President Elsa Núñez welcomed everyone back to campus, and outlined new challenges and opportunities to address “Generation Z,” a cohort of students strongly influenced by technology. She asked,“What strategies can we use to be ready for these new students?”
Nunez said Generation Z is “wired” like no generation before them; are socially more diverse; are more global in their perspectives; are pragmatic, entrepreneurial; learn best by doing and like to study together—often using Face Time, Skype and other applications that allow for face-to-face encounters in cyberspace. She said to connect with them, universities must build trust.
“They juggle as many as five electronic devices at a time—desktops, laptops, tablets, smart phones and smart TVs—to manage their personal, social, work and academic lives. To remain competitive in today’s educational marketplace, a small public university such as Eastern must reinvent itself constantly. We need to continually demonstrate to prospective students and their families that we are committed to adapting to change.”
Nunez said, however, that some things will not change, like treating others with respect, the value of honesty, the role that ethics and morality in maintaining social order—personal values and social norms have formed the foundation of human relationships and civilized societies forever. “The core abilities that we teach at Eastern — critical thinking, problem solving, communication, gaining historical and cultural perspective, information literacy and ethics — will be as critical to the success of our newest crop of students as they have been for previous generations of students.”
After President Nunez finished, Psychology Professor Margaret Letterman, chair of the Liberal Arts Program Committee, and Psychology Professor Madeline Fugére, shared some insights that helped faculty begin to consider new teaching strategies that can be effective in reaching this new generation.
During the meeting, the Office of Academic Affairs announced several new hires, including Maria Martinez as program assistant in the Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC); Janette Rivera, Ashley Anderson and Kaitlin Thibodeau as teaching associates (CFDRC); and Heather Oski, Leisha Flynn and Amy Theriault as lead teachers (CFDRC); Zully Rodriguez (Office of Financial Aid), and Angela Walker as reference and instructional librarian and Kellie O’Donnell-Bobadilla as access services librarian in the J. Eugene Smith Library. Stacey Close, associate vice president for equity and diversity, also introduced Maria Weinberger, the new equity and diversity associate.
Also, 10-year service awards were presented to Patricia Chaves, administrative assistant; Jose Llanes, general trades worker; Kathleen Martel, unit supervisor; Santa Pastor, custodian; Ryan Rose, associate director of alumni affairs; and Brenda Schiavetti, Secretary 2. Mathematics and Computer Science Professor Jianhua Lin received a service award for 25 years of service.
Retiring from distinguished service was Library Services Director Patricia Banach.