Real partnership with higher education is a crucial priority for SigEp. The Fraternity’s Headquarters staff has been intentional about hiring professionals and experts in the field of higher education who effectively advance that goal of partnership.
Meghan Grace, SigEp’s new member orientation director, certainly fits the bill: she holds a masters degree in higher education and is a newly published author in that field. Her role has expanded since she first joined our staff a year ago, and she has used her expertise to create comprehensive curriculum and programming for SigEp’s newest members.
In January, Grace released a book that is highly relevant to a fraternity that remains at the cutting edge of higher education partnership and best practices. “Generation Z Goes to College,” co-authored with Dr. Corey Seemiller, presents findings from a research study that examines the characteristics, educational motivations and learning styles of Generation Z.
Generation Z is made up of people born between 1995 and 2010. The oldest members are traditionally aged college juniors this year.
We sat down with Meghan to get her perspective on the book and what its content means for SigEp and the institutions of higher education where our members live and learn.
As we continue to foster productive partnerships with universities and colleges, what do your findings mean for the institutions that host SigEp chapters?
For the higher education community, it is imperative to better understand Generation Z and be ready to adapt for and embrace this new generation. “Generation Z Goes to College” is written to uncover findings of who Generation Z is and what makes them unique, but also what motivates them. It can’t be expected that processes, programs and environments that worked for previous generations will be as successful with Generation Z. Higher education needs to be prepared to provide a product that will be relevant and valuable for Generation Z students.
How can SigEp step up to augment the college experience for brothers who are members of Generation Z?
Generation Z craves realistic and applicable learning opportunities, as they view their time in college as a stepping stone towards their future careers. More than ever, colleges and universities need to be prepared to help Generation Z students earlier in their collegiate careers to develop the knowledge and skills to be successful in life beyond graduation. Career preparedness efforts by SigEp such as Life After College will resonate more than ever with this generation.
They’ve never known a world without limitless technology at their fingertips. From communication and relationships to their daily tasks of shopping or entertainment, it has entirely impacted the way they live their lives and view the world. As they enter college, their technologically ingrained lives will impact the way they learn, live and engage. Our online presence has never been more important with our undergraduate members. The upcoming release of the Balanced Man Program App is a huge step in better engaging our current and future brothers who are members of Generation Z.
In your role as new member orientation director, you create the programming that is often brothers’ first impression of SigEp. How do your findings affect our Fraternity’s interactions with new members as Generation Z enters college?
Generation Z prefers to learn via video, so this will be important as we provide content for new members. They also desire learning environments that balance intrapersonal and reflective learning with social interaction with peers and field experts. This will change the way we think about the BMP and bring up questions about its implementation.
Generation Z views their parents and family members very positively and takes their opinions into consideration when making decisions. We must recognize that orientation for new members should also include their parents and family members by providing information about SigEp, the benefits of membership and the many developmental opportunities available to members.
Based on your findings, what do you suggest SigEp should improve or implement?
SigEp is not afraid to be on the forefront of issues and has an unwavering courage to be different. This mentality will be absolutely necessary to best engage and work with Gen Z.
A true partnership has common interests and goals in mind. In working with higher education, our common goal is to provide impactful, safe and enriching environments and experiences for undergraduate students. As we aim to be valued partners in higher education, we must be willing and ready to think beyond what we currently do and stay in tune with undergraduate needs. They are ultimately the heartbeat of the organization. SigEp should be ready to think differently, be unafraid to question existing practices and serve boldly as leaders for other fraternal organizations. If history is any indicator, I foresee SigEp being on the innovative and proactive side of change.