Beloit College
Banner Image

The Mindset List

Welcome to the Beloit College Mindset List for the entering class of 2017

The Mindset List was created at Beloit College in 1998 by Ron Nief and Tom McBride for the class of 2002, born in 1980.  Now in its 15th year, it continues to reflect the world view of entering first year students. This year’s entering students in the class of 2017 were born in 1995.

What started as a witty way of saying to faculty colleagues "beware of hardening of the references," has turned into a globally reported and utilized guide to the intelligent if unprepared adolescent consciousness. It is requested by thousands of readers, reprinted in hundreds of print and electronic publications, and used for a wide variety of purposes. It has caught the imagination of the public and has drawn responses from around the world, including more than a million visitors to the website annually.

There are two websites that contain the lists and commentaries as well as information about  Tom and Ron’s book, The Mindset Lists of American History: From Typewriters to Text Messages, What Ten Generations of Americans Think is Normal (John Wiley and Sons, 2011). There are also opportunities to provide feedback.

Please share your stories and comments and those witty and revealing "mindset moments" here  or at, or at the Mindset List Facebook page (which includes a daily quiz).

We look forward to hearing from you.

See the Mindset List for the Class of 2017

Check out the Sonic Foundry Beloit College Mindset List webcast.

About the Authors: Tom McBride and Ron Nief are coauthors of numerous articles and books, They speak around the country each year to business, library, history, and education groups.

Tom McBride is a professor of English and Keefer Professor of the Humanities at Beloit College. A graduate of Baylor University and the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign, he teaches Milton, Shakespeare, and critical theory and has team-taught many interdisciplinary courses. He was a co-founder of the program in Rhetoric and Discourse in the English department and for many years headed the college’s First-Year Initiatives seminar program. He has published critical essays and creative non-fiction in journals as diverse as Texas Studies in Language and Literature, The Baker Street Journal, and Two Cities, and on and open He has been a commentator on language for Wisconsin Public Radio and is known on campus for the twice-yearly Keefer Lectures.

Ron Nief is emeritus director of public affairs at Beloit College, stepping down in 2009 after 14 years at the college. He has been communicating the work of higher education for more than four decades, starting with his alma mater, Boston College in the 1960s and including Brandeis and Clark universities, and Middlebury College. He has written for numerous publications including the New York Times, the Boston Globe and the Christian Science Monitor. The recipient of a Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America, he also received a Distinguished Service Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. He created the Mindset List in 1998.

Authors Photo 

At left is Ron Nief, creator of the Mindset List in 1998 and Director Emeritus of Public Affairs at Beloit College, and at right is Tom McBride, Professor of English and Gayle and William Keefer Professor of the Humanities at Beloit College.

For information, please contact:

Ron Nief - Director Emeritus of Public Affairs at Beloit College
Phone: 608-770-2625

Tom McBride - Professor of English at Beloit College
Phone: 608-363-2307

Share your thoughts at