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MWR2P (2007). Proceedings

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MWR2P (2007). Proceedings.

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                     of the

              26th Annual
Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference
   in Adult, Continuing, Community,
       and Extension Education

             Proceedings Edited by
              Raejean C. Young
              Indiana University

               Conference Held at
     Ball State University – Alumni Center
             September 25-27, 2007

              Conference Hosted by
             Ball State University
              Muncie, Indiana
             26th Annual Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in
             Adult, Continuing, Community, and Extension Education

                                    September 25-27, 2007
                            Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana

Dear Conference Participants:

        This year Ball State University, Teachers College, and the Department of Educational
Studies has enthusiastically accepted the responsibility of hosting the 26th Annual Midwest
Research to Practice Conference for Adult, Continuing, Community, and Extension
Education. We welcome you as participants and presenters at this year’s conference. The theme
this year is “Building Communities with Sustainability and Social Capital.” We are honored to
have faculty, graduate students, and practitioners from the Midwest and beyond here with us
        The conference prides itself on providing a supportive and developing forum for
emerging to seasoned researchers to interact with one another and present and develop their
research agendas.
        We encourage graduate students to submit presentations alongside their mentors or
faculty members and are happy to have a community where rank and title does not drive the
content being presented. The conference provides access a forum for critical dialogue, feedback,
and assistance in the development of a research agenda; and to formally and informally network
and learn from the premier adult education researchers and practitioners throughout the Midwest
region. I thank our BSU graduate students and others who have actively participated in the
planning of activities for the Pre-Conference, including student poster presentations on
sustainability and social capital.
        We appreciate your participation and your insights into the important topics being shared
over these three days. Welcome and make the most of this conference and networking
experience. If you wish, you can find the conference papers the website at They will be archived after the conference at IUPUI in
the University Library Digital Collections at


Michelle Dudka
Dr. Michelle Glowacki-Dudka
Chair of the Midwest Research to Practice Conference Planning Committee
Assistant Professor of Adult, Higher, and Community Education
Educational Studies TC 812,
Ball State University

                      Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference
                  in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education

                                     Mission Statement

This conference provides a forum for practitioners and researchers to discuss practices, concepts,
evaluation, and research studies in order to improve practice in Adult Education. It facilitates
dialogue and the initiation and pursuit of projects among individuals and groups working in
various fields of Adult Education. Through such discussion and collaboration, participants
contribute toward the realization of a more humane and just society through lifelong learning

Prepared on behalf of the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference Steering Committee by
Boyd Rossing, May 28, 1991.

     26th Annual Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in
     Adult, Continuing, Community, and Extension Education

                            September 25-27, 2007
                               Muncie, Indiana

                          CONFERENCE HOSTS

                             Ball State University

                        CONFERENCE SPONSORS

                             Ball State University
                              Teachers College

                             Indiana University
                         School of Continuing Studies

           Indiana Association for Adult and Continuing Education

                             DoubleTake Software

                    LOCAL PLANNING COMMITTEE
 Joy Barrett                 Tiffany Erk                             Darolyn Jones
Barb Boznak                 David Garrison                          Lynnea Melham
Barbara Buer                Annette Grimm                             Susan Pruce
 Ruby Cain                Rebecca Hammons                            Marjorie Treff
Dixie Dugan                Courtney Jarrett

                             SPECIAL THANKS

                    Keri Hatfield for registration processing
                      Rita Stewart for conference support
                         The Muncie Visitors Bureau
               And the others who made this conference a reality.

              2007 Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference
                     Steering Committee Members
Simone Conceição             Randee Lawrence              Amy Rose
University of Wisconsin-     National-Louis University    Northern Illinois
Milwaukee                    Wheaton, IL                  University
Milwaukee, WI                                             DeKalb, IL
                             S. Joseph Levine
Mary K. Cooper               Michigan State University    Boyd E. Rossing
University of Missouri-      East Lansing, MI             David S. Stein
St. Louis                                                 The Ohio State University
St. Louis, MO                Larry Martin                 Columbus, OH
                             University of Wisconsin-
Barbara J. Daley             Milwaukee                    Daniela Truty
University of Wisconsin-     Milwaukee, WI                North Easter Illinois
Milwaukee                                                 University
Milwaukee, WI                James H. McElhinney,         Chicago, IL
                             Ball State University
John Dirkx                   Muncie, IN                   Connie Wanstreet
Michigan State University                                 The Ohio State University
East Lansing, MI             Henry S. Merrill             Columbus, OH
                             Indiana University
Trenton R. Ferro             Indianapolis, IN             Meg Wise
Indiana University of                                     University of Wisconsin-
Pennsylvania                 Peter J. Murk                Madison
Indiana, PA                  Ball State University        Madison, WI
                             Muncie, IN
Michelle Glowacki-Dudka                                   Raejean (Jeani) Young
Ball State University        Richard A. Orem              Indiana University
Muncie, IN                   Northern Illinois            Indianapolis, IN
Catherine A. Hansman         DeKalb, IL
Cleveland State University
Cleveland, OH                Shari Peterson
                             University of Minnesota
Tom W. Heaney                St. Paul, MN
National-Louis University
Chicago, IL                  Tonette S. Rocco
                             Florida International
John A. Henschke             University
University of Missouri       Miami, FL
St. Louis, MO
                             Elice Rogers
Susan Imel                   Cleveland State University
The Ohio State University    Cleveland, OH
Columbus, OH

            26th Annual Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in
            Adult, Continuing, Community, and Extension Education

                                    September 25-27, 2007
                            Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana

                                CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

                All events held at the Alumni Center, The Ohio State University

12 noon - 6 p.m.    Registration (Alumni Center)

1 - 5 p.m.                  Graduate Student Pre-conference
“Building Communities with Sustainability and Social Capital” featuring:
    • Susan Williams, The Highlander Research and Education Center,
    • Dr. John Motloch, Ball State University, and
    • Dr. John Vann, Ball State University

6 – 8 p.m.                    Welcoming Reception (Alumni Center)
An informal gathering to eat, share ideas about research, practice, technology, and the future of
adult learning. Sponsored by Indiana Association for Adult and Continuing Education

8 a.m.-12 noon    Registration (Alumni Center)

8:30 -10 a.m.               Opening Session--Keynote Address
Susan Williams, Educational Director at Highlander Research and Education Center

10:15 – 11 a.m.               Concurrent Session 1
   • Whose Program Is It? Power and Decision-Making at The Open Book (An Adult Literacy
       Organization in NYC). (D. Ramdeholl, New York)
   • Critical Race Theory: Nature and Relevance (T.S. Rocco, Florida International
       University & E.A. Peterson, National Louis University)
   • Learning Together to Build Social Capital (L. Sayre, New York)
   • Participation Training: A Descriptive Case Study of Methods and Processes (M. Treff,
       Ball State University)
   • Evaluating Progress toward Practice Change: A Logic Model Approach (L.M. Elsinger &
       J. N. Savoy, UW –Madison)
   • Authentic and School-Only Literacy Events in Four Adult Basic Education Classrooms
       (P. Medina, Buffalo State College)

11:15 a.m.- 12 noon          Concurrent Session 2
   • Knowledge Construction in the Early Years: A Content Analysis of the Three Adult
       Education Journals, 1926-1955 (W. Diehl, E. Long, J. Crandall & F.M. Schied,
       Pennsylvania State University)
   • Crossing International Borders: Bridging Communication Gaps Between American Adult
       Educators and International Students (A.L. Callahan, University of Wyoming)
   • Mentoring and Social Capital: Men’s Perceptions of Learning, Mentoring, and Social
       Capital Creation for Women in Central Pennsylvania Rotary Clubs (a follow-up to
       women’s perceptions, 2004) (J.P. Rutter, III, Pennsylvania State University)
   • Facilitating the Group Conflicts Among Diverse Adult Students in Online Small Groups
       (R.O. Smith, UW-Milwaukee & J.M. Dirkx, Michigan State University)
   • Teaching Political Savvy in the Workplace (D. Truty & S. Purlee, Northeastern Illinois
   • Midwest Adult Education Research Methodologies: An Update: Twenty Four Year
       Survey (A.K. Ahmed, United Arab Emirates University & A.J. Barrett II, Adams County
       Service Complex)

12 noon - 1:15 p.m.         Lunch

1:15 – 2 p.m.                Poster Sessions & Networking
   • Development of Web-based Crime Scene Management Course for Veterinarians and
       Agricultural Professionals (D. McCay, S.F. Amass, & T.F. Collins Purdue University
   • Creating Exceptional Experiences: Adult Education used to Transform Healthcare
       Culture (L. Docque & H.S. Merrill, IUPUI)
   • Communities of Practice Serving as an Analytical Tool (M. Wang, & L.L. Bakken, UW–

2 - 2:45 p.m.                 Concurrent Session 3
    • Adult Education as Social Practice: Rediscovering the Purpose of Adult Education during
        the Carnegie Years (R. Gungor, E. Gnanadass, H.M. Park, & F.M. Schied, Pennsylvania
        State University)
    • Comparing the American and European Perspectives of the International Concept of
        Andragogy and the Implications for Adult Education Practice (J.A. Henschke, University
        of Missouri-St. Louis & M.K. Cooper)
    • Adult Education in Local Initiatives for Ecological and Cultural Sustainability: Three
        Case Studies in the Midwest USA. (J.L. Woodhouse, Northern Illinois University)
    • Role playing stakeholders to understand a university-community collaboration context: A
        simulation exercise (A.L. Kaufman, UW-Madison, J. Wortsman, South Metropolitan
        Planning Council, & L. Kay, UW-Madison )
    • Continuum of Cultural Development and HCP Proficiency (R. Cain, Ball State
    • Adult Career Transition: Exploring the Concerns of Military Retirees (S. Johnston, E.
        Fletcher, G. Ginn, & D. Stein, The Ohio State University)

3 - 3:45 p.m.                  Concurrent Session 4
    • Online Life Review Education for Aging Cancer Patients (M. Wise & L. Marchand, UW-
    • The Conceptualization of Assertiveness among Women in West Sumatra (I. Usman & M.
        Glowacki-Dudka, Ball State University)
    • Religiosity & Spirituality Expressed in the Practice of Social Justice Activists (M.J.
        Alvarez, The Pennsylvania State University)
    • Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions of Online Learning (K.J. Armstrong & T.M.
        Mulvihill, Ball State University)
    • Factors Influencing Indiana Psychiatrists in the Selection of Continuing Medical
        Education (K.A. Nolley, East Carolina University)
    • A Spectrum of Possibilities: Workforce Development Professionals and Their Decision to
        Enroll in Higher Education (D.S. Stein, C.E. Wanstreet, & L. Trinko, The Ohio State

4 - 4:45 p.m.                 Concurrent Session 5
    • Finding Voice: Adult Learners and Shared Decision Making in Family Literacy (B. W.
        Toso, E. Prins, E. Gnanadass, B. Drayton & R. Gungor, Pennsylvania State University)
    • Association pour le Progres et la Defense des Droits des Femmes: Creation,
        Participation, and Contribution to Social Change (M. Konate, Northern Illinois
    • Twin Solitudes: Reunification of Cyprus through Transformative Education.(R. Ty,
        Northern Illinois University)
    • Fired Up!!: The Motivation of Parent Advocates in the Public School System (T.
    • Health Education and Faith-Based Institutions: A Learning Merger (M. Rowland, Ohio
        State University & E.P. Isaac, University of Missouri-St. Louis)

6:00 - 9:00 P.M.            Evening Reception - E. B. Ball Center
Sponsored by Doubletake Software, Inc.

7:15 - 8:15 a.m.   Steering Committee Meeting

8:30 – 10 a.m.             Panel Plenary Session
   • Susan Williams from The Highlander Research and Education Center,
   • Dr. John Matlock, Ball State University
   • Dr. John Vann, Ball State University

10:15 – 11 a.m.              Concurrent Session 6
   • National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, 1880-1980: 100 Years of Lifting and
       Climbing (A. Busch & E.P. Isaac, University of Missouri-St. Louis)
   • Social Change and National Literacy Campaigns, An Example from the Developing
       World: Turkish Village Institutes (Ö. Zabitgil & T. Hess, Pennsylvania State University)
   • Building Communities, Bridging Communities: Adult learning, Social Capital and
       Neighborhood Centers (D. Rooney & R. Morris, University of Technology, Sydney, AU)
   • Using Praxis II: Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) Scores to Sustain an Online
       Learning Community for Adults Transitioning to Teaching in Ohio (M. Moore, B.
       Gimbert, P. Kurth, & J. Ray, The Ohio State University)
   • Leadership and Power in Fostering a Collaborative Community in a Non-profit
       Professional Organization (R.P. Githens, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
   • Graduate Student Breakout for conversation and networking (Continues into next

11:15 a.m. - 12 noon        Concurrent Session 7
   • Graduate Student Award Winner – will repeat session.
   • Post-Colonial Feminist Theory: Past Contributions, Gaps, and Future Possibilities (M.
       Konate & R. Ty, Northern Illinois University)
   • Cultural Self-Identity and World Affairs Education: Contextual Building Blocks for
       Sustainable Communities in an Interconnected World (S. Yelich-Biniecki & Simone
       Conceição, UW-Milwaukee)
   • Communities of Inquiry in a Blended Environment: The Effect of Group Mode and Time
       in Course on Learning (C.E. Wanstreet, The Ohio State University)
   • Listening as Healing Presence: A Qualitative Investigation of Adults Learning to Listen
       (P. Webb, The Learning Shire)
   • Graduate Student Breakout for conversation and networking. (Continued from previous

12 noon – 2 p.m.             Lunch and Closing Session

                          Proceedings of the 26th Annual
                     Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference
            in Adult, Continuing, Community and Extension Education

                                      Table of Contents

Author(s)                  Papers                                                         Pages
Ahmed Khaled Ahmed &       Midwest Adult Education Research Methodologies: An             1-6
Andrew J. Barrett II       Update: Twenty Four Year Survey
Kirk Armstrong & Thalia    Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions of Online Learning         7-12
M. Mulvihill
Arthelda Busch & E.        National Association of Colored Women's Clubs, 1880-1980:      13-18
Paulette Isaac             100 Years of Lifting and Climbing
Ruby Cain                  Continuum of Cultural Development and HCP Proficiency          19-24
Aimee Callahan             Crossing International Borders: Bridging Communication         25-30
                           Gaps Between American Adult Educators and International
Lisa Elsinger & Julia N.   Evaluating Progress toward Practice Change: A Logic Model      30-36
Savoy                      Approach
Tania Giordani             Fired Up!!: The Motivation of Parent Advocates in the Public   37-42
                           School System
Rod P. Githens             Leadership and Power in Fostering a Collaborative              43-58
                           Community in a Non-profit Professional Organization
John A. Henschke &         Comparing the American and European Perspectives of the        59-54
Mary K. Cooper             International Concept of Andragogy and the Implications for
                           Adult Education Practice
Susan Johnston, Edward     Adult Career Transition: Exploring the Concerns of Military    55-60
Fletcher, Gina Ginn, &     Retirees
David Stein
Ariel Kaufman, Jodi        Role Playing Stakeholders to Understand a University-          61-66
Wortsman & Lori Kay        Community Collaboration Context: A Simulation Exercise
Maimouna Konate            Association pour le Progres et la Defense des Droits des       67-72
                           Femmes: Creation, Participation, and Contribution to Social
Patricia Medina            Authentic and School-Only Literacy Events in Four Adult        73-78
                           Basic Education Classrooms
Maria H. Moore, Belinda    Using Praxis II: Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT)     79-82
Gimbert, Paula Kurth &     Scores to Sustain an Online Learning Community for Adults
Janet Ray                  Transitioning to Teaching in Ohio

Author(s)                Papers                                                          Pages
Kevin A. Nolley          Factors Influencing Indiana Psychiatrists in the Selection of   85-88
                         Continuing Medical Education
Diane Ramdeholl          It Must Be Told - Stories of Dreams, Hope, and Possibility      89-94
                         from The Open Book (Oral Histories from the NYC Literacy
Tonette Rocco &          Critical Race Theory: Nature and Relevance                      95-99
Elizabeth A. Peterson
Donna L Rooney &         Building Communities, Bridging Communities: Adult               100-105
Roger Morris             Learning, Social Capital and Neighborhood Centers
Michael Rowland &        Health Education and Faith-Based Institutions: A Learning       106-111
Paulette Isaac-Savage    Merger
J. Paul Rutter III       Mentoring and Social Capital: Men’s Perceptions of              112-115
                         Learning, Mentoring, and Social Capital Creation for Women
                         in Central Pennsylvania Rotary Clubs
Linda Sayre              Learning Together to Build Social Capital                       117-121
Regina Smith & John M.   Facilitating the Group Conflicts among Diverse Adult            122-127
Dirkx                    Students in Online Small Groups
David S. Stein,          A Spectrum of Possibilities: Workforce Development              128-133
Constance Wanstreet &    Professionals and Their Decision to Enroll in Higher
Lynn Trinko              Education
Blaire Willson Toso,     Finding Voice: Adult Learners and Shared Decision Making        134-139
Esther Prins, Edith      in Family Literacy
Gnanadass, Brendaly
Drayton, & Ramazan
Marjorie Treff           Participation Training: A Descriptive Case Study of Methods     140-145
                         and Processes
Daniela Truty & Sarah    Teaching Political Savvy in the Workplace                       146-151
Reynaldo Ty              Twin Solitudes: Reunification of Cyprus through                 152-157
                         Transformative Education
Reynaldo Ty &            Post-Colonial Feminist Theory: Past Contributions, Gaps,        158-163
Maimouna Konate          and Future Possibilities
Irianti Usman &          The Conceptualization of Assertiveness among Women in           164-169
Michelle Glowacki-       West Sumatra: A Socio-Cultural Descriptive Analysis
Constance Wanstreet      Communities of Inquiry in a Blended Environment: The            170-175
                         Effect of Group Mode and Time in Course on Learning

Author(s)                 Papers                                                          Pages
Patricia Webb             Listening as Healing Presence: A Qualitative Investigation of   176-181
                          Adults Learning to Listen
Meg Wise & Lucille        Online Life Review Education for Aging Cancer Patients          182-187
Janice L. Woodhouse       Adult Education in Local Initiatives for Ecological and         188-193
                          Cultural Sustainability: Three Case Studies in the Midwest
Susan Yelich Biniecki &   Cultural Self-Identity and World Affairs Education:             194-199
Simone Conceição          Contextual Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities in
                          an Interconnected World
Ozlem Zabitgil & Trina    Social Change and National Literacy Campaigns, An               200-205
Hess                      Example from the Developing World: Turkish Village

                                   Poster Presentations
Author(s)                 Papers                                                          Page
Lainey Docque & Henry     Creating Exceptional Experiences: Adult Education used to       206
Merrill                   Transform Healthcare Culture
Don McCay, Sandra F.      Development of Web-based Crime Scene Management                 207
Amass & Timothy F.        Course for Veterinarians and Agricultural Professionals
Min-Fen Wang & Lori L.    Communities of Practice Serving as an Analytical Tool           208

    Midwest Adult Education Research Methodologies: An Update with a
   Twenty-five Year Review and Implications for Research at the College of
            Education, United Arab Emirates University (UAEU)
                          Ahmed Khaled Ahmed & Andrew J. Barrett II

        Trends in research methodology selection for the 24 years (1983 - 2006) of the MR2P
Conference are presented and analyzed and compared to the present research methods used by
faculty in UAEU'S College of Education. Findings indicate a strong trend toward qualitative
methods continues in the MR2P selections and that the UEAU faculty prefer quantitative

        The purpose of the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference as contained in the Mission
Statement has been in the front of the Proceedings since 1992. It states that:
        The conference provides a forum for practitioners and researchers to discuss
        practices, concepts, evaluation, and research studies in order to improve practice
        in Adult Education. It facilitates dialogue and the initiation and pursuit of projects
        among individuals and groups working in various fields of Adult Education.
        Through such discussion and collaboration participants contribute toward the
        realization of a more human and just society through lifelong learning. (Isaac,
        2006, p. vii)
        The charge contained in this statement of purpose has informed the approach used in the
referred review of the research and the methodologies used in the papers presented at the
conference over the last twenty-five years. These research approaches should be compatible with
the practitioners' needs and their ability to understand and apply the findings of the research to
their practice settings. This article will summarize and comment on the trends in research
methodologies that have appeared in the Proceeding since 1983. It is a reprise of a similar review
reported at the Conference in 2000 (Barrett and Ahmed, 2000).

                                       Research Questions
   1.   What are the trends in research methodology selection over the last twenty-five years as
        evidenced by the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference (MR2P Conference)
   2.   What MR2P Conference committee selection rationales can be identified in this review?
   3.   What are some of the changes if any in the research methodology selection in the last
        seven years (2000 - 2006) compared to the previous 17 years as evidenced by the MR2P
        Conference proceedings?
   4.   What are the trends in the types of research methodology selected by United Arab
        Emirate University (UAEU) College of Education faculty members over the past five

                                 The Importance of the Review
        Just as the farmer plowing a field looking back to where the furrow lays to see if it is

straight, so too the field of adult, continuing and community education should review or look
back at its "furrows". The selection of research methods for the MR2P Conference may influence
what is submitted in succeeding years, how research is conducted going forward, and even what
methods are taught and used in dissertations in Doctoral programs. In fact, trends tend to be self-
reinforcing over time (Johanek, 1998). Leaders in the discipline may have made a conscious and
deliberate decision that was aware of the potential consequences when the mission statement was
developed in 1991. Regardless, the selection committees and processes used to identify the
proposals for inclusion in the MR2P Conference
         Proceedings may have developed into a pattern which influences succeeding selection
committees and their results. Identifying any pattern that may exist and creating an opportunity
for its discussion is potentially important to the Adult Education field in the Midwest and to the
future MR2P Conference participants.

        We collected and analyzed data on the research methods used by presenters at the MR2P
Conference from 1983 to 1999, and from 2000 to 2006. Each researcher reviewed and noted the
types of research methodologies used in each article published in the conference proceedings.
Then, we cross checked and verified each other for accurate reporting. Most of the time, the
authors of the articles in the proceedings declared the research methodology they intended to use.
When that statement was not present, a complete reading of the text was used to make a
judgment. The articles were classified into four general categories: Quantitative, Qualitative,
Both, and Neither. The data are presented below in the section of findings. A simple regression
line was used to analyze any trend in the research methodologies over the twenty-four years. The
conference proceedings for 2005 were not available and the surrounding years findings were
averaged to fill in the data.
        In addition, to obtain a contrasting international insight, Ahmed interviewed ten faculty
members from the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) to identify their research
methodology selection as indicated in their research productivity. The purpose of conducting the
interviews was to see if there is a similar trend in the research methodology selection in the
UAEU where Ahmed is currently working. The findings have been analyzed to identify trends
using simple linear regression. We have also verified and cross-checked each other's findings for
accurate reporting. The implications of this study and the relevance of the findings are
examined from our point of view in the context of careers and personal research experiences.

                                          Ahmed’s Story
        I received my doctoral degree in adult, higher, and community education from Ball State
University in 2001. I received two Masters of Arts (MA) degrees from Ball State University, one
in Linguistics and one in Secondary Education. My MA thesis was a quantitative study, and my
doctoral dissertation was a qualitative case study. I have been trained as a quantitative and
qualitative researcher. While completing my coursework for the doctorate, I was involved in
several educational program evaluation projects under the guidance of Dr. McElhinney who used
predominantly qualitative methods. I have also used the qualitative approach in program and
personnel evaluation, and staff development courses. Since completing my degree at Ball State
University, I have been working as an assistant professor of foundations of education at the
United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) where I have been heavily involved in teacher
education preparation and based National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education

(NCATE) accreditation process. The UAEU has been going through major changes in its
structure, delivery system, and content of its curriculum. I have been part of this change. The
College of Education has been granted an International academic recognition by the Center for
Quality Assurance in International Education (CQAIE) in conjunction with the Washington-
based NCATE for the period (2005-2010). When I started my job at the UAEU, I discovered that
Arab Faculty members at the college of education think very little of qualitative research. Even
though I tend to lean toward qualitative research methodologies, I conducted several quantitative
studies. I believe that both traditions complement each other and education professor should use
both methodologies to create a deep understanding and generate conclusions. Maybe, I can
succeed in convincing my fellow faculty members of the value of qualitative research.

                                             Andy’s Story
        I completed my doctoral studies in Adult, Higher, and Community Education at Ball
State University (BSU) two and a half years ago. While at BSU, I was a graduate research
assistant for Dr. Peter Murk. We engaged in both quantitative and qualitative research projects.
For my research project to complete the requirements for my dissertation, I used a very high
order of statistical processes, structural equation modeling, to develop and measure the required
levels of reliability and validity. I had worked in healthcare management for 25 years prior to
undertaking my degree program.
        As I discussed in our earlier paper, I was greatly influenced in my appreciation of
research methods by two of my professors who were polar opposites in their research
perspectives. Jim McElhinney has an abiding interest in the use of qualitative techniques to
understand and give meaning to phenomena of interest. Pete Murk, on the other hand, was a
classic positivist and generally devoted to the quantitative approach to developing theory and
testing hypotheses. Peter was compelled to develop a better understanding of qualitative
techniques to be of value to the students he was assisting in doctoral research endeavors. He and
I engaged in a research project that used both approaches. This was a very successful endeavor
and resulted in a deep understanding of why third age learners participate in learning events and
the effects their participation has on their sense of well-being. I came to believe that both
quantitative and qualitative approaches have value. The most important characteristics of
research processes are that they are well done and answer the research questions in the most
appropriate manner.

                                         Literature Review
        Imel, Kerka and Wonacott in an ERIC Practitioner File on qualitative research reviewed
the differences between qualitative and quantitative research. In addition to describing these
research methods, they affirmed that "Researchers approach inquiry from a particular
philosophical stance or world view, which determines the purpose, design, and methods used and
the interpretation of the results" (Blunt, 1994 as cited in Imel et al, 2002 p. 1). Imel et al.'s
excellent review of the state of research in adult education concluded: "Ultimately, many agree
that the research question should guide the choice of research methods and techniques" (p. 2). If
the question addresses a "how" or "what" type of inquiry the authors suggest a qualitative
approach might be more suitable. Likewise a "why" question would be more appropriately
addressed using quantitative techniques. Since theory development is most often a "why" type of
inquiry seeking a possible cause for a phenomena, a field that is dominated by a qualitative
research oriented may be in danger of falling short in theory development. (Imel et al., 2002). A

philosophical world view can also dictate an either/or situation and may preclude the use of
combined or mixed research methods if the research question would benefit from such an
approach. If one believes that the real world can not be known and only the present and can be
discovered through a naturalistic approach that seeks to understand phenomena in context
specific settings than a quantitative methodology is fundamentally ruled out as a research tool
(Hoepfl, 1997). The field of adult education may reflect this belief in the selection of
predominantly qualitative research.
        In our review of the proceedings of the Midwest R2P Conferences, we identified similar
review studies conducted by other scholars (McElhinney, 1985; Fisher & Martin, 1987;
Donaldson & Rentfro, 2006). Donaldson and Rentfro (2006) conducted a content analysis of
three adult education journals: Adult Education Quarterly (AEQ), Adult Learning (AL), and The
Journal of Continuing Education (JCHE). Among other factors, they reviewed research
methodologies. They reported that out 44 empirical articles in adult education literature, 15
(34.1%) used qualitative, 24 (54.6 %) quantitative, three (6.8%) mixed, and two (4.6%) historical
research methodologies.
        Internationally, the trend in at least technical education related research was strongly
leaning toward the use of qualitative methods in a review in the 1990's while the predominant
method in the US was quantitative (Hoepfl, 1997). Our earlier study demonstrated that the
research documented in the MR2P Conference articles was qualitative (Barrett &Ahmed, 2000).

                                       Summary of Findings
        The trends revealed from the previous study reported in 2000 (Barrett and Ahmed) were
confirmed in the present analysis as shown in Table 1. Almost seventy-five percent of MR2P
Conference articles since 1995 using a qualitative, quantitative or dual research method have
used a qualitative method. The trend that was identified in 2000 has appeared to solidify with the
use of qualitative methodologies dominating the research. As reported in 2000, the average
number of quantitative articles was 8.6 from 1983 to 1999 and 8.5 for qualitative articles. This
was essentially a tie over the seventeen years. Table 1 shows the effects of the shift toward
qualitative articles with an average of 10.5 versus 7.4 for quantitative articles now from 1983 to

              % Quantiative or Qualitative

                                             50.0%                     2
                                                                      R = 0.57
                                             40.0%                                       Qualitative(%)

                                             20.0%                                       (Quantitative(%))
                                             0.0%                     R2 = 0.70
                                                 1980   1990          2000        2010

              Figure 1: Percent of Quantitative and Qualitative articles in the MR2P
             Proceedings and linear regression lines for selected years (1983 - 2006)

         The trend lines in Figure 1 are even more dramatic then the trend lines from the 2000
study. The percent of studies that use quantitative research methods plummets from almost 50%
of all studies to near zero in 2006. The raw number of quantitative studies has been between 3
and 6 since 1995 and the percentage has been between 7.9% and 15.8%. The Cronbach
coefficient alpha, a, or R2 for both studies are over .70 for the quantitative trend line and .50 for
the qualitative trend line. This means that the lines explain 70% and 50% of the variance in the
data respectively. In addition, the percent of articles that are not research based has grown to
over fifty percent of all articles in the proceedings in some recent years.
         Contrary to the findings of the Midwest R2P Conference articles, the evidence collected
from the UAEU'S College of Education professors' interviews indicated several findings as
shown below in Table 2.
Table 2
Methodologies used by faculty members at UAEU from 2002 to 2006
                                Quantitative Qualitative   Both   Other   Total   Quantitative(%) Qualitative(%) Both(%)   Other(%)
Total Publications                  40           19         7      16      82        48.80%         23.20%        8.50%    19.50%
Published Articles                  24            8         5      11      48        50.00%         16.70%       10.40%    22.90%
Conference Presentations            16           11         2       2      34        47.10%         32.40%        5.90%     5.90%

        As shown in Table 2, faculty members at UAEU preferred using quantitative research
methodologies over qualitative. The 10 participants reported their publications and conference
presentations over five year period (2002-2006). There were 40 quantitative research studies
(48.8%) out of 82 published articles and conference presentations while there were only 19
qualitative studies (23%). Furthermore, 24 articles (50.0%) published in refereed journals were
quantitative and only 8 articles (16.7%) were qualitative. Out of 34 articles presented at
conferences 16 articles (47.1 %) were quantitative and 11 articles (32.4%) were qualitative.
Nine articles of these qualitative presentations belonged to a newly arrived New Zealand
        It is clear from these results that faculty members at UAEU prefer quantitative research
methodologies over qualitative. Some interviewees reported that they prefer quantitative research
methodologies over qualitative because they were trained as quantitative researchers and they do
not know much about qualitative research methodologies or they cannot get published if they
used them. Some thought that qualitative research methodologies are not rigorous enough and
they do not yield themselves to generalizations or theory building. The implications of these
results are serious. Since the UAEU adopted performance-based education, it is only appropriate
that faculty member at the college of education establish a balance between their research and
their teaching. They need to realize the value and implications of qualitative research for the
improvement of practice and a better understanding of their learners' diversity and special needs.
We need to propagate and maybe offer some workshops on qualitative research methodologies.
Faculty members at UAEU need to realize the great contributions that qualitative research can
        Implications for MR2P: There appear to be two different selection criteria trends: one for
the MR2P and the other for the Adult Education Journals reviewed by Donaldson and Rentfro.
The emphasis on practice being informed by research as opposed to the development of theory in
the journals may account for this difference. The Mission of the MR2P Conference appears to be
guiding the selection committee. And authors should be guided by these trends both in the
articles that are proposed and the research orientation that is used.

Barrett, A. J., II and Ahmed, A. K. "Midwest Adult Education Research Methodology" in
        Honoring our roots and branches...Our history and future. Proceedings of the 19th
        annual Midwest research-to-practice conference in adult, continuing, and community
        education, Madison, Wisconsin, September 27-29, 2000, edited by M. Glowaki-Dudka.
        (ED 445 203)
Blunt, A. "The Future of Adult Education Research" in Research Perspectives in Adult
        Education, edited by D. R. Garrison, pp. 167-209, Malabar, FL: Krieger, 1994
Donaldson, J. F. & Rentfro, A. L. (2006). Adult undergraduates in the Adult Education literature:
        Mainstream or marginal? in Proceedings of the 25th. annual Midwest research-to-
        practice conference in adult, continuing, extension, and community education. University
        of Missouri-St.Louis. edited by P. Isaac
Fisher, J. C. and Martin, L. G. (1987). A decade of research contributions to the adult basic
        education literature in Proceedings of the Midwest research-to- practice conference in
        adult, continuing, and community Education. 1-5.
Hoepfl, M. C. (1997). Choosing qualitative research: A primer for technology education
        teachers. Journal of Technology Education, 9 (1), 1-17.
Johanek, C. L. (1998). A contextualist research paradigm for rhetoric and composition.
        Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation: Ball State University, Muncie, IN.
Jones, C. (2004). Quantitative and qualitative research: Conflicting paradigms or perfect partners
        in Proceedings of the networked learning conference 2004, 1-8.
McElhinney, J. (1985). Transitional experiences as experimentalists utilize naturalistic research
        methods in The Proceeding of the fourth annual Midwest research-to- practice
        conference in adult, continuing, and community education. 125-130.
United Arab Emirates University (2006) College of Education: College with mission. or
Ahmed Khaled Ahmed ( is an assistant professor of Foundations of
Education, United Arab Emirates University, Department of Foundations of Education, College
of Education, P.O. Box # 17551, Al-Ain, UAE

Andrew J. Barrett II ( is the Adult Education coordinator for North
Adams Community Schools in Decatur, IN

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

             Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions of Online Learning
                            Kirk J. Armstrong & Thalia M. Mulvihill

        A qualitative descriptive design was used to understand the perceptions held by
undergraduate athletic training students regarding their online learning experiences. Students
enrolled in an online course within the curriculum (i.e., General Medical Conditions or
Pharmacology) at the time of the study were identified as this population (14 students). Four
students completed 60-minute semi-structured interviews. All interviews were tape recorded,
transcribed and coded utilizing an open coding method. Coding identified three themes and three
sub-themes, including the quantity/quality of interactions, responsibility of knowledge
acquisition and availability of course information. Participants expressed that the quantity and
quality of interactions throughout the online courses were not meaningful. Responses also
revealed a lack of understanding regarding their role in acquiring knowledge in an online
environment, in addition to faculty inexperience with adult learning principles. A reported
benefit of online learning was the availability of course material; however, this availability was
also detrimental, as assignments were easily overlooked/forgotten. Overall, participants did not
perceive their online educational experiences as beneficial as their classroom experiences. More
emphasis on both students’ and faculties’ understanding of online learning, particularly adult
learning principles and online learning strategies, may increase students’ level of satisfaction
with online courses.

