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Transformative Diversity Changes in U.S. Demographics: Recognizing the Cultural Implications in Higher Education

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

International Division Technical Session 5

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

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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; as well as, recognition for exceptional teaching and support of military connected students.

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 A. 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 Management 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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The demographic face of the United States is changing in a way never before seen. The year 2035 will see the culmination of three major forces: (1) the last of the Baby Boomers turning 65+ years of age (2030), (2) the cross-over where the number of people 65+ years of age outnumber the youths under the age of 18 (2035), and, (3) the recognition that the primary driver for population growth in the U.S. will be from international migration (2030).

These three major events will take place over the upcoming decade. Each of which, by itself, may appear relatively harmless and unnoticed. Together these three transformative changes paint a forever changing face of the demographics of the U.S. The impact of these three primary drivers of demographic change are already being felt in the faces and diversity ratios in higher education. Colleges and universities are scrambling to accommodate these, still to be fully understood, tectonic shifts.

The new demographic of the United States has had a negative impact on enrollments in higher education. New minority populations are not equally prepared, financially or otherwise, to participate in higher education as the current non-Hispanic White majority population. To this end, 25 years of researched literature materializes into multiple changes currently being implemented by institutions of higher education to accommodate this new minority majority population.

This paper, while addressing the changing nature of higher education, deals explicitly with the greater cultural implications of these many demographic changes and their impact on higher education. This paper addresses the basic subconscious and unconscious qualitative behavioral characteristics at the root of major decisions. It looks at the decision process itself and how the process errors on the side of an often times referred to term in higher education - “collegiality”. This paper lays a foundation for making better, more informed decisions on inclusivity in higher education.

In the final analysis, this paper recognizes the many potential, highly charged and emotional implications of changing demographics. It concludes with potential solutions for culturally adjusting to this new American demographic reality.

Springer, M. L., & Newton, K. A. (2019, June), Transformative Diversity Changes in U.S. Demographics: Recognizing the Cultural Implications in Higher Education Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33459

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