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adult education


• SUNDAY, JULY 27, 2014


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Adult education:

You can teach an old dog new tricks By Shauna Nosler

For Custom Publications

If you’re an adult thinking about returning to school to obtain an advanced degree, finish the one you started years ago, or even for continuing education, technical training or enrichment, you’re not alone. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, last fall traditional college-age students were joined by nearly 8.7 million students age 25 and over. But their reasons for going back to school and what they hope to learn vary almost as much as the definition of adult education itself. “Adult education is, by its very nature, difficult to define,” said Dr. Marjorie E. Treff, a lecturer in Indiana University’s Adult Education program. Treff Indiana University. “Even within our area of study, people have very diverse ideas about what adult education means, what are its purposes, and how those are achieved.”

“In an increasingly competitive world economy, America’s economic strength depends upon the education and skills of its workers. In the coming years, jobs requiring at least an associate degree are projected to grow twice as fast as those requiring no college experience. To meet this economic imperative, President Barack Obama asks every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training and set a new national goal: by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.” – (White House, 2009)

Even so, it’s a growing area not only in Indiana, but also nationally and worldwide. According to the works of Brazilian educator Dr. Paulo Freire and Danish philosopher N.F.S. Grundtvig, adult education evolved from the need to empower grassroots groups to take control of their lives rather than being driven by the social and political processes from which they were excluded. “In the early adult education movement in the U.S., there was a great deal of interest in teaching adults how to participate in building and sustaining a democracy,” Treff said. Today, adult education has become

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professionalized, often emphasizing the training needed for increasingly demanding credentials. And while adult education does include areas such as upgrading skills and completion of degrees, it also addresses the continued learning and development of adults beyond the early adulthood years. “Adult educators often talk about teaching learners how to learn,” Treff said. “That way, people can continue to pursue their own deliberate development in very conscientious ways, and in the areas of their lives that are most relevant to them.”

Adult online learning takes a front seat

A recent survey conducted by the University of Phoenix found that close to half of all Americans plan to take an online course to advance their careers, and a majority of those over the age of 25 plan to do so in the next few years. With statistics like this, it’s no wonder that online learning is quickly becoming a viable option for adults. Case in point: Indiana University’s Adult Education program offers only one face-to-face course for its Master of Science in Education in Adult Education. “The rest of the program is offered entirely online,” Treff said. “Classrooms are not an issue. I have students right now working from Japan, China and Switzerland, as well as all across the U.S. I’ve had military personnel complete coursework from Iraq, a Fulbright scholar from Australia, and when I was a student in the program, I spent a semester in Denmark and completed coursework from there.”

Brown Mackie Colleges is a system of over 25 schools. See for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, federal salary data, alumni success, and other important info. © 2014 Brown Mackie College 3403 Accredited Member, ACICS AC 0078 Brown Mackie College – Indianapolis is authorized by the Indiana Board for Proprietary Education, 101 West Ohio Street, Suite 670, Indianapolis, IN 46204-1984, 317.464.4400 Ext. 138, 317.464.4400 Ext. 141. NP0714


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The MSEd in Adult Education is designed to help professionals work effectively with adult learners. It provides a strong background in adult learning and program planning, as well as the diverse philosophical, theoretical and historical contexts of adult education in the United States. ▲

What to consider when considering a return to school Whether you’re mulling over a return to school to heighten your knowledge base, obtain a new degree or even complete the schooling you once started, it’s imperative to be ready and willing to learn. “Adults often come back to school thinking they already know everything they need to know, and can just complete the assignments to get the degree,” said Dr. Marjorie E. Treff, a lecturer in Indiana University’s Adult Education program. That is why it’s important to have appropriate expectations and come ready to learn. Treff recommends that every adult consider five things before returning to school: 1. Graduate study is demanding. The time commitment can be great so be prepared for what this will mean for you and your family. 2. No one gets a degree alone. Make sure you have the support of friends and family. 3. Be willing to expand your perspectives and be ready to share your own ideas with those who may have different experiences and backgrounds. 4. Know your goals and be honest with yourself about what you wish to accomplish. 5. Above all else, be willing to learn.

