Student Generational Trends and Contrary Post-Secondary Policies: A Case Study of a Large Canadian University

  • Author / Creator
    Dahl, Jenna E.
  • The demographic of students accessing post-secondary education has changed significantly over time. As continues to be true over time, the average undergraduate student today is born of a different generation than those before it and therefore likely motivated by different things than those undergraduate students of the past. Parallel to this fact, post-secondary processes and funding models have also shifted over time. Though there has been a timeline of significant changes, policies have not focused specifically on the shifting needs in student motivators, but rather the shift in financial funding models. This study hopes to provide insights into how traditional brick and mortar post-secondary institutions can practice policy in ways that will allow them to continue to attract students from the most prominent (87%) age group of students enrolled in postsecondary institutions in Canada; which according to Statista would be 29 years (Jeudy, 2022). This data was collected for the 2019/2020 academic year, meaning that students were born in 1990 and later. Due to the fact that these students represent the majority, millennial and generation Z students were the main focus of this study, with the understanding that they do not represent all students of today. Within this research I ask the question: how have universities in Canada adapted their policies and policy practices to effectively address the student motivator trends of millennial and generation z students? This case study uses a thematic analysis of data collected through semi-structured interviews and was employed to explore policy in practice at a large Canadian post-secondary institution in the Summer of 2021. The results identify significant areas of opportunity to integrate a restorative approach into policy creation and practice to better meet the motivator trends of students today. The key consideration is that student motivator trends emphasize a need for community inclusion. They care deeply about being involved in their education, as well as the campus environment. A restorative approach to policy creation and practice would seamlessly integrate a community-based approach to post-secondary development and culture shifts.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2022
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Education
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Library with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.