Book By: Michael D. Coomes & Robert DeBard (Eds)
Review By: Neva Kathryn Baron
Academic Advisor
College of Arts & Sciences
Eastern Michigan University 

This excellent text will help advisors familiarize themselves with current literature addressing the Millennial generation’s influence on service and organizational issues within higher education. Editors Commes and DeBard have assembled chapters that effectively tackle issues directly impacting academic advisors as they provide guidance to their students.

Academic advisors have a unique relationship with students as we see them on a regular basis throughout their college careers. Because we have this on-going relationship, we are in a unique position to help the campus community gain a better understanding of all students, and especially the Millennial generation. (p.98).

The Millennial generation “who began arriving on college campuses around 2000 are described as special, sheltered, confident, team-oriented, conventional, pressured, achieving, optimistic and upbeat, accepting of authority, rule followers, and structured” (p. 64).  They expect college and university personnel to “display authoritative expertise, model effective techniques, stress motivation, invest in their outcomes, celebrate their victories” (p. 65).  

The Editors have included chapters that cover varied issues e.g., how generations influence each other, how popular culture shapes understanding of the characteristics and values of different generations, how the Millennial generation views social justice and diversity issues, and how Millennials will change and shape the structure of campus students affairs across the nation.  The discussion of Millennial use of technology is especially worth noting as this generation has grown up with access to e-mail, voice mail, instant messaging, and web cameras.  This immediate gratification can affect how students perceive service issues. “Delays in response longer than the Millennials consider appropriate, however unrealistic, result in the perception that their issues or needs are not valued” (p. 95). These students often perceive access to technology as equal to how much an institution cares about them. Many campuses are responding to this issue by making learning opportunities available twenty four hours a day.  For example, Stevens Institute of Technology requires that professors reply to student e-mails within forty eight hours (p.95) and Clemson University has created a system to deliver academic advising through the use of web cameras (p.95).

Additionally, a significantly larger percent of incoming Millennials have been diagnosed with disabilities, including learning, physical and emotional, than any previous generation. Still, the National Council on Disability estimates that a considerable number of students are entering our institutions with undiagnosed disabilities (p. 68). “[I]t is crucial for college students to self-advocate and talk with professors (and advisors) about their disability and what assistance they need…Furthermore, faculty (and advisors) need to be educated to work effectively with students with disabilities” (p.69).  Academic advisors must be aware of  transition issues faced by this population if we are to help them succeed in college and afterward (p.69). 

This well written and informative text uses a plethora of sources to summarize the salient issues surrounding serving the Millennial generation of students. This text will help academic advisors effectively understand and advise this ever increasing population on our campuses. 

Serving the Millennial Generation (New Directions for Student Services, No. 106). (2004). Book by Michael D. Coomes & Robert DeBard (Eds). Review by Neva Kathryn Baron. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 112 pp. (paperback). ISBN # 0-7879-7606-7.

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