Mindset List Takes New Form

As Marist College takes over the annual list, it shrinks considerably, but the items are more serious.

September 9, 2020
 
Marist College
From left: Pablo Rivas, Joyce Yu-Jean Lee and Tommy Zurhellen

The Mindset List was created at Beloit College in 1998 to help faculty members and administrators understand freshmen.

Each list included dozens of quick reminders about what freshmen know and don't know, based on their age (the list assumed freshmen came straight from high school). For instance, the 2013 list reminded faculty members of a certain age that for new students, "Dean Martin, Mickey Mantle and Jerry Garcia have always been dead" and that "Eminem and LL Cool J could show up at parents’ weekend." The next year came the reminders that "meds have always been an option," "when they see wire-rimmed glasses, they think Harry Potter, not John Lennon," and "'press pound' on the phone is now translated as 'hit hashtag.'"

The list has prompted parodies, suggestions for a list of what faculty members know and don't know, and a (failed) effort to kill the list.

After all those years at Beloit, Marist College last year took over the list, and this year, it is unveiling the first list it produced.

Marist placed Tommy Zurhellen in charge of a faculty panel that produced the list. He's an associate professor of English and a Beloit alumnus. His collaborators were Joyce Yu-Jean Lee, assistant professor of art and digital media, and Pablo Rivas, assistant professor of computer science. The team was assisted by Vanessa Lynn, assistant professor of criminal justice, who will fully join the team next year.

“It was important to me to take the Mindset List in a more substantive direction,” said Zurhellen. “But the COVID pandemic just affirmed that even more. This group of students in particular is living through extraordinary circumstances that deserve examination.”

This year's list (verbatim) is as follows:

The Marist Mindset List for the Class of 2024

  1. Emerging artists and designers in the Class of 2024 will explore race relations beyond Black Lives Matter into a deeper understanding of how whiteness has shaped bias and influence in contemporary American culture.
  2. Incoming students will rely on smart devices for shopping, interactive wellness-centered consumer experiences and engaging in the social good.
  3. The Class of 2024 may view the idea of “banned books” as an artifact from the past, but the Harry Potter series has been banned somewhere in America for their entire lifetimes, and To Kill a Mockingbird has appeared on the American Library Association list of frequently challenged books eight times since 2004, due to perceived concerns over offensive language as well as racial and sexual themes.
  4. Incoming students are willing to pay for their privacy. Privacy is now a commodity, and they value privacy for their real relationships.
  5. The necessity of personal protection equipment (PPE) will drive fashion trends for the next couple of seasons as young designers in the Class of 2024 adapt face masks and other PPE into functional objects of personal expression.
  6. For incoming students, the world political stage has always been post-Sept. 11; Vladimir Putin has always been the leader of Russia, Tayyip Erdogan has always been leader of Turkey, and the United States military has always been involved in Afghanistan.
  7. The Class of 2024 (and, often, their teachers) expect and embrace a richer diversity of voices in the books they read, and their enthusiasm for young adult (YA) literature has led to the emergence of vibrant new voices such as Angie Thomas (The Hate U Give), Marie Lu (Legend) and Tomi Adeyemi (Children of Blood and Bone). In addition, these students are shaping American literary culture like never before, by contributing commentary and adaptations in online forums such as GoodReads, Reddit, Twitter and fanfic sites.
  8. Incoming students are keenly aware of the major threats to the health of our society created by both an international pandemic and the global climate crisis, while at the same time, the value of science in our national dialogue is increasingly questioned.
  9. Social distancing provided a captive audience for the ESPN documentary The Last Dance. This phenomenon allowed the Class of 2024 to see for themselves the evolution of the NBA game in the last 20 years, sparking new debate over how past heroes such as Michael Jordan compare to their favorite players of today like LeBron and Giannis as GOAT [greatest of all time].
  10. Incoming students have never been more ready to embrace social distance by using technology to fill the distance gap. They are always looking for the newest upgrade.

Additional information is available here.

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