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The Mindset List

Welcome to the Beloit College Mindset List for this year’s entering college class of 2019


Members of the entering college class of 2019 were mostly born in 1997 and have never licked a postage stamp, have assumed that Wi-Fi is an entitlement, and have no first-hand experience of Princess Diana’s charismatic celebrity.

Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall. For this year’s entering class there has always been Google; Email, informal to previous Millennials, has emerged as “the new formal” for them, while texting and other social media serve as the wild and wooly mode of exchange. Teachers have had to work overtime encouraging them to move beyond the Web and consult sources in books and journals. And Poland has always been a member of NATO, suggesting that Mr. Putin’s heartburn about Western expansion is at least as old as the new college kids are.

 “The Class of 2019 will enter college with high technology an increasing factor in how and even what they learn,” said Charles Westerberg, Director of the Liberal Arts in Practice Center and Brannon-Ballard Professor of Sociology at Beloit College. “They will encounter difficult discussions about privilege, race, and sexual assault on campus. They may think of the ‘last century’ as the twentieth, not the nineteenth, so they will need ever wider perspectives about the burgeoning mass of information that will be heading their way. And they will need a keen ability to decipher what is the same and what has changed with respect to many of these issues.””

In fairness to the members of the entering class, this year’s Mindset List also includes an addendum of terms that faculty need to understand if they are going to communicate effectively.

The Beloit College Mindset List, which this year is as old as the entering students themselves, is created by Ron Nief, Emeritus Director of Public Affairs; Tom McBride, Emeritus Professor of English; and Charles Westerberg. Additional items on the list as well as commentaries and guides are found here and at Regular updates and discussions are on Facebook and Twitter.

See the Mindset List for the Class of 2019

Check out the Sonic Foundry Beloit College Mindset List webcast.

About the Authors: Tom McBride and Ron Nief are co-authors of numerous articles and books, They speak around the country each year to business, library, history, and education groups. Charles Westerberg joined the Mindset List authors beginning with the Class of 2019 List, released in August 2015.

Tom McBride is professor of English emeritus at Beloit College. A graduate of Baylor University and the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign, he teaches Milton, Shakespeare, and critical theory for more than 40 years. 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.

Ron Nief is director of public affairs emeritus at Beloit 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.

Charles Westerberg is the Brannon-Ballard Professor of Sociology at College, as well as Associate Dean of the College and Director of the Liberal Arts in Practice Center. Charles Westerberg graduated from Beloit College in 1994 with majors in Sociology and Government. He went on to get his M.A. (1997) and Ph.D. (2001) in Sociology from the University of Missouri in Columbia. He has devoted his scholarly work to the study of the privatization movement in corrections and the increasing actuarial focus of the criminal justice system. He joined the Beloit College faculty in the spring of 2000.

Mindset List 










Left to right, Tom McBride, Charles Westerberg and Ron Nief.

For information, please contact:

Ron Nief - Email:

Phone: 608-770-2625

Tom McBride - Email:

Phone: 608-363-2307

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