Friday, December 12, 2008

Help for Low Income Millennial College Students

        Bill and Melinda Gates are focused on higher education! According to the November 21st edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Gates Foundation plans to allocate approximately three billion dollars over the next five years to increase the number of young college graduates who are from low-income families. The Chronicle predicts if the program is successful, an additional 250,000 young people will earn college degrees by age 26. At the beginning, this program will target community colleges because of their low tuition cost and open admission criteria.

Read more about this plan:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Busy, Yet Fulfilled...


The past few weeks have been busy, yet very fulfilling. Here are some recent accomplishments that I am very proud of.

Accomplishment List (I have many updates!)

1. Finals started today!

2. Recently, I was awarded a faculty research grant from my university to extend my research on African American Undergraduate College Students and HBCUs.

3. I found out that my dissertation was selected as "Dissertation of the Year" by a state association.

4. Our conference proposal was accepted by the Gulf-South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, which will be held in Baton Rouge.

5. I will present with an undergraduate student at the Southwestern Black Student Leadership Conference in January.

6. I attended the National Communication Conference in San Diego for the first time!

7. Distributed Christmas gifts to department colleagues and the wonderful women on the second floor of our office building.

I need to:

1. Update my vita and portfolio.

2. Submit another conference proposal that is due by Dec. 31st.

3. Contact participants in the grant-funded study.

4. Write a couple of papers in the next few weeks.

5. Administer three finals.

6. Contact colleagues from the National Communication Conference.

7. Send Christmas cards to mentors.

8. Wrap my family members' presents!

9. Update the TACUSPA blog.

Is there anything else that I should apply/submit a proposal for? Upcoming Grants? Fellowships? Conference Proposals? Let me know!


Millennial Professor

*By the way, I absolutely LOVE the "Knock Knock"/"Ding Dong" chain (i.e. - to do list picture). Instead of using a legal pad (which I used for the past 15 years - former high school debater), I use items from the "Knock Knock"/"Ding Dong" chain. This chain is usually available at TJMaxx or Office Max.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How to Cheat on Blackboard!

This section is called, "How to Cheat on Blackboard", but it should be titled "How to Minimize Cheating on Blackboard". 
This summer, I started giving face-to-face tests on (our university's content management system) using the assessment tool. This new tool has proven itself to be very effective in my classroom. This is the first time that many of my students have taken a blackboard test in one of their classes.
  1. Walk around the classroom while students are taking the test.
  2. Show the students' answers and the correct answers at the end of the test. This helps the students learn which test questions they answered correctly and which questions they answered incorrectly. My students enjoy this feature. 
  3. Provide the students with a test time frame. This prevents the students from accessing the questions and answers later. 
  4. Provide a test question database for each course test (i.e. - 50 questions). Then make blackboard randomly select questions (i.e. - 25 questions) from your test question database (i.e. - 50 questions). This feature serves as another anti-cheating mechanism.
I hope this helps!

-Millennial Professor

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Benefits of Using Blackboard for Testing!

There are many benefits to using for giving classroom tests. Here are a few...
  1. The assessment feature enables the professor to add extra credit points with ease and to correct an incorrect answer with little effort.
  2. In the pre-blackboard/scantron era (i.e. - last semester), I agonized over entering the students' grades in my gradebook because it was time consuming. enables me to export grades into an Excel spreadsheet, which I import into my gradebook. This is a definite plus for me!
  3. Students get instant feedback on their test and they are also able to view their grades in the gradebook (i.e. - mygrades). This feature helps me tremendously, because the students always know their course grade at any given moment and I do not have to use paper to disperse their grades.
Millennial Professor 

Monday, November 17, 2008



Monday - "Weekly Topic Announcement"/"Ask a Professor" (Response - Next Tues. 11/25/08)

Tuesday -  "How to Cheat on Blackboard"

Thursday - "Benefits of Using Blackboard for Testing"

Next Week  - "My Response to the "Ask a Professor" Question"/New Topic

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Do Students Prefer Online Courses?

        This week, registration started at my university. Every semester, I virtually watch the enrollment in each of my classes. I am not a huge football fan, but my view of class registration is similar to the NFL draft. The team (classroom) dynamic seems to change as the enrollment changes. It appears that many of the students in my classes were referred by other students who took the class before. This helps to keep a steady line of "academic minded" students as well as "class clowns" every semester. :)

        When examining the enrollment each semester, I pay particular attention to the following: (a) the number of women and men, (b) the majors that may potentially add to the dynamic context of my course, and (c) the amount of students who enroll in a class that is held at a morning time vs. an afternoon time.

