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Gen Y (Millennial) and Gen Z Cultural Cohort Demographics: Social, Political and Economic Perspectives and Implications

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

CPDD Session 2 - Professional Development - Where Are We Going?

Tagged Division

Continuing Professional Development

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Mitchell L. Springer PMP, SPHR, SHRM-SCP Purdue Polytechnic Institute

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Dr. Mitchell L. Springer

Dr. Springer currently serves as an Executive Director for Purdue University’s Polytechnic Institute located in West Lafayette, Indiana. He has over thirty-five years of theoretical and defense industry-based practical experience from four disciplines: software engineering, systems engineering, program management and human resources. Dr. Springer possesses a significant strength in pattern recognition, analyzing and improving organizational systems. He is internationally recognized and has contributed to scholarship more than 300 books, articles, presentations, editorials and reviews on software development methodologies, management, organizational change, and program management. Dr. Springer sits on many university and community boards and advisory committees. He is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, including local, regional and national recognitions for leadership in diversity, equity and inclusion.

Dr. Springer is the President of the Indiana Council for Continuing Education as well as the Past-Chair of the Continuing Professional Development Division of the American Society for Engineering Education.

Dr. Springer received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Purdue University, his MBA and Doctorate in Adult and Community Education with a Cognate in Executive Development from Ball State University. He is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR & SHRM-SCP), in Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR), and, in civil and domestic mediation. Dr. Springer is a State of Indiana Registered domestic mediator.

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Kathryne Newton Purdue Polytechnic Institute

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Dr. Kathy Newton is an Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and Faculty Success for the Purdue Polytechnic Institute at Purdue University. She is a Professor of Supply Chain and Sales Engineering Technology in the School of Engineering Technology. Her teaching and scholarly interests are in the areas of supply chain management, quality control, and graduate education. She
served as Department Head of Industrial Technology from 2007 to 2010. Prior to her appointment at Purdue University
in 1993, she spent seven years teaching for Texas A&M University’s Department of Engineering
Technology. Dr. Newton has a Ph.D. in Educational Human Resource Development, a Master’s degree in Business Administration,
and a B.S. in Industrial Distribution, each from Texas A&M University.

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[…If you have theoretical and/or practical experience in management, then you can likely manage what you do not understand, but you still cannot lead it…] This statement, in a modified form, was first put forth by Myron Tribus in 1996. To this statement, we cannot lead a diverse group of people, if we do not understand them. In extending this thought, an administrative professional organization, administering online programs to professional working adult learners, can do so, but will find challenge in growing, or leading, the efforts to attract and subsequently scale program offerings, if we do not understand our target audiences. This paper, therefore, is about understanding. Understanding the population of students currently enrolled in our collective online continuing professional development organizations. Prior works have discussed in rich detail the numerous demographic groups of students in our collective continuing professional administrative organizations, this through the lens of race, ethnicity, age and gender. Additionally, each of these demographic student cohorts have been examined through social, political and economic lenses. This paper goes beyond previous views of cohort student discussions, by explicitly examining the two most recent cohorts, Gen Y (Millennials) and Gen Z, in an effort to define and differentiate these two cohorts from social, political and economic undertones. Each of these identifying characteristics provides furthering insight into implications in society, our businesses, higher education, and our homes. This paper is about understanding. Understanding those defining characteristics of our largest student cohorts of this time. To better attract and subsequently convey content to these two cohorts, not only requires, but demands a fundamentally better understanding of who they are. This paper will add to, and continue, this dialogue by addressing the social, political and economic perspectives of our youngest generational cohorts in our educational programs, namely Gen Y (Millennials) and Gen Z.

Springer, M. L., & Newton, K. (2020, June), Gen Y (Millennial) and Gen Z Cultural Cohort Demographics: Social, Political and Economic Perspectives and Implications Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34700

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