In 2018 I was asked to research what the current cohort of tertiary education students felt they needed to help them more successfully transition into the workforce. Based on my findings I then developed a program to address the issues. This section of my website, flagged by the keywords ‘millennial’ and ‘transitions’, reports on my journey. I have withheld reporting my reflections till now because I wanted my second research project to be concluded. This was a 3 year study, and I did not want to contaminate its progress with pre-emptive reflections. The final data collection concluded at the end of 2020 and analysis is now near completion with the report eminent. It is therefore time to put pen to paper.
These reflections explore a relatively mundane research project involving a unique cohort, digital natives and the need for developing Second Order Cybernetic awareness in this and future generations.
The case for this study is a residential college for students attending leading universities in the Sydney CBD area. The students reside in a beautiful sandstone Hogwarts-like building that exudes tradition, hierarchical stability and entitled privilege. The college however, due to its historical heritage and values is quite different. The college does indeed hold onto its tradition and stability but in the form of its Scottish Enlightenment values and principles rather than in activities and practices. This is evident in its continuously evolving and adapting college traditions and programs that are created to accommodate and support social trends that adhere to the college values and principles. Key elements of these values and principles are to question authority, to adapt, and to be inclusive.
This is demonstrated in the large number of scholarships offered to deserving rural students which makes the college particularly egalitarian despite its appearance of being elitist. As the college actively encourages student participation in community support, individual responsibility and high academic achievement it attracts a wide variety of high achieving students many of who are natural leaders. When students of this calibre in this environment happen to be the unprecedented first wave of digital natives, we have a unique opportunity to find research based solutions to aid the successful transition of our future leaders into adulthood.
Based on my research, proposed solutions will be explored. Solutions that incorporate Cybernetic and Second Order Cybernetic: A new meta-science whose emergence and revival can be directly correlated to key developments in the evolution of the digital environment – the dual environments of millennials.