Dad of Divas' Reviews: Book Review - Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today's College Student

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Book Review - Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today's College Student

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About the Book
An understanding of today’s undergraduate college students is vital to the effectiveness of our nation’s colleges and universities. As Generation on a Tightrope clearly reveals, today’s students need a very different education than the undergraduates who came before them: an education for the 21st Century, which colleges and universities are so far ill-equipped to offer and which will require major changes of them to provide. Examining college student expectations, aspirations, academics, attitudes, values, beliefs, social life, and politics, this book paints an accurate portrait of today’s students. Timely and comprehensive, this volume offers educators, researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and employers guidance and a much-needed grasp of the forces shaping the experiences of current undergraduates. The book:

  • Is based on completely new research of 5,000 college students and student affairs practitioners from 270 diverse college campuses
  • Explores the similarities and differences between today’s generation of students and previous generations

My Take on the Book
While I am not a part of the generation that was being spoken about in the book, I work with this generation on a daily basis as a college administrator. In reading this book I will say that I have seen many parallels with the students I work with and the data that is presented in this book. While there are always some differences in students, I believe that the author brings up many valid points that will impact how I and others who work in higher education.

The book was very practical and useful for any person working with this generation. You do have to take the data at face value and know that everything that is presented is not always going to fit every student, but all-in-all the book helps create an image of students in this generation, what they are dealing with and how best people can support them.

In regards to the data collection, I will say that I felt that the longitudinal nature of the study that he did lend credence to this body of work. I love that the data is a mix of qualitative and quantitative data that covers 30 years. This timespan alone is impressive to say the least!

I found the book to be very interesting and it challenged me to think deeper about how I am working with my students and it will definitely do the same for you too!

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