Out of the Shadows

From November 1-3 I had the pleasure of talking at the American Association of Adult and Continuing Education National Conference in Memphis. I heard and saw a constant theme throughout the conference- that Adult Education is ‘different’ than the rest of higher ed. One of the keynote speakers talked about Adult Education as lying ‘on the margins’. In another session a presenter, who was an adult learner in an Adult Education graduate program, spoke about her experiences taking classes in another department on campus that didn’t understand the needs of adult learners.
My strong feeling coming out of the conference is that it’s time for people in Adult Education to ‘come out of the shadows’. A key theme of our book is that there is no longer a distinction and split between ‘Adult’ and ‘Traditional’ education. Our New Majority of learners ARE adult learners. It’s time for folks who have been spending decades working with Adult Learners to share what they know with others on campus. And perhaps more importantly, it’s time for the ‘rest of campus’ to listen and learn from those in Adult Education.
I also want to thank Christy Rhodes, the Conference Chair, for setting up a great event.
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