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On the adult learner’s terms. In the race to bring higher education into every home, a mandate from the boss—the State of Indiana—has served Indiana State University well. Indiana State’s mission is to offer affordable, high quality education to all Hoosiers, regardless of their ability to travel to their campus in Terre Haute. Thus compelled, Indiana State entered the online field early, explains Samantha Penney, Distance Education Director. “We’ve offered online courses for more than 15 years,� says Penney. “Some schools are just now ramping up. We’re fine-tuning.� The university’s online catalog is expanding rapidly. This fall, Indiana State Online will offer nearly 40 fully accredited bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Students can study a number of specializations in administration, business, criminology, health and sports, technology, history, nursing, human resources, and education—plus two degree completion programs especially for returning adults. Employers statewide are demanding employees with “higher order� skills, explains Ken Brauchle, PhD, Dean of Extended Learning at Indiana State. Bringing online more of the degrees employers want is a top priority.

Making every credit count. Next is the need for speed. Indiana State is also focused on removing the roadblocks that delay degree completion. For instance, adults with two-year associate of applied science degrees in technology or health services were once forced to start over in order to earn a bachelor’s degree in the same field. By earning full credit for their associate degrees they can complete their bachelor’s at Indiana State in a

fraction of the time. Two first-of-their-kind in the state bachelor of applied science degrees, in health services and technology, were rolled out this summer. A student’s associate’s degree credits apply directly toward an Indiana State bachelor of applied science degree.

Full-time support for parttime learners. Adult learners are tech-savvy and adept at jumping online to scrutinize the quality of a school’s degree programs. They’re a disciplined and determined lot who tend to rack up stellar grades. Self-directed, yes, but still human. From time to time, online learners need the human touch. That’s when Indiana State Online students can turn to their own student services concierge. The concierge makes sure returning students enjoy easy access to campus resources, such as: @ Tech support @ Online personal tutoring @ Extensive career planning services @9836-%07*361%78)6-2+320-2)789(=7/-007 @ Time management tools and tips @ Disabled student services

But what does online learning feel like? Judging from the enthusiasm of Indiana State professors and their students, it feels good. Today’s Internet courses buzz with energy. The professors and students create their own online universe, including discussion, support, and study groups.

These are some of the tools that keep it very real on the Indiana State Online Blackboard delivery system:  Webinar software captures video and audio as the professor uses the latest presentation tools to record a class. Students attend at their convenience, during a specified window of time.     Teams collaborate and brainstorm using web-based interactive whiteboards and screen sharing.    Students and teachers can interact face-to-face at the hour they choose, for more meaningful encounters.    are used to further reflect on learning, and build on one another’s insights.        tell students where they stand.    from YouTube, EduTube, and news and academic forums enliven lectures and group projects.

Online degrees that are TRUE BLUE. The service team stresses that Indiana State Online degrees are indistinguishable from degrees earned in State’s traditional campus setting. “When you study online with us, you’re a Sycamore in every way!� says concierge Amy Taylor. “You learn from the same faculty. Your course work meets identical standards. You get that personal involvement that is so unique to everything we do here at State, and your diploma is the exact same diploma our on-campus students earn.� Brauchle stated.

Learn more about Indiana State Online programs. Connect with an online learning advisor at  . Or phone a team member at 812-237-2345.




• SUNDAY, JULY 27, 2014

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Continuing education fills many needs By Brian Herbert

For Custom Publications

Adult education has evolved over the past several decades. The recession in 2008 changed the way individuals and companies view continuing education programs, and the education system itself has begun to use technology and innovative approaches to reach adult learners and provide access to lifelong learning opportunities. “Research is fairly clear that online courses can be just as effective as face-to-face instruction,” said Ron Thomas, executive director of corporate and executive education for Butler University. “More schools are embracing the ways to provide the most accessible Thomas education to a global audience.”