        Distance education, as a field, has grown from a simple form of correspondence to a
highly sophisticated, synchronous and asynchronous interactive learning environment
(Charalambos & Michalinos, 2004). The physical separation of the facilitator and the learner
stands as one of the pillars in defining distance education (Wright, Stewart, Wright, & Barker,
2002). Despite this separation, learning in an online environment is an ongoing task. The learners
within this unique environment take away more than simply content knowledge. The online
environment allows learners to interact with diverse groups of people, resources and contexts
which are not possible with traditional face-to-face learning (Charalambos & Michalinos, 2004;
Harvey, 2002; Huett, Moller, & Young, 2004; Koszalka & Ganesan, 2004; Li & Akins, 2005;
Pavey & Garland, 2004). However, facilitating an online course is not as simple as using
technology as an instructional medium for student learning. Online courses facilitated through
sound educational underpinning can profoundly impact the quality of the online learning
experience. With a rapid growth in the online delivery of entry-level and continuing athletic
training education courses, it is important to understand how athletic training students perceive
their education experiences in online courses.

                     Best practice strategies for facilitating online learning
       Online learning presents a unique theoretical framework that allows the learner to gain
the most out of the learning experience. Maor (2003) and Milam, Voorhees, and Bedard-
Voorhees (2004) discussed the considerable time involved with online learning, both through the
preparation and organization of materials, thought and reflection. Like traditional courses, online

courses should be designed in a student-centered manner that places the student at the heart of all
learning transactions. Learning is not solely based on the acquisition of knowledge; rather
learning should be the construction of knowledge through instructional activities and personal
experience (Goodfellow & Lea, 2005; Koszalka & Ganesan, 2004). The online environment
allows learners to interact with a diverse group of people, resources and contexts which are not
possible in a traditional classroom (Charalambos & Michalinos, 2004; Harvey, 2002; Huett et al.,
2004; Koszalka & Ganesan, 2004; Li & Akins, 2005; Pavey & Garland, 2004). Thus, it is
important for both facilitators and learners within an online learning environment to understand
the pedagogical framework of learning online.

Context of an Online Learning Environment
        Learning remains the ultimate goal despite that the context differs in an online
environment. First and foremost, the structure of online learning should not simply be a transfer
of material from a face-to-face course into a technology-based course management system, such
as Blackboard or WebCT (Charalambos & Michalinos, 2004; Goodfellow & Lea, 2005;
Koszalka & Ganesan, 2004; Li & Akins, 2005; Sims et al., 2002). Technology is a tool in the
learning process and should be viewed as a tool, not an end to learning (Li & Akins, 2005). The
structure of an online course should utilize instructional strategies that allow the learners to
incorporate owned experiences with the course content in order to build new knowledge through
the collaboration with others (Wright et al., 2002). The lack of personal contact between the
learners and facilitator creates a context where more emphasis is focused on building and
fostering relationships. The structure of an online learning environment places responsibility on
the student, contributing as little or as much as he/she desires (Goodfellow & Lea, 2005;
Lorenzetti, 2005; Pavey & Garland, 2004).

Content within an Online Course
        The content of an online course needs to be presented in a manner that provides
opportunities for the learners to engage with multiple resources, integrate multiple types of
interactions and forms of communication (Koszalka & Ganesan, 2004), and interact with the
instructor and fellow learners (Charalambos & Michalinos, 2004; Goodfellow & Lea, 2005;
Huett et al., 2004; Pavey & Garland, 2004). In an online learning environment, interaction is one
of the most critical factors to the learning process. Interaction is about successful communication
in the online environment with other learners, the course material, and other modes of instruction
(Sims, Dobbs, & Hand, 2002). The quality and quantity of the interactions will ultimately
determine the effectiveness and efficiency of the learning environment (Maor, 2003).

Strategies for Facilitating an Online Course
         Technology can be an effective tool to enhance teaching and learning; however,
technology should never be at the center of learning (Li & Akins, 2005). When implementing
online courses, a student-centered approach that promotes regular interaction and feedback
should be considered (Wright et al., 2002), namely one that promotes higher order thinking skills
(e.g., critical thinking, reflection) throughout the learning experience (Li & Akins, 2005).
         In an online environment, it is important for an instructor to recognize his/her role shift
from lecturer to facilitator (Li & Akins, 2005; Milam, Voorhees, & Bedard-Voorhees, 2004;
Wright et al., 2002). The facilitator should be represented as a participant, where his/her opinions
and thoughts can be discussed, critiqued or challenged (Jamieson, 2003). The interactive

structure allows each learner to develop ownership within the learning transaction (Li & Akins,
2005; Maor, 2003).

Engaging Students Online
        Engagement and participation are essential in an online environment, as these interactions
are the cornerstone of learning (Jamieson, 2003; Li & Akins, 2005; Maor, 2003; Milam et al.,
2004; Sims et al., 2002). A benefit of the online environment is that it allows learners to work
together to break down the isolation and develop a sense of community (Jamieson, 2003; Li &
Akins, 2005; Maor, 2003; Sims et al., 2002). The environment should be structured purposively
to involve interactions to stimulate learning and collaboration.
        Interaction and engagement must thrive between the learners, instructor and the
content/course material. The online environment caters to a wide range of formats: from pre-
determined static elements (i.e., PDF files) to the dynamic state (i.e., interactive multimedia)
where various materials are sourced, purposed and constructed for all learners in the environment
(Sims et al., 2002). The interaction with the various types of materials allow the learners to
develop a deeper understanding of the content (Charalambos & Michalinos, 2004; Koszalka &
Ganesan, 2004).

                        Research Rationale and Description of Research
        Limited research exists examining the perceptions that undergraduate students hold
toward online learning, with no research examining the perceptions of athletic training students.
Thus, the following questions guided this investigation:
    1. How do undergraduate students’ perceive their online learning experiences?
    2. What aspects of online learning do the students perceive as beneficial?
    3. What do undergraduate students understand about the online learning pedagogy?
    4. How do instructors facilitate meaningful experiences within the online courses?
        Participants were recruited for this investigation due to their enrollment in an online
course within the Athletic Training Education Program (ATEP). The ATEP hosts two online
courses: General Medical Conditions and Pharmacology. For this investigation, senior level
students enrolled in the General Medical Conditions course were targeted, as this population had
more experiences in traditional face-to-face courses throughout the ATEP. At the time of the
study, 14 students were identified as this population.
        Four participants were included in the sample, at which time data saturation was
achieved. Participants completed a 60-minute semi-structured interview. All interviews were
recorded using an audio cassette tape. All interviews were transcribed verbatim. Observer
comments captured during the interviews also served as data. Data were analyzed and coded
using an open coding method based on themes, phrases, patterns of thought and behaviors.
        From the analysis of the qualitative data, three themes and three sub-themes became
evident. The major themes included the quantity and quality of interactions, responsibility of
knowledge acquisition, and availability of course information. The sub-themes consisted of, self-
directed learning, the role of students and instructors in acquiring knowledge, and student

                                        Research Findings
Quantity of Interactions
        Interactions with Peers. The lack of peer interactions was expressed as the most
detrimental component of the online experience. Participants reported that the structure of the
courses did not allow interactions throughout the experience. As one participant commented:
        There is a drawback of not being able to work with your peers. The peer learning
        gives another chance to practice and another way of learning the information.
        Interactions with Course Instructor. Interactions with the course instructor also lacked.
Rather than the immediate feedback that the classroom offers, participants reported that the lag
time in the responses from the instructor was detrimental.
        Interactions with Course Material. Interactions with course material were viewed
positively, as these interactions allowed the participants to apply the material within the context
of clinical practice. Participants reported that the interactions with the course material were
plentiful through assigned readings, outside resources or multimedia resources.

Quality of Interactions
        Interactions with Peers. Participants indicated that the ability to engage in meaningful
interactions is important in an online learning environment. Participants illustrated that the
quality of interactions with peers were poorly structured, namely that discussion prompts did not
encourage the construction or application of knowledge.
        Interactions with Course Instructor. Participants reported that the instructors often
provided inadequate feedback throughout the online experience. As one participant commented:
        If you don’t have any questions for them, you don’t interact with them. Half way
        through the semester, we received tips on improving grades on the assignments.
        Interactions with Course Material. Interactions with the material allow the learner not
only to understand the content, but how to apply this into a real-life context. Despite that
assignments were based on actual clinical cases, participants shared that the interactions with the
course material were not adequate. As one participant shared:
        I definitely don’t feel like I apply what I learn. I don’t really feel like I’m learning
        much, so it would be hard to apply the knowledge.
        Interactions with Outside Resources. Engaging with outside resources was one of the
positive aspects of the courses. These resources were related to the assignments and were helpful
in sharing a different perspective of the material.

Responsibility of Knowledge Acquisition
        Role of Students. Participants did not understand their role in an online environment.
They expressed a lack of preparation when participating in the online course, spending more
time searching for answers to specific problems than understanding and applying the material.
        Role of Instructor. The content-centered model of learning was expressed from several
participants, where the instructor was viewed as the primary source of knowledge. As one
participant expressed:
        I almost feel that some sort of outline or study guide would be good for each
        chapter. That would really just end up being the cliff notes for the assignment,
        that would probably be the most helpful thing.
        Self-Directed Learning. The notion of self-directed learning was highlighted; however,
personal motivation and commitment to learning were not expressed. As one participant shared:

       I don’t think self-directed learning is effective… it might be effective for some
       groups of people, but for the majority it isn’t. You have to take the initiative to
       really learn the material and not just do what is needed to get a good grade.
Availability of Course Information
       The availability and accessibility of the course information was perceived as the most
beneficial aspect of the online learning experience. The ability to complete assignments when
and where the participants were able was viewed positively. Despite the benefits, the lack of a
designated class time was also problematic, as assignments were easily forgotten or overlooked.
       Student Behaviors. Participants reported that time spent engaging in online learning tasks
were less than the time spent for traditional courses. Traditional face-to-face courses require
constant engagement not present in the online environment. The structure and format of the
online modules were not perceived as beneficial. These modules did not allow the learners to
organize or create learning tasks.

Student Perceptions of Online Learning
        Overall, the participants did not perceive their educational experiences in online courses
within the athletic training curriculum as beneficial as traditional face-to-face courses. The
online courses are not perceived as important as other courses within the curriculum. The loss of
seat time in the classroom was expressed by the participants. In their opinion, the loss of seat
time in a traditional classroom equated to less learning from a lack of interactions with their
peers, course instructor and material. The inability to thoroughly grasp the content knowledge
was expressed with an emphasis that little application of the material had occurred.

                                  Implications for Adult Educators
        Implications from this investigation are important for adult educators to assess current
methods of online facilitation. More emphasis is needed on both students’ and faculties’
understanding of online learning, particularly adult learning principles and self-directed learning.
It was evident that the participants had little understanding of the structure, format and pedagogy
of online learning. From the onset of an online course, greater emphasis is needed to develop an
understanding of the students’ role in the online environment. This may increase students’ level
of satisfaction with online courses, as well as the perceived effectiveness of their online learning
        Faculty need to possess a better understanding of the online learning pedagogy,
particularly in the areas of adult learning principles and online learning strategies. The content-
centered structure did little to allow participants to engage with their peers, the instructor or the
course materials. A course structure that allows for a plethora of quality interactions is
imperative. Interactions were viewed as the most troubling component of these online
experiences. Participants in this investigation were aware that the interactions were lacking with
regards to both quantity and quality. It is imperative to structure an online course purposively to
promote various types of quality interactions throughout the experience.
        Overall, the participating undergraduate athletic training students did not perceive their
educational experiences in online courses to be as beneficial as traditional courses. More
emphasis on both students’ and faculties’ understanding of online learning, particularly in the
areas of adult learning principles and online learning strategies, may increase students’ level of
satisfaction with online courses.

Charalambos, V., & Michalinos, Z. (2004). The design of online learning communities: Critical
        issues. Education Media International, 41(2), 135-143.
Goodfellow, R., & Lea, M. R. (2005). Supporting writing for assessment in online learning.
        Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 30(3), 261-271.
Harvey, D. (2002). A new technology-first framework for the future design of online learning.
        The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 3(1), 59-63.
Huett, J., Moller, L., & Young, J. I. (2004). Building support for online courses from faculty and
        students. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 5, 253-264.
Jamieson, A. (2003). E-learning. Work Based Learning in Primary Care, 1(2), 137-146.
Koszalka, T. A., & Ganesan, R. (2004). Designing online course: A taxonomy to guide strategic
        use of features available in course Management systems (CMS) in distance education.
        Distance Education, 25(2), 243-256.
Li, Q., & Akins, M. (2005). Sixteen myths about online teaching and learning in higher
        education: Don't believe everything you hear. TechTrends, 49(4), 51-60.
Lorenzetti, J. P. (2005). Secrets of online success: Lessons from the community college.
        Distance Education Report, 9, 3-6.
Maor, D. (2003). The teacher's role in developing interaction and reflection in an online learning
        community. Educational Media International, 40(1), 127-137.
Milam, J., Voorhees, R. A., & Bedard-Voorhees, A. (2004). Assessment of online education:
        Policies, practices, and recommendations. New Directions for Community Colleges, 126,
Pavey, J., & Garland, S. W. (2004). The integration and implementation of a range of "e-tivities"
        to enhance students' interaction and learning. Innovations in Education and Teaching
        International, 41(3), 305-315.
Sims, R., Dobbs, G., & Hand, T. (2002). Enhancing quality in online learning: Scaffolding
        planning and design through proactive evaluation. Distance Education, 23(2), 135-148.
Wright, K. E., Stewart, J., Wright, V. H., & Barker, S. (2002). eLearning: Is there a place in
        athletic training education? Journal of Athletic Training, 37(4 Suppl), S208-S212.
Kirk J. Armstrong, Doctoral Assistant, Athletic Training Education Program, HP 209, Ball State
University, Muncie, IN 47306;

Thalia M. Mulvihill, Associate Professor, Social Foundations of Education/ Higher Education,
TC 810, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306;

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

           National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, 1896-1996:
                       100 Years of Lifting and Climbing
                              Arthelda M. Busch & E. Paulette Isaac

        Women have come a long way from the days of being relegated to domestic work and the
belief that they were incapable of doing a man’s work and, thus, inferior to men. Women have
proven over the years the value they have on our society. Some examples are seen through
individual efforts of women. Others have been witnessed through the activities of women’s
organizations like the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs (NACWC). The
NACWC unified African American women across the country in an effort to realize its mission,
embedded in its motto, Lifting As We Climb. Little has been documented on either the general
educational, or the adult educational activities of African American women through such
organizations. Using theme analysis, the activities of the NACWC were categorized into five
themes. They demonstrate the important educational role of the NACWC.

         Women’s history has slowly come into its own and is now being appreciated for its
power to enrich and sometimes alter the course of traditional history (Bernhard, Brandon, Fox-
Genovese & Perdue, 1994). Thus, women are no longer seen as refined and delicate due to their
ignorance (Woody, 1996). Women have demonstrated their ability to learn and master the same
subjects and tasks of men. During the 1880s, while white women enjoyed more privileges,
African American women were not as fortunate. African Americans in general were still feeling
the vestiges of slavery. The illiteracy rate among African Americans was high. Lynching’s of
African Americans, mostly men, were taking place, mainly in the South as a means of
oppression. The Ku Klux Klan was spreading racism and terrorism out of its own twisted
beliefs. However, in the midst of turmoil and strife, African American women of the National
Association of Colored Women’s Clubs took it upon themselves to educate African American
adults through a number of activities. The social context in the United States and the resulting
challenges that confronted African Americans governed the actions of the NACWC.
         In this country’s infancy, little attention was given to women, let alone the education of
women. Many men believed that women did not need to be educated. In spite of the prevailing
mindset, women were able to forge ahead and not only educate themselves, but others as well.
There are numerous reports of African American women, who during the antebellum and
reconstruction periods, were able to acquire advanced educational training. These included
women like Mary McCleod Bethune, founder of Bethune-Cookman College; Mary Shadd Cary,
the first woman to obtain a law degree from Howard University; and Mary Jane Patterson, the
first African American woman to graduate from Oberlin College. And, while they undoubtedly
had much pride in their personal accomplishments, African American women played a
significant role in promoting the mass education of African Americans (Neufelt & McGee,
1990). Many African American women at the turn of the century became teachers, formed
clubs, founded institutions, and provided many learning opportunities for African Americans.
Hence, there was a wide range of educational activities afforded to African Americans by
various community organizations, private individuals, and the African American church

throughout history. Many provided educational offerings when other avenues were closed to
African Americans as a result of state laws or a lack of interest in educating them. Such was the
case of African American women representing the work of the National Association of Colored
Women’s Clubs, Inc. (NACWC). Since its inception in the late 1800s, using its motto, Lifting
As We Climb, NACWC has educated countless men and women.

                          National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs
         African-American women have contributed much to this country in all fields of endeavor,
especially in the field of education. A review of the African American women’s club movement
in the United States provides a framework for exploring some of these contributions. An
analysis of the educational activities of the first national and secular African American women’s
organization, the NACWC, provides a rich source of information that can be used to document
some of the contributions made to the community by African American women during the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
         The NACWC, formerly known as the National Association of Colored Women (NACW),
was formed in 1896 as a result of the merger of the National League of Colored Women and the
National Federation of Afro-American Women. NACWC became the largest, cohesive, national
network of African American women dedicated to improving the lives of African Americans
(Hine, 1997; Hine & Thompson, 1998; Neufeld & McGee, 1990; Wesley, 1984). Many of the
founders of the NACWC were generally well-educated women, often from an elite middle class,
who bridged the gap between middle and lower class women through their work as clubwomen.
Other women’s organizations were often exclusive in their membership and did not embrace
economic diversity such as that displayed by the NACWC.
         According to Lerner (1981), the work of the women involved activities related to
identifying neglected community needs and providing welfare services designed to meet those
special needs. The work often led to building and maintaining institutions. The process of
institution building can be seen in different communities, “regardless of ethnic or racial group”
(Lerner, 1981, p. 47). The NACWC is one organization that engaged in meeting some of the
neglected needs of the African American community. The organization’s efforts began in the
latter part of the 19th century and have continued into the 21st century, using education as a tool
to assist in achieving its goals.
         The purpose of the NACWC is summarized in its motto-Lifting As We Climb. It
suggests the idea that learning is lifelong when there is an expectation of continuous self-
improvement. Likewise, the motto suggests that others may be lifted from their circumstances to
another level, or quality of life, as a result of the NACWC’s numerous educational programs and
projects. Furthermore, there is an implication of a continued effort to build and strengthen
neighborhoods and communities. Although the NACWC has been instrumental in providing
educational activities in the African American community, little has been documented on their
efforts thru an adult education lens. The purpose of this study was to examine and analyze how
the NACWC used education as a tool to achieve its goals in helping to lift African American
adults from their dire circumstances between 1896 and 1996.

       Background information about the NACWC was collected from a variety of sources
including related texts and historical documents. Historical documents included primary sources
such as minutes of convention proceedings, speeches, club reports, correspondence, brochures,

programs and pamphlets, as well as interviews. Information was gathered from a number of
sources including the libraries and archives of the St. Louis Public library system, the University
of Missouri-Columbia, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Washington University in St. Louis, the
Missouri Historical Society Library, and private collections.

         The educational activities of the NACWC were categorized into five major themes—a)
Health, b) Employment and Training, c) Political Action, d) Cultural Enrichment, and e) Black
History Preservation. Although space limitations do not allow us to fully discuss each theme in
details, we provide a few examples.
         Health issues were a major concern for the NACWC. Some of the earliest health
initiatives of the organization involved a focus on improving health conditions for the African
American community. These health initiatives were developed in a number of ways. During the
industrial revolution, members resolved to teach plantation women by appealing to the
missionary societies to aid in sending material to the country school districts to give instruction
in all branches of home keeping (Davis, 1976). Hence, their leaflets and other forms of literature
were distributed to insure that instructional materials were available to women on plantations.
This was an example of the organization’s direct involvement with assistance in providing for
the education of women. Clubwomen continued these efforts of providing for the education of
adults by establishing schools. For example, in 1900, the Phyllis Wheatley Club of New Orleans
established a sanatorium and a training school for nurses (Records of the NACWC, 1895-1992,
Pt. 1, 1993). Other adult education activities included establishing schools and programs and
educating the community about diseases and illnesses. One of the organization’s earliest efforts
involved promoting temperance and cleanliness throughout the community and informing the
membership of their research on penal conditions as conduits of infectious diseases and poor
housing conditions contributing to illnesses. According to the minutes of the NACW in 1896,
the membership passed a Resolution to hold mothers’ meetings where African American women
were taught “the necessity of pure homes, and lives, and privacy in apartments” (Davis, 1976, p.
47). In Anchorage, Alaska, they conducted workshops on stress and hypertension.
         Relative to employment and training, the NACWC provided direct services in adult
education as early as 1896 for individuals in the community as well as its members. They
established and supported schools and programs. For example, clubwoman Victoria Earle
Matthews convinced clubwomen to support a social service center known as the White Rose
Home in New York City. The center opened its doors in 1897 and included industrial training
programs in cooking, laundry, sewing, chair caning, and wood burnishing. According to Hine,
Brown and Terborg-Penn (1993), the White Rose Home “became a model settlement house for
other institutions in the North” (p. 848). Clubwomen served as founders, teachers and/or
volunteers in these homes. In so doing, they employed a number of adult education strategies
such as lecture, demonstrations, and one-on-one mentoring. During the period following World
War 1, the NACW established Phyllis Wheatley YWCA’s for African American women in
major cities, such as Detroit and Chicago (Reader’s Companion to U.S. Women’s History,
2004). In addition to lodging, these centers included industrial training, day nurseries,
kindergartens, libraries and savings clubs to aid in learning more about money management.
Hence, the NACW provided the funds and resources to provide adult education services on site
to support women and their families. Therefore, education programs were made available and
members of the organization at these sites provided direct instruction. In the 1950s, clubwomen

made direct attempts to support Negro businesswomen by including information about their
entrepreneurial efforts in their reports at conventions. Identification of these entrepreneurs
assisted in encouraging additional efforts on the part of women to become self-employed and to
connect on a one-on-one mentorship basis with other club members and women in the
         Political action initiatives of the NACWC generally involved the use of the collective
voice of its members to indicate its stance on issues of the day. For example, during the
Industrial Revolution and African American migration, they established legal information
committees in each club to investigate the legal status of women and children. This information
was disseminated at meetings and other forums. They educated the community through the
pulpit and the press on strategies to protest the Plessy versus Ferguson decision. During the Jim
Crow Era, members were educated on a bill prohibiting interracial marriage. The clubs
subsequently protested the bill. In Missouri, they partnered with the League of Women Voters
for a citizenship training program and a voter registration drive to register every woman in
Missouri (Davis, 1933). Also in Missouri, clubwomen petitioned the state to establish the
Industrial Home for Girls in Tipton, Missouri (Davis). They often protested bills and
discriminatory practices. They protested the discriminatory hiring practices of Sears & Roebuck.
During World War II, they established a national committee to abolish a poll tax. Some
clubwomen participated in the Montgomery bus boycott. They monitored the Federal Equal
Employment Opportunity Agency.
         Members of the NACWC shared a common interest in arts and crafts. Thus, they
promoted cultural enrichment. Some activities included a focus on the members’ talents. By
doing so, they were able to foster an appreciation of their talents and interests in various art
forms. Traditionally, during the conventions of the organization, on the local, state, regional and
national levels, the minutes would reflect the fact that exhibits of the handiwork of members and
the subsequent awarding of medals and prizes had been activities included on the agenda as early
as the convention in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904 (Davis, 1976) until the present time (Minutes –
NACWC 2004 & 2006). They established reading and debating clubs. By 1916, the
departments of the NACWC reflected a continuing interest in the arts. They included a
department for music, for literature, and publication (Hine, et al., 1993, vol II). When homes for
the aged, hospitals, settlement houses, and YWCA’s were visited by clubwomen, they often
brought individuals from literary circles and the arts to provide entertainment, such as Paul
Lawrence Dunbar and W.E.B.DuBois. According to Knupfer (2003), clubwomen in Chicago
provided opportunities for self-improvement by providing
         opportunities for reading classical and African American literature, as well as
         works on philosophy, sociology, religion, travel, and political thought. Further,
         those women improved their literary skills through discussions, critiquing,
         debating, interpreting, presenting original poems and essays, and performing
         plays, often written by talented club members. (p. 5)
         In an effort to preserve Black history, one of the objectives in the constitution of the
NACWC was to “furnish evidence of moral, mental and material progress made by our people”
(Constitution of the NACWC recorded by Washington, 1906). Educating its members and the
larger community about African Americans and their contributions to society became one of the
mechanisms used to meet this objective. Several members of the NACWC formed the
International Council of Darker Races to promote appreciation and history. Clubwomen also
established memorials and special days to maintain the history of their race. In the 1940s, they

supported the development of the Robert Gould Shaw and Crispus Attucks Memorials (Minutes,
1946, Records of the NACWC, 1895-1992, Pt.1). (See Table 8) In 1965, in an attempt to
preserve their own history, they commissioned Charles Wesley produce a work on NACWC. At
each national convention, historical reports are given by the National Historian to inform and
remind the membership of the accomplishments of their founders and other African Americans
(Minutes, 1904, 1946, 1978 & 1992, Records of the NACWC, 1895-1992, Pt. 1, 1993). The
NACWC purchased and maintained the Frederick Douglas home in Anacostia, Maryland, until it
was designated as a national historic landmark during President John F. Kennedy’s
administration. In 1978, a National Historical Research Project was launched for the purpose of
funding a Club Mobile to house puppets used to teach Black history to children and adults.
(Minutes, 1978) Black history programs are sponsored by local clubs yearly for the purpose of
preserving knowledge, skills, attitudes and values related to Black history. (National Notes,
Spring 2005, & 2006). National President, Margaret J. Cooper launched the Each One Teach
One project to encourage older adults to teach the history of African Americans to younger
women and children (National Notes, Spring 2005).
        In their club meetings, members often displayed an interest in the literary works of
African Americans through book studies and discussions on various topics of the day. One
noted African American who received much attention from the NACWC was Phyllis Wheatley.
Her name was used by several clubs. By naming their clubs for her, clubwomen accomplished a
two-fold mission. They studied the works of Phyllis Wheatley, considered in some literary
circles to be the first African American poet to receive worldwide fame, and they provided a
means of preserving Black history for future generations. Many of the YWCA’s established by
clubwomen were named in her honor as well. Hence, the tradition of naming clubs in honor of
African American women for the sake of preserving Black history became one of the common
practices of clubwomen in the NACWC.

        Lifting As We Climb has been the motto guiding the National Association of Colored
Women’s Clubs for over 100 years. As such, clubs throughout the U.S. have provided learning
opportunities for African American women and children. Educational activities of the NACWC
were utilized to provide formal and informal learning designed to impact those in need of
support. Clubwomen developed a mission of dispelling negative stereotypic images of the race
by providing direct support to the disenfranchised and information on the advances and
contributions made by African Americans. The learning activities of the NACWC were
collapsed into five themes—health, employment and training, political action, cultural
enrichment, and Black history preservation. As such, they expanded and enriched their own
knowledge, attitudes, values, skills, and interests as well as those of others by addressing their
need for continuous improvement through life-long learning.
        This research will expand our knowledge relative to African American adult education as
well as women’s roles in education. Research of this nature will aid in enriching the historical
understanding of the adult education movement as it relates to the educational efforts of African
American women in organizations such as the NACWC.

Bernhard, V., Brandon, B., Fox-Genovese, E., Perdue, T., & Turner, E. (Eds.). (1994). Hidden
       histories of women in the new south. Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press.
Davis, L. (1933 & 1976). Lifting as they climb: An historical record of the National Association
       of Colored Women. (Authorized facsimile produced by Xerox University Microfilms)
       Ann Arbor, MI.
Hine, D. (1996). Black women in America. An historical encyclopedia, M-Z. Brooklyn, NY:
       Carlson Publishing Inc.
Hine, D., Brown, E. B., & Terborg-Penn, R. (Eds.). (1993). An historical encyclopedia. II, M-Z.
       Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing Inc.
Hine, D, & Thompson, K (1998). Lifting as we climb. A shining thread of hope. The history of
       black women in America. New York: Broadway Books.
Knupfer, A. African-American women’s clubs in Chicago, 1890-1920. Retrieved March 11,
       2005, from Illinois Periodicals Online, 2003, http:/
Lerner, G. (1981). Women in community and political life. Teaching women’s history.
       Washington, D.C.: The American Historical Association
Neufeldt, H., & McGee, L. (Eds.). (1990). Education of the African American adult: An
       historical overview. New York: Greenwood Press.
Records of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, Inc., 1895-1992 (1993).Part I:
       Minutes of National Conventions, Publications, and President’s Office Correspondence.
       Microfilm from Manor Archival Manuscript Collections. A microfilm project of
       University Publications of America, Bethesda, Maryland.
Wesley, C. (1984). The history of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs a legacy
       of service, Washington, D. C.: National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, Inc.
Woody, T. (1966). A history of women’s education in the United States. New York: Science
Dr. Arthelda M. Busch, Ed.D. received her doctorate from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
She has been a long-time member of the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs,

Dr. E. Paulette Isaac, Ed.D. is Chair of the Division of Educational Leadership and Policy
Studies and an Associate Professor of Adult Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis,

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

            Continuum of Cultural Development and HCP Proficiency
                                             Ruby Cain

         African Americans are dying from tobacco-related cancers at a disproportionately higher
rate when compared to European Americans. Preliminary research indicates disparities in
healthcare utilization and access. How much is known at the healthcare professional level about
differences in the age and manner in which cancer presents or successful tobacco cessation
statistics and strategies by race? Research is emerging on racial differences, but there is not a
systematic manner of ensuring all healthcare professionals are made aware of recent findings.
         The extent to which healthcare professionals can increase the utilization of evidence
based tobacco cessation strategies in a culturally appropriate context is the focus of this proposed
research to be conducted in 2007-08. It is hypothesized that cultural proficiency is correlated
with the utilization of evidenced based tobacco cessation strategies.
         This research has implications on the manner in which culturally competent care is
included in curriculum for healthcare professionals (HCP), as well as, healthcare students and
facilitated by faculty. The purpose of this research study, to be conducted in 2007-08, is to
determine what impact a cultural proficiency training exercise has on HCPs who recommend
tobacco cessation as a cancer prevention strategy.

         Cancer conjures up different meanings for those whose personal experiences may vary in
terms of exposure and outcomes to having a loved one or a friend diagnosed with this disease.
For those who have or know someone who has lived more than five years after the initial
diagnosis, there is the belief that there truly is life after cancer. Medical advances have resulted
in the ability to diagnose cancer at its earliest stages and increase the survivorship of those who
are afflicted. Prevention strategies can increase an individual’s likelihood of not developing
         For many diagnosed with cancer there is a bleaker reality. Cancer is the big “C.” Cancer
is only spoken of in hushed tones, never uttered out loud. Cancer is to be feared. It is better to not
know. It is better to leave one’s fate in God’s hand. Cancer is a death sentence. These statements
are believed by many in the African American (A/A) culture. A/As contract and die from cancer
at a disproportionately higher rate in relation to all other racial/ethnic groups (ACS, 2007).
Surviving cancer is not the reality for far too many A/As. This perpetuates the beliefs. National
Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer (NBLIC), program of National Cancer Institute is striving
to change this reality. NBLIC galvanizes local grassroots organizations and their partners to
provide culturally designed strategies to eliminate A/A cancer disparities. One strategy is to
promote the increase of A/A researchers through education and mentoring. This researcher has
been a recipient of these strategies.
         Cancer disparities are often discussed in terms of income, education, and insurance
coverage. Do these factors tell the whole story? Are other factors contributing to the cancer
disparities? This study seeks to determine if efforts to increase cultural proficiency of healthcare
professionals (HCPs) will impact the utilization of evidenced based tobacco cessation strategies.

                                         Research Questions
        In light of the data supporting the missed opportunities for promoting A/A tobacco
cessation the following questions were developed to frame the research:
     1. Is there an opportunity for HCPs to increase tobacco cessation strategies presented to
     2. Can the level of HCPs’ cultural development increase as a result of a training
     3. Is there a relationship between cultural competence and the number of tobacco cessation
        strategies presented to A/A patients?
     4. What interventions can be implemented to reduce the disparities of tobacco cessation
        strategies presented to A/A vs. European American patients?
        Cultural proficiency is defined as the manifestation of institutional policies and practices
and/or individual behaviors that result in effective interactions with individuals and/or clients of
all social, economic, and/or cultural backgrounds. Study participants are identified as culturally
proficient when obtaining a score of at least 91 on the Inventory for Assessing the Process of
Cultural Competence Among Healthcare Professionals-Revised (IAPCC-R). This instrument will
be used to determine the level of cultural competence of the study participants. IAPCC-R has
been tested for reliability and validity in fifteen studies (Campinha-Bacote, 2007).

                            Background and Significance of Research
        Opportunities to reduce the A/A lung cancer mortality rates are often missed. These
opportunities included lower levels of physician-provided smoking cessation advice for A/A,
compared to white patients (Lopez-Quintero, Crum, & Neumark, 2006). Only 40% of those
within the targeted group receive tobacco cessation counseling during hospitalization and even
less for (29%) for A/As (National Healthcare Disparities Report, 2003). Research has shown
that tobacco cessation strategies (i.e. nicotine replacement therapy, quit-lines, and counseling)
are individually effective and prove to be even more effective in combination ("Effective
Strategies for Tobacco Cessation Underused, Panel Says", 2006). Cultural and SES differences
impact the method of communication, health literacy, and the utilization of HCPs’
recommendations. Can increasing HCPs’ understanding of cultural differences related to
healthcare aid in tailoring the patient/provider communication to be more effective? A 1990 –
2000 research study comparing smoking quit ratios (SQR) among whites and A/As found
significant differences in success rate, perceptions of efficacy of tobacco cessation strategies, etc.

                                 Models of Cultural Development
        How does disparate treatment affect the patient? Are the HCPs even aware of the
inequities? Is the disparate treatment executed on a subconscious level? Once confronted with
the truth about disparate treatment, is it believed? Is there a willingness by the HCP to learn more
about disparate treatment and how to ensure that it is not dispensed unknowingly or in any
manner? How can the HCP be drawn into a training intervention to eliminate such behavior? A
review of the literature resulted in the identification of several cultural development models.
        One model of cultural development for healthcare professionals suggests a progression
through a continuum, from low to high that includes cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity,
cultural competence, and cultural proficiency. (Wells, 2000) Cultural proficiency would extend
cultural competence into nursing practice, administration, education, and research. It would serve
as a philosophical and behavioral approach to cultural diversity, providing a framework for

individual and institutional behavior toward "cultural others." Wells draws on the work of C. O.
Airhihenbuwa, stating these new models must “include the cultural implications of health
behavior, rather than perpetuate models that are based on the assumptions, theories, and
frameworks of the dominant society (Airhihenbuwa, 1992).” Such a continuum of individual
intercultural sensitivity would include the “ethnocentric stage (denial of the existence of other
cultures)” and the “ethnorelative stage (integration of cultural knowledge in policy and practice)
(Louie, 1996).” Cultural development would occur by navigating from one stage to the other
through a progression that includes six phases of the continuum, ranging from denial to
integration. The Cultural Competent Model of Care developed by Campinha-Bacote, Yahle, and
Langenkamp (from “The Challenge of Cultural Diversity for Nurse Educators” in the Journal of
Continuing Education in Nursing, 1996) is process oriented and includes cultural awareness,
cultural knowledge, and cultural encounter.
        These models suggest that it is necessary to provide a framework that leads to behavioral
changes that are measurable and valued within the healthcare industry. The complexity of
effecting cultural behavioral change is often overshadowed by the lack of perceived value for the
training interventions offered. Barriers to participation in training can be two-fold, in regards to
lack of perceived value: 1) the training is not relevant to my professional practice and 2) the time
and/or length of the training does not fit my schedule.
        Five strategies for improving attendance at Medical Grand Rounds at a tertiary care
academic medical center, from 1998 to 2001 are presented (Mueller et al, 2003). Medical Grand
Rounds (MGR) is a central teaching activity for diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to patient
treatment and care. It had been noted that there was a decline in the quality of and attendance at
MGR at academic medical centers. Reasons given for the decline include (1) poor organization,
(2) improper decorum (e.g. rounds starting late, interruptions by pagers, noise), (3) lack of
participation by departmental leaders and faculty, (4) lack of patient-centered focus, and (5)
declining relevance to subspecialty practice. MGR strategies for improving attendance included
(1) using electronic card readers to improve understanding of attendance patterns, (2) conducting
yearly needs assessment surveys, (3) developing sessions of topical interest, (4) increasing
formal participation by residents and faculty researchers, and (5) enhancing publicity. The result
of these strategies was a 39% increase in attendance from 1998 to 2001.
        McCabe(2006) developed a health literacy simulation for undergraduate students
(nursing, pre-nursing, health sciences, social work, and other degree programs) enrolled in one-
credit hour Introduction to Health Care Informatics course. (McCabe, 2006) Students were
provided information regarding the use of technology and health. Readings and class discussion
addressed the issues of assessing patient health literacy and understanding cultural beliefs in
order to aid in the patient in understanding and adhering to medical instructions. The students
were given an information prescription in different languages, including English. The assignment
required that they understand the instructions written on the paper they received. They quickly
learn that many of the informal sources used were not medically reliable. The longer it took to
obtain translations the more likely students were to report feelings of frustration and even anger.
Students experienced a phenomenon, identified by Jean Piaget as “cognitive disequilibrium.” By
becoming the patient, students reported increased empathy for patients with compromised
literacy, instead of contempt or indifference from patient noncompliance.

