Light, but profound look focuses on gap

Around Campus

Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2002

Kenai Peninsula College has a diverse student population. High school students in the Jump Start program take classes to get a head start on college careers. Senior citizens take classes to continue their quest for knowledge. Many students in between these age categories walk the halls of KPC daily.

Consequently, the college has a rich blend of individuals with a wide variety of life experiences. The blending of multiple generations challenges the faculty and staff who teach and employ this varied student population. This is why KPC Director Ginger Steffy has invited Robert Wendover, managing director of The Center for Generational Studies in Aurora Colo., to speak at KPC.

Wendover has put together a dynamic program that uses humor to give insight into the thought processes and priorities of the different generations in American society today.

The title of his talk is "From Ricky and Lucy to Beavis and Butthead." It illustrates the wide gap between what television programs baby boomers and the "20-somethings" grew up watching. What seems normal for one generation seems ridiculous to another and, without education, the gap will widen.

Understanding one another and accepting each other's differences will improve communication and outcomes. This holds true whether in the workplace or the classroom.

KPC is bringing Wendover to the peninsula as a public service, and there is no charge for attending the programs. There will be two presentations, addressing business and education issues relating to generational differences.

The first will be Thursday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the KPC Commons and will be directed toward the workforce. Business owners, managers, supervisors, and parents may be interested in finding out how to improve the work ethic of younger generations.

Young people may discover how to relieve the frustration they feel when older managers are unwilling to do anything that upsets the status quo.

Wendover will discuss what leadership skills motivate the different generations to do their best work. This program will leave the listener with a better understanding of why generational differences exist and what helps bridge the gap.

Wendover will explore the different ways each generation learns Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. He is a teacher with more than 20 years of classroom experience, and he brings real life scenarios into his presentations. He will discuss the thought processes and priorities of the various generations and how they interact in the classroom.

This presentation will be invaluable to anyone who teaches and everyone is invited to participate. Learn why a student would ever pierce their eyebrow and dye their hair blue. If we learn about each other, we will be able to let go of misconceptions and build more meaningful relationships.

This column is provided by Suzie Kendrick, community relations coordinator at Kenai Peninsula College.

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