A win-win

In the new economy, individual learners and employers place different values on postsecondary education. While many individuals in the job market see advanced degrees and continuing education as a path to career success; employers see the opportunities to use these programs to give their businesses an edge in the marketplace. “Right now, companies are really focused on offering their employees programs to develop business acumen and especially servant leadership,” Thomas said. “There is a new leadership style in business that is focused around leadership, culture, values and performance.” Many companies work with educational institutions such as Butler University to design and implement training programs for their employees. Butler and other schools design customized curriculum to help companies focus on what is most important for them. Many focus on topics like ethics, business acumen and leadership.

Education Rx

Continuing education programs are also designed for specific professions in which employees are required to continually refine their skills. Attorneys, educators, accountants and many health care professionals must continue the learning process throughout their careers. Hospitals and health care facilities throughout Indiana are seeking ways to train and develop their staffs in partnership with local schools. “Many hospitals in central Indiana have earned a magnet status,” said Dr. Anne Thomas, dean of the University of Indianapolis School of Nursing. “That status means they need their workers to be highly skilled and to complete continuing education. We partner directly Thomas with them to offer the programs and courses their workforce needs.” The nursing program at the University of Indianapolis works with local health care providers to train their staffs. UIndy recently created a program in conjunction with Riley Hospital for Children – IU Health to provide a neonatal nurse practitioner program when no program was available in Indiana. “Before we developed the neonatal nurse practitioner program with Riley, hospitals had to hire practitioners from other states,” Dr. Thomas said.

Special delivery

Like many other schools, UIndy brings courses straight to employees. Universities everywhere are going beyond online courses when it comes to accessibility. Courses are now being offered at businesses instead of on campus. The result is added convenience for students. Our cohort programs go straight to the hospitals so health care workers can complete their programs right where they work,” Dr. Thomas said. “We regularly have classes that meet one day a week in the evening right inside the hospital.” Schools are working hard to develop continuing education programs that meet the educational goals of both students and employers. With the abundance of delivery options, schools can offer something to meet every student’s needs. ▲

More than a class

Continuing education is about more than taking a class to get ahead at work or change careers. A quality education is an invaluable asset. Here are five reasons to consider continuing your education and becoming a lifelong learner. Taking continuing education courses enables you to develop new skills and continue to feed your desire to learn. Everyone is born with a thirst for knowledge. Finding opportunities to learn new skills as an adult will allow you to continue to grow and learn throughout your lifetime. Adult education is an enriching experience that provides a sense of accomplishment. Not only can it be exciting and rewarding to master the art of photography or learn how to cook like a gourmet, simply completing a course or education program is a worthy accomplishment itself. Why not become an expert at something? Continuing education programs give adults the chance to focus on a specific subject and become knowledgeable in a specific subject area. Then, when you tell your spouse you’re an expert, you’ll have the education to back you up. Break away from your current boring job and get a new one. Continuing education courses can prepare you for a change in your career. Technology’s alternative education delivery methods will enable you learn while you continue to earn in your current job. Learning is just plain fun. Educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, libraries and even parks offer a wide range of topics for study. If you can’t find something new to learn, you aren’t trying hard enough.


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SUNDAY, JULY 27, 2014 •

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• SUNDAY, JULY 27, 2014

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Advanced-degree options and demands By Brian Herbert For Custom Publications

Once upon a time, a high school diploma and a great work ethic led to abundant career opportunities. Eventually, as technology continued to change the economy, a bachelor’s degree became important. Today, more students are investing in advanced degrees to get a jump on the applicant pool. “While graduate degrees don’t instantly result in bigger paychecks, we see many students pursuing graduate degrees to open new doors in their careers and even for their own personal enrichment,” said Terry McDaniel, associate professor of educational leadership at Indiana State University.

