NEXT:Make Way Millennials, Here Comes Generation Z

Submitted by BNCAdmin on Fri,11/20/2015-11:23

Elle Fanning, Malia Obama and the singer Lorde qualify — as do Kylie Jenner, Bella Thorne and Cody Simpson. Born between the 1990s and the 2000s, they’re all part of the next most significant generation to attract the attention of marketers and educators. They’re Generation Z, or Gen Z, the ‘Sharing Generation,’ and from what we’re beginning to learn about them, they’re so significantly different from any other demographic that has come before them that they offer both challenges and opportunities for the future direction of higher education. The distinctive behavior traits that so characterize this generation have recently been explored in a newly published research study from Barnes & Noble College titled, Getting to Know Gen Z: Exploring a New Generation’s Expectations for Higher Education and, as the oldest members of Gen Z are now in high school and preparing to enter college, there’s never been a better time to examine their likely impact.



Growing up with computers and the World Wide Web, Gen Z has also been variously dubbed the Internet Generation and Digital Natives in acknowledgement of their level of comfort with all kinds of technology. “They’ve grown up in a fast-moving, ultra-connected age,” explained Lisa Malat, Barnes & Noble College’s VP of Operations and Chief Marketing Officer, at a recent University Business webcast that launched the new report. “Every answer they’ve ever needed has always been at their fingertips. They really are the ultimate do-it-yourselfers, and if this is the way they live, we shouldn’t expect them to learn any differently,” she added.


Research shows that every generation sees more value in a college education than the previous one, and Gen Z is no different — 89 percent of the survey’s respondents indicated a college education as valuable.


But while they may very well orchestrate their social lives via texting and social media, and spend more time watching YouTube than network television, education is also something that this generation takes very seriously. “Research shows that every generation sees more value in a college education than the previous one, and Gen Z is no different — 89 percent of the survey’s respondents indicated a college education as valuable, so more likely than not, these students are headed to campus, and we all need to be ready,” Malat said.

Gen Z_drop shadowThat passion for education is based in a highly adult sense of realism as Tamara Vostok, Barnes & Noble College’s Director of Consumer Media, pointed out. “We found they’re truly passionate about the importance and value of education, especially as it relates to finding a job and preparing them for a career,” she said. Helping them gather the information that they need to select the correct college for their career is in Gen Z’s highly collaborative nature, a characteristic that first came to light when Barnes & Noble College began their interest in researching this demographic through an earlier research project with the VCU Brand Center. “They’ll look online, and to teachers, family and friends for their input,” Vostok said, “but ultimately, they’re independent thinkers — a big contrast to Millennials who want to share everything,” she added.

That sense of planning is reflected in the survey’s statistics. Almost half of the older students surveyed have already taken a class for college credit, which reflects their need to be as prepared as possible for the future. They’re also more business minded. “They’re extremely entrepreneurial. We found that more than a third of older students either already own their own business or plan on starting one in the future,” Vostok said.

But is Gen Z just the latest in succession of new generations? At the University Business webcast, Andrea Eveland, Student Research Consultant for Barnes & Noble College, highlighted some other distinct differences between Gen Z and their Millennial forebearers. “They’re more financially driven than Millennials, and having seen their parents live through the economic uncertainty of the past decade. That uncertainty shapes their attitude about money, education and the need to secure a good job,” she explained.



Despite the trend of DIYL — (do-it-yourself learning), the Barnes & Noble College research reveals that Gen Z doesn’t want to learn in a vacuum. “They still value face-to-face interaction and collaboration with their peers, and that’s extremely important in how we think about the future of education,” Vostok said. For Gen Z, it seems that learning is a continuous, multi-faceted experience, and one that’s best experienced when it’s hands-on. Those expectations, together with Gen Z’s technological preferences, may seem daunting for educators when adapting the classroom experience. But rather than a perceived threat, Malat sees these character traits as representative of a significant opportunity for the future of higher education. “These students have a love of education,” she said. “They want to be pushed — they want to be engaged — because that’s when they really start to thrive.”

So if the current crop of under 18-year-olds doesn’t quite inspire you yet, it might be worth remembering that Malala Yousaf ...continue »

NEXT:SUNY Delhi Reaps Positive Outcomes from Bookstore Partnership

Submitted by BNCAdmin on Thu,11/12/2015-12:47

It’s perhaps in the nature of any busy organization that often-times goals and opportunities become lost in the day-to-day bustle of business. It’s a prospect that the State University of New York at Delhi seems quick to avoid, and where we caught up with its Provost, Dr. John Nader, shortly after the start of the new semester. “One of the great advantages of this institution is that we don’t necessarily have those divisions between various schools, program areas and functional areas of the college — academics works well with student life, student life works well with facilities — and overall, I think we did a nice job getting our students prepared for the start of classes,” he says.

