social position in the academy, or their age may not only fail but could backfire into a negative relationship that keeps you from serving the student well. Though challenging, communicate with students from a place of sincere respect for their ideas, interests, and positions. You’ll find plenty of self-motivation from this high-achieving group, if they believe that their efforts will yield positive results.

So much for respecting your elders or acknowledging that you've come to college to learn from the professor. Everyone is equal now, it seems.

But this has to be my favourite:

Yes, it IS all about them. How can you use this knowledge to help them belong and succeed?

Perhaps the most difficult characteristic of the Millennial generation is their tendency toward self-absorption: It seems as if it is all about them. It is! Knowing that this is a generational characteristic will help you avoid reaction and judgement when a student seems oblivious to anyone else’s needs but their own. Here’s where negotiation is critical. Communicate your own needs, and explain why a deadline, rule, or procedure exists. Most students will reject a process if they feel it exists just for the convenience of the institution, so explain the reasoning or simply express your own need. Then help a student find solutions so that they can benefit from the system itself. Also remember that this is developmental. Keep exposing students to other real needs around them, and help them find ways to meet their needs without hurting the needs or rights of others.

And here I thought that self-absorption was something of which adults were supposed to break children. But no... it's apparently just part of the territory:

Why the label Generation Me? Since GenMe’ers were born, we’ve been taught to put ourselves first. Reliable birth control, legalized abortion, and a cultural shift toward parenthood as a choice made us the most wanted generation of children in American history. Television, movies, and school programs have told us we were special from toddlerhood to high school, and we believe it with a self-confidence that approaches boredom: why talk about it? It’s just the way things are. This blase attitude is very different from the Boomer focus on introspection and self-absorption: GenMe is not self-absorbed; we’re self-important. We take it for granted that we’re independent, special individuals, so we really don’t need to think about it.

My bad. I meant to say self-importance.

Anyway, try to keep in mind when you're reading this that this was sent out to the faculty of a large state research university by that university's administration. It thus has at least the imprimatur of official administrative policy:

It is the way that the adults who have busted their ass for years to get their PhD are supposed to treat the callow youth who find themselves bothered with the obligation to take their class.

Posted by at September 18, 2007 01:14 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Man-o-man. This epitomizes the modern university to a TEE.

Posted by: Hube at September 18, 2007 04:21 PM

I prefer to call them Gen i, since they all walk up and down Main St. with their iPods plugged in, completely oblivious to everything and everyone around them. I've never in my life seen so many people willing to cross a street without looking for oncoming traffic, whether at a crosswalk or not! I guess they're all conditioned to assume that cars will stop for them.

Here's my favorite part: "Communicate your own needs, and explain why a deadline, rule, or procedure exists."

Because I freaking said so, that's why! If I had to 'negotiate' like this with every subordinate I've ever trained, I'd never get any of my own work done!

Posted by: G Rex at September 18, 2007 04:51 PM