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The New Professional Working Adult Learner – The Next Generational Cohort

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Continuing Professional Development Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Continuing Professional Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1559.1 - 26.1559.19



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Paper Authors


Mitchell L Springer PMP, SPHR, SHRM-SCP Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dr. Springer currently serves as the Executive Director for Purdue University’s College of Technology located in West Lafayette, Indiana. He possesses over 35 years of theoretical and 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, has contributed to scholarship more than 140 articles, presentations, books 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 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. Dr. Springer is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), in Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR), and, in civil and domestic mediation. He is a State of Indiana Registered domestic mediator.

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Mark T Schuver Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Mark Schuver is the Director for the Center for Professional Studies in Technology and Applied Research (ProSTAR) in the College of Technology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He is responsible for the administration/operations of the Center with Program Management oversight of the Rolls-Royce Master’s Degree, the Construction Management Master’s Degree and non-credit certificate programs for working professionals in the College of Technology. Prior to joining Purdue in 2002, Mark was employed by Caterpillar Inc. for 35 years with assignments in Product Design, Research and Development, Supplier Management, Quality Management, Logistics Management and various leadership positions. He holds an Associate Degree in Drafting Technology from North Iowa Area Community College (1967), a BS in Business Administration (1990) and MS in Management (1992) from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Mark is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education and the Continuing Professional Development Division since 2006 and has served on the Executive Board of CPDD since 2008. He has authored multiple papers for the ASEE National Conference and presented at each CIEC. Mark also serves as the Chair of the five Special Interest Groups of CPDD.

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The New Professional Working Adult Learner – The Next Generational CohortWith greatest respect for Bob Dylan’s 1964 song “…the times [students] they are a changin…”, Center Ahas experienced first-hand, the transitioning of professional working adult learners from onegenerational cohort to another, and now, to yet the youngest of generational cohorts… the Millennials.Correlations exist between the number of webpage “hits” and the subsequent fall enrollments. Whilethis information is important, it reflects a lagging indicator; that is, it does not tell us why there mayhave been more or less webpage hits. In contrast, a leading indicator will provide information as to whysomething has come to be.From this perspective, this paper will examine the leading indicators to the new professional workingadult learner; these individuals being the target cohort for fee-based professional education providersoffering Master of Science or Master of Arts degrees.Drawing from sixteen years of student data, this report will focus on who these cohort learners are andhow they compare to previous cohort groups of comparable age. The information presented will focuson generational cohort differences that impact, or have the potential to impact the offering of Master ofScience degrees and other fee-based continuing educational opportunities.Specifically, this paper will focus on:  Longer and healthier life spans for generational cohorts  Who are the new students  The implications of ever increasing college costs  The impact of increasing debt loads  Moving back home after graduation and it’s implications – Postponing marriage – Postponing the buying of homes, cars and other material possessions  Educational and income implications of having children later in life  Expectations of the new professional working adult cohort (Millennials)  How do we make program/cost changes to our offerings to remain competitiveThis paper will close with a discussion of trending initiatives and activities currently being employed toattract these new working professionals.

Springer, M. L., & Schuver, M. T. (2015, June), The New Professional Working Adult Learner – The Next Generational Cohort Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24896

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