The Mindset List is an annual compilation of the values that shape the worldview (or “mindset”) of students about 18 years old and entering college and, to a lesser extent, adulthood. It is co-authored by Ron Nief, Public Affairs Director Emeritus, and Tom McBride, Professor of English and Keefer Professor of Humanities, both at Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin. It originated in 1997 as an e-mail forward, without author credits, passed on by then College Statistician Richard Miller to Ron Nief, who passed it on to peers at other schools. The Mindset List began as a cute way of reminding colleagues on the faculty to "watch their references" with freshmen. It reappeared in the fall of 1998 after requests from peers who mistook the forward as having originated with Ron Nief. It now appears every August as American first-year students enter college. The List has received such widespread public attention as a feature on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and an essay by Nancy Gibbs of Time. In 2009, Time declared "mindset list" a new phrase in the American lexicon.
The Mindset List website, Mindsetmoment.com, includes a daily quiz about growing up in the United States, a Mindset List Movie of the Month, “Mindset Moments” of reports about the generation gap, links to information about the current generation of young people, and an ironic advice column called Ask ROM. The List also appears on Twitter and Facebook.
Mindset List book
In 2010 McBride and Nief signed a contract with John Wiley and Sons for a book of American social history based on Mindset List methods. The Mindset Lists of American History: From Typewriters to Text Messages, What Ten Generations of Americans Think Is Normal was released July 5, 2011 (ISBN 0470876239).
The website Beloit Mindlessness calls the Mindset List “a poorly written compendium of trivia, stereotypes and lazy generalizations, insulting to both students and their professors, and based on nothing more than the uninformed speculation of its authors. It inspires lazy, inaccurate journalism and is an embarrassment to academia.” Beloit Mindlessness publishes posts critiquing specific items on the Mindset Lists.