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SUNY Empire’s “Revisioning Adult Higher Education” June Webinar Series

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SUNY Empire State College’s “Revisioning Adult Higher Education” webinar series will return on three Mondays in June with three internationally-known presenters.  Everyone is invited to participate in these special, free webinars in which conversation around key issues, challenges and possibilities for adult higher education today are welcome.

For this particular series, the focus will be on issues of adult access to learning opportunities, the realities of diversity, and policies that shape adult learning participation.

All sessions will be held from 12-1 p.m. Eastern and will be offered in Blackboard Collaborate. Webinar descriptions and presenter bios follow.

  • June 5: Amy D. Rose, professor emerita, Northern Illinois University (Illinois)
    “Who Cares About Adult Students Today? The Implications of Recent Changes in American Higher Education”
  • June 12: Patrick Werquin, professor, Conservatoire national des arts et métiers (CNAM, French Adult Tertiary Education and Research Institution, Paris); and independent international consultant, Saint-Sulpice-sur-Lèze (France)
    “Motivating Adults: The Power of Assessing Learning Around the World Today”
  • June 19: Liz Marr, director of teaching, Learning and Teaching Innovation, The Open University (England)
    “Adult Learning, Social Mobility and Social Justice: A View from the UK”

No registration is required to participate. Simply join the webinar 10 minutes prior to the session by clicking the link below. We recommend that you run the audio setup wizard (Tools > Audio > Audio Setup Wizard) upon entering the Blackboard Collaborate room.


>>>>>>>>>> Join Webinar <<<<<<<<<<


The series is being planned by a committee including SUNY Empire State College colleagues Meg Benke, Lael Dickinson, Karen LaBarge, Alan Mandell, Paul Miller and Peggy Tally.  Contact or with any questions about the webinars.

If you are unable to participate, you can view a recording of each webinar after the event.


*****Access Recordings and Materials Here*****


You may need to download the Blackboard Collaborate Launcher before the event.

Webinar Descriptions

Amy D. Rose
“Who Cares About Adult Students Today? The Implications of Recent Changes in American Higher Education”

If the major trends affecting higher education today were to be listed, the top candidates would certainly include issues related to accountability (what is being accomplished), purpose (whether higher education is preparation for a career or something else), and diversity (both in terms of expanding the participation of previously excluded groups and the expansion and the need to support these groups once they are in attendance).  In this presentation, each of these trends will be addressed, in particular in terms of their historical context; that is, how these exact issues have been discussed since at least the mid-19th century, although some of the meanings have changed or transformed.  Additionally, Rose proposes that while these trends are all distinct, they are resulting in changes that could adversely affect the participation of adult students in higher education.  This unintended consequence (at least on the part of some) would be the result of efforts to increase full-time study, increase supports for full-time traditional-age students, and extend participation through online study.

Patrick Werquin
“Motivating Adults: The Power of Assessing Learning Around the World Today”

In this session, issues regarding participation of adults in formal adult learning programs will be reviewed. Werquin will begin with the well-known evidence that most adult learning takes place in contexts that are not formal (i.e., nonformal or informal; at the workplace), and from the assumption that motivation is among the main triggering factors that convince adults to undertake formal learning activities. Motivation is key because, even when all the barriers to access adult learning are lifted, take-up rates remain very low, especially among “poorly qualified people” whohave a negative track record with assessment and do not want to take the risk of failing again. The adult learning system does not bridge the gap between poorly and highly qualified people: it only widens it, regardless of the country.

In this context, the recognition of prior learning (RPL/PLA) should be at the forefront because it is based on a positive approach: it assumes that it is what people know and can do that matters, and that applicants often gain self-esteem in this process. The outcomes of assessment (credits, qualification, certificate, exemption) may constitute a critical stepping-stone for additional learning. The effects of improved self-esteem need to be brought on board in any evaluation approach, even in the econometric modeling typically used. Examples from across the world will be offered.

Liz Marr
“Adult Learning, Social Mobility and Social Justice: A View from the UK”

In this session, Marr will provide a brief overview of recent policy developments that have led to a catastrophic decline in part-time study in the U.K. – a decline of 56 percent over the last five years. The majority of these students are adults who are finding it increasingly difficult to take up study at any level, but particularly at the higher education level. In part, this can be ascribed to neo-liberal policy assumptions that the market will determine both supply and demand; but it might also be attributed to a persistent adherence to the “boarding school” model of higher education, which policy-makers themselves experienced.

The Open University movement, which began in the U.K. in the 1960s, is also under threat from the use of metrics designed for a traditional, face-to-face, selective university experience as a measure of student success and value for money. Marr will argue that seeing learning as a lifelong entitlement, rather than something experienced primarily between the ages of 3 and 21, would go some way to refocusing policy. There are some green shoots in current U.K. government thinking, but these must be protected and nurtured.

Presenter Bios

Amy D. Rose is emeritus professor of adult education at Northern Illinois University, USA where she taught for over 25 years.  She has written and presented on issues related to history and policy analyses in the areas of literacy, women and adults in higher education. In addition to articles and proceedings, she is co-editor of the Handbook of Adult Continuing Education: 2010 Edition. More recently, she is co-author of Professional Foundations of Adult and Continuing Education (2017). She served as co-editor of the Adult Education Quarterly from 2010-2013 and is currently co-editor of the Journal of Research and Practice for Adult Literacy, Secondary, and Basic Education. In addition, she has served as a president of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE) and on the board for 10 years. She is an ex officio member of the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE) board and also currently serves on the board of the International Society for Comparative Adult Education (ISCAE).

Patrick Werquin is currently professor at CNAM: Conservatoire national des arts et métiers (French Adult Tertiary Education and Research Institution), Paris; and international independent consultant based in Saint-Sulpice-sur-Lèze, France. Prior to these posts, he was senior economist with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), directorate for education; and Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI). Werquin has been working and publishing on education and training policies, lifelong learning, technical and vocational education and training (TVET), national qualifications systems and frameworks (NQS and NQF), sectoral qualifications and frameworks, adult learning, low-skilled individuals/workers, adult literacy, new competences and assessment of adult skills, school-to-work transition, validation and recognition of nonformal and informal learning outcomes (RPL, RNFILO, VAE), credit transfer, statistical indicators and econometric analysis on education and the labor market; in all OECD countries as well as in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Arab World, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Liz Marr is director of teaching (Learning and Teaching Innovation) at The Open University, U.K. She has oversight of the university’s access curriculum and Open Programme, the M.A. in Online and Distance Education (MAODE), the development of research and scholarship in the areas of widening access and inclusion, and strategic management of the university’s validation partnerships.  Through the latter, she has overall responsibility for the university’s U.K. and international validation partnerships. Marr has over 20 years’ experience in U.K. higher education and is co-author of Identity Crisis: Working in Higher Education in the 21st Century (2011). She is managing editor of the Journal of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning, an editorial board member of Learning and Teaching in the Social Sciences (LATISS), a trustee of SEEC (Creating Learning Opportunity through Credit), and chair of the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning (UALL) research subcommittee. She is also a member of the executive board of the Forum for Access and Continuing Education (FACE) and chair of the Action on Access Forum.

Posted on: 
Mon, 2017-06-05
Conference/Workshop Date: 
Mon, 2017-06-05 - Mon, 2017-06-19
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