Cheyney University Blog

They Will Be What They See

August 03, 2011

As we wind down the summer semester and prepare to welcome the incoming and returning students, I admit that I am facing the 2011-2012 year with both anticipation and anxiety.

During the four years that I have served as the University President, many of the students who started as freshmen have graduated, and they are beginning their adventures in law school, graduate school, medical school, or they are entering into the workforce with the goal of fulfilling their responsibilities as emerging leaders in a competitive, global society.

So, why the angst? In my conversations with students, I empathize with them as they prepare to leave the comfort and familiarity of campus. They are beset with numerous contradictory messages in their attempts to navigate the transition from secondary school to college, from dependence to independence, and from non-chalant consumers to independent thinkers and leaders.

My conversations with these millennials are both reminiscent of the 1970's and hopeful for the 2020's. Regardless of how they arrived at college or their experiences prior to coming, students usually arrive at college with hopeful and optimistic expectations that the college experience will have a positive effect on their lives and the lives of those they love. Yet, while seeking their versions of a better life, students also bring with them their past experiences with educational institutions, the non-verbal messages they have endured from various sources about what their lives are likely to be, and the indisputable economic and societal factors they encounter.

While listening to these students, and looking into their eyes, I also realize the awesome responsibility we have as educators, mentors, and teachers to demonstrate by example the values of hard work, compassion, altruism, patriotism, and integrity. It is our hope that our newly developed University College and the development of learning communities will assist with this transition, and enable our students to enjoy continued success in their personal and professional lives.

As the new academic year quickly approaches, I know that once again I will experience the anxiety of observing students make the transition from young adults to industry leaders and anticipate the joy of seeing the Class of 2012 make their way across the stage at Commencement.


Tags: transition , university college

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