        This semester's registration period is slightly different for me. I am teaching three sections of COMS 101 (Fundamentals of Human Communication) in the spring, because this will be my first semester teaching an online course at a university (I taught a similar course at a community college). The students seem to be very interested in my online COMS 101 course. At this time, I have more students in my COMS 101 online course than my three sections of COMS 101 (face to face classes) combined. I have to keep in mind that many students have not registered yet, but it seems that they are excited about taking an online course. Next semester, I plan to conduct a few assessments in both types of classroom environments (face to face and virtual). I cannot wait to see the results!

Is anyone else encountering this situation (increased enrollment in online courses vs. face to face courses)?
Millennial Professor

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My "Virtual Vacation" to Focus on the Presidential Campaign


During the past couple of weeks, I took a "virtual vacation" from the blog to focus on the presidential campaigns. Today, my information overload illness will be cured by the announcement of the new President of the United States. For now, my eyes continue to watch CNN/MSNBC/FOX, my ears continue to listen to the aforementioned stations via Sirius radio in the car, and my computer screen is fixed on the CNN electoral map. 

No matter who wins the election today, the results will be monumental. As a millennial, I am focused on the future of this country and the impact that I can make. Please bear with me through the next few days and the blog will be "renewed".


Millennial Professor

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

College Students with Learning Disabilities

One of my favorite people on campus is the Director of Disability Services. Through her position, she helps students with physical, psychological, or learning disabilities. This position is vital on our campus, because it seems that more of the students from the millennial generation arrive in the college environment with learning disabilities that were diagnosed from high school.
Every year, I remind the students in my classes to tell disability services if they had a diagnosed learning disability from high school. However, some students choose not to have their learning disability on file with the university.
This is unfortunate, because disability services can make slight or significant accomodations for students with a diagnosed learning disability (i.e. - a text to voice reader, more test time. In fact, on September 17th, NPR Education wrote an article titled "10 Tips for College Students with Disabilities". This article focuses on a book by clinical psychologist and author Kathleen G. Nadeau entitled "Survival Guide for College Students". In her book, she reported that college students with learning disabilities should develop learning and organization strategies as a coping mechanism.

Please read the article here - 10 Tips for College Students with Disabilities.


Millennial Professor/Dr. Jennifer T. Edwards

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Thank You! - Millennial Professor


This is my 100th blog post! I am very happy that we reached this point. At first I was not sure that I would be able to contribute blog posts on a frequent basis. However, blogging seems to be a very easy process for me.

Thank you for visiting this blog. I appreciate each and every one of you for helping me through the transition process of simply blogging through my pseudoname "Millennial Professor" to joining the higher education conversation as myself, "Dr. Jennifer T. Edwards". During the past few weeks, I revealed my blog to the librarians(and other professors) at my
university through a blogging workshop. 


Millennial Professor/Dr. Jennifer T. Edwards

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Dreaded 24-Hour Professor Phenomenon

Recently, I realized that I have become a 24 hour professor. I tried to avoid this phenomenon, but I think that it is inevitable at this point. On Friday, I finished grading my students' speeches on blackboard at 11:30 p.m., but I did not get finished with class-related items until 3:00 a.m. The next morning, I woke up at 6:00 a.m. to post the midterm review.
Despite my weekly scholarly research, I teach four classes a semester. In addition, I have a thirty minute commute to campus. I LOVE my job and I keep a very organized schedule, but there are not enough hours in the day to finish everything that I need to finish.
Most nights, I respond to e-mails and instant messages (related to course material) from students until 11:30 p.m. The negative aspect of the phenomenon is that I should know better. I conduct research on computer mediated communication and the impact that this type of communication has on the educational environment.
According to Jeffrey Young (2002), a writer for the Chronicle of Higher Education, "The growth of e-mail, course Web sites, instant-messaging software, and online courses has forced many professors to rearrange their daily routines and has made them more accessible to students than ever before". I complete agree with this statement. My Sunday evenings (before speech days) used to consist of Desparate Housewives (DHs) and spending time with my family, but now the first day of the week includes DHs, spending time with family and blackboard/instant messenger.
I am definitely going to have to minimize my computer mediated communication (CMC), because next semester I will teach my second online-only class. This will be interesting and I hope to have a life as well. As a result of my hope for less CMC, I decided NOT to add a wireless PC card/service to my computer. If I added this feature to my computer/wireless account, I would NEVER be able to take a vacation again. I experience a sigh of relief when I carry my computer to a hotel that charges for internet services. If I have to pay for the internet, I buy one 24 hour session and finish all of my work during that period.
This week, I plan to minimize my 24-hour professor tendencies. We shall see how the fruits of my labor (or lack thereof) will impact my 24-hour professor phenomenon.

