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Perceptions Of Millennial Student Learning: The Future Faculty Perspective

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Knowing our Students, Faculty, and Profession

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.948.1 - 15.948.21



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Paper Authors


Tershia Pinder-Grover University of Michigan

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Tershia Pinder-Grover is the Assistant Director at the Center for Research on Learning in
Teaching (CRLT) at the University of Michigan (U-M). In this role, she is responsible for teacher training for new engineering graduate student instructors (GSIs), consultations with faculty and GSIs on pedagogy, workshops on teaching and learning, and preparing future faculty programs. Prior to joining CRLT, she earned her B.S. degree in Fire Protection Engineering from the University of Maryland and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the U-M. Her current research interests include the effect of instructional technology on student learning and performance, effective teaching strategies for new graduate student instructors, and the impact of GSI mentoring programs on the mentors and mentees.

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Chris Groscurth University of Michigan

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Christopher R. Groscurth is an instructional consultant in the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) at the University of Michigan. At CRLT Chris promotes excellence in teaching and learning through individual consultation, professional development programs, and applied research. He has a Ph.D. from the Department of Speech Communication at the University of Georgia, and his research examines individual and collective communication practices that strengthen relationships, organizations, and communities. He is particularly interested in promoting learning, leadership, and social justice through research-based interventions.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Perceptions of Millennial Student Learning: The Future Faculty Perspective


In order to promote student learning, instructors must understand who is in their classroom and how those students learn. Currently, many engineering courses are composed of “Millennial” students. This term is used by academics, university administrators, and industry leaders in the United States to describe the generation born between 1982-2002.1 In recent years, this generation has created quite a stir among practitioners in higher education and industry. Since the seminal work of Howe and Strauss (2000), many have wondered how Millennials will change higher education and the workforce.1,2 One limitation of Millennial research is that it fails to empirically engage the perspectives of those who teach Millennials. Thus, researchers know little about how instructors think about Millennial students and the implications that these perceptions have for teaching and learning. Concurrently, research in engineering and engineering education has focused on curricular reforms and instructional methods for preparing the Engineer of 2020.3,4 Specifically, the learning outcomes for the Engineer of 2020 affirm the complexities of a changing workforce and need for innovative and adaptive problem-solving. Within the engineering context, there is limited research that merges these curriculum outcomes with the benefits and challenges associated with teaching the Millennial generation.

To merge these two concurrent trends in postsecondary and engineering education, our study provides a qualitative analysis of how future faculty perceive Millennial engineering students at a large research university. The engineering graduate students who participated in this study are experienced graduate student instructors and were selected based on three criteria: 1) they have a demonstrated commitment to engineering education, 2) they participate regularly in reflective conversations about teaching and learning, and 3) they are uniquely situated, in terms of age and professional status, allowing them to comment on the opportunities and challenges related to teaching Millennial undergraduates in various engineering disciplines.

This study poses the following research questions:

≠ What knowledge do future engineering faculty and industry leaders have about the Millennial generation? ≠ How--if at all--do future engineering faculty think Millennial students will affect their teaching?

To answer these questions, we have used the following methods. First, we conducted an exhaustive review of the literature on Millennial students, and identified three striking characteristics of Millennial students (i.e., their preferences for collaborating with peers, connecting with one another, and creating for social change). Second, we followed up this literature review by reporting survey and focus group data collected from the select sample of engineering graduate students. Specifically, the survey includes demographic information about the cohort including birth year, gender, race/ethnicity, and semesters of teaching experience. In addition, we asked participants in the study to reflect on their familiarity with the term

Pinder-Grover, T., & Groscurth, C. (2010, June), Perceptions Of Millennial Student Learning: The Future Faculty Perspective Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16741

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015