About The Authors

Tom McBride, Keefer Professor of Beloit College teaches Milton, Shakespeare, and critical theory. He has team-taught a variety of interdisciplinary courses with both classicists and anthropologists. His interests in comparative discourse have most recently led him to an extensive project on Darwinian approaches to the study of literature. With Professor Shawn Gillen, he is co-founder of the department’s new program in Rhetoric and Discourse. He has published both critical essays and creative non-fiction in journals as diverse as Texas Studies in Language and Literature, The Baker Street Journal, and Two Cities. For four years, he was a popular commentator on language for Wisconsin Public Radio. On campus he is known for the twice-yearly Keefer Lectures on a variety of subjects. Most recently he has authored essays for britannica.com on Raymond Carver and Allan Bloom, and for open democracy.net on Saul Bellow. He is an editor of the Beloit College Mindset List.

Ron Nief is emeritus director of public affairs at Beloit College in Wisconsin, stepping in 2009 after 14 years at the liberal arts college. A Mad Men era veteran of Madison Avenue, his work at Beloit concludes four decades communicating the work of higher education starting with his alma mater, Boston College, in the late 1960s and including Brandeis and Clark universities, and Middlebury College. He is the editor of several books and has written for the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, the Gannett Newspapers and National Public Radio. The recipient of a Silver Anvil Award from the Public Relations Society of America he also received a Distinguished Service Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. He created the Mindset List in 1998 and joins Tom McBride in many media appearances and talks around the country throughout the year.

Charles Westerberg is the Brannon-Ballard Professor of Sociology at BELOIT College. He graduated from Beloit College in 1994 with majors in Sociology and Government. He went on to get his M.A. (1997) and Ph.D. (2001) in Sociology from the University of Missouri in Columbia. His scholarly work has been split between criminological themes, such as the changing nature of punishment, and new approaches to pedagogy in undergraduate education. He joined the Beloit College faculty in the spring of 2000.



As co-creators of a famous and mind-bending List from Beloit College, and an acclaimed new book about American history through the eyes of eighteen year olds, they’re a one-stop shop for America’s generation gap. They do both keynote presentations and interactive workshops—tailored to individual audiences—on how understanding the mindsets of eighteen year olds can

  • Promote more successful education, workplaces and other organized endeavors,
  • Revolutionize the nature of teaching, especially instruction in history,
  • Foster inter-generational dialogues within families,
  • Improve the current younger generation’s financial literacy, and
  • Help the older generation understand how to communicate better with the younger one.

Most Popular Presentations

They’ve Never Dialed a Telephone – retelling American history from the viewpoint of eighteen year olds is a mind-bending way of revisiting the past—and re-investigating the present.

How to Transform Teaching By Helping Students Think Generationally – in government, literature, history and the social sciences, students take to subject matter much more avidly if they can link it to themselves as part of a generational parade.

Financial Literacy: How to Read a Dollar Bill – young people become financially literate by studying eighteen year olds who lived back in the days when paper money was still visible.

The Five Mistakes Managers Make With Gen Y In the Workplace, and How to Avoid Them –mangers can manage new workers better if they understand what makes this generation different.

An example can be seen on a recent webcast from Sonic Foundry.

Recent Presentations (Selected List)

Library Associations: The American Library Association; The Missouri Library Association; The New England Library Network

Charitable Organizations: The Rotary International North American Youth Exchange Network

Professional Conferences: NCHELP National Debt Management; National Association of State Retirement Administrators; TheIndependent College Bookstore Association; NCAA Division II

Educational Organizations: ACT National Compass Conference, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin College Admissions Counselors; Framingham (Mass) State, Utah State and Murray (Ky.) State Universities and Northeast State Community (Tenn.) and Highland (Ill.) Community Colleges; Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society; Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction; Madison (WI) Area Technical College; National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA)


“It was a wonderful mix of humor, nostalgia, philosophy and thought-provoking content — just right for a dinner speech.” “Overall, an interesting and inspiring program.”

“I walked away with a better understanding of student library users and their expectations based on culture and circumstance.”

“The President’s Program [at the American Library Association] was a wonderful experience for me, a highlight of my year as President, and one I will always remember. Best wishes to you.”

“Thank you for an excellent [workshop] presentation. My surmise is that there will be a call for a return visit next year.”