Millennial Professor

Young, J. R. (2002, May 31). The 24-hour professor. The Chronicle of Higher Education website. Retrieved October 8, 2008, from

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Prospective College Students Encounter a Potential Facebook-Based Barrier

     High school students who are interested in attending a community college or four year university have another obstacle to overcome - their facebook/myspace profile. These "personal" profiles serve as open windows to a prospective college student's personal life.
     College admission counselors are logging on social networking websites like and to gain an in-depth look at the high school students who may attend their college or university. Read more information about this phenomenon here - "Admissions Officers Peek at Applicants' Facebook Profiles".

Monday, September 22, 2008

Do Your Students Prefer Simple Cell Phones?

        At the beginning of this semester, I conducted an informal survey at the beginning of each of my four classes to determine which digital technology the students used the most. A large majority of my students are millennial undergraduate students and they are members of a generation that is used to communicating with others through facebook, myspace, text messaging, etc.
        According to the article, For Many Students, the Simplest Cell Phones Suffice, many undergraduate students use their cell phones for simple everyday digital functions. This article focuses on a study conducted by the University of New Hampshire, which suggests "students use their phones in limited ways — mainly for talking, texting, keeping track of time, and a handful of other basic functions".
        As a member of the millennial generation, I progressed through a series of digital adoption steps. In high school and college (when cell phones were becoming popular for non-business users and pagers were going out of style), I bought a new cell phone every year to keep up with the next trend. For example, my first cell phone was a Nokia with a prominent antenna and a green screen. I was satisfied with this cell phone, but my best friend bought a Nokia with a white screen. It was downhill from there for about five years. 
        As a graduate student and assistant professor, I do not feel that I have keep up with the latest cell phone trends. When I enter my classrooms, I probably have the oldest cell phone in the room. My cell phone does not even have a camera feature, but it makes calls and downloads monophonic ringtones (i.e. - Sweet Home Alabama and "Please Don't Stop the Music".
        I am tech savvy, but I am also financially frugal. Will my students make a transition through the digital adoption steps? I am not sure, but I think that the current state of the economy will perpetuate a "change". Do you feel simple cell phones satisfy millennial undergraduate students on your campus?

- Dr. Jennifer T. Edwards (Millennial Professor)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Five Best Practices for Online Workshops Targeted Towards Millennial Students

Some college graduates and current undergraduates from the millennial generation have short attention spans. This weekend, my husband and I will facilitate a "College Prep Boot Camp" for high school seniors.

There are certain aspects of this generation that we have to take into consideration when planning this event. I am a college professor and my husband teaches high school, therefore we have very interesting conversations about students from the millennial generation before and during college.

While planning for the workshop last weekend, I found an article from titled, "5 Tips to Design Effective Training for Generation Y". This article focuses on online workshop facilitation for millennial students (which we may consider in the next few months). According to this article, these are five things to consider before you build an online training course for students of this generation:

  1. Keep training short & to the point.

  2. Good communication tools within the training system are a must. Messaging at a minimum!

  3. Community is important. Build forums & discussion groups around topics.

  4. No one likes to be told what to do, especially Gen Y. Make sure your training 'guides' thinking rather than telling them how it is.

  5. Incorporate the big picture. Generation Y are very interested in their part in it, and more importantly how they can change it!
I will definitely take these into consideration when planning for my online course next semester.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The 100th Post...Almost (Help Me Celebrate!)

Hello Readers! We are almost to the 100th Millennial Professor Post! I am very excited about these next few posts and to celebrate this joyous occasion - I would really like some feedback about the blog.

If you are a faithful reader/subscriber, occasional reader, or if you just stumbled upon this site. Please leave some comments about it. What do you like about the blog?

By the way, the Ch-Ch-Changing Librarian...this means you too!

-Dr. Jennifer Edwards (Millennial Professor)

Testing Millennials Via Blackboard

Recently, I decided to administer my tests online. This has been very challenging for me, because I know some students may take advantage of this opportunity. I researched this issue for a few years and I decided to implement online testing in all of my classes (lower level and upper level).

