Millennial Transitions: The role of Values Part 2

Know your Values

Know your Values

Aim of the Transition Program

The overarching goal of the institute is that student embody fundamental principles, or standards of behavior, that exemplify what is popularly considered important for encouraging personal growth and constructive social behavior. This particular institute embody the following values: Respect, Service, Responsibility, Friendship, Humility, Leadership, Enlightenment, Inclusion, Rigor, Attainment, and Engagement. These are indeed basic human values. The difficulty in imparting values is that values are not generally learned by instruction; rather they are acquired by experience and reinforced through positive observation. This program was developed to proactively promote the development of values and relationships in the following way.

  • Assist students in the transition to the workforce while maintaining their identified and developed values.
  • To build into the program an environment that promotes the reinforcement and practice of these values within students, and alumni. An environment where the value of the student’s newly acquired university knowledge, the energy of young alumni and the support and wisdom of established alumni can be shared across all generations from a common value base within an environment conducive to the development of natural mentoring dyads.

By considering the eleven motto-words in the light of staff and resident discussions, the following three concepts appeared as value-themes that encapsulated the original college motto. These themes are Self-awareness, well-being and sustainable relationships. These themes do indeed address the fundamental elements necessary for the successful transition of a student to their chosen future-role.


The development of self-awareness requires a conscious knowledge of one’s own character and feelings, how they affect not only others but also the environment in which they are operating, as well as the effect on their own physical and mental self (Second Order Cybernetic system). Self-awareness assists and develops the individual’s ability to constructively take feedback and make appropriate adjustments and adaptations. (Cybernetic system). While adaptability has always been essential for human survival, it is now critical because technology has an amplifying effect on human behavior that is accelerating the rate of change.


Well-being contains vital elements for triggering mechanism necessary for value exchange development. Well-being is the bedrock for development of positive relationships with both the self and others. Well-being instils a feeling of purpose and meaning in life. Well-being is thus the pursuit of attaining a state of balance that is forged by life’s challenging and rewarding events. A sense of well-being is vital to the development of a well-rounded individual who will not only contribute to the growth and development of society but also of their family, and themselves.

Sustainable relationships

Constructive relationships pairing[1] is associated with loyalty, a positive or healthy sustainable relationship is a behavior that describes a viable and ongoing interaction between parties built on trust, respect and acceptance. It should also stand the test of time and the challenges of everyday living. Despite having millennia to evolve and develop techniques to create sustainable relationships in the slow changing real world, humans often struggle. Today humans have to contend with developing sustainable relationships in yet another environment, the digital environment, which is indeed different to the physical environment (the real world)[2].

For day-to-day functioning humans increasingly have to navigating two different environments that demand differ perceptions and behaviors. This duality is something humans have not experienced and research shows it may be the fundamental reason why society, and particularly millennials, are struggling on so many fronts.

In the mid-1940s when digital technology first emerged, there was an explosion of new ways of thinking and a new science – ‘cybernetics’ was proposed. Due to unresolved issues in the Macey Conferences, cybernetics did not take off but it did give rise to system thinking, which ultimately led to ideas of complexity and chaos theory. In the 1970’s, with the start of the internet, there was a re-emergence of cybernetics but in the form of second-order cybernetics[3]. This enhancement of cybernetics is important because it introduced a subtlety that can explain and guide the complex demands of the digital age. Second order cybernetics incorporates self-reflection, evaluation and adaptation of independent systems and the integration of different environments to form a cohesive sustainable system.

Second order cybernetics is thus a sound theory to underpin the value themes self-awareness, well-being, and sustainable relationships and provided a basis for developing a coherent and cohesive Program.

[1] Trusted relationships are not limited to animate objects – a trusted relationship can occur in hardware and software, or animate and inanimate.

[2] Justification for why the digital environment should be viewed as distinct from the physical environment can be found in the way humans experience first principle concepts.

[3] Anthropologists Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead contrasted first and second-order Cybernetics in a 1973 interview.


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