                                    Research Design and Methods
         In an effort to deliver a cultural proficiency training intervention to increase healthcare
professionals’ effectiveness in having A/A patients utilize tobacco cessation strategies, the
review of the literature identified the need to attend to a multiplicity of issues: 1) garnering
optimal attendance; 2) ensuring perceived value in the training via linking to professional
practice; and 3) determining if varying levels of HCP compliance with recommendations
delivered in the training intervention is correlated with the continuum of cultural development.
         The purpose of the research study is to determine the impact that the cultural proficiency
training intervention has on healthcare professionals recommending tobacco cessation strategies.
The study will be conducted at training facilities for a Midwestern hospital in 2007-08.
Preliminary discussions with certification agents (to provide continuing medical education
(CME) & continuing nursing education (CNE) contact hours) have resulted in high interest in
participation and utilization of the proposed intervention as a sanctioned training activity for
healthcare professionals. In addition to the utilization of their facilities and offering CME &
CNE contact hours, the hospitals will assist in recruitment and marketing of the training
intervention. The certification agents will review the training curriculum and provide feedback to
ensure adherence to CME and CNE guidelines. The agents have identified that one of the two
optimal times to provide educational opportunities is in the evening with dinner. Therefore, the
training intervention will be offered in the evening (5:30 p.m. for the dinner and 7:00 p.m. for the
training intervention). By using the training facilities of a hospital, employees of the hospital and
clinics located in close proximity to the hospital will have minimal travel time to reach this
destination. These strategies will assist in obtaining optimal participation.
         The intervention is a cultural competency exercise that includes a 90-minute skills-
building/interactive lecture. This informational and interactive training intervention will include
data and research regarding A/A tobacco use, disparities and differences of A/A vs. European
American tobacco use, average age of tobacco use onset, quit attempts, quit rates, tobacco
cessation strategies utilization and perceptions, etc.
         The theoretical framework for this study involves the continuum of cultural development.
It is anticipated that all HCPs will not be assessed at the same level of cultural development. If
there is a correlation between cultural development and presentation of tobacco cessation
strategies, a training intervention will not have the same impact on all participants.
         This research will determine if a cultural competency exercise designed to change
patient/healthcare provider relationship dynamics will increase the number of tobacco cessation
strategies presented to A/A patients, who smoke and have not been diagnosed with lung cancer.
         A convenience sample of the target population will be selected for this study, consisting
of healthcare professionals who treat A/A patients who smoke and have not been diagnosed with
lung cancer. The target population includes primary care physicians, general internists,
pediatricians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. A power calculation was conducted to
determine minimum sample size (90) to ensure 95% level of confidence in results. Based on the
power calculation and projections provided by CME and CNE certification agents of potential
participation and interest, the study population will include approximately 100 healthcare
professionals with A/A patients who smoke, but have not been diagnosed with lung cancer

      The following hypotheses will be tested in the proposed investigation:
   1. Level of cultural competency will increase after the training intervention.

   2. The number of tobacco cessation strategies presented to A/A patients will increase by one
      (strategy presented), as evidenced in comparing pre and post-program assessment results.
   3. Higher level of cultural competence will be positively correlated with increases in
      tobacco cessation strategies presented to A/A patients.
      Independent variable = level of cultural competence
      Dependent variable = number of tobacco cessation strategies presented to A/A patients
      Intervening variables = gender, race, profession

                                           Data Collection
       Data collection will utilize six assessment instruments. Participant Assessment Packets
will consist of five of the six instruments:
    • Participant Profile: This instrument provides demographic data for participants and
       determines eligibility for inclusion in research study. Assessment results will be
       disaggregated by the demographic indicators and analyzed to determine if statistically
       significant differences emerge.
    • Pre-Program: IAPCC-R: Administering this instrument prior to the training intervention
       will provide baseline data on participants’ level of cultural competence. The instrument
       was developed by Dr. Josepha Campinha-Bacote in 1997 and revised in 2002. It
       measures five constructs: cultural awareness, knowledge, skill, encounters, and desire.
       There are five questions per construct for a total of 25 questions. The instrument uses a 4
       point Likert scale. Scores indicate if the respondent is operating at a level of cultural
       proficiency, cultural competence, cultural awareness, or cultural incompetence. Higher
       scores reflect a higher level of competence.
    • Pre- Program: Tobacco Cessation Assessment: Administering this 10-question instrument
       prior to the training intervention will provide baseline data on participants’ knowledge
       regarding A/A tobacco use/cessation, as well as, strategies (behaviors) employed for
       promoting lung cancer prevention. Question #10 includes tobacco cessation strategies for
       aiding in lung cancer prevention. Participants will select all strategies they currently
       employ. Reliability and Validity has not been substantiated for this instrument.
    • Post- Program: IAPCC-R: This instrument measures the short-term or immediate impact
       of the training intervention on increasing awareness and changing knowledge, attitudes
       and beliefs. All participants will be given the same post assessment instrument at the end
       of the training intervention.
    • Six Weeks Follow-Up Tobacco Cessation Assessment: This instrument will be mailed
       and/or telephone-administered by research team partners/volunteer interviewers six
       weeks post intervention to determine changes made in healthcare provider/patient
       relationships as a result of the training intervention.
    • Reaction to Training Survey: This 21-question instrument will be administered at the end
       of the training intervention. Data results will be analyzed to see if changes would be
       warranted in the conduct of any subsequent training intervention. Data results will be
       compared to changes in knowledge (IAPCC-R) and behavior (Tobacco Cessation
       Assessment). All participants will be given the same survey instrument.

       This research study is projected to be conducted in the fourth quarter of 2007 through the
second quarter of 2008. The extent to which healthcare professionals can increase the utilization

of evidence based tobacco cessation strategies in a culturally appropriate context is the focus of
this research. It is hypothesized that cultural proficiency is correlated with the utilization of
evidenced based tobacco cessation strategies.
        Support for this study has been provided by National Black Leadership Initiative on
Cancer (NBLIC). This organization supports the local grassroots efforts of A/A and their
partners in increasing awareness of strategies to eliminate A/A cancer disparities. Understanding
cultural difference in tobacco use and cessation will enable HCPs to view A/A (organizations
and patients) as partners, not just recipients of healthcare.
        Further study would assist in determining the impact that cultural competency of
healthcare professionals would have on addressing and reducing A/A cancer disparities. This
research has implications on the manner in which culturally competent care is included in
curriculum for HCPs, as well as, healthcare students and facilitated by faculty.

ACS. (2007). Cancer Facts & Figures for African Americans 2007-2008. Atlanta: American
        Cancer Society.
Airhihenbuwa, C. O. (1992). Health promotion and disease prevention strategies for African
        Americans: A conceptual model. In R. Braithwaite & S. Taylor (Eds.), Health issues in
        the Black community (pp. 267-280). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Campinha-Bacote, J. (2007). Transcultural C.A.R.E. Associates website. Retrieved June 20,
        2007, from
Effective Strategies for Tobacco Cessation Underused, Panel Says. (2006, June 14, 2006). U. S.
        Department of Health and Human Services Press Release Retrieved December 1, 2006
        2006, from
Lopez-Quintero, C., Crum, R. M., & Neumark, Y. D. (2006). Racial/ethnic disparities in report
        of physician-provided smoking cessation advice: analysis of the 2000 national health
        interview survey. American Journal of Public Health, 96(12), 2235-2239.
Louie, K. (1996). Cultural competence. In K. Allen (Ed.), Nursing care of the addicted client
        (pp. 2222-2227). Philadelphia:: Lippincott-Raven.
McCabe, J. A. (2006). An assignment for building an awareness of the intersection of health
        literacy and cultural competence skills. Journal of the Medical Library Association,
        94(4), 458-461.
Mueller, P. S., Litin, S. C., Sowden, M. L., Habermann, T. M., & Larusso, N. F. (2003).
        Strategies for Improving attendance at medical grand rounds at an academic medical
        center. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
National Healthcare Disparities Report. (2003).). Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of
        Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Wells, M. (2000). Beyond Cultural Competence: A Model for Individual and Institutional
        Cultural Development. Journal of Community Health Nursing, 17(4), 189-199.
Ruby Cain, Doctoral Candidate, Ball State University and Director, Northeast Indiana AHEC,
Indiana University/Purdue University - Fort Wayne, Indiana,

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

   Crossing International Borders: Bridging Communication Gaps Between
            American Adult Educators and International Students
                                         Aimee Callahan

        The field of adult education is an ever-evolving entity. Rapid economic and social
development worldwide has brought a strong surge of international students to the American
university system. In order to relate to and understand international students studying in the
United States collegiate system, it is essential adult educators comprehend major cultural
differences international students encounter upon entering an American classroom.
        This study attempted to pinpoint consistent cultural differences international students
experience while studying in an American University environment. Quantitative research was
utilized to research consistency of response among international student respondents regarding
three categories: perceived levels of formality between classroom environments, instructor
control in the classroom, and respondents’ personal experience and views of their classroom
environment. A qualitative analytical approach was used in personal interviews with a handful of
students from India, China and Russia.
        The study results indicate international students find U.S. classrooms less formal and feel
U.S. instructors are less respected than in their home country. For the most part, international
students also feel included in the American classroom environment. Curriculum, class size and
other international students’ experiences were also explored. Lastly, international students’
suggestions for American adult educators to consider in bridging cultural communication gaps
are offered.

                             Defining Common Cultural Differences
        The field of adult education, particularly in regards to the university environment, is a
shifting and evolving entity. The growing number of international students enrolled in
universities across the United States mirror rapidly changing social, political and economic
growth around the globe. With the addition of increased amounts of international students’
culture and opinions to the American college classroom, the face of adult education is ever-
changing. As adult educators, it is imperative to fuse contemporary thinking into teaching
methodology by developing studies pursuant to recognizing, identifying and responding to rich
diverse and dynamic international students within the University realm.
        The rise of international college students entering the United States can be felt around the
world. According to the U. S. Department of Homeland Security’s 2005 Annual Flow Report,
600,000 to 700, 000 international students (including accompanying family members) enter the
American collegiate system each year (Grieco). The China Daily newspaper reports that student
visas to the United States have increased by over 52% per year since 2001. In 2005 alone, the U.
S. Embassy in Beijing reports handling 250 visa applications every day, and the number is likely
to climb to 300 (Zhe). India’s national newspaper, The Hindu, reports this year that over 80,000
Indian college students are currently studying in the U. S. and the number of Indian students
pursuing higher education in the U.S. has been increasing every year.

                                 Americans Don’t Get Out As Much
         Each year, the numbers of international college students entering the United States far
outweighs the number of American students studying abroad. Although hundreds of thousands of
international college students leave the familiarity of their home behind, few American college
students undertake the same venture. University of Northern Colorado study abroad coordinator,
Hansen, explains:
         Individuals working in the field of international education cannot expect students
         to express an interest in studying abroad if they have had little or no exposure to
         foreign cultures and people…For example, some U. S. students have never
         crossed the border into a neighboring state. These students’ conception of
         ‘foreign’ could be a nearby state instead of a foreign country. (2002, p. 11)
         With the college-aged American, underexposed mind-set in place, a solution to
American students’ lack of contact with international persons and culture can begin right here at
home. Barbara Sparks, Assistant Professor of Adult Education at North Carolina State
University, offers a step in the right direction towards the deconstruction of international borders
in the college classroom:
         While culture is a powerful force in the formation and reformation of positionality
         and action, we [as adult educators] have the capacity and the power to create and
         recreate culture to respond to contemporary times, to new and expanded
         understandings. We make choices about how we will engage with others and who
         we will be in those interactions [italics added]. (2002, p. 116)
         Sparks (2002) emphasizes “an activism that widens the circle of inclusiveness” by
infusing the presence of racial, gender and cultural differences into common classroom
discussion. Rather than ignore the internationality of students in a college classroom, in a
respectful attempt to mesh foreigners into American custom, acknowledging international
differences in culture can invite friendly discussion. Sparks elaborates:
         As cross cultural researchers and study participants interact and begin to
         experience alternative expressions of reality new modes of communication can be
         opened that include doing and acting, not just asking questions and interpreting
         responses (p. 125)
         In sum, adult educators can further facilitate the process of getting to know international
students’ varying cultural traits and expectations in the classroom. Dr. Sun, University of
Wyoming adult education professor states, “Ignorance kills everything.” As adult educators, why
not kill ignorance itself by becoming familiar with the differences international students face
upon entering U. S. classrooms. For one, international students may not be as outspoken as their
American counterparts. For instance, Asian cultures assign the instructor as an unchallengeable
entity in the classroom, and to ask questions of an instructor may evoke disrespect and challenge
the instructor’s intelligence. Throughout the course of this study, expected and enlightening
responses were found in response to the research question, “What are the most consistent and
common cultural differences international students experience upon entering and studying in an
American University environment?”

        The survey instrument used in this study was developed for the purpose of measuring
international students’ opinions of the differences between their home country’s classroom and
the American classroom. The survey included 16 questions measuring attitude using a five point

Likert scale, seven questions regarding demographic information and one open-ended question.
The survey was reviewed by peers and an expert in survey measurement.
        The intent of the study is to gather information from international students studying, or
having studied, in the United States. Having access to international students and alumni from the
University of Wyoming, the author of the study hopes to generalize results to all international
students studying in the U.S. Forty-nine (n = 49) international students and alumni from the
University of Wyoming took the survey both online and in paper form. Before taking the survey,
a brief explanation of the survey was given. A link to the online survey was attached to the
weekly newsletter, “The Talking Stick,” which has a recipient list of 798 international students
and alumni. The online survey link accompanied the newsletter three times over three weeks.
Fourteen of the 49 respondents took the online survey.
        During International Education Week, the survey was given to 35 international students
attending an international dessert tasting party in the University of Wyoming Student Union.
Respondents were given a mechanical pencil as a gift for taking the survey and could enter their
name into a drawing for a $50 Staples gift card. Most students approached the area where the
survey was given to enter the drawing. Remaining students at various tables were requested to
take the survey and have the chance to enter their name in the drawing.
        Students from India, China and Russia were interviewed and videotaped. The students
were asked questions that mirrored questions on the survey. The students were aware they were
being filmed and were assured a personal copy of their interviews.

        Of the 49 respondents, 27 were male and 22 were female. The respondents ranged in age
from 18 to 41. Most respondents were 25 years of age (18%), 22 years of age (12%), and 27
years of age (10%). Over 57% of the respondents were graduate students, with 31% in a Master’s
degree program, followed by 27% of the respondents enrolled in a PhD program. The remaining
respondents were undergraduate students with 23% senior standing, 14% junior standing and 4%
with sophomore standing. There were no freshmen.
        The majority of students in the study were from India (16%), followed by China (10%)
and Germany (10%) representing national findings (already stated in the literature review) that
most international students attending University in the U.S. are from India followed by China.
Overall respondents came from 24 different countries (see Appendix A, Table A1). Respondents
had resided in the United States anywhere from only two months to ten years. The majority of
respondents had been studying in the United States for one semester (16%), followed by 12% in
the U.S. for two years, and 10% for three years. When asked if they planned to stay in the U.S.
after graduation or return to their home county, 39% of respondents planned to return to their
home country, 37% planned to remain in the States, while the remaining respondents (25%)
chose “other.”
        The results of the study indicate international students do encounter substantial cultural
differences between their home country and U.S. classrooms. Respondents overwhelmingly
strongly disagree and disagree (86% total) with the first item on the survey stating, “There are no
differences between my home country’s classroom and the American classroom.”
        With the exception of item one, the Likert-scale statements on the survey were divided
into three categories to group responses regarding the American classroom environment versus
the international students’ home country classroom environment. The three categories are as

follows: perceived levels of formality between classroom environments, instructor control in the
classroom, and respondents’ personal experience and views of their classroom environment.
         In light of the varying levels of formality between the U.S. classroom environment versus
the international classroom environment respondents strongly pointed out the U.S. classroom as
being less formal. When presented with the statement, “The American classroom environment is
much more formal than my home country’s environment,” over 49% strongly disagreed and 35%
of respondents disagreed. The results indicate over 84% of respondents feel the American
classroom is less formal than their home country’s classroom. Students who participated in the
qualitative portion of the study confirmed overall respondent response of the American
classroom being much less formal than in their home country. An exception to the majority of
respondents, students from the Netherlands and Norway described American classrooms as more
         Over 49% of respondents viewed American instructors as having less control over their
classroom by teaching in a more informal style. However, consider response to the following
item, “American students show more respect for their instructor in the classroom than in my
home country.” Over 39% of respondents disagreed and 27% strongly disagreed, totaling 66% of
students who view American students as less respectful of their instructors. Overall student
response in the qualitative portion of the study described American instructors as exerting less
control in the classroom but found the more informal environment conducive to learning.
         The final survey item measuring personal experience and views of their American
classroom environment was an open-ended question asking, “What, if any, is the most significant
cultural difference you have experienced between the U.S. classroom environment and your
home country’s classroom environment? Out of the 49 respondents, eight did not answer the
open-ended question. Of the respondents that did answer the question, consistencies arose and
themes emerged in the answers. The most consistent answers pertained to curriculum and class
size, interaction between the instructor and students, informality of the American classroom,
eating, drinking, etc. in the classroom and American instructors demanding less respect.
         Students commented on the differences between curriculum and teacher expectation of
the student. One Chinese student reported that American instructors “give more homework than
in China.” A student from Canada wrote, “The level of requirements is lower here.” Two
students from Germany and one from the United Kingdom claimed classes in the U.S. are much
smaller than in their home country.
         Students from Moldova, Latvia, India, Japan, China, Russia and Germany commented on
the higher level of interaction between American instructors and their students. One German
student wrote, “The professors here try to help their students, whereas in my country they
disengage themselves from the students and often don’t care about their students’ grades.”
         A variety of students (particularly Indian) emphasized the informality of the American
classroom compared to their home country. A student from Moldova wrote, “In U.S. classes and
relationship between professors and students are much more informal and more productive.”
Although most students seemed to indicate the U.S. classroom as being more informal than in
their home country, there were some exceptions. Students from the Netherlands and Norway
found U.S. classrooms more formal.
         Students from Japan, India, Russia, Latvia, Switzerland and Portugal commented that the
American classroom is also more informal because eating and drinking is allowed in classrooms.
Students also commented that American instructors demand less respect than in their country. A
Turkish student wrote, “U.S. class makes life easier for student and harder for teacher.” There

were no comments claiming U.S. instructors demanded more respect than in a student’s home
country. Students interviewed in the qualitative portion remarks mirrored the overall quantitative
response and consistency among opinion.

        The sample population in the study mirrors the overall national population of students
studying in the United States. As cited in the literature review, a majority of students studying in
the U.S. are from India followed by China. The study’s respondents consisted of 16% Indian and
10% Chinese students. Therefore, it is possible to generalize the study’s sample to the overall
population of international students studying in the U.S. Since the sample population represented
24 different countries and found consistency in opinion of respondents from the same countries,
the respondents’ responses are viewed as representative of each culture.
        Although it was expected the American classroom would be viewed as the lesser formal
classroom environment, the study did reveal an enlightening exception. Students from Norway
and the Netherlands viewed the U.S. classroom environment as more formal. A Norwegian
student commented that it is common practice for students to call instructors in Norway by their
first names only. Being aware of a majority of international students’ perception of American
classes as informal compared to their own country’s can help adult educators better understand
international students’ overall mannerisms in the classroom. An international student who
doesn’t speak out of turn in class, eat or drink or chew gum in class, talk to their neighbors while
the instructor is teaching can simply be adhering to their cultural upbringing in the classroom.
        A formal teaching environment often goes hand in hand with more control an instructor
has over a classroom. Control meaning the instructor is shown more respect. A student from Sri
Lanka commented it normal routine to stand when the instructor enters the classroom and sit
when the instructor permits them. As Americans, we only do that in a court of law or very formal
social functions.
        It was expected that because respondents view the U.S. classroom as less formal, they
may view U.S. instructors as having less control. When given the statement, “American
instructors have less control over their students compared to my home country’s instructors,”
results did not weigh heavily either way. Thirty-nine percent of respondents agreed, and 27% of
respondents disagreed. Ten percent strongly agreed and eight percent strongly disagreed and
16% were neutral. Taken together, 49% of students strongly agree and agree that American
instructors have less control over their students.
        In regards to the American learning environment seeming to lack as much control and
respect compared internationally, some international students seemed to be both resentful and
appreciative of this difference. One Turkish student commented, “US class makes life easier for
student & harder for teacher. I thought it arrogant & disrespectful to not use Dr. title.” A student
from Russia wrote, “Russian environment is much more formal. Being late, chewing gum, eating
is unacceptable. Russian teachers demand much more respect.”
        In consideration of international students accustomed to such formal learning
environments, it is beneficial for adult educators to be aware of mixed feelings regarding U.S.
informality by an international student. Perhaps it may contribute to some international students
not feeling obligated to respect their American instructors as much as their country’s instructors.
Perhaps not, as certain students remarked the informality can create a better learning
environment. A Romanian student had this to say, “In US classes & relationship between
professors and students are much more informal & more productive.” No matter the international

students’ opinion of our lesser formal learning environment, it is advantageous for adult
educators to be aware their international students might hold either view.
        In addition, it has been a common goal to approach international students in a classroom
from a homogenous teaching perspective to allow them to feel part of the class. Rather than
ignore important and interesting cultural difference adult educators can ask the cultural
perspectives of their international students to add to discussion. International students have much
to offer their learning environments and can be a welcome addition to the classroom versus
automatically disregarding their cultural perspectives in a “melting pot” manner.
        In sum, the study confirmed and denied expectations. The study also pointed out new
directions for continued research. Once consistent cultural differences are pointed out, it is
beneficial to explore how international students view these differences. For example, knowing
the U.S. classroom environment is more informal and less demanding of respect on the part of
the student as adult educators we can celebrate the informality of our classrooms by fostering
more discussion. A less didactic and more participatory approach seems appreciated by the
majority of international students.
        As adult educators we are experiencing and will continue to see increases in the results of
rapid economic and social development worldwide as our classrooms fill with the students of the
world. By becoming aware of and utilizing our natural cultural differences, as adult educators we
can gain the ability to successfully include and instruct our international students by creating a
universal teaching environment.

Demand for U.S. student visas is growing. (2006, May 20). The Hindu. Retrieved September 20,
       2006 from
Grieco, E. M. (2006, July). Temporary Admissions of Nonimmigrants to the United States: 2005.
       Annual Flow Report. Retrieved September 20, 2006 from
Hansen, H. M. (2002, Spring). Defining international education. New Directions for Higher
       Education, 117, 5-12.
Sparks, B. (2002, March – April). Epistemological and methodological considerations of doing
       cross cultural research in adult education. International Journal of Lifelong Education,
       21(2), 115–129.
Zhe, Z. (2005, June 17). US visas to Chinese students set to top record. China Daily. Retrieved
       September 20, 2006 from
Aimee L. Callahan, Ph.D. Student Adult Learning & Technology, College of Education,
University of Wyoming,

Please note this paper has been significantly shortened from its original version. Additional
references and quantitative results will be included in the conference presentation.

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

    Evaluating Progress toward Practice Change: A Logic Model Approach
             Lisa M. Elsinger, Julia N. Savoy, Curtis A. Olson, & Patricia L. Harper

         We conducted an evaluation of several brief, one-off, continuing medical education
activities as part of the Rheumatology Clinical Conference (RCC) program in 2006. The RCC
program sought to enhance rheumatologists’ knowledge, attitudes, and clinical practice related to
emerging therapies (primarily two new drugs--abatacept and rituximab) to treat rheumatoid
arthritis (RA). We designed an evaluation intended to determine movement toward clinical
practice change. A logic model was developed to describe the RCC program’s immediate, short-
term, and long-term goals and articulate a series of steps through which a rheumatologist might
be expected to progress leading up to a change in clinical practice. Evaluators from the
University of Wisconsin-Madison collected relevant data using questionnaires administered pre-
activity and post-activity, and six- to ten-weeks post-activity. Respondents reported arriving at
the RCC activities at various points in the change process and several reported either making
changes in clinical practice or moving one or more steps closer to making a change. We believe
this evaluation represents a novel use of program logic models in the context of continuing
professional development, and responds to a call for better outcomes assessment as well as
greater use of theory in the evaluation of continuing professional development activities.

                           Introduction and Purpose of the Evaluation
        Outcome evaluations are conducted to describe, explore, or determine changes that occur
as a result of an educational program (Fitzpatrick, Sanders, & Worthen, 2004). The focus is
defining the extent to which desired participant outcomes are being attained and may include
trichotomizing objectives into immediate (focused on implementation), intermediate (short-term
outcomes), and ultimate (higher-level or long-term impacts) goals (Patton, 1997).
        The purpose of this evaluation was to assess the impact on outcomes at multiple levels
(including clinical practice) of educational activities for healthcare professionals conducted as
part of the Rheumatology Clinical Conferences (RCC) program. Research on the effectiveness
of various approaches to continuing medical education suggest that the RCC program would
have only a limited impact at the level of clinical practice (Grimshaw, et al., 2004) because it
offered one-off, primarily didactic learning activities. The evaluation was based on the
assumption that although educational interventions may not be sufficient to produce desired
changes in practice in the short-term, they may contribute to a process that will ultimately result
in change. The approach used in this summative evaluation focused on identifying incremental
steps toward practice change that might be taken by healthcare professionals following an
educational intervention and using them as the basis for assessing impact.

The RCC Program
        RCC program planners included a faculty of physicians considered experts and opinion
leaders in the rheumatology field; a medical education communication company which helped to
conceptualize the program, coordinate faculty, and do event planning; and a medical school
serving as the accredited CME provider. The evaluation team consisted of researchers from the

University of Wisconsin-Madison, Office of Continuing Professional Development in Medicine
and Public Health.
       Two types of educational activities offered through the RCC were evaluated: half-day
symposia and one-hour society meetings. The formal content consisted of a master slide deck of
145 PowerPoint slides and speaker notes. Slide presentations for the symposia were organized
into two separate 75-minute presentations. Case studies and discussion were scheduled for one
hour following the lecture sessions. Society meeting presentations focused upon a specific
aspect of emerging therapies, using material from the master deck, and were followed by case
study discussions.

Logic Model Application to Evaluation Planning
         At the time the evaluation team began its work, the RCC Program faculty and staff had
made most of the key program planning decisions. These decisions were informed by a general
needs assessment consisting largely of a review of the relevant medical literature. In the absence
of more detailed needs assessment data (specifically, baseline data on the target audience’s
existing knowledge of emerging RA therapies, attitudes, and clinical practice) the evaluation
team interviewed faculty and staff to determine their assumptions about the current state of
affairs, goals of the RCC program, and theories about how the program would contribute to the
attainment of those goals. Assumptions guiding the design of educational activities were that in
general rheumatologists
    • Have an in-depth understanding of the existing, widely-accepted algorithm covering the
         management of RA (American College of Rheumatology Subcommittee on Rheumatoid
         Arthritis Guidelines, February, 2002)
    • Are aware of new therapies to treat RA but are not up to date on the latest clinical trials
         on the use of those therapies
    • Are somewhat hesitant about adopting new therapies especially when (as is the case the
         therapies addressed by the RCC) there are potentially serious side effects or require a
         mode of administration they do not already use routinely (infusion, which involves
         intravenous administration of medications at varying time intervals)
    • Had not yet widely integrated the emerging therapies into their practice
         We drew from the information we collected about what the program was intended to
accomplish and how it was supposed to contribute to realizing those goals to construct a program
logic model. We incorporated elements into the model relating to resources/inputs, program
activities, outputs, outcomes, and impacts following a widely-used approach for constructing
logic models (Kellogg Foundation, 2004). The logic model was constructed as a series of steps
leading up to a change in clinical practice, giving us a benchmark against which we could track
individual participants’ progress. Our initial logic model was validated by program faculty and
refined over time. An abbreviated version of the most recent model is shown in Figure 1.

                                                         2. Involve           3. Plan and            4. Obtain
                                     1. Invest             faculty            implement             participation

               We will:
                                                          and staff           educational           from target
                                                                               program               audience

                                     5. Learner         6. Enhanced            7. Theoretical            8. Increased
                                    satisfaction         knowledge             knowledge of              confidence in
                                  with the activity     of innovation,        when to use, for             knowing
                                                         supporting           whom, how (case
                                                          evidence                example)
           That will result in:

                                   9. Provisional         10. Confidence        11. Commit-            12. Trial/gain
                                  integration into              to               ment to try            experience,
                                      personal                  try                                      practical
                                     algorithm                                                          knowledge

                                   13. Integrate into
                                   routine (personal               19. Improved
                                   algorithm-in                  patient outcomes

       Figure 1: RCC Logic Model

        Based on assumptions made by program faculty and staff and the logic underlying the
program, we arrived at the following questions to guide the evaluation:
    • To what extent were the assumptions about the target audience accurate with regard to a)
        knowledge about emerging therapies, b) confidence using new therapies, and c) current
        clinical practice?
    • At what stage in the process leading to use of the new therapies were respondents prior to
        the educational activity and at the end of the evaluation period?
    • How did the educational activities offered as part of the RCC program contribute to any
        observed changes?
        Data Collection. We selected key steps in the process and designed survey items to
collect data on them including knowledge about emerging therapies, confidence in their use,
intentions for change in clinical practice, current clinical practice, and comments on various
aspects of the educational program contributed to any changes observed. Table 1 shows how the
logic model provided a foundation for the survey process.

Table 1: Measures for Key Steps in the Change Process
   Logic Model                     Measure                            Pre-conference        Post-conference         Follow-up survey
   Component                                                          survey                survey                  (6-10 weeks post)
   6                               Knowledge                          X                     X
   8, 10                           Confidence Levels                  X                     X                       X
   11                              Intended/Actual Change                                   X                       X
   13                              Clinical Practice Inventory        X                                             X

         We also developed a theory-based survey item to give us another means of assessing
participants’ status in the process of adopting the therapeutic innovations, their “location on the
pathway to change”. For this we turned to the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change
(Prochaska & Velicer, 1997). This model describes stages individuals go through in making a
behavior change: precontemplation (recognizing the need to change), contemplation (considering
a change), preparation (getting ready to change), action (making a change), and maintenance
(sustaining the new behavior). Data were collected pre-activity, post-activity, and on follow-up
six to ten weeks after the activity.

       Evaluators traveled to 17 educational events (13 half-day symposia and four society
meetings) to observe the activity, recruit subjects into the study and collect pre- and post-activity
data. Of the 139 participants in these activities, eighty completed the pre-event survey, 79
completed the post-event and 35 completed the follow-up survey.

Assumptions about Audience
        Knowledge about emerging therapies. Evaluation participants generally arrived at RCC
activities with a high level of knowledge regarding new therapies as assessed by our knowledge
questions, and their knowledge level increased slightly at the post-activity measurement. The
assumption by the steering committee that the target audience knew the treatment algorithm was
supported by the data. However, respondents’ most frequently stated concerns remaining after
attending the RCC concerned integrating new therapies into their clinical decision-making
process (into what might be called their “personal algorithms”).
        Confidence using new therapies. Participants’ mean level of confidence in their ability
to perform key tasks associated with implementation of the new therapies pre-conference was
above mid-point on the scale used across all tasks but notably lower for managing the infusion
procedure for both new therapies. At the time of the post-conference measurement, marked
increases in confidence were reported but confidence in managing the infusion process continued
to lag behind performing other tasks. At the time of the follow-up survey, mean confidence
levels showed a small decrease on all dimensions but remained above pre-conference levels.
        Current clinical practice. Participants reported that they followed clinical practice
guidelines for treating RA most of the time on the pre-activity survey. At the follow-up
measurement, the mean response for each of the four guidelines increased slightly. While the
trend in these means is in the desired direction, we interpreted the change in means to be

Progress through Stages of Change
        Pre-activity data show that respondents were fairly equally divided among three groups at
the start of the RCC activity: about one-third had already used the drug, another third planned to
start using the drug in the next year, and the final third currently had no plans to start using the
drug. The abatacept data below (Table 2) show that several respondents reported progress along
the path to changing their clinical practice. One participant moved into treating patients with
both medications. For both abatacept and rituximab, one physician moved into treating 10+ for
each drug, and four moved into treating 1-10 patients. Physicians who indicated they were
beginning to use abatacept were not the same physicians that began using rituximab. A total of
nine physicians indicated that they had begun to use the new medications in their practice.

       Table 2: Adoption Status: Using Abatacept to Treat RA
                                            Pre-         Post-                                   Change (∆)
                                                                      Change (∆)    Up
    Adoption Status                         Abatacept    Abatacept                               Post to
                                                                      Pre to Post   Abatacept
                                            N (%)        N (%)                                   Follow up
                                                                                    N (%)
    A. Do not anticipate using the drug
    in the next year                        2 (5.7)      1 (2.9)      -1 (2.8)      1 (2.9)      0
    B. Plan to learn more about this drug
    in the next year                        11 (31.4)    9 (25.7)     -2 (5.7)      5 (14.3)     -4 (11.4)
    C. Plan to start using drug in next
    year                                    10 (28.6)    13 (37.1)    +3 (8.5)      13 (37.1)    0
    D. Have treated 1-10 patients           10 (28.6)    10 (28.6)    0             14 (40.0)    +4 (11.4)
    E. Have treated 10+ patients            2 (5.7)      2 (5.7)      0             2 (5.7)      0
    Total                                   35 (100.0)   35 (100.0)   --            35 (100.0)   --

How RCC Activities Contributed to Observed Changes
        Evaluation participants were asked on the follow-up survey if attending an RCC activity
had contributed to changes in knowledge, confidence, clinical practice, and patient outcomes and
if so, how. The majority of respondents responded that attending the activity did impact each of
these dimensions. Comments on how the activity contributed to knowledge gains included
having a better understanding of therapy use and safety issues and reaffirming what was already
known. Several themes emerged from respondent narratives regarding confidence, including
being better able to discuss therapies in detail, being more aware of treatment options, and
knowledge of use of therapies by colleagues creating a greater sense of comfort. Regarding
clinical practice change, themes included discussing new therapies with patients and using them
sooner, and having more options to treat patients with severe RA or those who did not respond to
present treatment. Respondents felt that direct benefits to their patients included more options
for treatment sooner, more aggressive treatment of RA, and using the new agents contributed to
patients’ feelings of hope in controlling their disease.
        Respondents indicated that the discussion and case study portions of the program in
particular contributed to increases in both confidence and knowledge; respondents frequently
noted the value of learning about others’ experience with and perspectives on the new therapies.