Advanced options

Everyone knows that doctors, attorneys, CPAs and engineers need advanced schooling to get started. But many other career fields also require advanced degrees just to break in. Even in industries where advanced degrees aren’t required, many individuals are evaluating the advantages and challenges of a graduate education. Colleges and universities work hard to provide the best opportunities for students to learn, and the advancement of technology and the changing economy have created new options for earning a degree. A handful of years ago, only a few schools offered advanced degrees through online or distance education. Now, nearly every major institution provides ways to take courses and earn degrees online. Some schools partner with employers to bring education straight to your desk. “Historically, education choices were always made by individuals,” said Ron Thomas, executive director of corporate and executive education at Butler University. “Companies want to attract and retain top talent so now many businesses choose to partner with schools like Butler to provide education programs directly to their employees in the office.” Thomas said many students choose to unbundle advanced degrees to gain specific skills. The credits they earn contribute toward completing the degree later. Many schools allow students to take specific courses in an advanced degree program for credit as they choose. If they want to, students may finish the degree at a later date. This method enables students to control the skills they develop and take the classes that benefit them the most at the moment.

Do some soul-searching

If you’re considering an advanced degree, of course you have to decide which degree to pursue. It’s also important think about the reason you’re doing it. Many individuals see an advanced degree as a way to grow their income. However, that shouldn’t be the only reason to pursue a degree. “In the realm of education, teachers used to always pursue a master’s degree because it provided a quick way to move up the pay scale,” McDaniel said. “Most state legislatures in the Midwest have reduced the pay increase for having an advanced degree. Many teachers are choosing to get advanced degrees to help them become better teachers — not just focusing on the money.” Advanced degrees can give you a leg up in the job market and a sense of personal enrichment as an expert within your field. With the wide range of delivery options for degrees today, there are sure to be degree options to fit every need. ▲


Why career-specific education is a good bet for adults returning to school By Shauna Nosler

For Custom Publications

Over the past decade, the availability of technical jobs has dramatically increased in the Hoosier state. With a growth rate nearing 50 percent for some occupations, it’s a solid industry to be in both now and in the future. According to, the need for specialization is driving the increase. After years of battling a recession, many of those returning to school are choosing coursework that is more career-focused rather than opting for general, or liberal arts degrees. In other words, people are specializing. Adults who are thinking about changing careers, being trained in a different trade, or looking to fortify your skill set, it makes sense to explore technical and vocational opportunities. The good news is that Indiana has plenty of educational options.

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Turn a passion into a career

Two of the biggest reasons that adults are returning to school are underemployment and the unemployment rate. “People are caught in jobs that aren’t using their full skill sets or aren’t full-time, etcetera,” said Melissa Durkin, admission director at Lincoln College of Technology. “Being unable to find a job or advance from a current position are two big factors that motivate people to return to school and learn new skills that can lead to new careers. Our campus attracts a wide range of students from different age groups and backgrounds.” Add to that the number of former military personnel returning from active duty, and it’s no wonder schools that offer vocational training are seeing an increase in enrollment. Some are enrolling to prepare for certifications that can advance skill sets they already have, while others are ready to set out on a new career path. That often goes along with someone rediscovering something they’re passionate about — cars, for example — and making the lifechanging decision to turn that passion into a profession.  “On a more practical level, students are learning that there’s a serious skills gap in the work force between the skills candidates possess, and the skills hiring managers are looking for,” Durkin said. “They realize that the right training can give them an advantage in overcoming that gap and entering into careers that have growth potential in the coming years.”

More than technical training

There’s much more to vocational schooling than technical training. Indiana Tech, for instance, has seven colleges that offer career-oriented undergraduate and graduate degree programs in fields such as accounting, business, criminal justice and health information technology. With multiple locations throughout Indiana and a successful online platform, Indiana Tech is a great choice for adults wishing to further their education and increase their career options. “Students have the flexibility to choose which learning environment fits them best and can even mix both, taking some face-to-face courses with some online courses,” said Janet Schutte, director of marketing. Plus the school has a number of resources to help students search for scholarships, grants and loans. “We give students several payment options, including a couple of options that accommodate employer assistance,” Schutte said. “Depending on the employer’s policies, we can directly bill the employer, we can work with vouchers, or we can defer tuition until after each course.” More information on the types of degree programs and financial aid available at Indiana Tech can be found at ▲


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• SUNDAY, JULY 27, 2014


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Adult Education