Diversity is unquestionably an important topic of conversation in today’s educational landscape. However, it seems that little attention is paid to age diversity in higher education. An article by Pstross et al. (2017) discusses case studies of intergenerational learning programs at two different schools. They report that the programs appear to have benefit suggest some practical steps for schools who are interested in implementing such a program.
In my own experience, having individuals from a range of ages involved in a group has benefits for all involved. I have seen this in academic settings as well as in other group settings. Even in educational settings that are divided specifically be age group, such as in elementary schools, there are mentorship programs that pair younger students with older students to bring benefits to both groups from the interaction.
It seems that the benefits of having individuals from various ages aiding each others’ learning processes could be especially useful in the college and university setting. Unfortunately I have seen little effort for schools to encourage intergenerational learning experiences. I would be interested to learn more about the prevalence of colleges and universities seeking to be more inclusive for those of nontraditional ages as well as initiating the use of programs that encourage intergenerational learning.
Pstross, M., Corrigan, T., Knopf, R. C., Sung, H., Talmage, C. A., Conroy, C., & Fowley, C. (2017). The benefits of intergenerational learning in higher education: Lessons learned from two age friendly university programs. Innovative Higher Education, 42(2), 157-171.