RIO GRANDE — As Generation Z begins entering the college classroom, institutions across the country are implementing new ways to prepare these students for academic success.
To create the best learning environment for multigenerational classrooms, faculty and staff at Rio met with guest speaker Dr. Corey Seemiller, an associate professor of Leadership Studies in Education and Organizations at Wright State University. Seemiller has been active in researching demographics of Generation Z and has written four books detailing her research. Rio Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Richard Sax said Seemiller’s presentation provided faculty and staff a chance to understand more about the learning styles and personal expectations Generation Z students have in the contemporary classroom.
“Bringing Dr. Seemiller to campus was a great opportunity for our faculty and staff to start learning about Generation Z as a subset of all the college student cohorts in their classes,” Sax said. “As a campus with a large number of both traditional and nontraditional students, it’s important for us to understand the best practices for teaching all age groups and to use pedagogical principles that benefit all of our students. Our goal is not only to provide students with quality education while they’re here at Rio, but also to prepare them for the variety of futures which they will experience.”
In her presentation, Seemiller explained that with changing technologies being adapted for classroom learning, Generation Z has a more unique learning experience than previous generations. Her research has shown many students in Generation Z are looking for education that prepares them to become leaders in fields where they can pursue their passions and make a difference in the world around them. Seemiller said she believes it is important for higher education institutions to be prepared for Generation Z’s particular characteristics and the learning methods they’ve developed, while maintaining a balance with the preferred learning techniques of nontraditional students from other generations.
“As the new generation comes to college, we need to be able to adapt our practices to fit this particular generation. Finding ways to help excite them about the idea of higher education ensures they don’t miss out on opportunities to further their leadership skills,” Seemiller said. “I first noticed a need for these studies on Generation Z when I saw the changing student demographics on our own campus and realized that to do our job as faculty well, we needed to understand who these new students are and what they’re looking for in their education.”
Through Rio Grande Community College, Rio works closely with the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC) as another way to continue providing students with quality education and leadership skills to prepare them for successful futures. Executive Director of the OACC Student Success Center Laura Rittner, who drove down from Columbus to attend the presentation, said the OACC was eager to help bring Seemiller to Rio’s campus and hear about her research first-hand to continue improving student success at Rio and across the state.
“We do a lot of work at the state level to support colleges’ efforts to improve student success, and we feel it’s really important for us to come to campuses and connect with the faculty and staff responsible for implementing student success reforms,” Rittner said. “We want to support our colleges and their interest in bringing different speakers to campus. There are several different aspects of student success, and preparing for the demographic shift with Generation Z, so I’m glad I was able to attend Dr. Seemiller’s presentation and see how Rio is preparing to help these students succeed on campus.”
To learn more about programs and degrees at Rio contact the Office of Admissions at 740-245-7208.