Nestled in the Catskill Mountains, overlooking the village of Delhi, the campus imbues a sense of inclusion, continually improving and upgrading facilities as part of a multi-year capital plan, and at the same time, building meaningful connections within its community. It’s a successful formula that is working well as part of the university’s overall mission and achieving particularly notable results in one central area of the school’s activities — the campus bookstore.



A key campus partner since 2008, the relationship with the Barnes & Noble College managed bookstore has recently begun to bear considerable fruit at SUNY Delhi, as the result of a series of outreach projects. “It’s begun to flourish because of the increased cooperation between the College Association, the academic side of the house and bookstore, with the greater campus community, which the bookstore has always served very well,” Nader explains.

Many of those initiatives came as the result of Barbara Jones accepting her current role as Vice President for Student Life. “In the past, the bookstore worked mainly through the auxiliary, the difference now is as a result of stronger partnerships with the college — both with academic and student affairs,” she notes. With a primary focus on the academic success of the partnership, the bookstore’s influence has been very noticeable in working with faculty.

With a student body of close to 3,500, Delhi’s online community accounts for a crucial third of that enrollment, with the largest online group represented in nursing. To build an extra connection to that community, the bookstore launched a promotion including a SUNY Delhi tote bag as an incentive for bookstore sales, which also realized additional sales. “There has been a particularly productive partnership with the development of an outreach program for our online students,” Nader explains. Bookstore Manager Julie Fetzer, an alumna of SUNY Delhi and former bookseller, agrees, “Our online program serves many nursing students. With many classes revolving every 7 weeks, it’s critical to partner with the Nursing Department to ensure that we can provide everything our online students need.”

Nader also points out that the bookstore has played a role in supporting the faculty as well. In addition to Barnes and Noble College sponsorship of a faculty author series and academic honors for students, the store also initiated a ‘Book Check’ coupon program as a stronger incentive for faculty to come into the store and check on the completeness of their book orders. “It’s through opportunities like these that the bookstore has really helped raise the academic profile of both students and staff,” he says, adding that those connections are supported by frequent email communications and follow-ups from the Provost’s Office.

While the store is regularly in attendance at Deans’ Council meetings and the school’s division meetings and campus-wide auxiliary gatherings, Jones says that the sense of outreach has been most visible at the bookstore itself. “There were a series of VIP pre-rush nights at the bookstore, which included special presentations to student groups,” she notes. “Athletics, in particular, has been another great partner for the bookstore where we’ve had a very successful program in place for the purchase and distribution of team shirts,” she adds.

The bookstore has also engaged in enhanced marketing and improved communications regarding bus ticket sales at the store. “It’s a good service — the development of concierge service — and the promotion of sale items for the large numbers of students purchasing bus tickets at the bookstore,” Jones says.



These new approaches have enabled the bookstore to be fully engaged and able to seek broader input and feedback from across the campus. In a truly reciprocal relationship, they’ve reaped rewards for the campus, students, and bookstore equally.

The rate of sales growth has exceeded enrollment growth, and the percentage of online purchases has steadily increased. Academically, there has been an 85 percent textbook adoption rate, with 87 percent of faculty adopters utilizing the bookstore’s FacultyEnlight online platform. Meanwhile, the percentage of students using the Registration Integration System for advance textbook purchasing has grown five-fold since 2014. Most importantly, student satisfaction ratings increased significantly on the spring SUNY-wide Student Opinion Survey. Not that those improvements have prompted any kind of complacency at Delhi.

Despite the benefits and the results coming from closer cooperation and inclusion, the overwhelming impression is that the enhanced bookstore partnership has just started. Provost Nader is hoping for an expanded internship program in conjunction with the Business Management program, further continuation of the BIG (Bookstore Innovation Group) meetings, and the establishment of the Management Development Program for SUNY Delhi graduates, along with the bookstore’s co-sponsorship support for the campus literary magazine, Agate. “We’re a pretty cohesive group,” Nader points out. “We talk to each other, and that can only support a stronger connection with the campus and better results for our students.”

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