College Student Behavior and Generational Theory: Meaningful Learning Opportunities

The purpose of this research was to address the following research question: What are effective and educational means of sanctioning college students within defined generational groups who violate low-level student conduct code violations at a four-year institution? After completing a review of the literature related to the generational theory framework (Howe and Strauss, 1991), it became apparent that students who attended a college or university were heavily influenced by the larger circumstances that took place throughout the course of their lives. The theoretical framework and literature identified within this thesis captured the importance of addressing the needs of students in terms of where they were presently, rather than where they have been or where they will be in the future. This research also explored the ways in which students of different generational groups established communication strategies and processed information differently one from the other. This project sought to broaden understanding of how to best meet student needs among those who engage in low-level conduct violations through participation in education programs, while holding them accountable for their actions. This thesis concludes with a (re)telling of the story of one institution’s objective to align its low-level sanctioning program with innovative and contemporary practices in an effort to best assure the success of all its students.