The Millenials@MIT: Discussions on the Generational Changes in the Graduate Student Population

Published in Nov/Dec 2012 Faculty Newsletter; Written by Christine Ortiz, Dean for Graduate Education and Ellan Spero, MIT Graduate Student

List of generational characteristics of MIT graduate studentsOver the past two years, we have had extensive discussions with graduate students at monthly “Dinners and Dialogue,” a number of focus groups, panels and many one-on-one meetings. Recently, we held a round table discussion with a cross section of seven MIT graduate students representing all five Schools, a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, nationalities, departments, research and extracurricular interests, family status, and lengths of study at MIT (see Acknowledgements). The aim was to focus on a single topic in depth: the generational changes of the MIT graduate population − the majority of which (85%) include “The Millenials” (birth years 1980 to present, see the figure, below) − and how these changes were reflected in and impacting their educational experience.

We also discussed how MIT could evolve to better support this generation of graduate students in order that they may more efficiently and easily find their path and passion, engage strategically in the innumerable educational opportunities MIT has to offer, unlock their imagination and creativity, realize their unique strengths and potential and achieve all of their academic, personal, and professional goals....

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