Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Interesting Day at Teaching Effectiveness

First of all, let me start by complaining and then I will move on. I have been to several workshops and discussions about the "millennial" generation. What exactly is the birthday cut-off for this generation seems to be under debate and sometimes includes me, but more often does not. In each of these discussions, they talk about how the audience's experiences aren't relevant because we all went to college in a previous century. Speak for yourself! I graduated college in 2002. Why my college experience wasn't relevant not because of my age, it is because I was a complete nerd with more interest studying or foreign language activities than I was in alcohol and boys. I was sitting next to someone who is three years younger, and by their definition, the first class of millennial students.

Okay, the complaining is done. Now I want to say that despite how much I have been dreading today's six-hour teaching effectiveness workshop since in the past they have been irrelevant (and because of the first year I was still recovering from a week-long hangover), I was very impressed with this year's speaker. I have to look up her name, she is the dean of students somewhere in Delaware. But it was about "Understanding the Students We Serve" and she was really funny.

I was very impressed with some of the statistics. Here are some examples:
  • 34% of students say a parent is his/her best friend
  • The call their parents 10x per week on their cell phones
  • 48% of high school graduates have an A average, but SAT scores are dropping

Lycoming Students:
  • Only 18% reported having looked up scientific articles and resources in high school (and the number would surely be lower if this weren't self-reported).
  • 32% of incoming students spent 3-10 hours "partying" per week on average, 8% 11-20 hours.
  • 68% of incoming students believe they are in the top 10% of their class academically (this fits with nation-wide trends and is a precious statistic).
  • 72% of incoming freshmen expect to get an advanced degree, including 22% expecting to get a Ph. D.
  • And incoming freshmen claim to be concerned about the environment. 85% believe the government is not doing enough to control pollution (but you should see how many plastic water bottles are in the campus trash!).

Of course there were other interesting parts of the talk, but these statistics were the highlight. We have been promised to be given more of this data soon.

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