My first test had 25 questions and the students had 30 minutes to complete the examination. One of the classes is longer than the others and this class was given 15 extra minutes to take the examination. This class also served as my variable in this semi experimental research design.

This time, my main focus was on minimizing the opportunities that students may use to cheat on the test. Here are some other things that I did:

a) I reminded the students that cheating on this test will put them at a disadvantage in the future. (The next test (midterm) will be worth more points and I will be present to proctor the examination.)

b) I randomized the questions and answer choices on the examination.

c) I informed the students that I could see when two students or more took the examination at the same time.

d) I created a database of 40+ questions and blackboard randomly chose which questions would create the test of 25 questions for each student.

This is a great website that helped me! - Problems with Online Testing

If you have any additional suggestions, please let me know! I hope that this helps!

-Millennial Professor

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Are Millennials Politically Engaged Inside and Outside of the Classroom?

Are Millennials Politically Engaged Inside and Outside of the Classroom?

As a millennial, I feel that this has been the most interesting election since I have been able to vote. As a freshman in college, I was VERY interested in the 2000 election. In 2000, on the count/recount night, I remained awake until 1:00 a.m. to see who the new president would be. This time I have watched CNN and Fox News every night to hear the new stories that emerge from the political battleground.

However, it seems that my undergraduate students are not experiencing the same level of exhilaration that I have at this time. On the first few days of class, I asked my students if they watched CNN on a regular basis and if they were keeping up with this year's election. None of the 75 students in my lower level classes watched CNN on a regular basis and only a small percentage of the students were actually keeping up with the election.

This was very discouraging to me and I felt that my millennial students were not politically engaged. However, the students from my upper level course were politically engaged and were excited about the election. This is a very small example, but are older millennial students more politically engaged than younger millennial students? Hmmmm... this may be a great research study.

In addition, over the summer, I read a book titled, " Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics by Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais. This book was VERY interesting and I plan to write a book review about it in a few weeks. It featured a wonderful historical analysis of the candidates and the political parties. The book gave the millennial generation freedom from the usual negative portrayal of their generation. In addition, after reading this book, I have braced myself for the wonderful leaders that will emerge from my generation (the millennial generation).

Access the authors' website here -

- Millennial Professor

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Creating a Syllabus for Millennial College Students

I am finishing my syllabi for the fall semester and I had to keep a few items in mind when planning for my millennial students. Here is the checklist for my syllabi:
(    ) Include a picture of the textbook. I like to include a picture of the textbook that we are using in class because the students know exactly which textbook to choose when perusing the bookstore. In addition, when I was an undergraduate, I bought all of my books on If my professors would have included a picture of the textbook (or the ISBN) on their class syllabus, the textbook search would have been easier. 
(    ) Include an explanation of my virtual office hours. Many professors have not adopted virtual office hours and my students do not have any frame of reference for such office hours. As a result, I include my yahoo im username and briefly describe how virtual office hours may help them.

(    ) Remind the students that laptops are not allowed in my classroom (except on designated days). Laptops are a distraction in the classroom. As an undergraduate, I used a laptop to take notes in my class (and also to play games and search the internet). Since my lectures are in powerpoint format and I provide these notes for my students, there is no reason for laptops to be present in my classroom (except on designated days).
(    ) Include the "Best Practices" Section. Millennial college students want to know how they can make an "A", "B", "C", etc. I provide these best practices for the students in my classroom, because I want them to know exactly what they need to do to make a satisfactory grade. 
(    ) Include My Attendance Policy. This is my third year teaching and I have always taken attendance. In addition, students have two to three allowed absences (without a doctor's note, etc.) from my class. I hold my students to a very high regard and I remind them that they will enter the post-graduation world in a few years. They cannot miss an extra ordinate amount of days on their jobs without a penalty (reduced pay, etc.). 
What do you include on your syllabus?
- Millennial Professor

Monday, August 4, 2008

Can College Students Still Afford Alcohol When They Cannot Afford to Pay for Food?

In college, I knew that a few of my friends were participants in the food stamp program. When I moved to the Houston area, I discovered that a few community college students received groceries from the local church food bank. However, I did not know that a fair amount of college students have started to take advantage of both types of programs for their weekly meals. A few days ago, I wrote about college students and gas prices, but I did not realize that these students are starting to feel the impact of the surging food prices as well.
In fact, according to U.S. News and World Report author Alison Go, a facebook group has been formed as a virtual support group for students in need, "I Ain't Afraid to Be on Food Stamps". Here is the link to her eye opening article, "College Students Get Food from Pantries".