        Using a logic model in this evaluation enabled us to detect incremental steps toward
practice change that would positively impact quality of life for patients with rheumatoid arthritis,
and to consider each step as an educational outcome. Each immediate and short-term outcome
can be viewed as a precondition to attaining the next higher objective (Patton, 1997) in working
toward the program planners’ ultimate goal of integration of new therapies into the clinical
practice of each participant.
        We found the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (Prochaska & Velicer, 1997)
useful in detecting respondents’ progress from contemplation to preparation, and to action for
some. The evaluation findings illuminated linkages to our logic model components, and we were
able to anticipate potential next steps by our respondents. While the RCC may not have had an
immediate impact on practice change, our findings indicated a trend toward changes in practice
by respondents as a group, and by individual practitioners at different stages of experience.

                         Implications and uses of the results in practice
        We believe the RCC evaluation illustrates the value of the logic model approach
combined with relevant behavioral change theory for assessing progress toward desired changes
in clinical practice. This evaluation process has implications for future program development
and evaluation in adult education as well as continuing professional development, showing the
value of looking at the impact of practice change at the individual as well as the group level. An
important next step is to find ways to collect data having a higher degree of validity. We believe
that the logic model approach holds promise as we seek better ways to assess the impact of our
educational programs.

American College of Rheumatology Subcommittee on Rheumatoid Arthritis Guidelines,
        (February, 2002). Guidelines for the management of rheumatoid arthritis, Arthritis and
        Rheumatism, 46(2), 328-346.
Fitzpatrick, J.L., Sanders, J.R., Worthen, B.R. (2004). Program evaluation. Alternative
        approaches and practical guidelines. Boston, MA: Pearson.
Grimshaw, J.M., Eccles, M.P. (2004). Is evidence-based implementation of evidence-based care
possible? The Medical Journal of Australia, 180(6 Supp), S50-S51.
Kellogg Foundation. (2004). Logic Model Development Guide. Battle Creek, MI: W.K. Kellogg
Patton, M.Q. (1997). Utilization-focused evaluation: The new century text. (3rd. ed.). Thousand
        Oaks, CA: Sage.
Prochaska, J.O. & Velicer, W.F. (1997). The transtheoretical model of health behavior change.
        American Journal of Health Promotion, 12, 38-48.
Lisa M. Elsinger, MEd,; Julia N. Savoy, MS,; Curtis A.
Olson, PhD,; Patricia L. Harper, EdD, All authors can
be reached at the Office of Continuing Professional Development in Medicine and Public Health,
4270 Health Sciences Learning Center, 750 Highland Ave., Madison, WI 53705.

Acknowledgements: Dr. Olson was the principal investigator for the RCC program evaluation.
This project was supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Genentech, Inc.

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

             Fired Up!! Parent Advocates in the Public School System
                                          Tania Giordani

        This paper is based on a narrative inquiry of activists who are fighting for changes within
their children’s public school that will benefit the entire student body. This study, which was
completed in 2007, explored the common characteristics and motivations of ten parent advocates
in an urban public school district. Analysis of the findings reveals the cyclical effect of parent
advocacy. The parent advocates in my study were influenced by the activism of their parents and
others; and, in turn, their activism served as a model of motivation and inspiration for others.

        Over the past few decades, the quality of the public education system in the United States
has deteriorated. Many families have fled the public school system and enrolled their children in
private schools, leaving the public schools filled with families who cannot afford alternatives. In
1969, nearly 46 million students were enrolled in U.S. elementary and secondary public schools
(Bloom, 1992). By 2003, the enrollment figure had dropped to a mere 34.2 million students,
according to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics (U.S. Department of
Education, 2006).
        Public education is losing not only its students, but also its supporters. Many parents once
believed in the public school system because, as graduates of the system, they had experienced
its benefits first-hand; however, “the trouble is, [many] parents seem unlikely to go to bat for a
system that makes them feel like outsiders” (Bradley, 1996, p. 43). Furthermore, parents are
“being thrown into a public sphere of public education that has lost democratic vibrancy,
authentic representation, richness of critique, social legitimacy, and the depth of possibility”
(Fine, 1993, p. 706).

                                        Purpose of the Study
        “In spite of the recent trend away from public schools, some parents are making the
decision to stay and fight—to work harder to make their public schools better” (Bloom, 1992, p.
239). The purpose of this study was to talk with parents who are advocating for change at their
child’s public school and attempt to understand how they are able to persevere in their efforts to
transform a system known for its resistance to change. Although there exists an abundance of
research on traditional forms of parent involvement, there has been relatively little examination
of parent advocates, especially those parents who advocate for children who have not been
identified as having special needs (e.g., gifted, learning disabilities, or diabetic). The questions
guiding the study were:
    1. What are the common characteristics of parent advocates?
    2. What common experiences and motivations lead parents to advocate not only for their
        child but for other children?
    3. What keeps these parents motivated and inspired to advocate?

                           Theoretical Framework and Research Design
        Critical Theory, the theoretical framework undergirding my study, is concerned with
critiquing capitalism and working toward the emancipation of human beings with the ultimate
goal of forming a rational, just, and humane society. According to Brookfield (2005), “as adult
educators, [the Critical Theory] tradition helps us understand how people learn to perceive and
challenge this situation” (p. 2). The participants in my study, unlike the majority of parents in the
school district that I studied, refused to accept the current condition of their children’s schools
and instead demanded change in their public schools as they fought for justice, equity, and a
better environment for students.
        These parents can be considered “organic intellectuals,” a concept developed by Antonio
Gramsci and defined as “an activist and persuader who emerges from an oppressed group to
work with, and on behalf of, that group” (Brookfield, 2005, p. 96). The parents in my study have
become aware of, or are becoming aware of and challenging, the hegemonic education that they
received and that their children are receiving. Through their advocacy, these parents are trying to
change their children’s school as part of an overall struggle to achieve essential social change.
The aim of Critical Theory, and the aim of my study, is to restore voice to marginalized
groups—in this case, public school parents.
        In an effort to cherish and preserve the voices and stories of the participants, I utilized
narrative inquiry, using semi-structured interviews, to explore common characteristics and
motivations of these parent advocates. Each participant was interviewed for approximately 90
minutes, with follow-up interviews of approximately 45 minutes, as needed.
        My study consisted of ten women: eight were African American, one was biracial
(African American and Caucasian), and one Bolivian (a naturalized U.S. citizen); their ages
ranged from late 30s to late 40s. All participants of this study were mothers of public school
children who had not been labeled as having special needs.
        Although most of the participants’ children attended different inner-city schools, all the
schools are part of the same public school district. This school district is comprised of over 500
elementary schools and 100 high schools and has a student body of over 400,000 (49% African
American, 38% Latino, 8% Caucasian, 2% multiracial, and 3% from other minority groups).

      Analysis of the data revealed that the parent advocates in my study:
   1. were influenced by others who have a legacy of advocacy,
   2. have a history of volunteerism and activism in various arenas, and
   3. were influenced by other advocates.

Legacy of Advocacy (1st Theme)
       I guess it’s just the way I grew up
       I had real grandparents
       REAL grandparents . . . they’d
       Feed anybody’s kids
       It was my surroundings,
       The way I grew up
       Like Dana, the participants in my study attributed their strong personality and sense of
activism to their parents, grandparents, or others who helped raised them. As children, these

women were surrounded by adults who advocated for various causes, including education. Each
participant recounted memories of a family member whom they described as a concerned and
active member of society who “wouldn’t take any mess.” They told stories of how their parents
were not only concerned about the injustices they witnessed in their community and at their
children’s schools, but also how their parents sought redress.
        Many of the participants recalled watching their mothers in action: attending and
participating in meetings and protesting. Karen recounted,
        I can’t tell you specifically what particular project [my mother] worked on, but I
        know she would drag us to these meetings all the time. And I was too young to
        really remember what they were fighting for, but I know we had attended these
        meetings with her all the time. My mother was very active in the community,
        helping people, and I think that I couldn’t say that I didn’t have that influence of
        my mom. . . . She was advocating when things were right or when things were
        wrong. And, as I said, when it comes to me as an adult now, and because of my
        personality, I tend to speak out, you know, when things are not right.
        Although many of the participants grew up in two-parent households, their mothers are
the ones they speak about. Often, advocacy is learned from the mother, and having a mother who
was involved in advocacy seems to be a key determinant of later advocacy.
        Angela remembered actually accompanying her mother to a demonstration.
        I am the way I am because of my mother. . . . I could remember at the age of four
        walking around the school, marching with my mother saying “Hey, Hey, what do
        you know, so and so got to go.” I can still hear it in my ears. This is when I was
        four. So it’s just unbelievable. . . . My mother was advocating. . . . So, I guess that
        was the beginning of when I began to start to make a difference. [I] didn’t know
        what I was talking about probably. I was doing what she told me.
        Parents and grandparents were not the only ones whose actions helped shape these
women into advocates. Many believed the presence of activists in their community also affected
them, although they were very young at the time. The parents in my study grew up during the
1960s, a time of civil and political unrest during which many people participated in riots,
protests, and other forms of activism as part of larger social and political movements. The Civil
Rights movement; the United States’ participation in the Vietnam War; and the assassinations of
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Fred Hampton were some of the
tumultuous events that took place during this era. Although the participants were children at the
time, they were exposed to the issues of this turbulent time, either directly or indirectly through
the media.
        I’m a baby boomer. I’m at the tail end of baby boomers, and I just think that by
        me being born in 1963, and at the time everything, I became five, six, everybody
        around me who was some kind of president or civil rights’ person was being
        assassinated or murdered, and even though I didn’t really know what that meant
        at a young age, you can still feel the impact of what these people were doing for
        you in the future. These people were like—they did a lot for you and you don’t
        even realize that because of your age.
        And I think because of that, and because of my personality, and I’m such an
        extrovert that I have confidence in speaking up when things are not good or when
        things are good. And I think I have always been supported in that, but that’s just
        me (Karen).

        What happened during the Civil Rights movement is being mirrored in the lives of these
advocates as they carry their parents’ torch and continue the struggle for justice, equality, and a
quality education. Hearing the civil rights leaders’ message of justice and peace, along with their
familial legacy of advocacy, served as an inspiration and a source of motivation for the
participants to live a life of social and political activism.

History of Volunteerism and Activism (2nd Theme)
        Like their parents, the advocates in my study are actively involved in many arenas in their
community: church, school, and charitable organizations. In addition, many of them were social,
political, or community activists who fought for causes like affordable housing, immigration
reform, and the redress of other injustices. Some of the participants have even traveled to their
state’s capital to participate in lobbying activities. Angela stated, “For example, . . . I recall back
then in 1999, . . . they called me to the [state capital] to meet to go before the House to testify for
more money for energy assistance.” She continued,
        So, I mean, it’s just that there’s a need for people who can’t speak to have
        someone that will speak and not be afraid to do that. And that’s just been what
        I’ve been doing with education, with housing, and everything that has something
        to do with poor and low income people. . . . I will fight a doornail if it’s about
        helping somebody accomplish something— be it education, keeping their lights
        and gas on, or getting housing. I’m just a fighter and [I] am going to fight until
        the day I die. So that’s what I do. That’s just me.
        Participants did not allude to being told that they needed to fight for these causes. The
willingness to fight seemed to be an innate part of them.

Inspired by Other Advocates (3rd Theme)
        Reluctant to trust those affiliated with the school system, these parents sought help and
answers from community organizations. The parents found renewed strength as their network
and knowledge of the system grew and as they began to meet parent advocates from other
schools, some of whom were more seasoned and some who were also lobbying. Watching these
experienced advocates and listening to their stories of battles and successes served to motivate
the participants even more.
        Many of the study’s participants said they wanted to be like these other advocates—not
afraid to challenge those in positions of authority. Coincidentally, many of the advocates that the
parents idolized were also participants in this study; so unbeknownst to these advocates, their
activism served as a motivation for others. Clara expressed her admiration for Dawn, a
participant in this study.
        I was in a meeting and [Dawn] came in and she spoke up, and she was voted that
        day for the president because she expressed her feelings about the school and
        how she wants to get involved. [Pause] She . . . is a person that speaks her mind.
        A lot of us want to help but are afraid to speak up to help. But she’s not afraid to
        voice her opinion; she’s not afraid to take challenges. And she wants to work for
        the better of the good for our children. To me, some people are gifted to speak
        their opinion and to work for the better of the good. And I think she’s best with
        that and I am a follower of her. I would like to be a follower of her because I, too,
        you know, want the change, but I’m not a big speaker. And, supporting her, she’s
        like my voice of what I believe in.

        Snowballing, the process in which participants identify other potential participants, was
used for this research. There are so few parent advocates in the district that I studied that
participants unknowingly recommended that I interview advocates who were already participants
in my study. This confirmed what participants told me, that the network of advocates is very
small; hence, their need to be extremely supportive of each other.

        While current literature (see Bloom, 1992) states that parents bear the responsibility of
holding public schools accountable and that advocating requires parents to have “an ever
evolving sense of purpose and responsibility to the larger social milieu” (Shepard & Rose, 1995,
p. 377), the literature fails to explain, or even acknowledge, the development of parents who do
advocate. Further analysis of the findings in my study reveals that parents’ activism is the result
of a cyclical process. The parents in my study were raised in an environment in which they were
surrounded by those who were politically and socially active; the findings suggest that having
their parents and others (e.g., community members and community leaders) model advocacy
helped, consciously or unconsciously, to influence the advocates and shape them into the persons
they are today: volunteers and activists in their communities, churches, and children’s schools.
        It is through these various modes of advocacy that these parents have connected with
other activists who share their passion for education reform. Often, these connections were made
while attending meetings and other functions at their children’s schools.
        Although these parent advocates are fighting for changes at different schools throughout
the city, they realize that they are championing the same or very similar causes. Because of this,
many of these parents support each other, not only through discussion but through actions. The
more seasoned advocates take the time to share their knowledge and to assist novices with their
advocacy at their schools. Listening to these advocates’ stories, I have come to realize that, just
as they were influenced by their parents, the children of these advocates seem to be finding their
own voices as they, too, speak out against injustices. Thus, the cycle begins again.

        Being surrounded by those who have a legacy of advocacy and can model these
behaviors is a key to motivating others to become activists: individuals who are socially,
politically, and civic–minded, and active agents of change. Although we are not living in the
spirited times of the 60s, it is still important to learn and to share the stories of those activists and
leaders who came before us. Their struggles and triumphs offer us lessons of hope and
inspiration, while at the same time providing us insights into new possibilities. These stories, and
stories in general, have the power to call forth action from one’s inner being.
        It is important that we, as adult educators, not only teach our students about various
social movements, but that we also share with our students how we personally participate in our
democratic society. We should also bring local activists and other adult educators into our
classrooms to dialogue with our students and encourage our students to become active in their
community and to engage with others within and outside their communities.
         Further recommendations for practice include the formation of parent peer study groups.
These groups would not only serve as a way for parents to build their knowledge as they learn
from each other, but they would also serve as a continued source of support and motivation. As
parents become more knowledgeable, they need to find ways to share their knowledge with those
outside their group. Putnam (2000) reported that parents’ level of civic engagement increased as

they developed connections and relationships with others through their membership in
community and formal groups and organizations (as cited in Arriaza 2004).

Arriaza, G. (2004). Making changes that stay made: School reform and community involvement.
       High School Journal, 87(4), 10–24.
Bloom, J. (1992). Parenting our schools: A hands-on guide to education reform. Boston: Little,
       Brown and Company.
Bradley, A. (1996). Allies for education. Education Week, 16(1), 43–46.
Brookfield, S. (2005). The power of critical theory: Liberating adult learning and teaching. San
       Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Fine, M. (1993). [Ap]parent involvement: Reflections on parents, power, and urban public
       schools. Teachers College Record, 94(4), 682–729.
Shepard, R., & Rose, H. (1995). The power of parents: An empowerment model for increasing
       parental involvement. Education, 115(3), 373–377.
U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2006). Digest of
       Education Statistics (2005) No. NCES (2006-030).
Tania Giordani, Ed.D.

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

  Leadership and Power in Fostering a Collaborative Community in a Non-
                    profit Professional Organization
                                          Rod P. Githens

        Organization development issues among small-scale local professional organizations
have rarely been addressed in the adult education human resource development (HRD) literature.
In this paper, I provide a first-hand account of an organization development effort in an all-
volunteer chapter of an HRD professional organization. This effort grew into an attempt to
foster a professional community of practitioners, while examining the power dynamics within
the group, specifically the power exercised by myself, as a leader of the group. Due to space
constraints, I primarily focus on the self-study aspects of the process of forming the committee
and working through issues of leadership and power.
        In September 2005, I was asked to become the director of a local area branch (LAB) of
this chapter. The chapter covers a large geographic area and consists of four regions with
separate (but affiliated) groups and activities. Each LAB has a director. This particular LAB had
become inactive in the prior year, due to some leadership transitions and lack of member interest.
After agreeing to take on the role, I planned to organize a few small activities, so that the local
group would not fade away entirely. I was not interested in putting much work into this effort,
due to other commitments. As I will explain later, my interest evolved and I became interested
in seeing the group grow into an active professional development community for HRD
practitioners. Action research was utilized as we sought these goals.

                                  Approach to Action Research
        Action research is difficult to define, due to the various approaches utilized in different
settings. From my perspective, action research is a loose set of principles used in practice to (a)
understand the situation, (b) plan for future actions, (c) implement those actions, and (d) reflect
on those actions after they have occurred. A common way of conceptualizing these steps is
through cycles or spirals. In this project, these steps overlapped and were not neat and tidy.

Balancing Problem-Solving with the Exploration of Values and Possibilities
         Although this project had very practical implications and was undertaken for instrumental
reasons (i.e., we wanted to reinvigorate the group), the project was heavily influenced by a
critical and non-instrumentalist approach. In other words, the goal was not merely to improve
our practice or performance, but also to envision more humane and inclusive ways of operating
the group (Block, 2002). Specifically, I sought to explore the balancing of my role as the
group’s director (i.e., the leader) with the desire to develop a more collaborative approach. In
that sense, this project was a self-study in which I experimented with a new leadership style.
Throughout the exploration, I considered the complicated relationships that emerge through the
exercise of power while attempting to foster collaboration.
         A very explicit attempt was made to integrate action research into the actual work of the
group, in order to avoid thinking of group members as an “other” or as a “researched” group.
Additionally, I sought for the action research to be a natural component of our work in the group
instead of creating a burdensome additional requirement for the LAB committee and others.

This balancing was sometimes difficult given the critical influences adopted in the project.
        As mentioned earlier, we undertook this effort as an instrumental project. However, we
attempted to balance those short-term concerns with a larger focus on working to create
something new for our group rather than just organizing more events. In addition to being
influenced by Block’s ideas (2002), I emphasized the need to examine the power and control that
I held over the group (as I will discuss later). Oftentimes, participatory approaches are used as a
means of subtle control that help to obscure who is really in charge (Elliott & Turnbull, 2003;
Foucault, 1978). Therefore, I attempted to be honest and forthcoming about issues of power and
control as this project emerged.

Quality and Methodology
        An important part of action research is straightforwardness and a forthcoming account of
the research process and methods used, which contributes to the quality and trustworthiness of
the study. Conventional ideas of validity are heavily contested within action research and action
research specialists have developed alternative means of examining the trustworthiness, integrity,
or quality of this type of research (e.g., Anderson, Herr, & Nihlen, 1994; Jacobson, 1998).
        Throughout the report, I make a conscious attempt to reflect the ongoing responsiveness
of the research to the events that occurred, which is one standard of quality (Jacobson, 1998).
Another common criterion for quality is the extent that the research applies to practice or results
in a change in outcome. The idea of critical responsiveness (Jacobson, 1998) or catalytic validity
(Anderson et al., 1994) emphasizes the need to respond to the circumstances, adapt accordingly,
and transform the reality. In addition to providing truthful accounts, action research seeks to
avoid simplistic conclusions that fail to consider multiple perspectives (Anderson et al., 1994).
The idea of triangulation or crystallization explains the process undertaken throughout the
project. Through using multiple data sources and data types, the project continued to evolve
without relying on one narrow data set.
        The following data sources were utilized to answer the research question of “What can
the committee do to foster a collaborative community in our LAB?” and to inquire into the role
of power exercised by the leader of the group: (1) member needs assessment survey, (2) analysis
of committee meeting notes, (3) formal and informal interviews with committee members, (4)
two post-event attendee surveys, (5) analysis/synthesis of my journal entries (entries were made
throughout the year—after each event or committee meeting and as I reflected on the inquiry
literature), (6) observations by committee members at membership events, and (7) analysis of
end-of-the-year LAB committee follow-up survey (i.e., anonymous online questionnaire). I
implemented and designed some of these data collection strategies myself, while group members
collaborated on the design of other parts of the data collection process. Again, due to space
constraints, I primarily report on the power and leadership aspect of this project.

                            Evolution of the Action Research Project
        In reporting the “results” of this project, I combine a narrative chronological approach
and a thematic approach in exploring the issues of the research. Since the project occurred over
a 12-month span, it is helpful to explain how the project was conceived and evolved.
        My initial aim for the group was to organize a few workshops and do the minimum
possible to keep the group mildly active. I refer to “my initial aim” because I had no desire or
intention to involve others in the planning, due to the time commitment required. However, after
I attended a national workshop for chapter leaders, I became more motivated to try to revitalize

the chapter. I was beginning to recognize that our group had lacked a collective professional
identity over the last several years.
        In subsequent sections, I outline the chronological stages of the project and explore the
thematic issues that arose. In these sections, I interact with the literature in attempt to reflect the
conceptual and theoretical inquiry process that was undertaken throughout the project.

The First Event and Formation of a Steering Committee
        The first event, in January of 2006, was moderately successful. The event did not allow
for as much interaction as I had hoped (and requested of the facilitator), so there was little
opportunity for facilitating the building of a professional community.
        I concluded that one way to help the group become viable in the long term was to form a
committee that would help plan events and bring more diverse ideas and perspectives. Initially, I
thought this committee would serve as more of an “advisory committee” than an actual working
group. I thought it would be easier if they shared their ideas and then decided which ideas I
would execute. I knew this was not a good leadership strategy. Instead, I was seeking an easy
way to get people involved without having to deal with the time constraints of delegating
responsibilities and facilitating a group. Five people volunteered to serve on the committee.

Leadership and Power on the Committee
        By the time our committee first met in February 2006, I had become more interested in
attempting to foster a professional community and active working committee. I was also
interested in exploring the power dynamics in a committee that attempted to be collaborative. I
planned to use action research to help us achieve those goals. Our meeting started off with us
discussing “what we wanted to create for our group.” In other words, what did we see ourselves
becoming? I had hoped that we could spend more time envisioning our future than talking about
specific ideas for events. However, the meeting evolved into discussion of specific activities that
we could do. Since we were pressed for time, it was hard for people to spend much time talking
about more philosophical and abstract ideas. I did not want to force the group to deal with
philosophical issues if they did not want to do so.
        During the meeting, I struggled a great deal as I wanted to be an open-minded facilitator
and avoid dominating the meeting. My initial vision of a collaborative community was one in
which the facilitator or leader avoided asserting power over group members. Also in the first
committee meeting, we had some communication problems. Jenny continually insisted on
gearing activities toward students. Mark, another committee member who was in attendance,
was very open to her ideas of centering activities around students. I awkwardly resisted the idea,
while maintaining some openness to it. At the time, I thought she knew we were a professional
group that embraced students, not a student group that invited professionals to join us. I later
discovered that she thought we were a registered student organization. I could have saved a
great deal of time by explaining this fact. Instead, I assumed she knew the aim of our group and
I struggled with my desire to encourage a collaborative atmosphere, while at the same time
trying to make it clear that her ideas were out of line with the aim of the group.
        The Problem with False Consensus. In our first committee meeting, I strived to foster
open dialogue and be a “neutral” facilitator that guided the group toward consensus. I quickly
realized that this perspective would not work and explored the literature on the topic. As Burrell
and Morgan (1979) explain, consensus is often associated with the status quo. Although
consensus can be a worthwhile goal, it often comes at the expense of maintenance of individual

values (also see Elliott & Turnbull, 2003; Whyte, 1956). During the meeting, I wondered why
Jenny was overemphasizing the need for the group to center its programs around the needs of
university students. We talked at length about whether the topics should be geared toward
students and whether the events should be held on campus. In my reflections, I wrote, “When
you’re tying to have a democratic conversation and people have great ideas but seem to be
missing the mission of the organization, how much should a facilitator/leader try to influence the
direction of the group?” I later realized that I could not allow the group to be completely
centered around the needs of students, but I failed to adequately convey that during the meeting,
for fear of “ruining the collaboration.” During a later one-on-one meeting with Jenny, I realized
that she thought we were a student group and I explained what type of organization it was. We
both shared a laugh about the misunderstanding. Afterwards, I reflected, “How much time
could have been saved if I had dealt with it right then and there. Instead, I didn’t want to be ‘too
dominating.’ But, in reality, I was overemphasizing the group process (not wanting to ‘shut
someone down’ for fear that they wouldn’t contribute more later).” My emphasis on group
cohesiveness and resistance to asserting my own opinion resulted in wasting time. I knew that I
would not allow the group to focus totally on students, but I failed to convey that idea until later,
because I hesitated to over-exercise my power.
         Repression of power often puts it out of view; however, power is exercised continuously.
Elliott and Turnbull (2003) explain the complexity in reconciling the needs for autonomy and
community. When confronting these two needs, the result is oftentimes a skewed view of
community that obscures power and leans toward conformity. English (2006) reveals the
complexity of power relationships in feminist non-profit organizations, in an attempt to
counteract the predominant thinking of these organizations as purely humanistic, inclusive, and
collaborative in nature. By examining power relations (i.e., through a Foucauldian analysis), she
explains that many of these organizations adapt to dominant norms (e.g., instituting formal
boards of directors), due to pragmatic reasons. As one of her participants explained, “real-life
demands” (p. 96) require decisions to be made. Her research shows that even in organizations
with deeply held values of collaboration, a truly egalitarian system is difficult. Given the
historical lack of egalitarianism in the HRD field, it is even more difficult to have an HRD
professional organization that is truly collaborative. English’s article highlights that although it
can be helpful to strive for collaboration and cooperation, we need to be critical in our analysis of
what is happening in our organizations. Again, striving for collaboration and egalitarianism is a
worthwhile goal. However, without critical self-examination, our true agendas are merely
hidden from public view. Whyte (1956), in his classic defense of individualism, argues that the
use of groups can disguise the true intentions of leaders by focusing on false consensus. In my
journal on 3/14/06, I wrote that we oftentimes pretend to have group consensus and group
decision-making, when in reality, it can be an illusion. “I know that my reaction to outlandish
ideas has often been to give them lip service and then move on.”
         Directly Addressing Power Relations. Discussions of power and conflict are avoided
typically; however, open discussion of these issues can help keep groups together (Flyvbjerg,
2001). Suppression of conflict and avoidance of discussions about power can lead to a false
uniformity that can threaten the sustainability of organizations. I applied Flyvbjerg’s notions of
power and conflict to the context of my role on the committee. In the 3/8/06 journal entry, I
provided other specific examples of my giving “lip service” to ideas (and quietly insuring that
those ideas were not implemented) rather than openly discussing why I thought the ideas were
not viable. In an attempt to foster the collaborative process, I was hoping that the suppression of

my true intentions would somehow help me share power with group members.
        In actuality, I could probably not share power with others, as the leader of the group.
Foucault (1978) contends that power cannot be acquired or shared, instead it is exercised from
innumerable points by individuals at various levels. In other words, power permeated everything
that occurred in our group and was both overtly and covertly exercised by all members of the
committee. After a conversation with Jenny about power relations on our committee, I came to
understand the awkwardness that accompanies discussions of power in professional settings. I
wrote, “I feel like I become nervous and avoid directly addressing [this] touchy issue.” Since
non-profit professional organizations exist within a larger societal context, it is helpful to
consider how these issues relate to larger trends within workplaces and other organizations.
        Although we avoid discussing power, the taboo of talking about power may actually
make it more likely that we would talk about it, in a Foucauldian sense. For example, in the
early industrial years, management practice accepted that leaders or managers would direct
subordinates to do a job (Ciulla, 2000). Consultation or collaboration with individual workers
was not expected and everyone knew management made most decisions (although labor unions
successfully changed the power dynamics through collective action). On the other hand, today
we expect that workers, committee members, and others will participate in the decision-making,
usually through unofficial non-union mechanisms. One could argue that under this new
arrangement, the true decision-making is merely hidden under the illusion of egalitarianism and
shared management. With this belief in egalitarianism, it is taboo to talk about power. However,
the taboo may make it more likely that people do talk and think about it. In a case study by
Brooks (1994), team members in a corporation gave considerable thought to the power
differences among their team members, although the teams were instituted as a way of helping
all employees to feel involved and equal to each other. The team members knew their place in
the hierarchy and discussed it with others at their level. These unofficial discussions of power
can add another dynamic which help to subvert the illusion of egalitarianism. However, it might
also be viable for discussions about power to be moved into the open, with entire workgroups or
committees, rather than only addressing the issue in private spaces (e.g., see Flyvbjerg, 2001).
        In our committee, I concluded that we never got beyond the awkwardness and glossing-
over of power relations. Among our committee members and in our meetings, our explicit
conversations focused on trying to build a collaborative community and share responsibilities
among committee members. Reconciling the goal of working toward shared values with the goal
of examining power relations was difficult at times. Although these goals (i.e., consensus,
exploration of power relations) originate in different philosophical perspectives, there is value in
striving toward the goals of consensus, community, and exploration of shared values, while
understanding that power and conflict are at the center of any successful attempts to work toward
those goals (Flyvbjerg, 2001). Dynamic societies and organizations encourage open and
continuous conflict, while closed societies and organizations (with their goal toward uniformity)
aim to suppress such conflict. We could have done more to openly explore these issues. Instead,
power and conflict were primarily addressed individually and through the self-examination
aspect of this action research project. Attempts at open group exploration were not fruitful.

                                 Crystallization and Conclusion
       In order to allow for triangulation and crystallization, I asked committee members to
complete an end-of-the-year online anonymous survey about whether progress was made in the
group, my balancing of the “leadership” and “facilitator” roles, and power dynamics—whether

leadership was really shared in the group. The committee members’ perspectives were very
similar to the conclusions made from other data sources. However, as expected, they were not
critical of my leadership role. Additionally, they saw no problems with my balancing of leader
and facilitator roles. However, in responding to the question about balancing “leadership” with
“facilitation,” one committee member commented that it would have been helpful to “explicitly
describe the LAB director’s role…so we know exactly what that entails.” This comment
supports the earlier conclusion of needing additional explicit conversations about power and
leadership roles. Overall, it is difficult to know whether committee members were being kind or
completely honest in their assessment of the year’s proceedings.
         As I have attempted to reflect in this report, the balancing of a leadership role with the
goal of collaboration is a complicated endeavor, especially when dealing with tight timeframes.
This project presents a first person account of one leader’s attempt to grapple with those roles in
a non-profit professional organization. The explicit mindfulness of power dynamics was
primarily a background issue in the full action research project, but continually presented itself
as an issue to be addressed. The relationship between autonomy, shared values/community, and
power was an ongoing concern that crept into many aspects of our practice. One lesson learned
is that in my future practice, I plan to strive for a more open exploration of power issues and
conflict in order to encourage a wider range of perspectives and to openly explore alternative
ways of structuring groups. This open exploration of power dynamics can help to prevent the
obscuring of true power (under the illusion of egalitarianism) when collaboration is used.

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         guide to qualitative practitioner research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Block, P. (2002). The answer to how is yes: Acting on what matters. San Francisco: Berrett.
Brooks, A. K. (1994). Power and the production of knowledge: Collective team learning in work
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Burrell, G., & Morgan, G. (1979). Sociological paradigms and organisational analysis: Elements
         of the sociology of corporate life. London: Heinemann.
Ciulla, J. B. (2000). The working life: The promise and betrayal of modern work. New York:
         Times Books.
Elliott, C., & Turnbull, S. (2003). Reconciling autonomy and community: The paradoxical role
         of HRD. In M. Lee (Ed.), HRD in a complex world (pp. 100-116). London: Routledge.
English, L. M. (2006). A Foucauldian reading of learning in feminist, nonprofit organizations.
         Adult Education Quarterly, 56(2), 85-101.
Flyvbjerg, B. (2001). Making social science matter: Why social inquiry fails and how it can
         succeed again. Oxford, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Foucault, M. (1978). The history of sexuality. New York: Pantheon Books.
Jacobson, W. (1998). Defining the quality of practitioner research. Adult Education Quarterly,
         48(3), 125-138.
Whyte, W. H. (1956). The organization man. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Rod P. Githens, Online Programs Coordinator, Department of Human Resource Education,
University of Illinois, 342 Education, 1310 S. Sixth St., Champaign, IL 61820,
Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

   Comparing the American and European Perspectives of the International
   Concept of Andragogy and the Implications for Adult Education Practice
                              John A. Henschke & Mary K. Cooper

       Andragogy has an extensive foundation in the literature and practice of adult education
around the world. In this paper we present a thorough picture of both the American and
European perspectives on andragogy, which is much needed in the ongoing development of what
many erroneously consider a static concept. It deals with the controversy of andragogy full-force
by being fully referenced. Implications make a strong connection with applying these findings to
the improvement of andragogical practice and theory in adult, continuing, community, extension,
and human resource development education.

                                    The European Perspective
         Beginning with the European perspective on andragogy, Savicevic (1991, 1999a)
provided a critical consideration of andragogical concepts in ten European Countries – five
western (German, French, Dutch, British, Finnish), and five eastern (Soviet, Czech-Slovak,
Polish, Hungarian, Yugoslav). This comparison showed common roots but results in five
varying schools of thought: (a) Whether andragogy is parallel to or subsumed under pedagogy in
the general science of education; (b) whether agology (instead of andragogy) is understood as a
sort of integrative science which not only studied the process of education and learning but also
other forms of guidance and orientation; (c) whether andragogy prescribes how teachers and
students should behave in educational and learning situations; (d) the possibility of founding
andragogy as a science is refuted; and (e) that endeavors have been made to found andragogy as
a fairly independent scientific discipline.
         Savicevic (1999a, 1999b) clearly aligned himself with the fifth school of thought in that
this research aims toward establishing the origin and development of andragogy as a discipline,
the subject of which is the study of education and learning of adult in all its forms of expression.
Thus, it requires an understanding of andragogy in Europe and America through comparing and
contrasting. He identified the problem, the framework of study, the research methodology, the
similar and different findings, and the various perspectives in these two places that have the
longest traditions and/or strongholds in andragogy.
         The European concept of andragogy is more comprehensive than the American
conception, even though Europeans do not use the terms andragogy and adult education
synonymously (Young, 1985). In addition, the primary critical element in European andragogy
is that an adult accompanies or assists one or more adults to become a more refined and
competent adult, and that there should be differences in the aims of andragogy and pedagogy
(assisting a child to become an adult). Likewise, there should be differences in the relationship
between a teacher and adult pupils and the relationship between a teacher and children.

