Paul Jay Edelson, Ph. D State University of New York at Stony BrookOctober Concepts and Trends in American Adult Education Paper Presented at the German Institute for Adult Education Introduction It is difficult, perhaps impossible to describe to you a phenomenon in American higher education which though present in just about every institution approximately 3, assumes various forms and dimensions in each. In this talk, I will try to cover that uneven terrain, and also to a lesser extent that of adult education within other settings renew anti aging center new york as schools, corporations, and especially the proprietary sector.
I will speak to you about values, ideals, and also realities. And in touching upon the past and present, I will of necessity speak about the future as well. To begin with, as you know the USA has no unified national system of education.
Although there is a federal regulatory presence which is very influential and also some funding for targeted programs and special initiatives, the administrative machinery is largely on the state level especially with respect to curriculum. In higher education, as you may know, we have three types of institutions. State, private, and an emerging third category, which is a subset of private, that of the proprietary college.
Almost all operate within a system of voluntary regional accreditation. The public institutions are very close to being state run, although within an intellectual framework of academic freedom and peer academic governance, which is also true for the private institutions.
In recent decades the financial support of higher education by the states has diminished as more and more public institutions have become increasingly dependent on tuition revenue and their own fund-raising efforts.
This is also true for other state institutions like my own, the State University of New York. As a consequence, there are pressures to regularly increase tuition. Many view this as an inexorable retreat from equality of opportunity even though their are stipends for students whose families qualify. For private, non-profit, institutions the issue of tuition revenue and fund-raising is even more important. But these institutions have never labored under the political mandate to serve the public in the same way as state colleges and universities.
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Yet substantial federal grants and contracts support the most prestigious institutions in this category such as Johns Hopkins and Harvard. The last category is the private proprietary college which exists, like the modern corporation, to make uriage toléderm control szemkörnyékápoló profit for its shareholders.
American InterContinental University is another. Higher education now appears to be moving in the same direction as the for-profit sector takes aim at both the publics and privates, attempting to provide acceptable quality at much lower costs. The growth of the University of Phoenix, unknown several years ago, to now the largest private university in the country makes it a looming presence and, some think, harbinger of the future.
Historical Background Self Improvement. The historical background for American adult and continuing higher education demonstrates several major themes.
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There is the larger contextual background of "self improvement" which I would call the Franklinian tradition, after Benjamin Franklin, printer, inventor, statesman, founder of the Junto, a voluntary association for self-improvement, and also the University of Pennsylvania, the American Philosophical Society, signer of the Declaration of Independence which he helped draft and so on. A distinguishing feature of America, noted by de Tocqueville, was the pervasive belief people held in their ability to rise through their own efforts.
This is typified in the career of Franklin and the mythology surrounding it. In the same vein Lincoln and the log cabin and Thomas Alva Edison. Opportunity and the accessibility of knowledge went hand-in-hand in that one was responsible for acquiring the knowledge required for success. Gradually it became a responsibility of government to ensure an initial level playing field. The cult of the individual and of individual responsibility, which ironically, though a force propelling adult education as "self help", has paradoxically stigmatized and undercut public support for second chance adult education.
This is the very area most people, if asked to define adult education, would identify. This category includes remediation, literacy for "dropouts," programs for the unemployed, and other disadvantaged groups and "at risk" populations. Proponents of adult education have had to renew anti aging center new york that these people are not morally flawed but instead constitute an extensive sometimes invisible cohort whom for various situational and dispositional reasons could not avail themselves of educational renew anti aging center new york.
This justification pivots on factors of gender, race, class, and, more recently, vagaries of the global economy, rather than on intelligence and character.
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The advent of large scale white collar and professional unemployment in the past decade as a result of global production and marketing transformations has been an entirely new phenomenon in the post World War II industrialized west. The existence of this population of previously successful middle class, middle aged, and often middle management, group of dislocated college educated workers gave a new "professional" face to second chance adult education. A similar success had been previously achieved with programs targeted towards middle class women who were re-entering the labor renew anti aging center new york.
Adult education for the dislocated professional and for re-entry women has removed some of the tarnish from second chance adult education, so much so that we are in danger of the other extreme, that of too high expectations, as various welfare-to-work programs incorporating mandatory adult education are hatched.
No discussion of self-improvement as a force in American adult education would be complete without mentioning the extension traditions of Oxford and Cambridge which in the 19th century offered another model, this time tied to university outreach, for liberal adult education and what eveolved into the "genteel tradition" for middle class gentlemen and women in continuing education.