Friday, August 1, 2008

Cafeterias and Millennial College Students (Financial Cutbacks) - Part 2

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about my university's cafeteria - "Cafeterias and Millennial College Students (Financial Cutbacks)". I have not received any additional information about the cafeteria at my university, but I did read a few articles about other university cafeterias and how they are choosing to cope with the rising food costs.

Fall 2008 = No Trays

Bruce Horovitz, a USA Today contributor, wrote an article about this food service transition process titled, "More College Cafeterias Dump Food Trays". According to the article, food service companies like Aramark and Sodexho are creating a college dining experience that is more "sample and toss" than "take all you want". This move perpetuated a 50 percent decrease in the amount of daily waste that cafeterias produce. New York University reports a food waste reduction of 44.03 ounces per tray to less than 2.37 ounces. 

Scratching the Recipes?

JJ Hermes, of the Chronicle of Higher Education, wrote "Soaring Food Prices Squeeze Dining Halls". He reported that universities like Louisana State University may choose to reduce the amount of ingredients it takes to complete a recipe. In the article, the director of dining services stated, "Maybe we're going to put half an ounce less cheese on a slice of pizza".  Ohio University cut their food service costs by making many items from scratch (i.e. - cookies, rolls, and pizza dough).

Increasing the Costs of Meal Plans

Alternatively, some cafeterias are taking the easy route by increasing the dining costs. The highest meal plan fee increase was reported by Louisiana State University (LSU), which will increase the cost of their meal plans by 7 percent this fall. The LSU meal plan fee increase is followed by a 4.5 increase at the University of Miami and a 3.5 increase by Ohio University.

These articles leave me with a few questions:
  • Will the college buffet continue to exist?
  • Will the trayless and recipe ingredient reduction approach cause college students lose the freshmen 15 stigma?
  • Will college students choose the healthiest food if they have to choose one or two items at a time. 
-Millennial Professor

Monday, July 28, 2008

Gas Prices and Our Undergraduates!

As all of you know, gas prices are the highest that they have been in a very long time. Many of our students do not live on campus and they are feeling the impact of the gas prices.

The number of students enrolling in online courses is increasing.
College students at most colleges and universities do not live on campus and they have to commute to campus. The cost of commuting is rising with the gas prices and let's not forget about the wear and tear on the student's automobile. Students are feeling the crunch and are deciding to enroll in online and hybrid (face to face and internet instruction) classes.

According to Ed
Klonoski, a representative of Charter Oak - Connecticut's public online college, across the nation there is a 10 percent increase in the number of students choosing to enroll in online courses.

Are faculty ready for this new demand?
As the number of students choosing to enroll in online courses increase, it seems that the number of online course offerings will increase as well. In my experience, a large number of the faculty at small and mid-sized institutions are resistant to offering online courses in their discipline. As a professor from the millennial generation, I believe that this resistance comes from the technology-centered learning curve that exists between the generations. This curve is perpetuated by the increase in internet technology and the content management systems that colleges and universities offer to their faculty and students. The content management system has experienced many updates that benefit almost everyone at a given university. For example, all of my grading for my face-to-face classes is conducted online by using the rubric feature and my my tests are administered online as well. This is a win-win situation, because the students gain instant access to their grades and I conserve paper and time.

However, as I stated before, many faculty are resistant to this new change and it will be interesting to see more internet-based classes are offered in the future.

Are For-Profit Institutions Taking Our Potential Students?
Since the gas prices increased, I observed fair amount of commercials advertising online degrees (associates and bachelors) through for-profit institutions. Many high school seniors and non-traditional students will have trouble gaining financial aid from private lenders (Schnurman, 2008) and they may start paying more attention to these for-profit colleges.

What will be the impact on U.S. competitiveness when this growing amount of students with degrees from for-profit institutions enter the workforce? Will these students be as competitive as students from traditional public and private institutions?

Interesting Article! - Gas Prices Driving Students to Online Courses - By Jeffery R. Young

Thanks for reading!


Friday, July 25, 2008

VOTE for the AUGUST Topic!


Please remember to vote for the August topic by August 3rd. The selections for August are:


Minority College Students
Reaching Millennial Students
Gas and Its Impact on College Students
My Experience as a Millennial Professor

You may vote for more than one! :)

-Millennial Professor

Black in America - Day 2

Last night's special focused on African American males and their impact on the black race. I expected some additional facts on education and African Americans, but this was not the subject of last night's broadcast.