                                  The American Perspective
        Turning then to the American perspective, Knowles (1995) provided the most articulate
expression and understanding of andragogy from the American perspective. The structure of the
theory is comprised of two conceptual foundations: The learning theory and the design theory.

The learning theory is based upon adults and their desire to become and/or to express themselves
as capable human beings and has six components: Adults need to know a reason that makes
sense to them, for whatever they need to learn; They have a deep need to be self-directing and
take responsibility for themselves; Adults enter a learning activity with a quality and volume of
experience that is a resource for their own and others’ learning; They are ready to learn when
they experience a need to know, or be able to do, something to perform more effectively in some
aspect of their life; Adults’ orientation to learning is around life situations that are task, issue, or
problem centered, for which they seek solutions; and, Adults are motivated much more internally
that externally.
        Knowles’ (1995) conceptual foundation of the design theory is based in a process, and is
not dependent upon a body of content, but helps the learner acquire whatever content is needed.
There are eight components of the design process: (a) Preparing the learners for the program; (b)
setting a climate that is conducive to learning [physically comfortable and inviting; and
psychologically – mutually respectful, collaborative, mutually trustful, supportive, open and
authentic, pleasurable and human]; (c) involving learners in mutual planning; (d) involving
learners in diagnosing their learning needs; (e) involving learners in forming their learning
objectives; (f) involving learners in designing learning plans; (g) helping learners carry out their
learning plans; and, (h) involving learners in evaluating their learning outcomes. Active
involvement seems to be the watchword of Knowles’ (thus American) version of andragogy, and
each step of the andragogical learning process.
        Knowles (1970, 1972, 1980, 1989a, 1989b, 1990, 1995, 1996, n.d.) successfully tested
and refined this theory and design on a broad spectrum in numerous settings: corporate,
workplace, business, industry, healthcare, government, higher education, professions, religious
education, and elementary, secondary, and remedial education. Houle (1992) also emphasizes
the impact of Knowles on American andragogy, and how he has worked this out in practice
especially in non-school settings and the workplace. He went on to indicate that scholars and
theorists may find great value in Knowles’ discussion of the development of learning theories in
the educational literature, and his exploration of the roots of his own thinking about theorizing.
He also spoke about Knowles’ work being practical and providing concrete examples and in-
depth case studies of how learning activities are planned, structured, and executed.

                              Criticism of the American Perspective
        Nevertheless, there was strong criticism of American andragogy, and that coming from
Europe and Australia (Candy, 1991; Jarvis, 1984). At the time Knowles articulated andragogy,
self-expression and personal development were in vogue. Thus, andragogy was best understood
in curriculum terms as an expression of the romantic, was launched into a romantic philosophy,
similar to it and receptive to it. So it would seem that andragogy emerged at a time when its
romantic philosophical structures reflected the romantic structures of the wider society.
        Welton (1995) leveled the assertion that “the ‘andragogical consensus’ [anchoring the
study of adult education in methods of teaching and understanding the individual adult learner],
formulated by the custodians of orthodoxy in the American Commission of Professors in the
1950s and solidified by Malcolm Knowles and others in the 1960s and 1970s, has unraveled at
the seams” (p. 5). The fundamental accusations expressed are that because of this perspective,
adult education has abandoned its once vital role in fostering democratic social action, is on a
shaky foundation, works to the advantage of large-scale organizations, and is conceptually
inadequate to serve the interests of the disenfranchised in North American society.

         Savicevic (1999b) indicated that Knowles was inconsistent in determining andragogy and
thus has caused much confusion and misunderstanding. He identified six mistakes of Knowles
regarding his perspective on andragogy that are presented here. First, Knowles defined
andragogy as ‘science and art’ following in the footsteps of Dewey in doing the same thing with
pedagogy. Second, he defined andragogy as ‘the science and art of helping adults to learn’ thus
reducing it to a prescription or a recipe for how a teacher needs to behave in educating adults.
Third, he declared andragogy as a ‘model’ for teaching even in pre-school, thus moving it away
from just applying to adults. Fourth, he directed andragogy only toward problems of learning,
thus neglecting social and philosophical dimensions of adults. Fifth, he emphasized an
individualistic approach to learning and education with no link to adults’ existing circumstances,
education level, and other factors relating to learning. Sixth, Knowles’ lack of historical
awareness prompted him to think he was the first to use andragogy in the American adult
education literature.
         Grace (2001) considered that Knowles’ (hence the Knowlesian American) andragogy as a
theory of how adults learn, ascended to prominence in the U. S. adult education after the 1970
publication of his book The Modern Practice of Adult Education: Andragogy versus Pedagogy.
By 1990 it was losing much of its punch as a result of the discussion and controversy
surrounding it. He felt that Knowles’ perspective is too much caught up with individualization,
institutionalization, professionalization, techno-scientization, self-directed learning, the politics
of exclusion, maintenance, and conformity. Grace also believed it ignores resistance and
transformation, and sees mainstream U. S. and Canadian adult education as having been
complicit in sidelining cultural and social concerns, thus depoliticizing and decontextualizing
adult learning. Although he saw Knowles’ andragogy as having been effectively dismantled in
the 1980s and 1990s, Grace presents a vigorous case for its needing more of the same to
neutralize its continued prominence and influence.
         Others could be detailed but are too numerous to mention for lack of space here. Perhaps
the reader may recall hearing from various other sources, some lack of enthusiasm about
Knowles’ andragogy concept. However, just a capsule of a few final ones may include the
following: Hartree’s (1984) feeling that Knowles’ andragogy did not live up to what she
interpreted as his desire for its becoming a comprehensive learning theory for adult education;
Pratt’s (1993) perception that after 25 years, Knowles’ approach was lacking in its fulfilling a
promise of being somewhat of a panacea for a teaching approach in all adult education; and,
Shore’s (2001) perception that Knowles’ andragogy became a catalyst for unproductive debates
framed along a binary path, such as adult/child, isolation/relation, objective/subjective,
explicit/implicit, Black/White, and the list could go on.

                           Continuation of the American Perspective
        Consequently, one may wonder how, in the face of all the criticism, Knowles’ (and thus
the American) version of andragogy not only survives, but also thrives and remains robust in the
adult education field. A number of explanations from different sources may shed some light on
this question. First, Knowles (1989b) provided a clue about a major ingredient necessary and
quite obviously present in everything he did and everyone he touched deeply. In his
development and revision of his theory he considered both pedagogical and andragogical
assumptions as valid and appropriate in certain varying situations [to the delight of some and to
the dismay of others]. The pitfall and problem he discovered with this approach is that
ideological pedagogues will do everything they can to keep learners dependent on them, because

this is their main psychic reward in teaching.
         However, on the other hand, Knowles (1989b) saw that andragogues will accept
dependency when it clearly is the reality and will meet the dependency needs through didactic
instruction until the learners have built up a foundation of knowledge about the content area
sufficient for them to gain enough confidence about taking responsibility for planning and
carrying out their own learning projects. And even pedagogues, when they experience being
treated like an adult learner, experience greater psychic rewards when learners become excited
with learning, and began experimenting with andragogy. Knowles (1990) indicated the crucial
importance of equality, openness, democratic, realness, genuineness, prizing, acceptance, and
empathic understanding on the part of the andragogue. The andragogical teacher/facilitator
accepts each participant (student) as a person of worth, respects his feelings and ideas, and seeks
to build relationships of mutual trust and exposes his own feelings regarding the relationship
between the teacher and adult learner.
         Second, Illeris (2004) a Danish adult educator for 30 years, who is not an andragogue, but
a pedagogue, was convinced that adults need to be actively involved in developing and executing
adult education programs. He asserted that it is of “… entirely decisive importance that the point
of departure of planning is that the participants in adult education programs are adults, humans
that both formally and in reality are responsible for their own actions and decisions” (p. 163).
He went on to indicate here that he is quite in line with Knowles in his agitation for andragogy as
a discipline, which is in many ways different from the pedagogy of children’s schooling and
         Third, Peters and Jarvis (1991) call Malcolm S. Knowles one of the best-known and most
respected adult educators of all time. They had him provide as an epilogue to their book, an
andragogical vision of the future of adult education field. Fourth, Long (1991) speculated that
although Knowles” form of andragogy is weak in empirical confirmation there are five reasons it
has survived the criticism leveled against it: (a) The humanistic ideas underlying andragogy
appeal to adult educators in general; (b) the limited empirical refutation of andragogy has not
been strongly convincing; (c) Knowles’ reaction to criticism was flexible and encouraging,
which permitted him to incorporate some of the criticism in his later revision of the concept; (d)
Knowles is a leader in the field and is widely respected for other contributions; and, (e) the
inclusion of Knowles’ concept of andragogy into the adult education knowledge base, has
provided a framework for integrating several potentially useful ideas about adult learners,
including self-directed learning.
         Fifth, Griffith (1991) credited Knowles as being the best-known American adult
educator. He has made numerous contributions to the literature of the field; with an orientation
toward practice that makes them attractive to teachers of adults in diverse settings and very likely
has resulted in increasing the effectiveness of these teachers. In addition, his commonsense
approach in his primarily descriptive rather than analytical writing has a wide appeal. His
presentation of andragogy as a fresh way of thinking about adult education has attracted
thousands of disciples from the ranks of practicing adult educators. Griffith concluded by saying
that Knowles’ “…concept of andragogy has undoubtedly inspired countless practicing adult
educators to adopt the term, to embark upon graduate study in the field, and to profess allegiance
to their perception of the concept. Knowles has also stimulated a great deal of interest in the
self-directed learner and the use of learning contracts” (p. 105).
         Sixth, Donaghy (2004) in the process of his doctoral dissertation had an interview with
Allen Tough and what he had to say about Malcolm Knowles with his andragogical and self-

directed learning perspective.
        I don’t know what to say about him…I love the guy, we all did. He’s a wonderful
        man, a very special man and in fact he pioneered self-directed learning. We were
        very much in sync with each other, although we were on different paths but
        parallel paths, and we certainly admired and supported each other. Knowles was
        very approachable, even more so than Kidd and Houle. Knowles was on a first
        name basis with everyone. He had enormous amounts of energy and outgoing
        warmth, and he attracted an enormous number of students who carry on his work.
        Knowles documented the accomplishments of his students in each one of his
        books. (p. 45)
        Seventh, Houle (1996), in talking about Knowles’ work in andragogy said that it remains
the most learner centered of all patterns of adult educational programming. He also added a
number of other things. Knowles kept evolving, enlarging, and revising his point of view and
therefore became something of a moving target, particularly since he was intimately involved
with numerous projects at every level of magnitude in both customary and unusual settings all
over the world. He could bring to discussions and debates a wealth of experience that his
opponents could not match. In addition, some of his followers developed variant conceptions of
andragogy, thereby enlarging the discourse. Knowles’ idea on andragogy had application to a
wide variety of settings. Houle concluded by saying,
        Those who wish to do so can wholly contain their practice in the ideas expressed
        by Knowles and others, establishing appropriate physical and psychological
        climates for learning and carrying forward all of its processes collaboratively. Far
        more significantly, andragogy influences every other system. Even leaders who
        guide learning chiefly in terms of the mastery of subject matter, the acquisition of
        skills, the facing of a social problem, or some other goal know that they should
        involve learners in as many aspects of their education as possible and in the
        creation of a climate in which they can most fruitfully learn. (p. 30)
        Clark (1999) considered that two books written in the 1920s began to change the term
“adult learning” – Thorndike’s Adult Learning, and Lindeman’s The Meaning of Adult
Education. In the 1950s, European educators started using the term ‘andragogy’, from the Greek
word ‘anere’ for adult, and ‘agogus’, the art and science of helping students to learn. They
wanted to be able to discuss the growing body of knowledge about adult learners in parallel with
pedagogy. In contrast to pedagogy - transmitting content in a logical sequence; andragogy seeks
to design and manage a process for facilitating the acquisition of content by the learners.

       To conclude, Robb (1990) believed that South African andragogics can enable the
improvement of understanding between Continental European and American adult educationists.
However, for this improvement to take place, he saw the need for three further studies: whether
andragogy terminology is necessary; whether adult educationists are scientists; and, where adult
educationists differ in America and Continental Europe that could pave the way for a more
adequate description of what andragogy is. I hope that this presentation of the European and
American points of view on andragogy may help the support the idea that both perspectives are
important and needed for a comprehensive understanding of andragogy and its place within the
worldwide Field of Adult Education. Application of these expressions may go a long way
toward improving the research, theory and practice of adult education.

Available upon request from John A. Henschke at

John A. Henschke, Ed. D., University of Missouri, One University Boulevard, St. Louis, MO
63121-4400, email:

Mary K. Cooper, Ph. D., 215 Weigel, Ferguson, MO, email:
Andragogy Website:

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

     Adult Career Transition: Exploring the Concerns of Military Retirees
                   Susan Johnston, Edward Fletcher, Gina Ginn, & David Stein

This study examines the concerns of retiring Marine Corps noncommissioned officers (NCOs) as
they experience the adult career transition of retirement from military service and transition to
the civilian workplace. Analysis of focus group transcripts reveal a range of concerns related to
the transition factors cited in Schlossberg’s Transition Theory as the 4 S’s: situation, self,
support, strategy. This study provides insight on the issues and challenges Marine Corps
noncommissioned officers (NCOs) face upon retirement based on the following articulated
themes: cultural, community, social and psychological concerns. This paper suggests that
programming offered to facilitate transition should also address psychological and social
concerns which may improve the quality and outcomes of transition to a new role in civilian life.

        The transitional experience of retirement from professional life represents an event of
major significance from both a professional and psychological perspective. The transition of
military retirees from active duty service requires disengagement from a comprehensive system
of professional and personal affiliations. Since the average age of retirement for members of the
military is 43 (Loughran, 2002), the experience takes place during mid-life, a stage identified in
Super’s theory of career development as the “maintenance” phase (Savickas, 1993; Super et al,
1996). Separating from professional and social culture at a time generally associated with greater
commitment presents an area for study.
        Empirical research studies have examined the retirement transition of civilians in the
cohort of 65 years of age and older. These studies focused on preparation for life after work,
transition issues and adjustment to retirement. Results suggest ambivalence surrounding the
financial aspects of retirement (Atchley, 1975; Beehr, 1986; Ebberwein at al, 2004; Harper &
Shoffner, 2004), loss of physical vigor (Ebberwein et al, 1989; Fretz et al, 1989) and social
realignment (Carter & Cook, 1995; Ebberwein et al, 2004; Fretz et al, 1989). Mid-life career
transition has been examined as a process of coping with loss and adjusting for career renewal
(Armstrong-Stassen, 1994; Bejian & Salomone, 1995; Latack, et al, 1995; Schlossberg, 2004).
Early retirement research identifies adaptation and the effort to maintain continuity as central to
well-being and psychological equilibrium (Datan et al, 1987; Lazarus & Delongis, 1983;
Robbins et al, 1994). Both retirement and mid-life career transition require the development of
coping skills which facilitate long term adaptation (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; Savickas, 1993;
Schlossberg, 1984; Schlossberg et al, 2006).
        While there is literature to inform the process of transforming civilians into soldiers, little
attention has been focused on the reverse experience (Higate, 2001). Speigel & Schultz
examined the influence of pre-retirement planning on post-retirement satisfaction (1989) while
Loughran investigated the satisfaction of military retirees with regard to wages and salaries
(2002). Recent qualitative research by Giger (2006) indicates a new realization of the influence
of emotional aspects of retirement from the military. Hoffeditz (2006) examined the
phenomenological experience of military retirement revealing a greater realization of the varying
needs of individuals to manage transition and preparation (Hoffeditz, 2006).

                                       Purpose of the Study
        The purpose of this study examines the concerns of members of the military service who
are preparing for retirement and entry to the civilian workplace to investigate the transition
experience of adults at midlife. The research questions are: (1) What are the most critical issues
perceived as influencing the preparation for retirement among Marine Corps noncommissioned
officers (NCOs)? (2) What types of activities are perceived as facilitating the transition of
Marine Corps NCOs through the retirement process to successful adjustment to civilian life? (3)
Do the transition programs offered by the Marine Corps respond to the perceived needs of
retiring NCOs?

                                          Context of the Study
         The participants in this study were enrolled in the mandatory Transition Assistance
Program (TAP) required of all Marines preparing for separation from military service. The
programming provides instruction on employability issues related to entry to the civilian
workforce, separation and relocation. Three focus groups comprised of twelve participants in
total (ten male NCOs and two female spouses). All were either military NCOs or spouses with at
least 20 years of service representing a wide range of military occupational specialties (MOS).
         In this study, the 4S’s (situation, self, support, strategy) of Schlossberg’s model of
transition offers a context for understanding the experience of leaving the unique demands of
military service for the civilian workplace culture (Schlossberg, 1981, 2006).

        Focus groups were conducted at Camp Lejeune in June 2006. The participants were
informed of the format of the focus group process, including guidelines that asked their
permission for taping the sessions. Participants were encouraged to speak freely with the intent
that the information that emerged from the sessions would be used to guide the direction of
research. Each session lasted between 45-60 minutes and participants were asked if there were
any guidelines they would like to add. No additional guidelines were suggested by participants.
        The questions were posed to each group in the same way, from a prewritten script. The
questions were as follows: 1) In your mind, what are the key factors influencing your transition
to the civilian workplace from your life as a Marine? 2) What are your greatest concerns about
this transition? 3) What could the Marine Corps do to make this transition go as smoothly as
possible? 4) Are there aspects of this transition that are not related to job skill and career issues
that are of concern to you? 5) Are there any other final comments? As required during the
sessions, follow-up or clarification questions were also a part of the discussion.

                                            Data Analysis
        This study used thematic content analysis of group transcripts to examine the concerns of
participants as related to transition from the military service. The process of thematic analysis
involves the use of themes which are identified inductively from raw information to encode
qualitative information. The procedure used was developed by Boyatzis (1998) and is
orchestrated with coding of themes based on category, definition, and indicators with analysis
following. Table 1 presents the procedure as developed by Boyatzis and applied to the focus
group data in this study.

Table 1. Thematic Content Analysis Codebook
 Category                 Definition                            Indicators
 1. Economic Issues           Continuing income stream           “Our biggest concern is that we have a
  A. Maintaining income                                         steady income.”
  B. Financial stability of   Income maintenance that does      “Just because I get out doesn’t mean
  the family                  not disrupt the family’s          my family has to pay for it.”
                              economic status or role as
 C. Benefits and services     Continuing access to services     “I’m concerned about benefits.”
                              and benefits
 D. Value of skill set in     Employability and equity of       “I’m concerned that I find a special
 the marketplace              value                             career, continue my job trade, salary …
                                                                that I make equivalent so that I don’t
                                                                sell myself short.”
 2. Culture/Community         Exiting from the military         “So the structure and regimen doesn’t
  A. Leaving the military     community                         exist in the civilian community but I’m
  culture                                                       going to do my best with it.”
  B. Entering the civilian    Entering a new work setting       “I’ve been told by Marines who have
  workplace                                                     gotten out and come back that ‘Man,
                                                                the biggest thing for me was just
                                                                working with civilians.’”
 C. Social support            The threatened loss of            “Probably one of the biggest things I’m
                              relationships and friendships     going to miss about getting out of the
                                                                Marine Corps is just the camaraderie
 3. Institutional Support     Time for access to transition      “It would’ve helped me two years out
  A. Time                     services and resources            to make this mandatory.”
  B. Information              Adequate data provided on         ”Develop an educational process where
                              which decision-making can be      Marines begin to learn the things that
                              based                             we’ve been learning right now further
 4. Psychological/Social      The effect of change of role on   “… you just have to take a spot a
  A. Loss of status           identity and self-esteem issues   couple notches down the totem pole
 B. Value                     Being treated fairly in the       “If, in a job interview, he brings up my
                              civilian community                retirement, the word retirement comes
                                                                up, I get up and walk out. I earned it.”
 C. Satisfying Work           Engagement in meaningful work     “Doing something I enjoy is going to
                                                                be a lot more important than the
 D. Relationship              Availability to the family         “Spend time with my wife and kids.”

        Three researchers coded the focus group data independently with the results of coding for
the three groups presented in Table 2 below.

Table 2. Results of Coding of Focus Group Transcripts
                            Focus Group 1         Focus Group 2                Focus Group 3
                               Coders                 Coders                      Coders
        Themes           #1      #2     #3     #1      #2     #3            #1      #2      #3
       Economic          10      11     12     13      12     11            10       7      12
 Community Cultural      15      13     14     12       9     12             9       5       3
 Institutional Support
 Psychological Social    10       8      8      2       0      2             9        5        3
   Post-Retirement        6       2      3      0       0      0             4        0        0
        Uncoded           6       7      9      0       2      4             2        6        5

        As framed by Schlossberg’s Transition Theory, the parallel between the themes
articulated by the focus group participants and the Schlossberg 4 S’s are presented in Table 3.
The themes are consistent with Schlossberg’s model with the exception of Strategy, which was
not specifically addressed as a pre-retirement concern but which emerged as participants shared
various post-retirement plans or ideas of how to manage the transition.

       Table 3. Schlossberg’s Transition Model and Focus Group Themes
                Schlossberg 4S’s                        Focus Group Themes
                    Situation                                 Economic
                    Support                   Cultural/Community Institutional Support
                       Self                             Psychological/Social
                    Strategy                            Post-Retirement Plans

        The experience of retirement generates a range of concerns and those of military
professionals reflect the concerns articulated by civilian retirees. Coupled with the additional
factors of midlife transition and separation from a culture which is characterized by social
immersion, the activities which facilitate transition take on greater weight in assisting retirement
transition. The themes articulated by participants relating to separation from military life
reinforce the need for greater time and assistance in managing the documentation and logistics of
retirement. This differs from the concerns of civilian retirees. The psychological and social
issues of role transition and loss of community structure were clearly articulated but participants
presenting varying levels of coping skills in managing the transition. As one participant put it
        “I think my biggest concern I have is that for the last 20 years I’ve been in a
        structured organization . . . It’s a concern I have but I think I can handle it. I just
        have to get used to it.”
        Some participants identified specific attempts to address the perceived tensions of role
loss and family transition by expressing a desire to stay close to military bases after retirement.
As one expressed it “You’re around people who can relate to where you’ve been.”. Others
applied themselves solely in developing employment options. No specific programming offered
by the Marine Corps addressed the psycho-social areas of concern.
        The participants’ concerns about pressures placed on their family, created by leaving the
military life while maintaining their commitment to their fellow Marines was another issue
which required each individual to respond based on varying levels of coping resources.

According to Schlossberg, taking stock of the transition and identifying capabilities, assets,
liabilities and obligations serve as aids in facilitating transition (Schlossberg, 1981; Schlossberg
et al, 2006). This approach offers individuals who are involved in military service a way to
convert those problem-solving, leadership and decision-making skills used in military
applications to act on their own behalf in managing their transition.
         Results from focus group interviews provide nuanced data to reveal perennial concerns of
military NCOs regarding career transitions. They confirm previous research findings provided by
Schlossberg’s 4S transition model. However, in this study we learn about specific issues of
military individuals in mid-life through their very own personal accounts. These findings
combined with Schlossberg’s model may help in gaining a better understanding of military
concerns while providing a framework for future research on military career transitions.

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        target for reducing preretirement anxiety and depression. Journal of Counseling
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        Quarterly, 52(3). 272-284.
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        Society, 27(3). 443-460.
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        characteristics and career transition mental preparedness. Dissertation Abstracts
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       retirement adjustment: Testing a multidimensional model. Journal of Counseling
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       skills on naval officers’ retirement satisfaction and adjustment. Military Psychology,
       15(4). 285-307.
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Susan M. Johnston, Ph.D. Student, Department of Workforce Development & Education, The
Ohio State University, A471 PAES Building, 305 W. 17th Ave., Columbus, Ohio USA,

Edward Fletcher, Ph.D. Student/Graduate Teaching Associate, Department of Workforce
Development & Education, The Ohio State University, A471 PAES Building, 305 W. 17th Ave.,
Columbus, Ohio USA,

Gina Ginn, Ph.D. Student, Department of Workforce Development & Education, The Ohio State
University, A471 PAES Building, 305 W. 17th Ave., Columbus, Ohio USA,

David Stein, Ph.D., Section Head of the Department of Workforce Development & Education,
The Ohio State University, A486 PAES Building, 305 W. 17th Ave., Columbus, Ohio USA,

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult Continuing, and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

               Partners in a University-Community Partnership:
          Exploring Benefits, Challenges, and Strategies for this Context
                           Ariel Kaufman, Jodi Wortsman, & Lori Kay

        This paper and presentation will further understandings about some of the benefits,
challenges, and strategies for a particular university-community partnership. Practitioners from
the partnership will provide case analysis to elucidate this context. In the conference session,
conference participants will hear highlights from the literature, practitioner reflections from
actual partners in the case situation, and learn experientially about challenges of such
partnerships through a short role play simulation. These three approaches will help explain how
different parties can impact the benefits, challenges and strategies for university-community

        The University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) partners with a geographic area
adjacent to the university called South Madison. One part of this university-community
partnership is the South Madison Community Teams program. The overall program goal was to
increase participation and capacity of residents to affect housing initiatives. Resident team
members study and teach about what they learn of housing issues, and members collectively
formulate actions aimed at addressing South Madison housing issues. This study will explore
how various roles brought benefits and challenges to this type of collaboration, and which
strategies addressed the challenges. Highlights from the literature, practitioner reflections, and a
short role play simulation, will offer conference participants insights into the multiple roles of a
university-community partnership.

                             Framing this Study: Need and Purpose
        Practitioners and scholars follow two general approaches to partnerships between
communities and universities. The more long-standing tradition stems from an expert driven
model. This model is being criticized by some communities and universities desiring a more
egalitarian model. The old model is being criticized for having experts (e.g. faculty or extension
agents) temporarily entering communities to train or study economically or socially
disadvantaged communities. The more recent approach to university-community partnership is
based on mutuality instead of service to the community. Community collaboration literature
shows the growing popularity of collaboration (Berkowitz, 2001). David Chrislip (2002), a
practitioner and researcher of community collaborations, provides a good definition of
collaboration, a more egalitarian approach. Chrislip defines collaboration as “a mutually
beneficial relationship between two or more parties to achieve common goals by sharing
responsibility, authority and accountability for achieving results” (p. 41). His definition applies
to university-community partnerships and to community collaborations in general.

                                     Defining Collaboration
       The state of the research on community collaboration exists in multiple fields and some
research begins to bridge disciplines. The research methods used in studies of collaborative

processes include case analysis, qualitative reviews of the literature, and theory development
often linked to practice. Fields that study and practice collaboration include community
psychology, community organizing, public health, urban and regional planning, and public
         Community collaborations usually focus on broad societal issues (e.g. health, housing,
etc.) that extend beyond the purview of any one particular party. Multiple parties are effected by
or can influence societal issues (Crosby & Bryson, 2005). Crosby and Bryson divide
stakeholders into four types: those with high influence and high interest in the issue; those with
high influence and low interest in the issue (i.e. these make good facilitators of the process);
those with low influence and high interest (i.e. those most effected by the decisions with the least
power); and those with low influence and low interest. Crosby and Bryson’s interest/power
matrix could be used to analyze the five stakeholder groups in our case. It could be informative
to consider the influence of interest and power on each group’s participation, benefits,
challenges, and their capacity to overcome challenges. Practice mimicked the literature.
Community Team stakeholders engaged as individuals (i.e. often those effected by housing
decisions) and as representatives from organizations or governmental bodies (e.g. usually
decision makers and those with access to resources for housing).
         Literature on community collaborations and on university-community partnership (i.e.
one type of community collaboration) provides insight into the benefits and challenges of
collaboration, and offers strategies to overcome its challenges. The research provides practical
theories on the benefits, challenges, and ways to cultivate the collaborative process (Alperovitz
& Howard, 2005; Berkowitz, 2001; Chrislip, 2002; Cox, 2000; Crosby & Bryson, 2005; Fawcett
et al., 1995; Himmelman, 2001; Trickett & Espino, 2004; Wolff, 2001a; and Wolff, 2001b).
How can partners realize its benefits and overcome challenges? One way to explore effective
strategies for collaboration is to explore the multiple roles and perspectives of partners in a
university-community partnership.

                          Roles of a University Community Partnership
        The following section introduces the actors and their roles within the practice case. The
literature includes rich case studies and theoretical research about who is involved for a
community collaboration and university-community partnership. David Cox (2000) defines
three sets of parties “involved or affected by a community-IHE (i.e. institute of higher education)
partnership and its efforts” (p.11). One set of parties included those from the neighborhood (i.e.
residents, associations, agencies, schools, religious institutions, and property owners). The
second set involved those from the IHE (e.g. educators, researchers). The third set involved
other stakeholders outside the neighborhood (i.e. local government, nonprofit agencies,
developers, state and federal agencies, and foundations).
        For the case, Cox’s parties have been categorized into five main stakeholder groups.
Cox’s neighborhood and IHE stakeholder groups were subdivided for the case to further
differentiate between the types of university and community partners. A set of neighborhood
and a set of university partners sustained their involvement in the program, whereas another set
of neighborhood and another set of university partners had rotating members. The five main
stakeholder groups of the Community Teams program varied their participation. Two groups
sustained their membership: the South Metropolitan Planning Council (SMPC) and the
University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) stakeholders engaged in community outreach.
Three groups experienced more rotation. These three groups included grassroots community

members (residents and those with South Madison connections); UW partners collaborating for
shorter time periods (often from departments); and external resource people collaborating for
short time periods (providing advice or specific expertise).
        The first group is SMPC, which was formed by a Madison Common Council resolution
as the city’s second planning council in August 1996. SMPC, a coalition of neighborhood and
business associations, is “governed by a board of representatives chosen by its member
neighborhood and business associations.” SMPC volunteers and staff strive to build
neighborhood capacity and engagement among residents, neighborhoods and businesses within
several neighborhoods on the south side of Madison, Wisconsin. The second group is comprised
of only some of the UW actors in the partnership, individuals coordinating the overall university-
community collaboration. UW-Madison has committed to partnering with the geographic area
of South Madison for the long term. Certain UW representatives worked to improve the UW’s
community relations with South Madison. Parties in this second group represented the Office of
the Chancellor (i.e. through the Campus Community Partnership Office in South Madison) and
the University Health Services (i.e. emphasis on health in a broad sense).
        The third group of collaborators is the grassroots community members: South Madison
residents and community members with South Madison connections. Members varied their level
of involvement: some participated frequently and others only once. Some engaged in planning,
goal setting, and implementation while others participated in community education, physical
improvement activities, or community building events. The fourth group consists mostly of UW
representatives from specific departments. Key participants of this group have been senior
faculty with tenure, junior faculty working towards tenure, faculty with extension appointments,
and UW extension agents. Students have also participated in the program. The fifth group is the
external resource group: nonprofit organizations specializing in housing or located in South
Madison, process consultants, translators, grant makers, churches, and many others.

                     Some Benefits of a University-Community Partnership
        First, adding and sharing resources benefited the partnership: partners shared or
contributed resources to others. University partners add resources to their partnerships with
communities (Alperovitz & Howard, 2005; Cox, 2000) and this occurred in UW-Madison’s
partnership with South Madison. Consistent, long term UW partners advised, coordinated, and
offered financial support to the program. For instance, the Director of Community University
Partnerships/Office of the Chancellor has been involved in advising, planning, and implementing
the program. The Office of the Chancellor provides financial support for SMPC (e.g. office
space, supplies) and for the Community Teams (i.e. paying for a graduate student, the primary
author, to serve as the Community Team coordinator). In-kind contributions from the university
came in the form of students and faculty working on community based issues and responding to
community requests. Community partners offered local networks and local knowledge, such as
SMPC’s experience and motivation for capacity building. SMPC invited UW-Madison to
collaborate in developing the Community Teams program, at the same time that the UW was
cultivating closer ties to SMPC and South Madison. Since the program’s inception, SMPC has
provided staff support to co-design and co-coordinate the Community Teams.
        Even though membership fluctuated for many faculty and student partners, each added
resources of labor and knowledge to the collaboration. Faculty’s responsibilities depended on
program needs and UW institutional obligations. UW faculty’s roles in the Community Teams
involved facilitation, training, and research. Faculty’s institutional responsibilities of research,

teaching, and community outreach (i.e. many faculty involved have extension appointments) at
times complimented their role in the Community Teams. Furthermore, UW students in this
group joined community members on some projects. Students’ commitment varied by time,
skills, motivation, knowledge, and connections to neighborhoods and other program participants.
         Other benefits resulted from issues of diversity, such as diverse voices contributed to
broader community visions. Active community members as well as potential participants (i.e.
other residents the project hoped to include) had diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Member
backgrounds influenced perspective and experiences. Their backgrounds varied by income level,
age, occupation, culture, nationality, education, employment and housing situation. Diverse
viewpoints usually resulted in better thinking. Diverse opinions built consensus and mobilized
actions supported by the whole community. So, forms of diversity, like diverse backgrounds and
view points, created more informed solutions to public problems.

                   Some Challenges of a University-Community Partnership
        The practice situation, like the literature, demonstrated the challenges of university-
community partnerships. Although diversity broadened vision, it offered several challenges too.
Diversity comes in various forms: diversity of interests, backgrounds, and institutional culture.
For instance, University partners needed to be careful not have UW research culture unduly
influence their interactions with community partners. Some research practices could have
caused faculty and students to treat the community as research subjects, and prevent the use of
research for community benefit. Also, community partners struggled with UW’s diversity.
Community partners struggled to find which students and faculty within a large university like
UW can provide the community with resources. Collaborations, furthermore, are comprised of
multiple organizations with potentially divergent leadership structures, thus parties assumptions
about leadership can challenge decision making and how to work together.
        Additional challenges related to constraints, all stakeholder groups faced constraints.
Specifically, family and work commitments constrained community member involvement, and
other research and teaching priorities limited the time faculty partners had for community
outreach. Only the program coordinators sustained involvement throughout each project activity
and the total program. Sustaining resident and faculty involvement proved difficult. Faculty
partners rotated their involvement for longer yet limited time periods. Faculty and other
organizational partners were limited in their ability to speak on behalf of their organization.
Community members engaged mostly in project activities, and residents inconsistently attended
meetings. Insufficient program resources, such as limited funds hindered the program’s ability
to sustain resident involvement through compensation. Furthermore, longer timelines caused
team members to leave the project or become less active. Overall, supporting program success
and establishing benchmarks to measure success and program growth proved challenging.