The second major force influencing American adult education is the Progressive Education Movement, which according to Cremin extended fromthe year of the Philadelphia Centennial, towhich some may recall as the year Sputnik was launched. The crucible of Progressive Education was the Progressive Movement in American politics which was also a late 19th century phenomenon that existed well into this century, transmogrified into democratic liberalism.
The core of this philosophy was that government existed to help people through tackling and resolving social and economic problems. The social sciences, especially economics, political science, and sociology were viewed as modern analytical tools for determining what needed amelioration. And through education society could improve and renew itself. Progressivism in continuing education is rooted in this public service outreach mission of the university that saw the upward evolution of society through the broader distribution of educational services and opportunities.
The Wisconsin Idea coupled research, teaching, and real world problem solving. Ground for this position at Wisconsin was established in svájci vándorkereskedelem anti aging Morrill Act which set aside public on behalf of state universities whose missions were to improve agriculture and the mechanical arts, and the decision by the Wisconsin Board of Regents in to establish short courses for adults not interested in entering credit programs.
Thus, General Extension, as it developed, had two major axes: off-campus credit or degree instructionand the not-for-credit short course. As a consequence of their locations, often in the geographic center of a state, the state universities in America had renew anti aging center new york off-campus, and what we would now call distance learning obligations giving a very literal interpretation to the term "university extension.
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The short courses, by comparison were practical applications of university research and expertise. They were organized on a basis of self-financing thereby establishing a funding pattern of self-support that continues to this day.
Short courses are more variable in nature. The introduction of the Continuing Education Unit CEU in the 's however has made possible some standardized accounting for professions requiring continuing education as a basis for relicensure.
Other features of educational progressivism that have become integrated with American adult education and renew anti aging center new york world-view are a student centered approach to learning, a developmental view of the person, seeing learning as problem-solving, a perspective of the classroom as a platform for social change especially modeling the ideal world of the future, and the role of the teacher as much broader than dispensing information but as an educational innovator and experimenter.
University Extension as it has just been described- distance education and short courses- was primarily the world of large state universities in rural and ultimately "college town" locations. The metropolitan experience was usually quite different. Since the 17th century there had been a tradition of colonial evening schools in New England and the eastern American cities offering instruction in commercial and technical subjects.
It is correct to see Evening Divisions within 20th century urban universities as being part of this history of part-time, after-work, education. Full blown Evening Colleges came to resemble "shadow" versions of the daytime collegiate enterprise offering college degrees, both undergraduate, graduate, and professional, sometimes in astonishing variety and depth. In addition to part-time students, they also enrolled those who could not gain admission to the day school.
This population tended to enroll full-time at night and was demographically similar to their day counterparts. As in the case of University Extension, Evening Colleges were also vulnerable to the criticism of "soft pedagogy" and the litany of tired students, tired faculty, and second rate programs. Nevertheless insatiable student demand for higher education ensured the success of both of these experiments.
Education for Good Citizenship. This is another subset of programs historically rooted in American adult education.
They have taken several forms. Courses on English as a Second Language, the responsibilities of citizens, and on American culture. These programs, which were offered free of charge to participants, were developed in response to the large increase in non-English speaking immigrants in the early part of the century and continue today. Often located in public schools or community centers which will also schedule for this population programs in Literacy and High School Equivalency.
In other courses students, using materials developed at universities, discussed foreign policy and urban planning issues. Both types of programs emphasized "critical thinking" which was viewed as fundamental to good citizenship within a democracy. In addition to cold war phobias, the Ford Foundation was concerned about the proper use of leisure time, and extending high culture to the masses. The Fund for Adult Education is directly responsible for mainstreaming liberal adult education on a self-supporting, pay-as-you-go, basis within American continuing higher education.
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With this theme of self-enrichment we come full circle with that of self-improvement described at the outset of this section. The Contemporary Period Turning to the contemporary period of the past twenty years, we see the continuation of earlier threads but with several new twists. The Workplace. The centrality of the workplace for adult learning is a result of the synergy of three related forces: individual, corporate, and national competitiveness.
Instability in the workplace and careers and also the perception of new opportunities have fueled an upward spiral of occupationally related continuing adult education. The Individual.
Computerization, or informating, of the svájci nehézsúlyú anti aging szerelő probably accounts for the greatest proportion of continued learning in the USA today.