As a result, I wanted to focus on the fact that there was a void in the television show about African Americans in higher education. This show missed out on some very strong issues in higher education - HBCUs/HWCUs and the success of African American undergraduates.

Between 1993 and 2003, the enrollment for African American undergraduate students increased more than 42% (Edmonds & McDonough, 2006). In 2006, these numbers reached over 2,299,000 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2006).

According to NCES (2005), the nationwide African American undergraduate enrollment at HWCUs was over 1,734,000 in 2002. However, the graduation rates for these students were very low (Benton, 2001). In fact, over half of the African American undergraduate students enrolled in HWCUs fail to persist and graduate. The picture is worse for African American undergraduate students who attend HBCUs. Only 28% of these students actually complete their degrees (Gasman, Baez, Drezner, et al., 2007)

This leads me to one last sentence: What should HWCUs and HBCUs do about the African Americans (and Hispanic Americans) in higher education? Any suggestions?

-Millennial Professor

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Black in America?

I am watching the first day of the CNN special "Black in America" and I decided to blog during the two day special. After these two days, I will post a couple of posts related to: (a) the impact of gas prices and higher education, and (b) how to engage students on the content management system websites.

"The Black in America" Blog Special:

Paying Students to Learn
The African American drop out rate. This aspect of the special was heartbreaking. I feel that I am so far removed from the secondary school environment that I do not know about the startling statistics pertaining to the high school graduation achievement gap. One professor had a solution (grant funded, I believe) to increase the high school graduation rate for African American students. His solution was to pay students to stay in school and to achieve. I think that the average student received $65.75, but these students were in elementary school. I wonder how this would work at the high school level.

My Take
Interesting enough, I am launching a weekend-based college prep academy for junior and senior level high school students. This academy will teach students about college admission secrets, scholarships, and SAT/ACT preparation. After the workshop, I want the students to have access to my personal e-mail address and cell phone number. Most of the students will come from underrepresented populations, but I want EVERYONE to have access to this workshop.

While watching the CNN special, an interesting thing has happened tonight. I received 10+ telephone calls and text messages from friends/former students who wanted to make sure that I was watching the special. My husband wondered if people of other races were watching the special. Were they? Not sure.

Potential Impact
However, I think that this special will result in a preponderance of scholarly articles and newspaper articles on this issue. In addition, this will be an interesting issue for my Intercultural Communication course in the spring. I hope that CNN has a Hispanic American special as well.

We shall see. Any thoughts?


Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I have decided to take a mini break (4 days) to spend with my family. Please remember to send your "Ask a Millennial" questions by Friday and I will respond to them on next Monday. next week I plan to write about: (1) gas prices and their potential impact on millennial college students, (2) dual credit courses and millennial college students, and (3) the "Ask a Millennial" section.

Have a great week! I look forward to receiving your questions and feedback.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Ask a Millennial: "Four Ways to Reach Millennial Students in the Classroom"

