Beloit has once again published their Mindset List, with “There has always been an Internet ramp onto the information highway” leading the list of things describing the Class of 2015. My favorite is “19. We have never asked, and they have never had to tell.”; even though it isn’t true (yet) for many young people in many places — especially in my home state of Virginia. The rest of the list is the usual mix of cultural (OJ Simpson, Tickle Me Elmo), political (Jimmy Carter, Kim Jong-il), and technological (dial-up, Facebook break-ups) references.
This year, The Chronicle Review published “an antidote”, called The 2011 Mind-Set of Faculty (Born Before 1980) (subscription required). The faculty list is a strange mix of some amusing culturing tidbits (“We … never used libraries as restaurants or coffee shops. We faced books; we did not facebook.”), with bitter and sarcastic snipes (“Those same faculty members are regarded by many parents, administrators, and state legislators as lazy, inefficient, and unaccountable. If it were not for all the work the faculty members must do, they would have the time to live down to those expectations.”). Yes, it is true that many faculty are “teaching more and larger classes and doing more “service” than ever before at the same pay or less as faculty were three or four years ago”, but I personally like my Mindset lists to be more on the light side. Give me more “Faculty members born before 1980 said “Wii” to express the euphoria they felt as children when sledding down a hill.” and less “Freshmen will encounter some faculty members who used to work at institutions where faculty governance did not require the inclusion of administrators, advisory boards, and regents in academic decisions.” YMMV.