                             Some Strategies to Overcome Challenges
        The literature explains strategies that can be used to address the challenges of
collaboration, including ways to divide and share the work of collaboration (Chrislip, 2002;
Crosby and Bryson, 2005); create more egalitarian relationships (Himmelman, 2001; Fawcett et
al., 1995); and increase diversity and grassroots engagement (Wolff, 2001b). Our practice
situation offered strategies related to relationships, roles, and resources.
        Several relationship building strategies built trust, and sustained commitment. Trust
between partners developed through patterns of listening. Bringing in new collaborators as well

as reinvigorating existing membership retained project viability when original timelines need to
be extended. Partners recommitted based on their interest in specific housing issues or
collaborative processes. Fundamental to sustaining resident commitment was discovering local
issues that energize the community and empower people. In addition, the increasing awareness
and fear that South Madison is the next development area of Madison also sustained community
member involvement. For all UW and SMPC partners, high interest in processes like
community-based research and the strategy of workforce housing have reinvigorated and
sustained their commitment. Trust developed further through dual relationships, individuals’
membership in multiple stakeholder groups. For example, one advisor to the program serves on
the SMPC board as the UW representative employed through University Health Services. In her
capacity as a SMPC and a UW representative, she facilitated relationships between SMPC and
UW-Madison that benefited the Community Teams and the broad university-community
partnership. Another dual relationship occurred because the graduate student coordinator started
as an SMPC volunteer on the project, providing a strong relationship with both SMPC and UW.
Dual roles brought longer ties to the collaboration; more awareness of different cultural contexts;
and actors’ experience with multiple entities furthered understandings between partners.
        Other strategies provided resources and clarity of roles. University partners can offer
resources through their roles as students and teachers engaged in service learning or “the
renewed emphasis on community involvement” (Bringle & Hatcher, 2002, p. 503). The case
reflected this research. UW faculty with extension appointments, and students offered labor and
technical expertise through service-learning and by faculty fulfilling extension responsibilities in
program planning and support. Additional resources compensated community members (e.g.
stipends, childcare), and alleviated some of constraints on their involvement. Clarifying and
defining roles also helped to motivate participation, guide coordination and the sharing of
leadership. The Director of Campus Community Partnerships and program co-coordinators, for
instance, coordinated external resource people and UW programs to enhance community impact.
By creating well-defined roles for external resource partners, UW, SMPC, and even grassroots
community members customized the information, expertise, and other resources contributed.

        Collaborations are mutually beneficial to university and community partners; however,
unless each partner’s constraints are reduced maximum involvement cannot be sustained.
Naturally, not all challenges can be addressed, but direct attention to these matters should be
addressed by any means possible. Partners in Community Teams discovered a few effective
strategies. New partnership models between UW and South Madison partners relied on trusting
and strong relationships. At times partners with dual roles, served as liaisons, translating visions
and cultivating support from all stakeholder groups. Partners’ well defined roles and shared
resources also proved effective in overcoming typical constraints, and in growing the chance for
more fair and affordable housing for South Madison neighborhoods and residents.

Alperovitz, G., & Howard, T. (2005). The next wave: Building a university civic engagement
      service for the twenty-first century. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and
      Engagement, 10(2), 141-157.
Berkowitz, B. (2001). Studying the outcomes of community-based coalitions. American Journal
      of Community Psychology 29(2), 213-227.

Bringle, R. G. and Hatcher, J. A. (2002). Campus-community partnerships: The terms of
        engagement. Journal of Social Issues, 58(3), 503-516.
Chrislip, D. D. (2002). The collaborative leadership fieldbook: A guide for citizens and civic
        leaders. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Cox, D. N. (2000). Developing a framework for understanding university-community
        partnerships. Cityscape: a Journal of Policy Development and Research 5(1), 9–26.
Crosby, B. C., & Bryson, J. M. (2005). Leadership for the common good: Tackling public
        problems in a shared power world: second edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Fawcett, S. B., Paine-Andrews, A., Francisco, V.T., Schultz, J. A., Richter, K. P., Lewis, R. K.,
        Williams, E. L., Harris, K. J., Berkley, J. Y., Fisher, J. L., and Lopez, C. M. (1995).
        Using empowerment theory in collaborative partnerships for community health and
        development. American Journal of Community Psychology 23(5), 677-697.
Himmelman, A. T. (2001). On community coalitions and the transformation of power relations:
        Collaborative betterment and collaborative empowerment. American Journal of
        Community Psychology, 29(2), 277-284.
Trickett, E. J., & Espino, S. L. R. (2004). Collaboration and Social Inquiry: Multiple Meanings
        of a Construct and Its Role in Creating Useful and valid Knowledge. American Journal of
        Community Psychology, 34(1/2), 1–69.
Wolff, T. (2001a). Community coalition building – Contemporary practice and research:
        Introduction. American Journal of Community Psychology 29(2), 165–172.
Wolff, T. (2001b). The future of community coalition building. American Journal of Community
        Psychology 29(2), 263-268.
Ariel Kaufman, Community Team Coordinator, University of Wisconsin-Madison,, Campus Community Partnerships, 2300 S. Park Street, Suite 1, Madison,
WI 53713.

Jodi Wortsman, Resource Development Coordinator, South Metropolitan Planning Council,, SMPC, 2300 S. Park Street, Madison, WI 53713.

Lori Kay, Director of Campus Community Partnerships/Office of the Chancellor, University of
Wisconsin-Madison,, Chancellor’s Office, 94 Bascom Hall, 500 Lincoln
Drive, Madison, WI, 53706.

Information on the South Metropolitan Planning Council is located the City of Madison’s
website (

Presented at the Midwest Research to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

  Association pour le Progrès et la Défense des Droits des Femmes Maliennes
     (APDF) : Creation, Facilitation, and Contributions to Social Change
                                        Maïmouna Konaté

        This paper examined the contributions of the “Association pour le Progrès et la Défense
des Droits des Femmes Maliennes (Association for the Advancement and the Defense of Malian
Women’s Rights) to the process of empowering women in Mali. The paper combined critical
theory, transformative learning theory, and the African feminist theory to develop a new
perspective on how a women’s organization, APDF, works for the betterment of women’s lives
in Mali and the construction of a fair society. By so doing, the paper applied a case study
methodology. It was interesting to find that the creation of APDF has contributed to improving
women’s lives in Mali, facilitating women’s participation for their empowerment and
transformation, and contributing to social change.

        In Mali, poverty, lack of education, religious oppression, and patriarchy have excluded
women from position of leadership and responsibility in the family, in society, and in politics.
There exist in Mali women’s organizations and non governmental organizations (NGOs) that
fight for the cause of women. Their mandate is to organize women in order to enable them to
defend their rights and improve their socio-economic conditions and legal statuses within the
Malian society. They build in women leadership capabilities so that they can participate actively
in decision-making that affects their interests in both the private and the public sectors. Among
these organizations is the “Association Pour le Progrès et la Défense des Droits des Femmes
Maliennes” (APDF).

                                          Research Problem
        In Africa, in general, and Mali in particular, male domination, poverty, illiteracy, and the
cultural interpretation of religion (Islam) result in marginalizing and disempowering women.
Although women’s movements through their associations challenge the patriarchal hegemony,
their contributions are usually absent in the literature on feminist discourse, for feminist
discourse is often written from a Eurocentric perspective. This case study targets a women’s
association in Mali, West Africa, which works with women to building a just society. The
women’s association that is the subject of this study is the “Association pour le Progrès et la
Défense des Droits des Femmes Maliennes (APDF), which seeks to empower women by
promoting, protecting, and defending their rights So far it is not yet known how APDF has been
effective in achieving its goals.

                               Purpose and Research Questions
       The purpose of this study was to examine the creation, facilitation, and contribution of
APDF to social change for the empowerment of women in Mali. The study addressed the
following questions:

   1. Why was the Association pour le Progrès et la Défense des Droits des Femmes Maliennes
      (APDF) created in Mali?
   2. How did APDF facilitate women’s participation for their empowerment and
   3. What contributions did APDF make to social change in Mali?

                            Theoretical Framework and Literature Review
         This study was informed by critical theory, transformative learning theory, and African
feminist theory. These theoretical perspectives have helped me to understand the goals and
contributions of APDF in the empowering process of women in Mali.
         First, critical theory: it is an important tool that helps the oppressed people to struggle
against the hegemonic social, economic and political structures (Merriam & Caffarella, 1999). It
helps people to critically ask questions about the world in which they live (Freire, 1970).
Freire’s theory of critical education involving a dialogical process helps individuals,
organizations, and the community to understand that learning is an act of freedom, to analyze the
dominant institutions, and to become more active in creating and implementing decisions and
processes that affect their lives. Although Freire made an important contribution in developing
the critical theory, however, his theory was developed for radical social change in the context of
literacy programs that were devoted to the raising of consciousness of the oppressed in Latin
America, specifically Brazil. Thus, a better understanding in the African context is necessary.
Freire himself, during his several visits, in Guinea Bissau realized that he did not know the
African context and that he, therefore, had to learn from the African experience (Freire, 1978).
Hence, this research advanced knowledge and contributed to deepening the understanding of the
critical perspective by applying it to the African context.
         Second, transformative learning theory: Freire (1970, 1973) and Mezirow (1991) have
discussed transformative learning from different perspectives. Mezirow (1991, 1997) explained
transformative learning from an individualistic, rational, and psychological perspective, although
he agreed that collective social action could occur. But, Freire (1970) contended that
transformative learning is neither simply individualistic nor psychological, but rather it is
essentially contextual, socio-cultural, political, and liberating.
         Mezirow’s theory of transformative learning has its place in the individualistic societies
of the West. However, Freire’s theory is more relevant in the context of the Third World
countries, such as Mali, where oppression, discrimination, illiteracy, and poverty are major
concerns of the people.
         Third, African feminism: Based on Western literature feminism is a contribution of the
women from the West (Tong, 1998; Harding, 1987). This study, however, asserted that
feminism is not only from the West, but also has always existed in Africa, because of the roles
African women have played in African history. For instance, Sudarkana (1996) asserted that
there were several African queens and that women had equal rights with men before the colonial
times and that African women’s oppression was a product of colonialism. In the West, feminists
are more concerned with sex, gender equality, and equal opportunities (equal salary, equal
domestic rights, and right to vote, etc.) with men. Western feminists view women’s experiences
only from their own limited perspectives and do not recognize the perspectives of women from
non-western societies. Because they regard their own perspectives as the norm, they therefore,
over-generalize their own theories, which do not in fact embody the realities of all women
around the world. In short, Western feminists have neither taken into account nor appreciated

feminism from other parts of the world. They view world women as “sexually constrained,
ignorant, poor, uneducated, tradition-bound, domestic, victimized, etc. as opposed to Western
women as being educated, modern, having control over their bodies and sexualities, and the
freedom to make their own decisions” (Narayan, 2000, p. 85). Western women must heed and
be cognizant of the different cultural, social, and sexual experiences of women in other parts of
the world. By not taking into account colonialism and imperialism, feminism becomes a
movement of Western colonization imposed on non-Western women. Ham-Garth (1994)
thought that the dominant paradigm of Euro-American feminist theory and women’s studies
presented a feminism that obscured the historical collective experiences of African women. She
insisted that the voices of women from the African Diaspora must be heeded. Using African
feminism, this paper highlighted the insufficiency of Western feminism to explain the conditions
of African women. The study demonstrated that African women, especially Malian women,
could make a big contribution to feminist discourse, for African women in general, and Malian
women in particular, have their own theories of how women work together to achieve their
liberation (Rushing, 1996). Therefore, my study contributed to the development of knowledge by
applying the above theories to the African context, especially the context of rural women in

        This field research was conducted in Mali, West Africa, in June through August 2006.
The research used a case study methodology (Glesne & Peshkin, 1992). It was appropriate to
use a case study here because it helped me to observe and ask questions about the organization,
APDF. My decision to conduct a qualitative case study was informed by qualitative theorists
and researchers (Denzin and Lincoln, 1994; Merriam & Simpson, 1995; Reinharz, 1992; Stake,
1995). Data were collected by means of tape-recorded in-depth interviews, document analysis,
and participant observation.
        Six staff members of APDF among whom four at the national level and two at the local
level were interviewed. Four interviews took place in the women’s offices and two in the APDF
Conference Room at Bamako. All the women were married and had children. Their ages range
between 35 and 50.

        This section presents the major findings of the research in three areas. The first relates to
the creation of APDF contributing to improving the lives of women in Mali. The second deals
with the facilitation of APDF for women’s participation to their empowerment and
transformation. The third explains the contributions of APDF to social change in Mali.

Creation of APDF
         APDF was created in April 1991 when a group of women decided to advance women’s
rights after the dictatorship of the leading government at that time. APDF groups, organizes, and
mobilizes women so that they can fully and effectively participate in their own development. Its
objectives are to promote, protect, and defend all forms of violence as well as harmful traditional
practices women and girls are subject to, especially female genital mutilation (FGM). It informs,
forms, and educates women about their rights as citizens and encourages them to be conscious of
their role and place in the socio-economic and political development of Mali. It also fights for a
full integration of women in decision-making at all levels. APDF values the social role of

Malian women and their economic contributions in the family and in the society; it also supports
women in their efforts of promotion and employment opportunities. It finally watches the right
application of non-discriminatory laws and texts toward women and international instruments
ratified by Mali.

Facilitation of Women’s Participation
        APDF promotes women’s participation through numerous means such as organizing,
advocating, actions, and cultural and social events. It has programs that focus on campaigning,
public information, education, services related to women’s rights, women’s health and welfare,
and income-generating activities.
        APDF mobilizes and organizes women inside and outside the country. Membership is
voluntary and open to anyone (male or female) who is 18 years old or over with the payment of a
membership card and annual subscription. Its members are mostly women, especially, women
workers, women peasants, women professionals, and women students both at the urban level as
well as the local level. The National Assembly is the highest decision-making. It meets once
every three years upon the call of the president of the National Executive Committee or in case
of emergency it meets under the request of 2/3 of its members.

Contributions of APDF to Social Change
        APDF as a social movement is a learning site, which helps women to mobilize, organize,
and raise their consciousness through popular education. It incites women to take actions for the
improvement of their living conditions. APDF brings women victim of gender violence to break
silence, be outspoken, and denounce the perpetrators of such violence. It trains the police to be
gender sensitive towards women victim of gender violence. APDF has initiated a program called
“Men talk to Men on Violence against Women” to bring men as partners to stand and combat
gender violence against women. These men are the APDF good will Ambassadors on the fight
against violence against women. The legal counseling centre for APDF, the “Centre d’Ecoute et
d’Aide Juridique” (Hearing and Judicial Court), received 789 cases from 1994-2000, 341 cases
in 2003, and 260 cases in 2004 (personal conversation with the president o0f APDF). Most cases
were reported to APDF by men.
        Since its creation, APDF has trained women to be candidates and elected. It brings
women to support women regardless of their political affiliations. APDF also sensitizes women
on the danger and consequences of female genital mutilation, (FGM) for it does not consider
female genital mutilation as only a health issue, but also as an inhumane and degrading treatment
and a critical human right violation. By so doing, APDF trains young people (girls and boys) to
take actions against female genital mutilation. Thanks to APDF more than one hundred women
performers of FGM deposited their cutting knives and moved to income-generating activities
such as weaving, pottery, and dying clothes.

                                      Concluding Remarks
Summary of Findings
       Despite their contribution to economic development, African women have always
experienced male domination, discrimination, and colonial oppression. These situations
continue to negatively impact the role of African women, their status, and their position in the
family as well as in society. Women’s movements trough their organizations are contributing to
improving their lives.

        Three themes emerged from this study. The first theme is the creation of APDF. APDF
was created in order to inform, educate, and help women understand their rights and oppose
cultural practices that hinder their progress and transformation. The second theme is facilitation
to participate for empowerment and transformation. APDF mobilizes and organizes women
within and outside the country to fight against violence and injustices against women for the
well-being of their families and the society. The third theme is the contributions of APDF to
social change. APDF is a social movement and a learning site organized for both women and
men to recognize women’s rights as human rights through practical reflection, actions, and

Importance of Applying Findings to Practice or Theory.
        Critical, transformative, and feminist theories in the West contribute to understanding the
importance of individualism and gender issues in the mainstream discourse. However, there is a
gap in the literature as these theories do not fully explain the condition of African women in their
context. This study contributed to the literature by putting, front and center, the voices of
marginalized women in Africa, especially women in Mali though their organization, APDF.

Implications of the Study to the Practice of Adult and Community Education.
        This research is important to the practice of adult and community education for the
following reasons. First, African women’s voices are silent in the literature of community
development. Critical theory can give marginalized women a voice. Second, even if women’s
voices are heard in the literature, these voices are mainly of women of the West, and their work
is not sufficient for helping African women. This study could help Western feminists to be
aware and recognize the cultural, social, and sexual differences and experiences of others. The
study demonstrated that Malian women’s struggles are not individualistic, but that they comprise
a common struggle where women continue to challenge the economic, political, and cultural
structures and fight for their equal rights with the assistance of APDF.
        The research focused on the conference theme, “Building Communities with
Sustainability and Social Capital”. This paper discussed the contributions of APDF for
organizing Malian women both at the rural and urban levels so that they could create a
community which provided a social network for them, thereby helping one another and
empowering themselves. The study also called for the recognition of the contributions of
women’s movements in Africa, and particularly in Mali, trying to make Mali a sustainable
country where women would have access to equal economic, political, and cultural power. This
study highlighted the insufficiency of Western feminism to explain the conditions and desires of
African women. Finally, it demonstrated that African feminists could make significant
contributions to feminist discourse, for African women’s movements have their own theories of
how women could work together and achieve their communal liberation.

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Glesne, C. & A. Peshkin (1992). Becoming qualitative researchers: An introduction. New York:
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       Ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
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       adults (2nd ed.). Florida: Krieger.
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Mezirow, J. (1997). Transformative theory out of context. Adult Education Quarterly. 48(3),
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       essentialism. In U. Narayan & S. Harding. Decentering the center: Philosophy for a
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Maïmouna Konaté, Doctoral Candidate, 148 Gabel Hall, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb,
IL 60115,

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

Authentic and School-Only Literacy Events in Adult Basic Education Classes
                                           Patsy Medina

        Literacy events are observable activities where literacy has a role and exist in a social
context. Analysis of data from a study of the literacy events of four ABE programs reveals two
broad categories of literacy events that took place during instruction. School-only literacy events
were characterized by a high level of workbook-dominated instruction. Most class content was
generated by these workbooks and classroom discourse was primarily limited to that content. A
literacy event was considered authentic if it mirrored the way a learners could use literacy in
their homes, work, and communities in general. During authentic literacy events, content about
the lives of the learners was integrated into the literacy curriculum. Classroom discourse and
interaction between the learners and the teachers and among the learners were akin to those that
take place in their homes and communities. A key finding of this study was that the ABE
program administrators were the gatekeepers of the pedagogical culture of the classrooms.

        Using a multiple-case design, (Yin, 1984), four ABE classes from different urban adult
literacy programs were selected as research sites. The reputational case selection sampling
strategy (Goetz; LeCompte, 1984) was implemented whereby sites were recommended by
experienced experts in the adult literacy field. Program administrators were contacted and asked
to classify their instructional programs based on a four-item adult literacy program practice
typology developed by Purcell-Gates, Degener, and Jacobson (1998). Via participant observation
(Merriam, 1998), data were collected over a period of four months at each ABE 1 classroom site
by way of field notes based on classroom observations, audio-taped interviews with teachers,
learners and administrators, and document analysis of classroom texts and written work of the
students. Research questions were: 1) What are the literacy events taking place in four ABE
Level 1 classrooms? 2) What classroom-based and programmatic features account for the
similarities and differences among the four classrooms? The various literacy events that were
took place during classroom reading and writing lessons were the primary units of analysis. For
the purposes of this study a literacy event was an observable episode of people actually using
literacy (Barton 1994). Individual case studies were created for each individual ABE program
and classroom. The case study data were analyzed by analyzing the literacy events of each site.
Once the individual case studies were completed I embarked on cross case analysis.

                                      Theoretical Framework
        There is a body of scholarly research from several disciplines called the New Literacy
Studies that supports the nature of literacy as a sociocultural construct. (Gee, 1996). Hence, there
are mulitliteracies whereby literacy is a set of practices which are used by people in literacy
events (Barton, 1994). Literacy is thus viewed as a set of practices which are used by people in
literacy events. Literacy practices are what one does with literacy and are not observable
behaviors because “they also involve values, attitude, feeling and social relationships…these
processes are internal to the individual” (Barton & Hamilton, 2000, p. 7). Literacy events are
episodes that can be observed and always exist in a social context. They arise from literacy

practices and are shaped by them n Street (1984) proposes that there are two theoretical models
of literacy: the autonomous model and the ideological model. Simply put, proponents of the
autonomous model assert that literacy is made up of discrete skills that can be taught in order and
that are not connected to the socio-cultural realities of a person. Whiton (1990) asserts the
autonomous model has had a major influence in the instruction and development of adult literacy
programs in the United States. Via an ideological model literacy is defined as “a social process,
in which particularly socially constructed technologies are used within particular frameworks for
specific social purposes” (Street, 1984, p. 97). Adult literacy programs that have this orientation
structure their programs to promote “a variety or relationships and cyclical activities which all
may affect the outcome of a student learning literacy skills in a program” (Whiton, p. 47).

       The findings discussed in this paper focus on classroom discourse, instructional activities
and the role of the ABE program administrator.

School-only and Authentic Literacy Events
         The data revealed that there were two broad categories of literacy events in these four
classes: school-only and authentic literacy events. School-only literacy events were characterized
by a high level of workbook-dominated instruction. Most class content was generated by these
workbooks. During school-only literacy events, the discourse of the learners was limited to
course content and the primary mode of teacher learner interaction was initiate-reply-evaluate
(IRE), where the teacher initiated a question, learners responded, and the teacher eventually
evaluated that response (Beder & Medina 2001; Mehan, 1979).
         I considered a literacy event authentic if it mirrored the way learners would or could use
literacy in their homes, work, and communities in general. During authentic literacy events,
content about the lives of the learners was integrated into the literacy curriculum. Also, the
classroom discourse and interaction between the learners and the teachers and among the
learners were akin to those that take place in their homes and communities. Classroom structures
that promoted authentic literacy events were open-ended questioning by teachers, varied
instructional materials, thematic instructional units, sustained silent reading (SSR) and sustained
silent writing (SSW), and goal setting. All of the four ABE classes that I observed had some
form of school-only events taking place daily. In two of the ABE classes I observed the majority
of the literacy events were school-only in nature. In one of those classes all of the literacy events
were coded as school-only. In two of the ABE classes that served as research sites, learners took
part in authentic literacy events during the majority of their instructional time.
         Distinguishing between school-only and authentic classroom discourse. School-only
literacy events were characterized by workbook-dominated instruction and IRE classroom
discourse. The following illustrates typical IRE discourse.
         The teacher has written the word respond on the board. She asks what the word is
         and several learners give incorrect answers. A female learner raises her hand, is
         called upon and gives the correct answer. Teacher replies, “Yes, where is the
         answer?” Several learners point to the correct answer, which is to answer or
         reply. Teacher says, “Yes, it means to answer or reply… the teacher addresses the
         full class again. “The second word is application…the teacher goes onto the next
         word…a female learner says, “Neglect.” Teacher confirms the answer by
         repeating it. She then adds, “Neglect doesn’t mean to forget, like, ‘Oh, I forgot

        that number,’ it means that you don’t do something that you should do.” The
        teacher looks at the worksheet, “It says, you must not neglect your payment.
        Another time neglect is used is when you have children. If you have children, you
        should not neglect your children, you should take care of them. So neglect doesn’t
        mean to forget like oops I forgot; it means to forget to or for some reason not to
        do something you must do.”
        The episode above is characterized by the teacher doing most of the talking and the
learners replying with a one word answer or short phrase. The teacher is the arbiter of
knowledge. She provides information to the learners as opposed to drawing information from
them. She also has an underlying assumption about the type of information that learners need
such as not neglecting children. Furthermore, all the teaching learning transactions take place
between the teacher and learner, one turn at a time. Typically learners did not talk to each other
in the classroom discourse episodes that I coded as school-only. In contrast, the teacher/learner
roles are much more varied in the following example of an authentic literacy event. The thematic
unit focused on stress. The teacher was facilitating a teacher-fronted lesson on the topic of stress,
a thematic unit that the learners had chosen.
        The teacher says, “We’re going to start on Chapter 3 today—how to tell when
        you’re stressed. Let’s take a few minutes to brainstorm before we read the chapter
        and talk about what we know already. How do you know when you’re stressed? A
        female learner responds, “I get a headache”…the class had completed
        generating a list about how they knew when they were stressed. They generated
        items such as “I know I am stressed out when I want to scream;” “I know I am
        stressed out when I can’t eat.” Learners then took turns reading aloud
        paragraphs from a book about stress…the learners are comparing what they have
        read with what is up on the board. Someone says, “There’s stomach ache.” The
        teacher says, “Yup, stomach ache is up there”…A learner says, “Do we have
        something about bad eating habits up there?”
        This literacy event is different than the former in that the learners are providing the
content for the lesson. Via brainstorming, their practical knowledge about stress is validated
before they read the published information about the topic. In addition, as the citation below
demonstrates, learners talk to one another and learn personal information about each other during
this type of literacy event. As the lesson on stress continued throughout the week, the class
discussed what causes stress.
        A male learner said, “My wife!” Another learner says to him, “Your wife causes
        stress? There is lots of laugher in the room…the laughs and asks, “Does that go
        under relationships?” The male learner says, “No, no, I’m just kidding. I’ve been
        with my wife for 18 years.” A female learner congratulates him. The teacher
        refocuses the lesson. “Any other reasons or any other times when you’re feeling
        stressed out?” A female learner replies, “Having a ba—no that wouldn’t—I was
        going to say, having a baby.” The teacher says, “Yeah, yeah, I think that could be
        kind of stressful.” A male learner states that when he had his children it was not
        stressful. A female learner distinguishes between having a baby and making
        babies and adds, “You have no idea what we go through!” There is laugher as a
        male learner say, “Yes, I do, I have four kids and I know how my wife gets.”
        The distinction between the literacy events is that in the latter the learners are
communicating with each other and also learning about each other. In other words they revealed

themselves. Revelatory voice is when incorporate their lives as parents, workers, spouses,
friends, and the numerous other adult roles that they embody and integrate them with what they
are learning in school. In the IRE type of discourse, school-only voice was apparent. The learners
adopted a limited way of communicating and way of being that was not connected to the rest of
their lives.
         Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) is a home-like experience. In the two classrooms where
authentic literacy events proliferated, SSR was institutionalized. SSR is an elongated period of
time during the class session where learners have the opportunity to read silently without
interruption reading material chosen by them (Pilgreen, 2000). The following was my first
encounter with SSR while collecting data for this study.
         On the first day I arrived to collect data, I was unaware that the sustained silent
         reading was a norm of the class. I was somewhat confused when I first entered
         the classroom. I climbed the stairs to the second floor and was encountered by
         two learners sitting on the stairway reading. They looked up, moved a bit and
         made way for me to continue my assent. I entered the classroom and it was very
         crowded due to the small size of the room. There were 14 learners in attendance,
         and they were all reading silently. I later realized that the learners on the
         stairway and one who was silently reading next door in a supply room were also
         part of the class.
         The teacher of this class began instruction with SSR daily. Everyday when learners
entered the room, they would go to the library area and choose books. The teacher never
intervened or assessed their progress, which is an important element of SSR. This literacy event
generally lasted 30 minutes of a two and a half hour class. As the semester progressed, I
observed learners bringing in their own reading material and adding it to the class library. For
example, one female learner was interested in going to hair styling school. She generally brought
in magazines of that genre to read in class.
         SSR is an authentic literacy event because it mirrors how one would read at home. It is
also indicative of how fluent readers developed their reading skills. What persuaded me that SSR
was an authentic literacy event was how many of the students read, some with their legs on the
desk, others sitting on the floor or the stairway, other sitting erect in their chairs. As I observed
the varied postures over time, I said to myself, “That’s how I read at home!”
         Sustained Silent Writing (SSW) promotes revelatory voice. SSW is grounded on the
same principles of SSR. Teacher should allow for an elongated period of time for learners to
write what they choose. In SSW, however, teachers do provide feedback. But, that feedback is
about content rather than structure. In two of the classes I observed, student took part in SSW
regularly. In the class where all literacy events were school-only, no free writing took place. In
the class where most of the literacy events were school-only in nature, learners were limited to
the GED style of writing as the teacher of this class described:
         You don't have to be inspired, it doesn't have to come and not come. That's why I
         have a young man who likes to write, but he only wants to write about something
         that he wants to write about. I was telling him today, 'You can't go to the GED,
         not be inspired, because you're going to fail.' He wants to write about
         immigration and whether there should be limits on immigration. He went on to
         say how people don't care much about this issue. And I told him to focus, that
         immigration was not the topic I had given him.

       In the other two classes the students revealed themselves when they wrote. They wrote
personal stories “to describe their and examine personal identities. They wrote to tell their
children what their lives had been like, to remember the good and the bad time, and to make
sense of them in light of new understandings” (Gillespie, 1991, p. 184). For example:
       …I was lucky that for the year we were separated, he was in a very good foster
       home. The foster mother met me twice and invited me to her home. Foster parents
       are not allowed to have parents over the house…The foster mother broke all the
       rules when it came to us…The foster mother and I are real good friends to this
       day, and my son still plays with her kids…

The Role of the Program Administrator
        What accounted for the differences in the types of literacy events that took place in the
four ABE classes? What was most significant is how the program administrators viewed their
roles. The following two citations are indicative of that difference. In the one program that had a
high level of school-only literacy events and a low level of authentic literacy events, the
following took place during the initial class meeting.
        It is the first evening of instruction. The teacher passes out a sheet of paper. She
        says it has been written by the administrator of the program. She reads down the
        list of rules which include, no eating in the classroom, no cursing, no lateness,
        and no wearing hats in the classroom.
        That initial encounter sets the tone for what was to come for the learners. It was not that
the administrator had disrespect for the learners; she just did not view her role as one that needed
to interact with the learners. That was the role of the teacher. During the four months I collected
data, the program administrator never entered the classroom. In an ABE program where
revelatory voice proliferated, the administrator viewed her role very differently.
        I go into each classroom and introduce myself. I am very accessible to them. It
        doesn’t mean much to some of them, but they know where I am and then can come
        and talk to me…if they do have problems in the classroom, they feel very
        comfortable to come talk to me, or even if they have problem in life they can come
        talk to me.
        Also significant were the types of programming decisions made by the administrator. In
the two program that had a high level of school-only literacy events, data were solely collected
during classroom instruction and at year-end celebrations. There was nothing else to observe. No
“extracurricular” activities were planned. At the other two program learners were observed, not
only during their scheduled literacy classes, but also participating in such authentic literacy
events as a community theatre presentation about women and violence, family quilt sewing
project, a stress relaxation workshop, a health-team to spread awareness in the community about
AIDS, breast and cervical cancer, reading at a multi-cultural day presentation and at a poetry
café evening and running learner leadership meetings.

                                     Implications for Practice
        This study presents concrete instructional practices that support authentic literacy events.
The various roles of program administrators-- the programming decisions that they make, and
their effect on classroom instruction--are delineated. In addition, adults with literacy issues have
been historically denied access to social capital in this country. Strategies to enable the voices of
these learners to emerge are highlighted and stereotypical images of them are challenged.

Finally, the connection between in-school and out-of-school literacy events is established.

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        (Eds.). Situated literacies: Reading and writing in context (pp. 7-15). London: Routledge.
Beder, H., & Medina, P. (2001). Classroom dynamics in adult literacy education. Cambridge,
        MA: The National Center for the Study of Adult Learning and Literacy.
Gee, J. (1996). Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in discourses. Bristol, PA: Falmer.
Gillespie, M. (1991). Becoming authors: The social context of writing and local publishing by
        adult beginning readers. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Amherst, MA: University of
Goetz, J.P. & LeCompte, M.D. (1984). Ethnography and qualitative design in educational
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Mehan, H. (1979). Learning lessons: social organization in the classroom. Cambridge, MA:
        Harvard University Press.
Merriam, S.B. (1998). Qualitative research and case study applications in education. San
        Francisco, CA.: Jossey-Bass Publishers
Pilgreen, J.L. (2000). The ssr handbook. Postsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Purcell-Gates, V., Degener, S. & Jacobson, E. (1998). U.S. adult literacy program practice: a
        typology across dimensions of life-contextualized/ decontextualized and
        dialogic/monologic. Cambridge, MA: The National Center for the Study of Adult
        Learning and Literacy.
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Patsy Medina, Ed.D., Assistant Professor, Educational Foundations/Adult Ed., Buffalo State
College, 1300 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, NY 14222,

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

    Using Praxis II: Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) Grade 7-12
         Scores to Sustain an Online Learning Community for Adults
         Transitioning to Teaching in Ohio – Results of a Pilot Study
         Maria Moore, Belinda Gimbert, Figen Sahin, Tina Kassebaum, & Paula Kurth

        The purpose of this pilot study is to begin to determine if the Educational Testing Service
(ETS) scores on the Praxis II: Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) Grade 7-12 test of
adults participating in the Ohio Transition to Teaching (TtT) project, receiving test preparation
through a blended online learning approach, did as well as other Ohio Alternative Educator
Licensed (AEL) Teachers and Ohio traditionally trained teachers. Pilot results suggest that
AELs participating in Ohio TtT performed better on the PLT than other Ohio AELs, and did as
well as those coming from traditional higher education programs. Pilot test scores support that
the blended test preparation support did may make a difference, although additional demographic
data is being collected to control for variability among groups. This evaluation study aimed to
continue the work and sustain resources that built a community of adults “transitioning” to
become educators, learning how to teach in Ohio’s high need, hard to staff school districts.

                            Introduction and Statement of the Problem
        The State of Ohio requires that all new teachers (those who are alternatively licensed and
traditional trained) pass the Educational Testing Service’s (ETS) Praxis II: Principles of
Learning and Teaching Test. If both groups (AELs and traditionally trained teachers) are
required to pass this test, then what types of interventions can non-traditional programs provide
to support adults transitioning to teaching on an AEL pathway and aid them in achieving passing
scores on this test? One solution by the Ohio Transition to Teaching (TtT) Project was to build a
blended learning process of Praxis II: PLT test preparation as part of an online learning
community ( to support a target group of Ohio AEL teachers serving in high
need, hard to staff school districts across the state of Ohio.

Purpose of the study
         The purpose of this study is to determine if adult participants in the Ohio TtT project who
received PLT study support (defined as a blended approach) perform as well as other teacher
groups on the Praxis II: PLT grade 7-12 test. Performance is measured by ETS with standardized
national scores on the Praxis II: PLT (for grades 7-12). Ohio TtT participants’ pilot exam scores
were compared to two other groups. These two groups are: a.) Ohio traditional route teachers
and b.) other Ohio AEL teachers who did not participate in the Ohio TtT Program.
         AEL teachers in Ohio may receive different pathways to preparation, yet an AEL teacher
must pass the Praxis II: PLT by achieving at least the same minimum score as those who follow
a traditional pathway. If both groups are required to pass this test, then what types of
interventions can non-traditional programs provide to support AEL teachers and aid them in
achieving passing test scores? The solution developed by the Ohio TtT Program was to build a
blended process of Praxis II: PLT test preparation as part of an online learning community to
support a target group of AEL teachers serving in high need school districts across the state of
Ohio as part of a U.S. Department of Education grant.

       Significance of the study. This pilot study serves as part of an evaluation of the Ohio TtT
program funded from a U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) grant. The final results are
expected by December, 2007. This evaluation study aims to support continued work to sustain
resources that built a community of adults who are learning to become educators in Ohio in high
need, hard to staff school districts.