Our first official question comes from Mitch ( about reaching millennials in the classroom.
I am writing for advice on reaching the millennials in the classroom. This is particularly a pain point for me, since I am a millennial myself. Any input you have is very helpful.
Well Mitch, here's my answer:
As a person who has served on both sides of the spectrum (student and professor), I will offer "Four Ways to Reach Millennial Students in the Classroom".
Millennial Reaching Mechanism 1 - USE STUDENT ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITIES
I define "student engagement activities" as small groups, in-class panel discussions, service learning, skits, blogs, wikis, and other activities. Millennials are taking many classes, they are involved in extra curricular activities, and are working AT THE SAME TIME. As a result, we have to keep these students awake during class. (I don't know about your teaching style, but I require students to attend class during every class session. This requires engaging activities that keep them awake and provide them with a closer relationship with the class material.) I use all of the above activities and I RARELY have students who fall asleep in class.
Millennial Reaching Mechanism 2 - POST-GRADUATION WORLD APPLICATION
Millennials actively engage themselves with course material that has "post-graduation" (real world) application. This generation wants instant gratification. For example, almost 75% of these students work jobs that require their attention for more than 20+ hours a week. They work to satisfy their needs and wants, which include cell phone bills, new ipod wants/needs, itunes downloads, GAS, college beverages, etc. This drive to have instant gratification applies in the classroom environment as well. For example, when a new concept is introduced in the classroom, these millennial students want to know how this will help them in the future. Make sure that you show these students exactly how they will use the classroom material in their post-graduation world.
Millennial Reaching Mechanism 3 - BE ENTHUSIASTIC
Professors/teachers - Try to exude enthusiasm in the classroom environment! If you are not excited about the material that you are teaching, the students will not be excited about the material that they are "learning". Millennials spent their lives watching Sesame Street, Camp Anawana, Salute Your Shorts, You Can't Do That On Television, What Would You Do, Sisqo's Dance Show on MTV, and Real World - they need stimulation! Therefore, be enthusiastic about your course content!
Millennial Reaching Mechanism 4 - USE TECHNOLOGY!
Reach millennials where they are - on the internet! Use an instant messenger to stay in contact with your students (I use yahoo IM). Join a social networking website. I would suggest The career services office on my campus says that many employers are searching linkedin for entry-level candidates.
Use your college or university's content management system (WebCT or Blackboard). I use blackboard to reduce my carbon footprint (i.e. - killing trees). I post the syllabus, assignments, announcements, and I require the students to interact with each other via the message board. In addition, I give the students their speech grades on blackboard via the grading rubric tool. This keeps the students accountable for their course grade by checking blackboard daily.
What a wonderful question Mitch! Everyone - Let me know what you think!
Also, please remember to submit your question for the "Ask a Millennial Question" before next Friday.
Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 7, 2008

New Blog Feature - "Ask a Millennial"

Today I introduce a new feature....

Every Friday is "Ask a Millennial" Day!

Every Friday, I will address several questions that were submitted ( from the prior week. Please ask me questions about:
  • millennial students in the classroom
  • student engagement
  • millennials and the media
  • professors from the millennial generation
  • the work/life balance for a millennial
  • teaching online
  • using WebCT/Blackboard in a face-to-face setting
  • or almost" anything!
I look forward to receiving your questions and I will respond on this Friday. Again, please direct all questions to

-Millennial Professor

Friday, July 4, 2008

Do ALL College Ministries Effectively Reach Millennial Students?

Benson Hines from the Exploring College Ministry Blog ( wrote about importance of text messaging in his article titled, "Txting 4 Gen Y". I am a Christian, but I have never explored religion and text messaging. Interestingly enough, I have not functioned as a leader of a college ministry in about three years, but it was interesting for me to communicate with my millennial peers (students) about Christ. I used text messaging to stay in contact with the student leaders in the ministry, but we never thought of advertising our bible studies/college lunches via text messaging.

As I stated before, I am African American and I observed a growing number of black churches are grasping technology. However, the number of churches that are actively grasping technology are not meeting the demand of their millennial students (middle school and college). It would be interesting to see how many additional college students would begin to accept Christ if churches would use new technology to reach the students of this generation.

Read Benson Hines's article here -

-Millennial Professor

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Conducting a Text Message-Based Poll in Class


I discovered a WONDERFUL online mechanism that enables professors to conduct anonymous polls in class via text messaging (thanks Adventures in Educational Blogging - Susan).

The Website -

This is the BEST "free" program that I have seen thus far. I think that my millennial students will actually be excited about using their cell phones in the classroom. The website indicates that if the audience (or classroom) is 30 participants or less, the service is FREE.

I will definitely use this in the fall and I also hope to conduct a faculty workshop on this mechanism as well.

- Millennial Professor

Monday, June 30, 2008

Millennial Motivation for June (Itunes Style)

I had to get motivated to research (and work out) this summer. Therefore I made a new playlist. Millennials get motivated by MUSIC and I decided to share my playlist with you. Just the top 20 songs (*smile).
*Please remember that some of these are VERY old songs (from the 90s). 

  • Butterfly - Crazy Town
  • Crush - Jennifer Paige
  • Can't Get You Out of My Head - Kylie Minogue
  • World Town - M.I.A.
  • Bamboo Banga - M.I.A. 
  • A Milli - Lil Wayne
  • Lollipop - Lil Wayne
  • Be Good to Me - Ashley Tisdale
  • Foolish - Shawty Lo 
  • Cyclone - Baby Bash
  • Gonna Make You Sweat - C+C Music Factory
  • And Then What - Young Jeezy
  • Gimme More - Britney Spears 
  • Wall to Wall - Chris Brown
  • Shining Star - Earth Wind and Fire
  • Love Don't Cost A Thing (RJ Schoolyard Mix) - Jennifer Lopez
  • Whine Up - Kat DeLuna
  • Just Fine - Mary J. Blige
  • Work That - Mary J. Blige 
  • Don't Stop the Music - Rihanna
  • Take You There - Sean Kingston
In fact, I might post a monthly itunes list.

