More and more adults who have been out of school for many years have turned to colleges and universities to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees that will make them competitive in the workforce, fulfill a professional requirement, or enrich them intellectually. Higher education institutions and many private organizations have responded to this demand by creating innovative degree programs aimed specifically at mature learners, students who want to self–design their educational programs and do not hesitate to change institutions if they believe their needs are not being met. This explosive growth in adult degree programs is largely the result of distance education technologies and the Internet. Other significant factors include the potential such programs have for providing additional revenue streams for institutions, the fierce competition from the private sector and other higher education institutions, and the rising interest in interdisciplinary programs.
This is the 103rd volume of the Jossey–Bass quarterly report series New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education.
1. Adult Degrees and the Learning Society (William H. Maehl)
This opening chapter lays the groundwork for this volume by outlining the history and development of the adult degree revolution.
2. Adult Learning Theory and the Pursuit of Adult Degrees (Richard Kiely, Lorilee R. Sandmann, Janet Truluck)
A four–lens model provides a useful means for understanding adult learning. This model is complemented by vignettes of adult students who are pursuing degrees, demonstrating the intersection of theory and practice.
3. Faculty Issues Related to Adult Degree Programs (Lauren E. Clarke, Trent E. Gabert)
Faculty preparation for teaching in adult degree programs varies from institution to institution and reflects many trends in higher education, including the use of part–time and non–tenure–track faculty.
4. Enhancing Adult Learning Through Interdisciplinary Studies (Daphne W. Ntiri, Roslyn Abt Schindler, Stuart Henry)
In this chapter, an interdisciplinary course offers a discerning case study of how the interdisciplinary curriculum is well suited to degree programs for adult learners.
5. Marketing and Retention Strategies for Adult Degree Programs (Joann A. Brown)
Effective marketing of adult degree programs requires integrating planning, market research, program and services development, and retention strategies into a matrix where the focus remains on the adult student.
6. Adult Degree Programs: How Money Talks, and What It Tells (Gary W. Matkin)
Multiple factors, including reduced funding, increased competition, and emergence of online programs, have transformed the financial picture for higher education institutions and adult degree programs.
7. Technology and the Adult Degree Program: The Human Element (Frank G. Rodriquez, Susan Smith Nash)
Faculty and administrators must keep in mind that the success of online degree programs for adults is at least partly a reflection of the merger of technology and the human element.
8. Accreditation Issues Related to Adult Degree Programs (Edward G. Simpson Jr.)
This chapter outlines the accreditation process in relation to adult degree programs and the key players in that process.
9. Future Considerations (James P. Pappas, Jerry Jerman)
Administrators looking at developing adult degree programs must consider a number of factors related to trends and possible future developments.