Home > Adult Education, Teaching & Learning > Strategic Choices Facing Institutions Serving Adult Learners

Strategic Choices Facing Institutions Serving Adult Learners

By Frederic Jacobs and Stephen P. Hundley, from Chapter One, Understanding the Context for Adult Learners in Higher Education

Although state-assisted colleges and universities educate a growing proportion of all students, new types of institutions have also appeared. Nontraditional providers, for-profit colleges and universities, and institutions that use technology as their primary mode of instruction have emerged in many markets. In addition, many existing colleges and universities have reexamined and revised their missions in light of changing student demographics and enrollment patterns, and in response to what Smith et al. (2004) described as a ?mismatch between student and faculty expectations, and the differences between what colleges think is important and what parents and employers want? (p. 7).

Townsend and Dougherty (2007) ask three important questions concerning the mission foci of community colleges, in particular: (1) Is the societal mission of a community college to provide post secondary education to students who might not otherwise obtain it, or to be responsive to the needs of local communities, including business and industry? (2) Should its dominant functional mission be to provide transfer education so that students can eventually attain a baccalaureate, or should the institution concentrate on workforce training and continuing education? (3) Given demographic shifts and pressures to be accountable and demonstrate student learning, are the traditional community college missions still relevant? Given the diverse constituents that higher education must serve. Townsend and Dougherty (2007) remind us that “it behooves college leaders to prioritize missions in order to focus institutional resources on those deemed most vital to their institution’s goals and values? (p. 3).

Continued at:   http://cgi.stanford.edu/~dept-ctl/cgi-bin/tomprof/postings.php

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