20 | COMMUNITY COLLEGE JOURNAL AACC.NCHE.EDU
development by the college's vice president of
student services, he connected his ideas to an
information-rich assessment piece.
"Change comes about with data, consistency
and measurability," Tention says. "When ideas are
measurable and contribute to student success,
people will be more inclined to support you."
Allowing newer faculty to take the lead on
projects can integrate them into a department's
operation as well as hone their presentation skills, he
says. Mixing and matching project participants by
age fosters complementary perspectives, serving as
an opportunity for team-building and demystifying
stereotypes of the intractable boomer unwilling to
break with tradition.
"Baby boomers are willing to change, but
your delivery and approach has to be strategic,
well-informed and educational," says Tention.
"For younger staff, it's critical they understand
the dynamic of engaging faculty."
STUDYING THE PAST
In the decades-past traditional work environment, people often felt lucky to simply provide
for their families, knowing their company
would take care of them. Today, the changing
nature of family dynamics, coupled with a lower
degree of tolerance for workplace problems like
mistreatment by management, has placed an
increased emphasis on lifestyle over finances,
says Shane of CWRU.
"Family is more important to (young workers)
than making a lot of money," he says. "Flexible
working arrangements like flex hours and working remotely are far more critical than they would
have been 30 years ago."
Millennials also prefer their employer to have a
social aspect, which is why they start looking at the
"double bottom line" in terms of working for companies that are compassionate and innovative.
Desiring purpose over profits has strapped the
new workforce with buzzwords such as "lazy" and
"unmotivated." But Michael Cuddy, a 33-year-old
assistant chemistry professor at Northwest College,
maintains that millennials in higher education
are ambitious, motivated and desirous of leadership positions. Additionally, they're not shy about
moving away from proven lecture styles and into
active learning or other innovative methods of
engaging with students.
Change doesn't necessarily mean reinventing
the wheel, either. Millennials should be willing to
learn from older peers to reshape what succeeded
previously. For instance, fresh strategies like the
"flipped classroom”—which delivers instruction
online and moves coursework into the classroom—
should never be instituted lightly.
"What's a feasible approach to improving
things or making changes? We have to know
what's worked in the past and what we can do to
make changes appropriately,” Cuddy says. “For
something like a flipped classroom, we have to
President Kirk Nooks
(left) says his college
established a "historical
document" to record the
experiences of retiring
boomers on staff.