                                        Review of Literature
        The promise of interactive technologies is here; however, adults using it have various
needs. Many adult learners are in a transition phase in their lives that first requires an insight
into the basic tenets of adult learning theory (Knowles, Holton & Swanson, 1998). It is
important to examine those basic tenets before exploring how to build interactive learning
systems for adults so they can be successful in work and life.

Adult Learning and Transitions
        Knowles (1970; 1980) theory of andragogy suggests that adults come with experiences
that they can draw on, as well as the motivation to solve their own problems. Merriam (2005)
suggests that it is the transitions in adult work and life that actually fosters continuous learning
and development. For example, adults changing careers come with prior work experience that
they can transfer to a new job. Goodman (1995) defines a transition as “life events entailing
change” (p. 18) and describes it further as an event or non-event that results in new relationships,
routines, assumptions, or roles. Transitions, such as career change, often require unconventional
new ways of learning to adjust to a new situation.

Blended Instructional Model and Building an Online Learning Community
        Blended learning has been defined as combining distributive or online systems and face-
to-face instruction (Graham, 2006; Reay, 2001; Rooney, 2003; Ward & LaBranche, 2003). The
interactive technologies available today allow for combining the best of these two systems.
Several studies have shown that interactive technologies allow the instructor/facilitator to engage
with learners individually while building a learning community that transcends time and space
locations to meet the needs of busy adults (Rovai & Jordan, 2004). Berge (1995) suggests that
those creating blended learning system are responsible for addressing managerial, pedagogical,
technical, and social needs of learners. Blended systems supported by interactive tools, such as
email and threaded discussions, can facilitate participants’ serving as resources for each other,
thus enhancing face to face meetings with the facilitator or with a cohort of similar adult learners
with a common purpose. Imel (2002) defines cohort as a “group of students who enroll at the
same time and through a program by taking the same courses at the same time,” (p. 1).

        This evaluation research study uses a quantitative group comparison method to compare
the mean scores of three groups. Initial approval to conduct the research study was obtained
from the Ohio State University Institutional Review Board (IRB). The research protocol and the
process for collecting data were approved in October, 2006 for initial data collection to begin in
November, 2006 and continue through September 30, 2007. Consent forms and actual copies of
ETS detailed score reports were obtained from all Ohio TtT participants that are reported in this
pilot study. The Ohio Department of Education, through IRB, also approved the use of ODE

databases of ETS Praxis II: PLT (7-12) test scores and support from the Ohio Teacher Quality
Project. Pilot results are reported here from data collected up through March 30, 2007.

Research Design
        This study employed an ex post facto research design. The quantitative data utilized for
this study were ETS PLT (7-12) Test Scores from a time frame of 2005-2007. The data were
collected from three Ohio teacher populations: 1) Ohio TtT program participants from Cohorts 3
and 4 (N=128), 2) Ohio AEL (N=334), and 3) Traditional (N=1606).
        Research Questions and Hypotheses. The fundamental research question in this study
is: Do those AEL teachers provided with Ohio TtT Praxis II: PLT Test Preparation Program
blended support do as well as or better than other Ohio AEL and traditionally trained teachers on
the ETS Praxis II: PLT test? Three (3) hypotheses were developed to determine if any
differences existed in the mean scores on the ETS Praxis II: PLT between the three groups being
evaluated. Below are the hypotheses being tested in this pilot study:

H0: μTtT ≤ μAEL and H1: μTtT > μAEL (Mean scores of Ohio TtT ETS PLT Tests will be higher than Other Ohio AEL)
H0: μTtT ≤ μTrad and H2: μTtT > μTrad (Mean scores of Ohio TtT ETS PLT Test will be higher than Ohio Traditional)
H0: μTrad ≤ μAEL and H3: μTrad > μAEL (Mean scores of Ohio Traditional ETS PLT Test will be higher than Ohio AEL)

        Measures. The outcome measure employed for this study was Educational Testing
Service’s (ETS) Praxis II: Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) Test for Grades 7-12. The
test score ranges from 0-200 points based on answering 12 constructed responses to 4 case
studies (3 questions per case study) and 24 multiple choice test items. This exam tests
pedagogical knowledge from the following four (4) knowledge content domains: Students as
Learners, Instruction and Assessment, Communication Techniques, and Profession and
        Populations. Two Ohio teacher populations are Ohio graduates of traditional institute of
higher education (IHE) programs and those on an Ohio AEL who took the Praxis II: PLT for 7-
12 only. The AEL population (N=462) was divided into those who received the Ohio TtT
blended treatment (N=128 Cohorts 3 and 4) and those that did not (N=334). Currently, only the
sample of Ohio TtT scores of n=32 is reported here until we finish collecting test scores.
        Treatment. The treatment is described as a blended approach to test preparation for the
Praxis II: PLT (7-12). It consists of a face-to-face workshop as well as an online e-PLT Praxis
Tutorial which often are integrated, or blended together to give Ohio TtT participants multiple
solutions and access to various approaches to learn the test content. The online tutorial consists
of 7 modules and 5 test banks. The process is to review materials and practice with either paper-
based or electronic options. Adult learners are grouped together in cohorts according to when
their AEL license was issued and are provided with this workshop as well as a variety of e-tools
embedded within an online learning community where these AELs are able to communicate with
their peers, in similar situations of transitioning to teaching and thus have similar learning needs.

Data Collection
        Data collection for this evaluation research study involved collecting ETS 2005-07 Praxis
II: PLT 7-12 test scores only from:
     1. Ohio Transition to Teaching AEL teacher participants from Cohorts 3 & 4 (2005-07)
     2. Ohio Department of Education database records of AEL teachers NOT in Ohio TtT.

    3. Ohio aggregated data and summary of Ohio Traditional Route (TQP Report, 2006)
        First, data collection for the Ohio TtT group began in October 2006 and will complete
September 30, 2007. Pilot results were collected when n=32 were obtained as an initial snapshot
for reporting in spring 2007 to the USDOE. Second, data collection for the Other Ohio AEL
group began in February 2006. Data were obtained from an ODE database of AEL ETS test
scores from which only scores for the PLT 7-12 exam (Test 0524) were extracted for analysis.
Third, data collection for the Ohio Traditional group began in January 2006. Aggregated data
results were published in the TQP Graduate Survey Progress Report by Loadman, Moore, Kim,
Kula, Richter, Freeman, Capa, Smith, & Loy (October, 2006). This report provided statewide
data of ETS Praxis II: PLT test scores related to Teacher Quality in Ohio. The study is overseen
by OSU and the statewide ETS data were obtained through the TQP Graduate Survey from 38
Ohio Traditional Teacher Preparation Programs in Institutes of Higher Education (IHE).

       SPSS version 14.0 was used to analyze the TtT and non-TtT AEL data sets. Table 1
below provides the descriptive statistics of the ETS Praxis II: PLT exam for each of the three
groups which include the mean scores, ranges, and standard deviations.

        Table 1: Descriptive Statistics for Each Ohio Teacher Group
                                    Minimum Maximum Mean                       Std.
                                    Test Score Test Score Score              Deviation
 TtT                          n=32*          158              198   178.03     9.43
 AEL (non-TtT)                  334          113              200   174.19     10.85
 Traditional                   1606          122              200   176.12     8.37
* Note: Pilot results collected from this group where N=128

        Before any parametric statistical test, such as a t-test, can be performed, it is important
that the variables in the analysis be normally distributed. This is often the case for scores on
standardized tests; however, it was not possible to test the Traditional group for violations of
normality, given that only aggregated results were available. It is not likely to be a concern as the
population of this group is quite large and standardized tests are usually designed to yield normal
distributions. The measures of central tendency and the skewness of the Praxis II: PLT scores
were examined to determine if the distributions of these scores differed enough from normal
distributions to prevent the use of the difference of means tests.

        T-statistics for one tailed difference of means tests were run to determine if the mean
scores between the groups were statistically significant. Three t-tests were computed to test the
hypotheses. Table 2 reports inferential statistics calculated for the three groups. A difference in
mean tests for the pilot found a statistically significant higher mean score of 178 for Ohio TtT
AEL group than the mean test score of 174 for the non-TtT AEL group with a confidence
interval of 95%. This suggests that with a 95% certainty, this difference is real and not due to
chance and supports the first hypothesis. Next, the mean test score of the TtT group is higher
than that of the Traditional group; however, the difference is not statistically significant at the
95% confidence interval. Thus, we fail to find support for the second hypothesis. Although the

mean scores of the non-TtT AEL and Traditional groups differ by two (2) points (mean of 176
vs. 174), this difference is not statistically significant, thus accepting the third hypothesis.

       Table 2: Comparison of Praxis II: PLT (7-12) Exam Scores for Each Teacher Group
                                                Mean                   Statistically
                           Df       t-stat              P value
Hypothesis                                     Scores                  Significant
TtT compared to AEL                            178 vs.
                            39       2.17                  .05      YES – Accept Ho
(non-TtT)                                        174
TtT compared to                                178 vs.                    NO –
                            31       1.14                  .05
Traditional                                      176                    Reject Ho
Traditional compared to                        176 vs.
                           419       3.07                  .05       NO – Accept Ho
AEL (non-TtT)                                    174

Although we felt confident that the distributions of the Praxis scores of the two AEL groups were
appropriate for parametric testing, we also performed a non-parametric Mann-Whitney test,
which also indicated the difference between the two groups was statistically significant.

         Threats to validity that stem from non-representativeness samples will not be an issue
given that these are populations. However, a key concern is whether or not it is the “treatment”,
described here as a blended approach to test preparation, as producing the group differences in
the exams scores, or some other difference between the groups. For example, the Traditional
group is known to be younger and less experienced in the workforce than the two AEL groups.
Since the pilot study results were collected, additional demographic data is being collected from
all three groups. It is possible the variables of age, gender, and ethnicity may be the reason for
the difference in test scores; therefore, these variables will be added in order to run regression
analyses. The final study will attempt to control for the difference that these independent
variables might have on test scores and will allow for better control over the variability of these
groups. This requires non-aggregated data for the Traditional group, which may present a
challenge. The Traditional group is likely to differ demographically from the other AEL groups;
however, it is less likely that the two AEL groups will differ significantly from each other.

        These results are preliminary. The Ohio TtT project expects to have all data collected by
the end of September, as the last ETS test is provided August 4 with scores available September,
2007. This pilot study suggests that nontraditionally prepared teachers provided with support
through the blended Ohio TtT Praxis II: PLT Test Preparation Program performed better than
other Ohio nontraditionally and as well as traditionally trained teachers on the ETS Praxis II:
Principles of Learning and Teaching Test. One possible explanation for the performance of the
Ohio TtT teachers could be the blended support within the online learning community.
        In conclusion, Wolf (2005) says, “We find ourselves in a new world with new terrain”
(p.94). Eisen (2005) recommends as a response, “blending diverse educational concepts and
methods to meet the transitional needs of adults”(p. 92). To embrace the new terrain, the
literature supports that it is especially powerful when an environment is created for a cohort or
group of adults that can be supported in a community with both peer advice and mentoring from
those with experience. Finally, Pappas and Jerman (2004) point out that the only certainty of the

future is uncertainty. Thus, their recommendation is “Be Technological” (p.94) and so we used a
blended approach to meet the needs of Ohio TtT adult learners as they transition to teaching.

Berg, S. L. (1995). Facilitating computer conferencing: Recommendations from the field.
       Educational Technology, 15 (1), 22-30.
Graham, C.R. (2006). Blended learning systems: Definition, current trends, and future
       directions. (pg. 5) In Bonk, C. J. and Graham, C.R. (Eds.). The handbook of blended
       learning: Global perspectives, local designs. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
Eisen, M.J. (2005). Shifts in the landscape of learning: New challenges, new opportunities. In
       Wolf, M.A. Ed. (2005). Adulthood: New Terrain - New directions for adult and
       continuing education. 108 (Winter): San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Schlossberg, N.K, Waters, E.B., & Goodman, J. (1995). Counseling adults in transition. (2nd ed.)
       New York: Springer.
Imel, S. (2002). Adult learning in cohort groups: Practice application brief. Columbus, OH:
       ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult Career, and Vocation Education, Ohio State University.
Knowles, M.S. (1970). The modern practice of adult education : Andragogy versus pedagogy.
       New York: Cambridge Books. And Knowles, M.S. (1980). The modern practice of adult
       education : From pedagogy to andragogy. (2nd Ed.) Cambridge: Cambridge Books.
Loadman, W., Moore, R., Kim, Y., Kula, K., Richter, D., Freeman, J., Capa, Y., Smith, S., and
       Loy, K. (October 25, 2006). TQP Graduate Survey Progress Report. Columbus, OH:
       Ohio’s Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP), OCTEO Conference.
Merriam, S. B. (2005). How adult life transitions foster learning and development. In Wolf,
       M.A. Ed. (2005). Adulthood: New Terrain - New directions for adult and continuing
       education. 108 (Winter) San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Pappas, J.P. and Jerman, J. (eds.) (2004). Developing and delivering adult degree programs.
       New directions for adult and continuing education. 103 (Fall), San Francisco, CA:
Reay, J. (2001). Blended learning–a fusion for future. Knowledge management review,4(3), 6.
Rooney, (2003). Blending learning opportunities to enhance educational programming and
       meetings. Association Management, 55(5), 26-32.
Rovai, A. P. and Jordan, H.M. (2004). Blended learning and sense of community: A
       comparative analysis with traditionally and fully online graduate course. International
       Review of Research in Open and Distance learning.
Ward & LaBranche, (2003). Blended learning: The convergence of e-learning and meetings.
       Franchising world, 35(4), 22-23.
Wolf, M. A. (ed.) (2005). Adulthood: New Terrain. New directions for adult and continuing
       education. 108 (Winter), San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Contact Maria Hruby Moore, Ph.D., Research Specialist,

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

         Factors Influencing Indiana Psychiatric Society Members in the
                   Selection of Continuing Medical Education
                                         Kevin A. Nolley

        The purpose of this study was to describe what factors influenced members of the Indiana
Psychiatric Society in their selection of a particular Continuing Medical Education event to
attend. Using archival data from the 2004 Indiana Psychiatric Needs Assessment Survey, this
study examined demographic variables and their influences on Continuing Medical Education
(CME). This research study focused on the statistical relationships which existed between the
nine various factors influencing attendance: price, location, interest in topic, outside attraction,
personal invitation, speaker, deficiency of knowledge, day of the week, and personal invitation.
Also, this study examined the various formats, lengths, and types of program delivery.
        Outside attraction was the most significant factor for participants selecting a CME
activity. The mean average score for outside attraction was 4.13 out of a possible five on a Likert
scale. This finding was the highest ranked factor for both gender and age groups. Conversely,
interest in topic was found to be the least significant value with an arithmetic mean score of 1.33
out a possible five. The strongest correlation existed between interest in topic and speaker (.662
p<.01). Also, 50 out of 76 Indiana psychiatrists surveyed preferred lecture as their preferred
learning format.

         Over the past fifty years, physicians have been faced with the growing responsibility of
earning continuing medical education credits to renew their licenses, to maintain hospital
privileges, to decipher the cryptic language of government guidelines, and to keep abreast of the
technological advance made in their respective disciplines. Furthermore, (Felch, 1992) noted
that…”In recent decades, the need to keep abreast has become especially urgent because of the
explosion of medical information and the advent of remarkable new medical technology.
Today’s practitioners must make vigorous efforts to keep up or risk becoming progressively less
competent” (p.6). These demands, along with daily grind of attending to daily patient rounds,
managing an office staff, and collecting for services rendered, have forced providers to critically
examine their choice to participate in traditional off-site continuing medical education (Nolley,
         As physicians are reluctant to be away from their offices and not be “generating income,”
they want to make sure that participation in CME will provide them with “bang for their buck.”
They want to participate in an activity where three criteria can be met. First, physician’s like
most professionals want to improve their knowledge base which may ultimately improve patient
care (Pijanowski, 1998). Secondly, depending on several factors such state, hospital, and
participation with certain insurance panels, practitioners are required to CME credits to maintain
their licenses. Finally, clinicians want to incorporate a valuable, worthwhile conference
experience with the extra benefits of location, free time, and the opportunity for his/her family to
vacation at the conference destination (Nolley, 2005).

                                           Data Collection
        The population for this study was archival data generated by the Indiana Psychiatric (IPS)
2004 Needs Assessment Survey. The Indiana Psychiatric Society is an organization made up of
400 psychiatrists throughout Indiana. One part of the IPS mission is to provide its members
opportunities to participate in CME activities.
        This tool, available on the Indiana Psychiatric Society website, was designed to plan for
future CME programming, to identify the perceived strengths and weakness of program
offerings, and to identify and analyze what factors influenced Indiana Psychiatric Society
members in the selection of CME events. All members of the society were sent a letter directing
them to society website with instructions for completing the needs assessment survey. The
survey contained a total of 16 questions. Members were asked demographic information such as
age and gender. There were also asked how many years they had been in the practice of
psychiatry. The survey also sought information about members work affiliations and the type of
psychiatry each participant primarily practiced (Adult, Child, Forensic, Geriatric, and other).
        Society members were also asked if they were required to obtain CME credits. If indeed
they were, they were then queried as to the number of CME credits that were required of them
per year.
        Finally, using a Likert scale format, the participants were asked about nine different
factors that influenced their selection in participating in a CME event.

        Eighty Indiana Psychiatric Society members out of a possible 380 individuals completed
the 2004 Needs Assessment Survey. Of those 80 constituents who replied, 54 were male and 26
were female. Moreover, 42 were under the age of 50 and 38 were 50 years of age and over.
        Twenty-five members (31.6%) reported they had been practicing 10 years or less.
Twenty two (27.8%) reported they been practicing in the field 11-20 years while 17 (21.5%)
reported they had been in the field 21-30 years. Finally, 15 members (19%) responded
practicing 30 years or more.
        Nearly 80% (62 out of 80) reported they were engaged in a full-time practice with
approximately 13% (10 out of 80) responded they maintained a part-time practice. Six members
(7.7%) reported working primarily as consultants.
        Roughly 55% (43 out of 78) reported practicing in the field of Adult Psychiatry while
22.5% (18 out of 78) responded Child and Adolescent Psychiatry as their primary focus. The
remaining 17 members (23%) reported practicing in Geriatric, Forensic, or in a consulting role.
        Of the 80 members who completed the survey 68 or 85% reported they were required to
earn some amount of CME credits by either their employer or by third party payers. Only 12
psychiatrists or 15% were not required to earn any CME credits. Of those 68 constituents who
responded yes, 91% or (62 out of 68) were to earn 21 credits or more during a calendar year.
Thirteen (19%) reported they were required to earn more than 50 CME credits per year. It is
important to note-- the state of Indiana has no law requiring physicians to earn any CME credit
        Nearly 41% (31 out of 76) of IPS members reported they preferred CME programming to
be one hour in duration. Fifteen percent (12 out of 76) responded two hours as their preferred
length while 20 members, or nearly 26%, reported that a half-day format was their preferred
length of a CME learning activity. Nine psychiatrists, approximately 7.5%, responded that a two
day CME event was their preferred learning format.

        Lecture was the overwhelming preferred learning format for IPS members. Nearly 64 %
(50 out 76) of those who responded selected the lecture format as their preferred method of
CME. Fifteen psychiatrists preferred the discussion format while only 7 selected the Internet or
some form of computer-based instruction. Only six members reported case study to be their
preferential mode of CME delivery.

                           Nine Factors Influencing CME Participation
        Seventy-eight of the 80 members completed the 2004 Indiana Psychiatric Needs
Assessment Survey section inquiring about factors that influenced them to in their selection in a
CME event. Those nine factors were price, location, interest in topic, outside attraction, speaker,
day of the week, personal invitation, deficiency of knowledge, and other colleagues attending.
        In a Likert scale format (5=strongly agree, 1=strongly disagree), Outside attraction was
reported as the highest rated factor for both men and women, under 50 and over 50, when
selecting a CME event. Overall, outside attraction received a score of 4.13 out of a possible five.
Personal invitation was the second highest rated factor for all demographic groups with a mean
score of 3.40 out of a possible five. IPS members responded that participating with other
colleagues, or other colleagues in attendance, was the third most important factor in all
demographics in the selection of a CME event with a score of 3.06 out of a possible five.
Overall, interest in topic was reported to have the least amount of influence on attending a CME
event with an arithmetic mean of 1.33 out a possible five. This was true for all demographic

         Studying physician behavior is not a new concept (Cevero, 2003). Neither is the study of
changing physician behavior (Pijanowski, 1998). More research must be generated to examine
other factors that motivate physicians to determine where deficiencies exist in their standards of
care. Secondly, since there is a paucity of research in the area of what actually motivates a
clinical practitioner to consider attending an organized learning event, more study is needed as to
what motivates practitioners to participate in formalized continuing medical education.
Furthermore, program planners in the CME arena should be highly attuned to these issues.
Conducting needs assessments and/or “wants assessments” that simply query practitioners as to
interest in topics will simply not be enough (Nolley, 2005).
         This study also demonstrates that practitioners enjoy learning with other colleagues in a
typical one to two hour lecture style format. Furthermore, when planning for educational events,
planners must be cognizant of many factors other than topic and speakers (Dean, Murk, and Del
Prete, 2000). This research has shown that outside attraction can play an extremely important
role in the decision to participate in formal CME activity. Therefore, program planners should
spend time selecting a location with an outside attraction that participants value. It is unfortunate
that “adult” learners select their CME based on factors other than knowledge deficit.

       CME planners should know their physician audience. Learn as much about the particular
group as possible. This can be done either by informal or formal “wants assessments.” Also, use
archival data from previous CME evaluation, especially the qualitative commentary, to make
changes in venues, price, location, and speakers.

         CME planners should include practitioners in the planning process. Involve the
stakeholders in all aspects of planning. Consider polling six to eight practitioners in an informal
method to see if indeed there is an interest in learning more about a particular topic, convening at
a particular location, or inviting a noted speaker.
         CME planners need to understand marketing and the role of individualizing an invitation.
At my current institution (East Carolina University), the CME office has developed great savvy
in this area. Each brochure includes a cover letter signed by the CME director. As physicians
receive literally hundreds of brochures and electronic notifications per year, planners must
realize the multitude of choices that physicians have to participate in CME. Personalizing
invitations can help in improving attendance.
         CME planners should step back and become students of physician behavior. Remember,
getting the physician to attend a particular conference is just the first step. As planners we need
to better versed in such topics as collaborative learning, reflection-in-practice, double-loop
learning, and basic andragogical principles to serve our constituents more effectively. It is
incumbent upon the planner to recognize the overarching goal of CME is for a clinician to
change behavior.

Cevero, R.M. (2003) Place matters in physician practice and learning. Journal of Continuing
       Education in the Heath Professions, 23(S10-S18).
Dean, G., Murk, P., & Del Prete, T. (2000) Enhancing Organizational Effectiveness in Adult and
       Community Education. Malabar, Florida: Krieger.
Felch, W.C. (1992) The current scene. In A.B. Rosoff & W.C. Felch (Eds.) Continuing Medical
       Education—A Primer. (2nd Ed.) Westport, CT: Praeger.
Nolley, K.A. (2005) Factors influencing Indiana psychiatric society members in the selection of
       continuing medical education: An archival study. Unpublished dissertation. Ball State
       University: Muncie, Indiana.
Pijanowski, K. (1998) Continuing medical education in transition: The evolution of a new
       paradigm. In W. H. Young (Ed.) Continuing Professional Education in Transition.
       Malabar, Florida: Krieger.
Kevin A. Nolley, Ed.D., Assistant Professor of Family Medicine, Brody School of Medicine,
East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina,

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

     Whose Program Is It? Power and Decision-Making at The Open Book
                (An Adult Literacy Organization in NYC)
                                        Dianne Ramdeholl

        This oral history project chronicled, through participants’ voices, the history of an adult
literacy community based organization in New York City called The Open Book. The research,
completed in 2007, explored the principles embedded in one literacy organization, rooted in
participatory models. One of the critical findings which emerged from this study was the
necessity and urgency of co-creating space in programs which supported equitable ways of
decision-making where more voices could be included. This can subvert the widespread dynamic
of paternalism which currently exists within the field. Analysis of participants’ stories also
revealed the importance of situating adult literacy in and understanding the ways in which
literacy is a human rights/freedom rights struggle. Scrutinizing this connection can lead to
subverting the multiple oppressions and inequities in our society which can foster sustainable
democratic possibilities both in the field and in society.

        The Open Book from the very beginning in 1984, placed students at the center of the
program. Virginia, one of the instructors at the program says
        I loved the emphasis on people’s lives. Even in the beginning when it was a really
        small program, we knew that it was people’s lives that were important …here
        students were writing their own lives. I had never been in a place like this where
        students were in charged of the atmosphere.
        One of the ways this was done was by privileging collective decision making. From the
its inception, there was a commitment of simultaneous co-teaching and co-learning where
specific structures were set in place to honor students’ knowledge and input, a recognition that
learners construct their reality in social exchange with others. John, the teacher-coordinator of
the program says,
        This is how we work at The Open Book. When we have important decisions to
        make, we bring them to the students. It’s not always easier that way; sometimes it
        would be a lot quicker to have the teachers make the decisions or to make the
        decisions by myself. But we believe that in the long run decisions we make as a
        community will be the better ones.
        At The Open Book, literacy was about reading and writing the word in order to transform
the world (Freire & Macedo, 1987). There was a recognition that students’ lives were impacted
by larger structural inequities which further crippled their already marginalized communities.
The program attempted to fashion its existence and relevance to needs that emerged from the
South Brooklyn community where it was housed. This was done by making space in the
classroom to address larger socio-political issues as well as redefine people’s roles outside the

       Freire (1970) says the solution is not to integrate people into the current structures of
oppression but to transform those structures in order to change the world. One of the primary
purposes of documenting this storied history was to contribute to a larger collective conversation
grounded in growing sustainable democratic practices and possibilities as well as fostering
pockets of resistance both in the field of adult literacy and society. Ultimately, this conversation
could support changing adult literacy public policy in equitable ways.
       The questions guiding this research were:
       • What principles were embedded in the practices of The Open Book?
       • What role did the program play (or could have played) in affecting change in the lives
           of participants and the community?
       • What factors have prevented the replication of programs built on the principles of The
           Open Book?

                           Theoretical Framework and Research Design
         According to the 2003 National Assessment of Literacy Survey, 93 million people in the
United States are either below basic level in prose or quantitative literacy. The Open Book,
recognized that literacy education was connected to inequities surrounding class, race, and
gender and that adult literacy education in this country is still deeply entrenched in issues
surrounding access, politics, and power. (Heaney, 2000; Macedo, 1994, Stuckey, 1991). This
fight against the direction of the field is not only a fight to preserve students’ rights, but a
struggle aimed at transforming the structure of society, a struggle to preserve basic human rights
and dignity of poor people. (Macedo, 1994, Shor, 1987). Freire (1970) argued that literacy
education can never be neutral; it either challenges or reinforces existing social structures.
Currently, in our society space to acknowledge or address social inequalities, structures of
domination, or multiple oppressions are obliterated. (Auerbach, 1992; Brookfield, 2005; Luttrell,
1997). Phyllis Cunningham (Personal communication, February 11, 2005) points out, if as a
society, we’re to hold any hope of a democratic, more equitable future we must be able to
facilitate the right of those voices and perspectives that have been marginalized or ignored to
gain meaningful access and have a seat at the decision-making table.
         The story of The Open Book began 22 years ago in a basement in Brooklyn. However,
documentation of this history began two years ago on a cold, sunny afternoon in February 2005,
when ten people from The Open Book community (students and staff with a range in socio-
economic status and race) came together and resoundingly decided the story of The Open Book
needed to be told. People felt this story could support conversations in other programs rooted
in critically scrutinizing current oppressive structures in the field (masked as literacy policy) as
well as in society.
         Over the next two years 16 students and staff from the program met with me in groups of
3 – 5 people for a total of eleven 3 hour tape recorded conversations. Many participants were
interviewed more than once. We often met in people’s homes, adding an extra layer of intimacy
to the already sacred words and invisible yet powerfully enduring threads binding us all together.
Because I had worked at The Open Book and was considered by many to be an insider, I was
careful and attentive to the ways these conversations were grounded in a level of richness and
complexity, born of trust. Throughout this, there was a deep, unwavering level of commitment
in everyone that this story be told right! At each meeting, I was always incredulous at the
intensity of these conversations, how without warning, we would collectively suddenly find

ourselves in a space where love, community, and the agency/urgency of people’s words filled the
room with possibility and magic, becoming the very air that sustained us.
        During transcribing and coding each interview, I simultaneously generated a number of
themes and sub-themes, and eventually a mind map, checking often with the other co-
constructors of this story to ensure these themes resonated with them. In addition, participants
generously offered me unlimited access to articles and artifacts written by themselves, as well as
other program staff and students, which provided another level of depth in analysis. Other
sources for triangulation included relevant literature, journals, and speaking with other
practitioners in the adult literacy community in New York City.
        The participatory nature of oral history reflected central principles upon which The Open
Book was built and allowed the research process to mirror the program’s democratic practice in
ways that honored people’s input. This methodology critiques dominant notions of truth and
credibility, honors community knowledge, and privileges previously suppressed and
marginalized voices/perspectives. (Gluck & Patai, 1991; Slim & Thomson, 1995; Thompson,

        So what did the space that was co-created to share power at The Open Book look like?
Where were students’ voices located in that conversation? To what extent was the status quo
subverted at this program? Committees were one way The Open Book community attempted to
make space for students’ voices and perspectives to be included in decision-making. There were
town hall meetings where classes would come together once a month and discuss various matters
affecting the community. John says,
        From almost the very beginning, there were different ways for people to
        participate Up until that point, the main way students had participated in
        decision making in the school was through town hall meetings which we had once
        a month. But some people saw those as limited. There were very big…While they
        were effective for putting ideas on the table, getting feedback, etc. we needed
        more. Students wanted to have a stronger voice.
What emerged was the student teacher council. John says the following about this group.
        The student-teacher council was a big step forward for The Open Book. We
        decided to form a group of teachers and students that would be the final decision
        making body for the school. It met once a month on a Saturday so both evening
        and day students could participate. The meetings were open to any students and
        staff who wanted to come and ideally should have had at least two students from
        each class… It was the first time we had a group that really saw its job as
        thinking about the future of the school. We looked at the budget together,
        discussed problems that arose between students and teachers, made decisions on
        whether to buy Math books or more literature. Whenever something important
        came up that needed to be addressed, that was definitely the place we did it. It
        was the final decision making body for the school.
        The hiring committee, consisting of students and approximately two staff members was
another way that space was made to include students in decision-making. Earle, a former student
at the program reflects on this committee.
        Staff and students would come together as one entity to make a decision on who
        we think would fit in our community. I was never involved in a process like that

         before in my entire life in all the schools. I had never even heard this being done
         before. The person would come in and we sat them down. Each student got a
         chance to ask the candidate questions, different scenarios. Once the person left,
         we would go back and talk about it, compare notes with each other, etc. We all
         had a hand in creating The Open Book. It wasn’t Cecilia’s school or John’s
         school. Everybody had a piece of The Open Book pie. That’s something schools
         don’t do. I would like to encourage teachers and directors in programs to listen to
         students It’s very important to listen to what they have to say…to be a part of
         something great if you just allow it to happen. Let students drive the vehicle!
         Then there was the idea of assistant teachers. While The Open Book didn’t invent this
concept, they did implement it in a deep and committed way that again made space for other sets
of voices to be included in ongoing ways the program was shaped. Hiring students
institutionalizes the notion that they have important things to teach each other and everyone else.
It honors them as knowledge creators and gives concrete power to a group of students which
opens up exciting possibilities. Cecilia, talks about tutoring in the program. She says,
         One of the things I enjoy most at The Open Book is tutoring. It brings me close to
         the students and gives me happiness when they improve, no matter how minimal it
         is. Tutoring has been a great experience not only because I’ve been helpful to
         students, but most of all because they have been great tutors to me too. You could
         say our relationship is like the saying, ‘Hands wash hands, but they both wash the
         face.’ Before this I used to think that unless you were a teacher, you couldn’t
Basemah, a former student at The Open Book adds,
         I am a student at The Open Book. I also work as an assistant teacher in the
         beginning class. I enjoy being an assistant teacher because I am more involved
         with the students. People trust me because I used to be a student in their class.
         They feel I am one of them and not an outsider. I was afraid to make mistake and
         of how the class would feel about an assistant teacher making mistakes. But in
         time I learned how the students felt about me in the class. Then I felt comfortable.
         I am proud of my work. I am proud of helping students. I am now more willing to
         go on with my own schooling.
         Yolanda who joined the program as a student and after obtaining her GED was hired as a
part time receptionist, adds, I felt we all learned from each other. We not only learned from the
teachers but also from students. We helped each other… In some way we all contributed a little
something to people’s lives and I think that’s what made it special.
         Nancy, a former instructor at The Open Book, says
         What usually happens in other programs is when one person had more power, it
         usually meant the other person had less but I don’t think that happened at The
         Open Book. It just seemed like when people got more power; it was good because
         it meant it was shared…that’s why I would say The Open Book was about how
         community makes a place stronger!

        Why isn’t what people described above happening in more adult literacy programs? Who
benefits from students not sharing power/voice/space? The Open Book attempted to model an
alternative society; people were able to experience and feel the difference instead of just hearing

or reading about it. By students being hired as assistant teachers, knowledge/power is shared
instead of the instructor being perceived as the sole knowledge producer. Such a stance
diminishes any hope regarding shifting power in sustainable ways. As practitioners we must
question the ways in which we unknowingly contribute to students’ further marginalization and
powerlessness. How are we simultaneously gatekeepers and space-makers? We need to
remember that changing the world isn’t a privilege of a few men but the basic right of every
man. (Freire, 1970). Why aren’t more students in other adult literacy programs involved in hiring
new staff? Aren’t they acquiring reading and writing proficiencies by developing and refining
interview questions? Wouldn’t this support them in becoming authors of knowledge?
        Part of the contradiction and dilemma is that the interests of the field don’t reflect those
of the government (the primary funding source for many grassroots programs). Currently, under
federal accountability systems, only discrete skill gains made on standardized tests are
considered legitimate educational progress. In this climate, literacy programs are forced to
become an accomplice in the perpetuation of oppression. Practitioners are forced to spend much
of their time struggling to keep up with onerous and mounting piles of bureaucratic requirements
in order to maintain funding – more testing and documenting – instead of focusing on education,
on conversation that could threaten the status quo. As John points out,
        Many of us came into adult education because we believed in the transformative
        power of education. We believed learning to read and write had the potential to
        give students the skills to understand and act on their world more effectively…to
        act in concert with others to change the conditions of life in their
        communities…but literacy funding is aimed not so much at education but at re-
        education, not so much at giving people the academic and intellectual tools they
        need to better control their destiny…but rather to convince them they have no
        choice… no matter how bad…
Maxine Greene (personal communication, December 8, 2003) says, currently, there is no time to
focus on a collective dialogue rooted in alternative visions, the possibility between freedom and
imagination – the ability to make present what is absent, to summon up a condition that is not

         As adult literacy workers, it is our responsibility to negotiate new educational structures
and spaces that don’t reproduce the inequities of the existing system but that instead support
democracy for marginalized groups. As a field, we must define adult education in ways that
reclaim our history. By honoring students’ perspectives and voices, adult literacy programs can
become sites for profound transformation, as well as a chance to rewrite a script imposed by
dominant ideologies. Programs can provide space for people acting and being new ways in the
world. Literacy programs can become microcosms of a new equitable and just society. By
engaging students in scrutinizing power structures, notions of otherness and multiple oppressions
can be unpeeled. Students can author new narratives that subvert the current dynamic of
paternalistic colonization; instead new relationships rooted in solidarity, not charity, can be born.
The story of The Open Book is part of a broader context, a larger story that involves
institutionalized economic inequities rooted in racism, silencing and the further onslaught of
stripping certain communities of their basic rights and dignity. At The Open Book, we
collectively scrutinized dominant ideologies impacting people’s realities and rejected them. All
adult literacy practitioners have a responsibility to do the same. Only then can we truly begin to

engage in a liberatory pedagogy of changing the world.

