SRU Professional Development Day to focus on Generation Z


“Engaging and Working with Generation Z” is the theme of SRU’s Oct. 8 Professional Development Day for faculty and staff, 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on the third floor of the Smith Student Center.

Slippery Rock University will host a Professional Development Day, Oct. 8, to help faculty and staff better understand Generation Z.

Sept. 26, 2019

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. — Out with the old and in with the new - generationally speaking, of course. All traditional-age college students now come from the same generation, Generation Z, which consists of people born between 1995-2010. Generation Z has replaced most of the Millennials on college campuses, and it is imperative that faculty and staff be aware of how to relate to this next generation.

In fact, that relationship between generations is so vital that Slippery Rock University is devoting an entire day of programming to it. "Engaging and Working with Generation Z" is the theme of SRU's Oct. 8 Professional Development Day for faculty and staff, 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on the third floor of the Smith Student Center.

"Generation Z is a hot topic right now and what's great about this event is it isn't just for faculty; it's for staff and anyone who interacts with our students," said Deb Schell, director of the Smith Student Center and conference services. "Everyone should be learning about the students they are working with."

Schell recommended the event's keynote speaker, Corey Seemiller, after Schell attended workshops led by Seemiller at the Association of College Unions International Annual Conference last February in Indianapolis. Seemiller, an associate professor of leadership studies in education and organizations at Wright State University, is one of the leading authors, researchers and speakers about Generation Z. In addition to her three books on the topic, Seemiller's work has been featured on National Public Radio, in the New York Times and on a TED Talk that now has more than 140,000 views.

"I came back from the ACUI conference and thought this would be perfect for our faculty and staff and that it would be great if we could all better understand our students," said Schell, who has already implemented changes based on Seemiller's advice. For example, Schell manages more than 30 student employees at the SSC and she addressed a need to improve retention after some of her best students were quitting their jobs.

"One of the things that struck me from Dr. Seemiller's presentation is that (Generation Z students) need to have a purpose; they don't mind working, but they want to work somewhere that will help them in the future," Schell said. "They have to understand how their work affects their future."

In addition to shifting the training resources to include short videos that students can access on-demand, Schell is bringing in staff from SRU's Career Education and Development Office to meet with her student workers during their monthly training sessions to help them relate their work experience at the SSC to their careers and to help them describe it on resumes.

Schell will be a panelist on a presentation titled "How is Your Area Working with Generation Z?," noon to 1:15 p.m., at the Professional Development Day, as well as a presenter for a concurrent session, "Student Employment: How to Get Generation Z to Buy In!," 1:30-2:15 p.m.

The agenda for the Professional Development Day will begin with registration and coffee, 8-8:30 a.m.; welcoming remarks by SRU President William Behre and Seemiller's keynote address "Generation Z," 8:30-9:35 a.m.; and a workshop led by Seemiller, 9:45-10:45 a.m. The remainder of the day will include four sets of 45-minute concurrent sessions, as attendees can select from one of three presentations for each session. All attendees will be provided lunch, during which there will be a panel discussion.

MEDIA CONTACT: Justin Zackal | 724.738.4854 |