A Look at the Class of 2026 through the Lens of the Marist Mindset List
September 7, 2022 – The Class of 2026 has arrived, and this year’s group of incoming students have hit the ground running in hopes of being at the back end of the COVID-19 pandemic. This group comes to college having lived much of their high school years with disruptions and due to COVID-19 are looking for a sense of “normal”. This experience has been impactful to this new group of students, who like any incoming class, has a unique take on cultural references and interests.
Each year, the Marist Mindset List is crafted as a “cultural compass” exploring the triumphs and challenges for incoming college students. Also known as the “always/never” list, the Marist Mindset List digs in to topics spanning public health in addition to political, computer and environmental sciences, as well as fashion and diversity, equity and inclusion. The list features 10 items in all, which include additional reading in the form of links to sources and, in some cases, living examples of items. Much of the Class of 2026 was born in 2004, so cultural references were entered with that in mind.
See a full breakdown of this year’s Marist Mindset List for the Class of 2026, here.
The list focuses on a wide variety of academic disciplines where incoming students are making an impact, and its primary purpose is to give students, their faculty, and even their parents, a sense of common ground to spark meaningful conversations, both in and out of the classroom. The list is compiled each year by the Marist Mindset team of Professor Tommy Zurhellen, Associate Professor of English; Dr. Vanessa Lynn, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice; and Dr. Joyce Yu-Jean Lee, Assistant Professor of Art and Digital Media.
The Marist Mindset team (L-R): Professor Tommy Zurhellen, Associate Professor of English; Dr. Joyce Yu-Jean Lee, Assistant Professor of Art and Digital Media; and Dr. Vanessa Lynn, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice.
“The Marist Mindset List for the Class of 2026 is particularly interesting to me, because we’re seeing how incoming students react to the gradual end of the pandemic that has already affected their academic paths in so many ways,” said Zurhellen. “COVID may be waning, but COVID fatigue is still very much a factor in the choices our students make. This year’s List certainly reflects that unique trend.”
“While every Marist Mindset List has explored what touches and impacts an incoming class, this year we also see how many of the phenomena listed impact so many of us,” said Dr. Lynn, Marist Mindset Faculty Fellow. “I'm excited about that, because the list can be truly inter-generational.”
The annual Mindset List was created at Beloit College in Wisconsin to reflect the world view of entering first year students—and to help faculty understand incoming classes. In 2019, the list moved to Marist, becoming the Marist Mindset List. Under the direction of Zurhellen, who is a Beloit alumnus, the list has become a collaborative effort with Marist faculty and students from different disciplines with diverse backgrounds each year.