Engaging Millennial Faculty
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Engaging Millennial Faculty

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The Authors:


Michael G. Strawser & Russell Carpenter



As a platform for discussing workplace effectiveness and workplace differences, generational differences help provide context. Unfortunately, generational differences in higher education can be a difficult subject to explore. For one, there is a broad spectrum represented by generations in higher ed. Comparatively, the retirement age of faculty is older than the traditional workplace and the starting age of new faculty is older as well because of the time it takes to complete degree requirements. This creates a unique and complex environment.


It is important though, especially as we start to see a wave of millennial faculty, that we appropriately address how faculty demographics will change and how that will impact the higher education environment at large. For the purposes of this volume, the reader needs to think strategically about how to engage millennial faculty in what has been a typically anti-millennial infrastructure. The authors would ask that you be patient with this volume; it has been developed as a practical resource. Pause as you fume at generalized generational differences and remember that not everyone fits into one box: every millennial is different, every boomer is different, etc. Still, we hope this volume will be helpful, no matter your feelings on generational differences, as you look to serve and support all faculty.

An Excerpt: 

Who are millennials? Typically, millennials are defined as those born between 1980-1996 (although this range is debated). Unfortunately they have a reputation for being lazy, entitled, and high maintenance; yet, they are also highly networked, appreciate life experiences, and are tech-savvy (Morreale & Staley, 2016).  Despite obvious difficulties generalizing traits and characteristics, the generation presents a fascinating and necessary area of focus.


Think about it…

As you think about “millennials,” what stereotypes or preconceptions do you have about this generation?



One particularly mesmerizing professional realm that will have long-term millennial repercussions is higher education. As millennial employees (both faculty and staff) contribute to higher education institutions, they should be willing and able to respond to current practices; however, institutions may also need to adapt to this new generation.

Because millennials are just now fully immersed in the higher education culture as faculty and staff, rather than as students, the ramifications of how institutions will navigate them have yet to be fully understood. We do know that millennials will challenge the status quo: they do not go quietly into the night and often refuse the answer “because that is how it has always been done…” and, as such, they may refuse to accept tradition as a valid excuse for present behavior.  Some may lament this distinction, but, because of their background and upbringing, millennials must be uniquely approached and engaged in all professional contexts, especially postsecondary education.


Think about it…

How have you observed the millennial impact on the workforce?



How have you observed the millennial impact on postsecondary education?



Despite differences in specifying a date range for millennials, the year 2013, or even more generally the 2010-2015 window, represents the first wave of millennial faculty.  Onboarding and developing this new generation requires intentional planning …

About the

Michael G. Strawser (Ph.D., University of Kentucky) is an assistant professor in the Nicholson School of Communication and Media at the University of Central Florida. Michael’s research interests broadly include instructional and organizational communication. He is also the owner/lead consultant of Legacy Communication Training and Consulting, L.L.C. (www.legacyctc.com).


Russell Carpenter (Ph.D., University of Central Florida) is executive director of the Noel Studio for Academic Creativity and associate professor of English at Eastern Kentucky University. Recent books include Studio-Based Approaches for Multimodal Projects and Writing Studio Pedagogy. Carpenter serves as editor of the Journal of Faculty Development.


 2019 [ISBN: : 978-1-58107-339-3; 162 pages, 6 x 9 inches, soft cover]