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Education Matters: School isn't just for kids

By By Margaret Rice
March 15, 2014 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated March 14, 2014 at 10:15 p.m.


The changing nature of higher education and the emphasis on lifelong learning has caused an influx of adult learners into formal, informal, community, workplace and institutional education programs. In turn, there is an increased need for knowledge, insight and skills in the field of education outside the K-12 setting.

Many people ask, "What is different about teaching adults?" For starters, adults bring a wealth of experience to the classroom.

The wise teacher of adults respects and values this knowledge, facilitating a collaborative learning environment in which the participants contribute their perspectives, thereby enriching the understanding of all.

Adult students tend to be goal-oriented. They usually are voluntarily participating in education to achieve professional or personal goals, and their time is limited. They want their learning to be relevant and practical, so emphasis is placed on experiential learning that has immediate application to their roles in life.

Adult learners want to be comfortable. For many adults, re-entering the arena of education is intimidating, so creating a friendly, comfortable setting both physically and psychologically increases the likelihood of adults completing educational programs.

Are you interested in helping adults learn? The UHV School of Education and Human Development, as part of its commitment to excellence and to meeting the workforce needs of the region, offers a master's degree in adult and higher education.

The program is unique among Texas institutions because it combines course work in adult education and higher education administration. It also includes an instructional track for those who want to teach in a college setting. All students complete 18 hours of core courses and then choose 18 hours in one of the specialization tracks.

The higher education track is ideal for faculty, staff, advisers, student affairs professionals and administrators working in community colleges and other institutions of higher education who are seeking advancement or wanting to build their capacity for leadership.

Individuals who pursue the adult education track generally are educators who teach in community settings, health education, corporate training and development or religious settings. This track develops a valuable skill set needed to accommodate the needs of adult learners.

The discipline/instruction track is designed to help individuals gain the content knowledge and credentials required to teach at the undergraduate level.

The adult and higher education degree can be completed entirely online, making it ideal for today's busy professionals and enabling students from many locales to participate.

For more information about the program, contact Joann Olson at 361-570-4214 or olsonj@uhv.edu or Margaret Rice at 361-570-4145 or ricem@uhv.edu.

Margaret Rice is a visiting associate professor in the UHV School of Education and Human Development.

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