Challenging Conventional Wisdom

Dean's Reflections

To be sustainable, businesses must identify and adapt to shifts that challenge conventional wisdom. These shifts can occur in technology, in politics, in regulation, in the global economy, even in the environment. And, as Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D., Loyola’s vice president for academic affairs, illustrates in this month’s feature story, these shifts can also take place with regard to people, as we transition from one generation to the next. 

In his interview, Dr. Snyder clearly outlines the issues managers face when hiring employees from a generation that approaches work differently than their parents and possibly their grandparents did. But he insists that while strong managers can’t look past these differences entirely, they shouldn’t feel stymied by them. Rather, they should learn how to capitalize on benefits of the Millennials' different attitudes toward facing challenges and objectives.

Business educators have a role to play in this, as well. If changing trends in society are affecting business, they need to affect the way we teach. At the Sellinger School, our faculty actively and intentionally engage students in group work. Our teaching enhancement workshops demonstrate excellent alternative means of educating students, including utilizing technology to enhance student education. And finally, faculty members challenge students' creativity with unstructured projects, cases, and real-world experiential learning opportunities that do not always have just one correct answer.

At the graduate level, most of our students are Generation X or Baby Boomers, managers and business leaders who have begun to hire, mentor, promote, and delegate to Millennials. The changing nature of the workforce is an important aspect of our discussions at this level—especially as we address succession planning and leadership development.  

If you have thoughts on this topic—especially any insights you can lend from your own experiences with Millennials in your organization—I’d be very interested in hearing them. As always, please contact me directly at

Enjoy this early spring weather,