Teach the Student, Not the Test: How to Get Gen Z to Engage Themselves

Monday, October 2, 2023
1:10 PM - 2:00 PM


This workshop is a webinar ONLY – please do not come to the CTE office.


To attend the webinar, log-in as a guest at Teach the Student, Not the Test: How to Get Gen Z to Engage Themselves. This is a Blackboard Collaborate Session.


The webinar starts at 1:10 p.m. and we kindly request participants to enter the webinar at least 15 minutes prior to the start time and no later than 1:15 p.m. 


Late arrival and/or early exit from the workshop invalidates receiving credit. 



This presentation delves into the challenges and opportunities of educating Generation Z - the digital natives who grew up in a rapidly changing world and an academic environment where inclusion and active learning was the norm. With a focus on fostering student engagement, we will explore innovative strategies and practical techniques that empower educators to inspire and motivate Gen Z students to take an active role in their own learning journey.

How does an instructor ignite Gen Z's interest in the subjects being taught? What is needed to stimulate Gen Z's curiosity and drive intrinsic motivation? Does assessment play a vital role in engaging Gen Z students?

To answer these questions, we begin by exploring this generation's academic portfolio (purpose, preferences, needs, experiences). Insight into their motivations, aspirations, and learning styles, from a practical perspective is shared. This leads us to discover the role critical thinking, creativity, and self-directed learning play in course design. The incorporation of technology and interactive tools as well as project-based learning, collaborative activities, and real-world applications among other common assignment types are discussed to emphasize the importance Gen Z places on classroom experience.

Our focus then shifts to effective and actionable strategies which encourage Gen Z students to become active participants in their education. Discussion surrounds building authentic connections with Gen Z students, fostering a positive and inclusive classroom environment, and leveraging their passion for social causes and global issues. Time saving alternative assessment methods which focus on holistic evaluation, such as portfolios, presentations, and real-world projects, enabling students to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in a more meaningful and authentic way are also discussed.

This is an elective session for a certificate of completion in Fostering Proactive Learning Environments.


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Participants must attend a workshop in its entirety to receive credit for the workshop in their training records. Late arrival and/or early exit from a workshop invalidates receiving credit. If technology issues require rescheduling of a workshop, participants must attend the workshop at the rescheduled time to receive credit. These policies apply to all CTE workshops/events, including workshops that qualify as requirements/electives for a certificate of completion.


Buffie Schmidt
Darla Moore School of Business

Buffie Schmidt is an accomplished educator and business professional with diverse experience in academia and industry. She holds degrees in Computer Science, Mathematics, Business Administration, and Educational Leadership. Schmidt has worked at renowned companies like Disney and Electrolux, gaining insights into customer experience, organizational management, operations, financials, and strategic planning. Transitioning into academia, she continues to encourage innovative problem-solving skills and non-linear thought patterns, preparing her students to excel in the ever-evolving business landscape. 

Schmidt business acumen and passion for student-centered learning led her to pioneer new student experiences, partner with administration on the institutional QEP and contribute to Georgia's Board of Regents first university merger as a faculty fellow with Institutional Effectiveness. She joined the esteemed faculty at the University of South Carolina in 2019, where she is known for her dynamic teaching style and practical industry expertise. Her dedication to student success, problem solving, and collaboration has earned her recognition as a highly respected educator. Schmidt also sits on the board for a local SC Charter School, runs her own consulting agency, Residential Rental LLC‚ and provides educational workshops and motivational seminars.