-Millennial Professor

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cafeterias and Millennial College Students (Financial Cutbacks)

I was astonished when I discovered that our college cafeteria is strongly considering the elimination of trays in the cafeteria. Obviously this has been caused by an increase in food costs, but I am worried about the health implications that this will cause for millennial students. These students want everything all at once and they may not fill up on healthy alternatives in the cafeteria if they have to walk back and forth one plate/glass at a time.

In addition, over the break I had the chance to speak with a dietitian of a community college cafeteria. She said that a significant number of the millennial students are coming into college with diabetes and are on medication. In addition, she indicated that these students eat ranch dressing with their greased-filled pizza. Amazing!

It will be interesting to see the health implications of early life McDonald's addictions and status quo infatuations with calorie-filled items (i.e. - Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, etc.) on my generation.

What do YOU think?

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Millennial Professor Blog Wordle...

Make your own wordle at -

Exercise YOUR RIGHT to VOTE! - The Predominate Blog Topic for July

This month, I need some input. Please choose a potential blog topic (or two/three) and vote for those topics on my week-long poll. I want you to choose a topic that will comprise 75% of my blog posts.

-Here are the topics:

Teaching Millennial Students
Millennials and the Media
Millennials and Social Networking
Millennial Professionals and Inner and Outer Generational Conflict
Social Integration of Millennial-Based Sororities

If you have an idea for ANOTHER topic, PLEASE contribute the idea in the "reply" section below.

Thank you!

-Millennial Professor

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Millennials Mentoring Millennials

Yesterday, I had a great virtual meeting via Yahoo IM with one of my former students. He is interested in a Ed.D./Ph.D. program and he had a few questions before applying to one in the area. The conversation perpetuated my interest in millennial mentoring.

Since it seems that millennials in the workplace are having such a hard time connecting with Gen X and the Baby boomers, they should mentor themselves. It also seems that other generations think that millennials have a know-it-all personality and want to become the CEO within a ten year span. This is impractical, but we (millennials) do have ambition in the workplace.

This ambition that derives from my generational birthright drove my need to create a list of best practices for millennial mentoring.

1. Provide millennial professionals an opportunity to network with other professionals their age.

2. When initial connections are made, enable millennial professionals to foster a long-term connection by promoting and

3. Explain the importance of face-to-face and virtual mentoring to millennial professionals. If members of this generation realize the importance of peer mentoring, they will be more inclined to sustain the connection.

Please contribute any additional ideas! :)


Millennial Professor

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Millennial's Perspective on the Work Life Balance

When I started my higher education career, I was 20 years old. I was younger than many of my students and I lived in the college town. I wanted my students to respect me and to know that I was professional at all times. Therefore, I never wore anything that resembled "student wear" anywhere in town (the grocery store, Wal-Mart, local restaurants, etc.). For a long time, I did not wear tennis shoes or indulge myself by walking around the neighborhood to exercise.

This personal/professional decision worked well for my career, but was devastating to my life outside of work. I felt like I was always on display, because I wanted to represent the university well. As a result, I made a conscious decision to move to a city that was closer to the metropolitan area. This was one of the BEST moves that I have EVER made.

I was happier because I could be ME. If I wanted to go to the grocery store in workout clothes, I could. If I wanted to peruse SAM's or Target, I did. If I wanted to spend my entire day in the Barnes and Noble bookstore without seeing my students, I could.

This was one of the highlights of my student services career. I was more productive because I could leave my university work in my office. When I lived in the college town, I took most of my work home and I made trips back to the office on weekends. When I moved, I made my five trips to the office a week and that was it. In addition, my students loved my commute. When they did something extraordinary, I would stop by SAM's and pick up a cheesecake factory cheesecake, an entire sheet cake, or vegetable/fruit tray and I would bring it to work to reward their efforts. When I made the transition to academia, I would often bring the same treats to the classroom.

Thank goodness for the work/life balance!

I am happier now than I have ever been before. I can seek grant money to write about topics that I am very interested in. I teach millennial college students about the importance of professionalism and about life in general. This is my life's passion.

What is your life's passion?


Even a clock that does not work is right twice a day.
Polish Proverb