Auerbach, E. (1992). Making meaning making change. Washington, DC: Center for Applied
Brookfield, S. (2005). The power of critical theory. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Seabury Press.
Freire, P., & Macedo, D. (1987). Literacy: Reading the world and the word. South Hadley, MA:
        Bergin & Garvey.
Gluck, S.B., & Patai, D. (1991). Women’s words: The feminist practice of oral history. New
        York: Routledge.
Heaney, T. (2000). Adult education and society. In Wilson, A.I., and Hayes, E.R. Handbook of
        adult and continuing education. (pp.559-570). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Luttrell, W. (1997). School- smart and mother- wise. New York: Routledge.
Macedo, D. (1994). Literacies of power. Boulder, CO: Westview. National assessment of adult
        literacy (2003).Retrieved 8/20/06.
Shor, I. (1987). Freire for the classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Slim, H. & Thomson, P. (1995). Listening for a change. Philadelphia: New Society.
Stuckey, E. (1991). The violence of literacy. Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Heinemann.
Thompson, P. (2000). The voice from the past: oral history. New York: Oxford University Press.
Dianne Ramdeholl, Ed.D.

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-practice Conference in Adult, Continuing and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

         Critical Race Theory: Nature and Relevance to Adult Education
                            Tonette S. Rocco & Elizabeth A. Peterson

        Critical race theory is a legal theory, which maintains that racism is endemic and
systemic. CRT looks at social, political and economic inequities as a function of racism and not
part of the expansion of capitalism (West, 1993). A description of critical theory is followed by a
description of CRT history, foundations and tenets. The paper concludes with a discussion of the
relevance of CRT to adult education.

        Critical race theory (CRT) is a legal theory, which maintains that racism is endemic and
systemic. Real change can only occur if it is radical and decisive (Delgado & Stefancic, 2001)
because racism is permanent (Bell, 1992). Derek Bell (1992, p. 3) warns “Despite undeniable
progress for many, no African Americans are insulated from incidents of racial discrimination.
Our careers, even our lives, are threatened because of our color.”
        Challenges that face adult education are how to eradicate bias in curriculum design and
instruction and how to abolish institutional and structural racism. Peterson (1999) asserts that
adult education will become relevant to all when it has created opportunities for people who
belong to different races to “understand and appreciate one another” (p. 90). Therefore the
purpose of this paper is to examine the nature and relevance of critical race theory to adult
education. In order to examine the nature of critical race theory, first critical theory warrants a
brief explanation followed by a description of critical race theory (CRT) history, foundations and
tenets. The tenets of CRT will be examined using examples from adult education. The paper
concludes with a discussion of the relevance of CRT to adult education.

                                 The nature of critical race theory
        Critical race theory stems from critical theory which built the foundation for critical legal
studies. Critical legal studies (CLS) provided limited space at conferences for scholars of color to
discuss ‘their’ issues (Crenshaw, 2002). The separation came for several reasons. One reason is
that whites, even liberal and progressive whites, do not view conversations about race as
meaningful to them or involving them. A second reason is that CRT scholars realized “that
interrogating whiteness is an important dimension of any critical discourse on race … this cutting
edge intervention was not well received” (Crenshaw, 2002, p. 16) by critical legal scholars who
were often white and male. A third reason is that CLS had faith in the neutrality of law and
doctrines of equality while CRT “asserts that both the procedures and the substance of American
law, including American antidiscrimination law, are structured to maintain white privilege”
(Valdes, Culp, & Harris, 2002, p. 1). Critical race theory begins with the notion of legal
indeterminacy; the idea that legal cases (or educational policies) can be decided in more than one
way depending on which line of authority or interpretation of fact is emphasized.

Critical theory’s relationship to CRT
        CRT has its genesis in Critical Legal Studies, a legal response from the left to the Civil
Rights Movement and to European and American philosophy of the 19th and 20th centuries

(Delgado & Stephanic, 2001). Critical Legal Studies based on critical theory, critiques the law
by questioning “the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal
reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law” (Delgado &
Stefancic, 2001, p. 3).
        Critical theory is based in liberalism which recognizes incremental, progressive change as
a positive response to a policy critique. For adult education “critical theory [is] arguably the most
influential discourse within contemporary adult educational theorizing” (Brookfield, 2003, p.
155). For critical theorists, the fact that there is an affirmative action policy is a positive change
while CRT scholars would examine the liberal policy for results. According to CRT, the
incremental change of affirmative action policies based on liberal ideals is achieving diminishing
returns (Ladson-Billings, 2000) and whites are the principle beneficiaries of affirmative action.
A legal and social mandate exists to diversify the workforce from predominately white men to
resembling the community. Whites benefit from Affirmative Action policies in two ways: (a)
increased employment and advancement opportunities for white women and (b) these white
women typically provide support for white families (Rocco & Gallagher, 2004). An example of
this benefit can be seen in our medical and law schools. Of the 3,308 graduates in the 1998-99
law class (all degree granting institutions), the largest minority group represented, white women,
composed 16% of the total. In this same graduating class, 3% were Blacks and 2% were
Hispanics (men and women) (NCES, 2001).

Critical Race Theory foundation and tenets
        Like Critical Theory, CRT looks at the social, political and economic inequity among
groups, but unlike Critical Theory, Critical Race Theory looks at these inequities as a function of
racism and not part of the expansion of capitalism (West, 1993). Critical Race Theory was built
from legal scholarship that addressed racism specifically as it was institutionalized by law
placing race at the center of experience. CRT starts with the premise that race and racism are
endemic and permanent in our society and intersects with other forms of subordination such as
gender and class discrimination. In a day and age when there are those who would argue that
race shouldn’t matter, CRT scholars argue that race not only does matter, but that it will always
matter. Racism is a fundamental characteristic of American life.
        CRT has six tenets: a) racism is endemic and ordinary, b) material determinism--our
system of white over color serves important material and psychic purposes, c) social construction
of race, d) differential racialization—different minority groups are racialized at different times
depending on economic need, e) the notion of intersectionality and anti-essentialism or that
individuals do not have unitary identities, and f) a unique voice of color which exists because of
historical and current oppression and can communicate to whites stories whites are unlikely to
know (Delgado & Stefanic, 2001).

                         CRT Tenets and Adult and Higher Education
       A field of practice is racialized when its dominant conceptualizations and the
       mechanisms it has in place for the production and dissemination of knowledge are
       grounded in one particular racial group's experiences (in the case of adult
       education, White European Americans) and the forms of thought that flow from
       these. Moreover, a racialized view is one in which these dominant
       conceptualizations are judged to rest on positive valuations of the constitutive
       elements of racial identity. (Brookfield, 2003 p. 154)

         In the case of adult and higher education this racialization in terms of white Western
European “creates unequal distributions of power and control” (Sheared & Sissel, 2001, p. 327)
which negate the intersecting realities of people who belong to groups which are classified as
marginalized. This power and control are invisible to most white Western European students and
scholars who are not reflecting on the white norm being racist and not neutral. Policy and
procedures in adult and higher education are not neutral or in place to achieve equality, policies
and procedures are in place to maintain the status quo and white privilege to paraphrase Valdes,
Culp, & Harris (2002).
         We conveniently forget that apartheid was the unwritten and sometimes written law of
the entire country creating separate educational systems until the sixties and seventies. In the
sixties and seventies court ordered desegregation and bussing occurred but parity between
predominately black or predominately white schools is still elusive. Forty years is not enough
time to change the knowledge, meaning, and beliefs embedded in historic social and political
systems. This is evident in the current discussion about educational access and affirmative action
policies, whites acknowledge that slavery occurred, was bad, and yet do not accept any
responsibility for something that occurred six generations ago because whites do not feel the
impact of this history personally and are seldom witnesses to the discrimination that still occurs
in this country stemming from this history.
         Critical race theorists challenge the claims of color blindness, race neutrality, and equal
opportunity that are posed by well-meaning, liberal-minded members of the dominant culture
who believe that racism is an aberration and only a small segment of our population (usually
unsophisticated individuals or those who profess conservative ideologies or who live in regions
of the country that are still dominated by conservative views) hold racist views. However one
does not have to engage in overtly racist acts to hold racists beliefs on some level or to benefit
from inherently racist policies and practices. Racism is alive and well (albeit more subtle) in the
most liberal and sophisticated segments of our society. As Bowman (2005) points out white and
black people experience race differently, and view privilege and discrimination differently.
These differences should be surfaced and discussed.

                             Relevance of CRT to Adult Education
       The importance of CRT to adult education will be explored in terms of urban education
and societal issues, and higher education.

Urban Education and Societal Issues
        One example of CRT’s relevance to adult education is in terms of urban education “a
bifurcated system of service delivery of adult education programs targeting learners that are
either resource rich or resource poor” (Martin & Rogers, 2004, p. 1) exists. In terms of CRT we
often reduce urban to an essential unitary identity of black-- uneducated and poor-- ignoring the
multiple characteristics that intersect and compose an identity and the right of self identification
of the individual. As Arriola (2000, p. 322) points out “various characteristics…are always
disconnected…carry fixed and clear meanings” and are rank ordered creating “false dichotomies
and false power relationships and promote limited visions of equality.” Making it easy to dismiss
and ignore the blight of urban dwellers and urban areas.
        An example of a societal issue that impacts urban adult education is the current
discussion of the Voting Rights Act. The Voting Rights Act has implications for education,
because the citizens who are not deterred from voting are the ones whose voices are heard. The

citizens, who have access to voting, have access to the rest of the political system. Though
legally protected access to voting does not mean citizens will vote or feel welcomed into the
political process. Citizens who engage the political process can make important decisions about
curriculum, funding, and staffing of the state and local educational systems.

Higher Education
         The belief that colleges and universities are the great equalizer is a myth. In higher
education policies and systems such as the use of standardized test scores as a criteria for college
admittance should be interrogated using CRT. While academics and liberal thinkers lament the
lack of scholars of color few consider the history of our admission policies. For instance, the
little known history of standardized admission tests and IQ scores created by scholars deeply
embedded in the eugenics movement (Stoskepf, 1999). Proponents of eugenics very politely
made the case for northern western white Europeans as intellectually superior to all other groups
of people. This stand became the backbone of the Nazi movement. So what about the long term
systemic ramifications to an educational system using admittance tests developed by men who
felt that racial superiority could be demonstrated through the results of such tests? The legacy
lives on in such work as the Bell Curve (Herrnstein & Murray, 1994) and in a recent study which
found the heavy reliance “on the SAT to look good in U.S. News and World Report” (Jaschik,
2007, par. 10) requires an equal reliance on affirmative action if racial and ethnic diversity is
important to higher education. The authors of this report feel that if standardized tests were not
required diversity could be achieved in higher education without affirmative action policies.

                                   Observations for the future
         The legal scholars who inspired CRT surmised that despite all efforts to work within the
law to end racial discrimination and oppression, racism will always be with us. Racism can’t be
legislated away. We have come to believe that you can’t educate it away either. We believe this
because even in what should be the most enlightened institutions in our nation and amongst the
best and the brightest minds, racist beliefs and behaviors continue to exist, often unchecked and
unchallenged. For instance, when African American scholars whose work on issues of race and
racism should have warranted the opportunity to contribute to a dialogue as equals they are often
reduced to being respondents, the story needs to be told (Peterson & Brookfield, 2007). Racism
is alive and well (albeit more subtle) in the most liberal and sophisticated segments of our

Arriola, E. (2000). Gendered inequality. In R. Delgado & J. Stefanic (Eds.), Critical race theory:
       the cutting edge (2nd ed. pp. 322-324). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Bowman, L. (2005). Black and White Attorneys’ Perspectives on Race, the Legal System, and
       Continuing Legal Education. In R. J. Hill & R. Kiely (Eds.), Proceedings of the 46th
       Adult Education Research Conference (pp. 31-36). Athens, GA: University of Georgia.
Brookfield, Stephen (2003). Racializing Criticality In Adult Education Adult Education
       Quarterly, Vol. 53 No. 3, May 2003 154-169.
Bell, Derrick (1992). Faces at the bottom of the well. New York: Basic Books.
Crenshaw, K. (2002). The first decade: critical reflections, or “a foot in the closing door” In F.
       Valdes, J. Culp, & A. Harris (Eds.), Crossroads, directions, and a new critical race
       theory (pp. 9-31). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Delgado, R. & Stefanic, J. (2001). Critical Race Theory: An introduction. New York: New York
        University Press.
Herrnstein, R. & Murray, C. (1994). The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in
        American Life. New York: Free Press.
Jaschik, S. (2007, July 18). Provocative theory on merit. Inside Higher Ed, Retrieved on July 20,, G. (1999). Just what is
        critical race theory and what is it doing in a nice field like education? In L. Parker, D.
        Deyhle & S. Villenas (Ed.), Race is . . . race isn’t: Critical race theories and qualitative
        studies in education (pp. 7-30). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
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        Denzin & Yvonna S. Lincoln (Eds.), The handbook of qualitative research (2nd Ed) (pp.
        257-278). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Martin, L. & Rogers, E. (2004). Editor’s Notes. In Larry G. Martin & Elice E. Rogers (Eds.),
        Crossing Borders: Adult education in an urban context (pp. 29-42). In S. Imel (Ed. in
        Chief) New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education No. 101. San Francisco:
National Center for Education Statistics. (2001). Chapter 3 Postsecondary Education. (Digest of
        Education Statistics, 2001). Washington, DC: Author.
Peterson, E. (1999). Creating a culturally relevant dialogue for African American adult
        educators. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 82, 79-91.
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(ed.) Proceedings of the 48th Annual Adult Education Research Conference (pp. 481-486) Mount
St. Vincent University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
        Rocco, T. S., & Gallagher, S. (2004). Discriminative justice: Can discrimination be just?
In Larry G. Martin & Elice E. Rogers (Eds.), Crossing Borders: Adult education in an urban
context (pp. 29-42). In S. Imel (Ed. in Chief) New Directions for Adult and Continuing
Education No. 101. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Sheared, V. & Sissel, P. A. (2001). What does research, resistance, and inclusion mean for adult
        education practice? A reflective response. In V. Sheared & P. A. Sissel (Eds.), Making
        Space: Merging theory and practice in adult education (pp. 326-336). Westport, CT:
        Bergin & Garvey.
Stoskepf, A. (1999, Spring). The Forgotten History of Eugenics. Rethinking Schools Online
        (retrieved on July 13, 2006
Valdes, F., Culp, J.& Harris, A. (2002). Battles waged, won, and lost: Critical race theory at the
        turn of the millennium. In F. Valdes, J. Culp, & A. Harris (Eds.), Crossroads, directions,
        and a new critical race theory (pp. 1-8). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
West, C. (1993). Race matters. New York: Vintage.
Tonette S. Rocco, Associate Professor of Adult Education and HRD
Elizabeth A. Peterson, Associate Professor Adult and Continuing Education

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

                 Building Communities, Bridging Communities:
            Adult Learning, Social Capital and Neighborhood Centers
                               Donna L Rooney & Roger K Morris

        In this qualitative study, the educational roles of New South Wales Neighborhood
Centers are examined through the ‘learning lens’ provided by the four pillars of lifelong learning
described in the Delors report. The study’s findings highlight the contribution that these centers
(even though they are not officially regarded as educational providers) are making to the
learning, and hence to both the social and human capital, of a range of people, who are
associated with the activities of the centers, and their wider communities. Ironically, the centers’
programs, by not being obviously educational, are better able to serve those persons, who have
not traditionally participated in ‘education’, yet, who are widely perceived as being in need of it.

                   Introduction - Neighborhood Centers in New South Wales
        The inadequacy of traditional/official educational categories becomes only too apparent
when attempting to encompass the learning that occurs in and around New South Wales (NSW)
Neighborhood Centers. Learning includes education but education does not include all learning.
The principal purpose of the study reported here was to describe the sorts of learning that results
from an involvement with the activities of the neighborhood centers. The key questions that
guided the study are, what is the nature and scope of learning arising from an involvement with
neighborhood centers, and, then, how helpful are the four “pillars” of education, described in the
Delors’ Report (1996), in capturing and organising accounts of learning in these centers?
        Neighborhood centers are typically small, community owned and managed non-profit
organisations that, as their name suggests, are located in neighborhoods: both metropolitan and
rural. There are about 900 of these centers across Australia, of which 320 are located in the state
of NSW. Australia is an island/continent settler nation of some 20 million people located in the
South Pacific on the edge of South-Eastern Asia. Like the United States of America, Australia
has a federal system of government and the centers operate in different ways in each of the states
and territories (Morris, 2005; Tennant & Morris, 2006). Similarly, the term “adult community
education” has different meanings in these different jurisdictions. Hence, this study necessarily
focused only on the situation in one state. In NSW, ‘social work’ and ‘adult community
education’ are officially understood as two different activities that operate from different sites
and under different funding arrangements (Flowers, 2005). Social work operates under the
auspices of a myriad of not-for-profit, faith-based and, today, increasingly for-profit/commercial,
organizations, or as an adjunct to the core business of state institutions. On the other hand, adult
community education is the largely understood as the responsibility of the state supported Adult
Community Education (ACE) sector: the providers here are the ‘sanctioned’ sites of adult
learning (BACE, 1996). It is neighborhood centers as unsanctioned sites of adult learning that are
of central interest here.

       This paper reports one component of a larger multi-paradigmatic investigation. The data,
this component draws upon, were derived principally from a series of unstructured interviews

and focus group sessions conducted with a broad range of people who were associated in some
way with neighborhood centers. In organising and discussing that data, a format drawn from the
Delors Report (1996) is used.

                                    Findings – The Four Pillars
        Traditional concepts of education no longer have a monopoly on what counts as learning.
More recently, the proponents of lifelong learning (eg OECD, 2004) have urged that learning
activities should be conceived of in a much more encompassing fashion. They argue that a
“learning lens” offers a different perspective and that viewing activities through such a lens
greatly expands what can be said to be educational. In order to better understand the results of
this study, the activities and outcomes of the centers are viewed through a “learning lens”, which
is drawn from the Delors’ Report (1996), which is the commonly used name for the “Report of
the International Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century”, which was formally
established by UNESCO at the beginning of 1993. The resulting report, "Learning: The Treasure
Within" was delivered in 1996. Chaired by former European Commission President Jacques
Delors, the Commission proposed, building on the four pillars that are the foundations of all
education – learning to know; learning to do; learning to be; and learning to live together – that
all societies should aim to move towards a world, in which none of the talents hidden within
every person are left untapped.

Learning to know
         In a general sense the idea of learning to know is about knowledge acquisition.
Educational institutions are founded on this idea and the ‘knowledges’ they disseminate often
appear as discrete disciplines. Yet a list of broad areas of study (itself, a legacy of education)
does not adequately describe the extent of learning to know inherent in neighborhood centers’
work. It gainsays the knowledge ‘acquired’ in relation to learning to know about the world, the
local world of neighborhood, and the people that occupy these worlds. They’re learning about
life – they can come and get a combination of information that helps them get through their daily
lives – and what else is available for them – (Center worker talking about a group of women
participants). It is not only center users that are learning to know, workers, volunteers and others
in various relationships with centers also suggest that they acquire knowledge through their
association: The center has opened up a new world for me – to social problems we have
(Volunteer). Moreover, people are learning to know others as result of their association with
neighborhood centers. I was in marketing – but coming here was just a – a huge learning curve
– how people live – what can be done – what can’t be done– extraordinary. (Volunteer).
         Center users are also learning to know others differently: What I found was – all along
the way I mix with so many different cultures – we stop and have a cup of tea – and we talk about
all sorts of things –what happened to people - and then you learn too – cause I suppose every
culture has different ideas (Center user).
         The pillar of learning to know is not only about gaining knowledge but also incorporates
the idea of learning to learn (Delors 1996:37) Literacy is a prime example of learning to learn
and formal adult literacy classes are provided. However, there is also evidence of other more
informal sites where people are learning to learn: Well, I always wanted to do quilting – I started
doing that – so the women in the quilters group we all swap books and things – until I joined I
hadn’t read the sort of books that they’re into though – so its picked up my – what I read now –

(Center user). For this participant the quilting group doubles as a reading group: a reading group
where she has ‘picked up’ her reading.

Learning to do
         Learning to do is the second of Delors’ pillars to be discussed here. Just as the idea of
gaining knowledge is prominent within education, so too is the idea of gaining skills. In a typical
week there can be almost four hundred VET/Pre-VET activities provided in centers. It is not
only, however, the people enrolled in VET/Pre-VET courses that are learning to do ‘work’ in
NSW neighborhood centers. Volunteers are learning to do a range of things that can easily be
described as work skills too, and these can also lead to paid work: I answer the phone – emails -
send faxes – all those office things (Volunteer). However, learning work skills is only part of the
story – people learn to do for purposes other than work: Let’s not forget the harmonica group –
they’re here on Friday – you’ve got seniors and juniors and you learn how to play the
harmonica (Volunteer). Learning to do also encompasses working in teams. Center activities
facilitate the development of this important social (and workforce) skill, too: I think that people
that are involved in groups are learning a lot about what being in a group involves (Center
coordinator). This is seen in the many leaderless groups in centers: The younger women were
learning from the older women and the older women from the young (Associated worker).

Learning to be
        While some educators struggle with questions about whether or not their role actually
includes encouraging personal growth, others simply accept that the nature of learning inherently
involves this type of work (Connole, 1992, 274). A glance down a list of courses and groups
provided by centers makes clear the existence of a learning to be grouping of offerings
associated with self or personal development. This extensive list includes but is not limited to;
playgroups, family groups, spirituality groups, weight watchers, exercise, ethno-specific groups,
various healthcare groups, breastfeeding, yoga, pilates, self esteem, stress management, and
laughter workshops.
        The objective of the ‘Life Experience Counts’ program offered in a number of centers
across NSW is to assist participants to ‘re-write their selfs’ from that of ‘a housewife’ to ‘a
skilled capable woman’ (LCSA, 1999; LCSA, 2000; LCSA, 2001). While the overt intention of
the external funding bodies may be to facilitate the recognition of prior learning (RPL) process in
an effort to get participants moving along education or employment pathways, the centers appear
less insistent on these types of outcomes. For many centers an important outcome for this sort of
re-writing of the self is that of empowerment.
        Another outcome is exemplified in the story of a volunteer who notes how her association
with the neighbourhood center contributed to her learning to be ... kinder: [I’ve learned about]
big families with no money – usually no husbands there to give any support – well, that’s opened
my eyes … not that I can do all that much – but I can be kinder in my attitude to people – if you
do have a problem its not always your fault (Volunteer: responding to a question about what she
gets from her volunteer work). It seems that learning to be ‘kinder’ comes about by learning to
know about others, and acquiring knowledge of others might reasonably also contribute to
learning to live together as well. Furthermore, if this is understood as ‘empathy’ then she might
also be learning an important skill (learning to do) that can be used in employment.

Learning to live together
        Learning to live together is the final pillar to be presented here. Evidence of its existence
has been referred already: learning to know others and learning to do things in the company of
others being two examples. Another is the example of a volunteer who describes her better
understanding of people with disabilities: I don’t think I saw them as real people – that they have
needs like we all have –– I hope I don’t have that problem anymore – I can give [name] a hug
when she wants to – and I don’t feel uncomfortable – I’ve learned a lot (Volunteer). A
neighborhood center provides a site where different groups are coming in contact with one
another and finding similarities despite differences. Moreover, relationships established in
centers endure beyond the scope of these sites. In a world that is increasingly becoming even
more suspicious of difference (Bauman, 2001), the learning that occurs in the centers is not only
able to build ‘communities’ but also build a complex network of bridges across communities.

                                        Discussion – Bridges
         In NSW, most ACE research (predominately produced by or via the ACE sector)
positions the state’s sixty odd sanctioned providers as the sole providers. References to other
possible sites of adult community education are typically non-existent. ACE (the activity) is
defined by what official ACE (“the sector”) does. This situation draws attention to the stakes for
sanctioned ACE in producing accounts of adult community education with themselves as the
central players. Given that these sanctioned ACE providers are resourced by the state to deliver
adult community education, it is in their interest not to draw attention to other sites that may be
providing similar activity. Official ACE providers are well positioned to put themselves forward
for, and make use of, any limited support made available through the state to further develop
adult community education––in doing so they maintain their position as ‘the sector’. Meanwhile,
organizations with less visible provision (like neighbourhood centers) are hindered from any
further development that accessing public funding might enable. Despite suggestions that adult
education may occur in neighbourhood centres (Rooney, 2004; Rule, 2005 ), any such provision
by these organizations is not captured by the state’s measuring mechanisms. This is because
organizations not explicitly funded to provide adult education are not required to collect
statistics. In order to be counted they must count, but those that already ‘count’ are the only ones
doing the counting.
         Contemporary ideas of education in Australia and elsewhere abound with notions of
learning to know and learning to do, particularly in relation to paid work: the first pair of the
Delors’ pillars. These are central to educational institutions like schools, universities and even
‘official’ adult community education providers. The transferring of knowledge and skills is said
to promote a healthy economy through the individual citizen/student’s investment in human
capital. On the other hand the second two pillars, learning to be and learning to live together, are
more usually associated with the work of neighborhood centers. This does not preclude them
from them being present in formal education but with educational outcomes increasingly being
measured in economic terms, social outcomes are obscured. Regardless of the ‘diversity of both
process and product, educational thought has been dominated by the largely unquestioned
assumption that the most valuable learning is of just one kind’ (Beckett, 2001, p108). Focussing
on learning to know and learning to do draws attention to the products acquired (skills and
knowledge). Formal education is product centred. On the other hand being and living together
are processes. Moreover, the work of the neighborhood centers tends to be focused on the
collective, whereas formal education tends to be more individualistic. While education and

learning have now been linked to some extent, they are not the same. Indeed, it is important to
keep the differences, because there is value in neighborhood centers not being seen as being in
the education business.
         Ironically, part of the centers’ success with non-traditional learners is a result of them not
being seen as educational in the usual sense. The ‘problem’ of how education can attract people
from particular groups, labelled as ‘disadvantaged’ or ‘excluded’, is a commonly lamented one.
Yet it may be that ‘education’ itself is part of the problem. It may be that sites like neighborhood
centers are more suitable to promote the capacity of disadvantaged and marginalised peoples to
learn because they are not obviously education. The centers are already providing for people,
who are under-represented in the more formal aspects of education. The capacity to attract and to
retain hesitant learners might be attributed to the centers being multi-purpose, rather than strictly
educational. The nature of neighborhood centers contributes to them being valuable sites to
provide learning for people who have not benefited from their past experiences with formal
education. Many potential learners do not associate the centers with those educational
institutions, which have largely failed them. Rather, as users suggest, the centers are ‘homely’,
‘safe’, and ‘friendly’ places, where they learn. These participants highlight the relaxed
environment of learning in a neighborhood center: a place that welcomes those who are learning
to know, to do, to be and live together. These are those learners, who are unlikely to enroll in a
recognisably educational institution – hence the importance of retaining the differences.

        Using the four pillars as an organizing device draws attention to the ways in which the
activities of the neighborhood centers in NSW are contributing to both the social and human
capital of both individuals and communities. It is helpful to the overall project of education to
construct the concept of learning differently and more broadly. Ironically, the centers’ programs,
by not being obviously educational, are better able to provide for those persons, who are not
traditionally represented in “education”, yet, who are widely perceived as being in need of it.
More broadly, it reminds us that learning should not only be lifelong, it should also be life wide.
In practical (and political) terms, it points out to the NSW educational bureaucracy that adult
learning does not only occur in those community education providers that it formally sanctions
(and funds). Finally, it reminds us that our educational work can build bridges between
communities and that the need to construct such bridges has never been more urgent.

BACE (1996) Recognising the value of lifelong learning for all: New South Wales government
       policy on adult and community education, Sydney: New South Wales Department of
       Training and Education Co-ordination.
Bauman, Z. (2001) Community: Seeking safety in an insecure world. Malden MA: Blackwell.
Beckett, D. & Hager, P. (2001) Life, work and learning: Practice and post modernity. London:
Connole, H. (1992) Education for personal growth. In Striking A Balance R. Harris and P. Willis
       (Ed.s). Adelaide: Centre for Human Resources, University of South Australia and
       AAACE, 273-284.
Delors, J. (1996) Learning: The treasure within: A report to UNESCO of the International
       Commission on Education for the Twenty-first Century. Paris: UNESCO.

Flowers, R. (2005) Informal and popular education in youth and community work: Seeking
        insights for Australian practice from theories and practices in Germany and Singapore.
        Sydney: University of Technology, Sydney.
LCSA (1999, 2000, 2001) Partnerships in ACE: A Report to the BACE (annual reports). Sydney,
        Local Community Services Association
Morris, R. (2005) Australia and adult education. International Encyclopaedia of Adult
        Education.     Leona English (Ed.). New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.
OECD (2004) Policy brief: lifelong learning. In OECD (Ed.) OECD Observer. (Retrieved from
        the web) Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Rooney, D. (2004) Cinderella has balls: Other sites for adult learning. Australian Journal of
        Adult Learning, 44, 143-157.
Rooney, D. (2006) Cat's cradle: A promising (pagan) research game. In Armstrong, P. (Ed.)
        Inter-Cultural Perspectives on research into adult learning: a global dialogue.
        Proceedings of the 36th Annual Standing Conference on University Teaching and
        Research in the Education of Adults (SCUTREA), University of Leeds, United Kingdom.
Rule, J. (2005) Tracing discourses of social action: Inner-city Sydney neighbourhood centres.
        Studies in Continuing Education, 27, 135-153.
Tennant, M. & Morris, R. (2006) L’Educacio d’Adults a Australia. Papers d’Educacio de
        Persones Adultes (Catalan), #51 – 52, November, 13-16 .
Donna L Rooney, Doctoral Student and Adjunct Faculty Member, Adult Education Program,
        Faculty of Education, University of Technology, Sydney, P.O. Box 123, Broadway NSW
        2007, Australia.

Roger K Morris Ph D., Honorary Associate, Adult Education Program, Faculty of Education,
University of Technology, Sydney, P.O. Box 123, Broadway NSW 2007, Australia.

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, Ball State University, Muncie IN, September 25-27, 2007.

      Health Education and Faith-Based Institutions: A Learning Merger
                             Michael L. Rowland & E. Paulette Isaac

        African Americans face a number of health disparities. For example, they experience
higher incidents of high blood pressure and diabetes. Conventional methods of addressing health
disparities no longer suffice. New and creative means must be used. Faith-based institutions
have been used to provide biblical and religious teachings as well as to educate adults on social
and political issues. Thus, institutions like the church are in a unique position to aid adults in
their quest for better health through programs that are culturally relevant. Thus, one strategy for
addressing health disparities among African Americans is the Black Church. The preliminary
findings suggest that churches in this study are responding to the health needs of African
Americans in different ways. Hence, the Black Church appears to play a significant role in the
health education of its congregants.

        A great deal of media attention and research has focused on the disparities in health care
treatment among racial and ethnic minority groups. As a result of “health care discrimination”
and “ongoing extensive evidence of racial disparities,” there is a need for “vigilance in the area
of health care and civil rights” (Rosenbaum, Markus, & Darnell, 2000, p. 236). Similar research
findings from the Institutes of Medicine (2002), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's
National Healthcare Disparity Reports for 2003 and 2004, and the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services (2000) have noted significant inequities in health care for the poor, and
racial and ethnic minorities. Hence, as it takes a community to raise a child, several strategies
must be used to address these disparities. Due to the critical nature of health issues among
African Americans, health care professionals can no longer remain in their stately and often
high-tech buildings. Nor can they rely on individuals to visit their physician. Health
practitioners must use other measures, such as faith-based institutions, to reach and educate the
masses of people in need of medical attention. Black churches of various affiliations have
already exhibited an efficacy to promote lifestyle changes. There are many reports of churches
sponsoring successful programs that have targeted drug addicts, alcoholics, ex-offenders, African
American males, and teenage mothers. They have demonstrated their ability to serve as a
powerful health motivator even in such traditional areas as physical fitness, weight loss, smoking
cessation, and risk reduction of cardiovascular disease.
        D’Apolito (2000) asserts, “Studies indicate that in spite of all the social and legal changes
that have occurred as a result of the civil rights movement, African Americans still represent a
seriously disadvantaged group” (p. 96). This is supported by the Institute of Medicine (2002)
who reported that, “even after adjustment for socioeconomic differences and other healthcare
access-related factors” there are still disparities in care based on racial and ethnic status (p. 5).
This holds true in almost any arena—housing, social, economics, and health. Racial and ethnic
minorities receive sub-standard medical care. In addition, it has been reported that women and
minorities are more likely to lose their legs to amputation when they have complications from
diabetes, (Rosenbaum, et al., 2000); they are less likely to get adequate treatment for pain and
routinely wait longer for organ transplants (Rosenbaum, et al.). The warranted attention on health

disparities necessitates a clarion call for eradication.
         According to the National Urban League (2006), “Achieving an equitable, universal
health system in the United States is not an easy task. Thus implying it is not impossible. They
go on to state that to do so “Active partnerships between government, healthcare providers and
institutions, health systems, and other important stakeholders—such as . . . faith groups . . . will
be necessary to create the political will to develop and sustain . . . policy goals” (p. 8). The new
socio-psychological paradigm of disease and health encourages further mergers of medicine and
religion and spirituality to combat illness effectively. In fact, religious congregations have been
viewed as possible “headquarters for health promotion and disease prevention activities”
(Chatters, Levin, & Ellison, 1998, p. 695).
         The Black Church has been designated the “center of social life, a primary vehicle of
communication, and an organizer of entertainment and amusement in the African American
community” (Blake & Darling, 2000, p. 412). It has served as a major agent of cultural
transmission and a powerful agent of healing. Blake and Darling (2000) explain that some
“churches have even served as mutual aid societies that have helped their members survive crises
associated with illnesses or death (p. 412). They have also served as educational purveyors.
However, over two decades ago, Byrd (1986) stated, “inadequate attention has been focused on
the role of the church in the education of black people” (p. 83). This still rings true today, despite
the apparent role of the church in adult education (Isaac, 2004). For example, “The pastor
certainly plays a major role in adult education” and “More people consistently listen to the pastor
than any other single teacher in the church” (Lawson, 1993, p. 343). While many associate the
church’s religious education with the study of the bible, Byrd (1986) indicates that for “African
churches . . . religious education encompassed knowledge of the Bible as well as training in
reading, writing, psychology, history, theology, and liberal arts studies” (p. 86). It was not
unusual for the “pulpit and Sunday school programs to “address the religious and intellectual
needs of African people” (Byrd, p. 87).
         With a strong educational background, faith-based institutions continue to be in a unique
position to aid adults in their quest for better health through programs that are culturally relevant.
Thus, one strategy for addressing health disparities among African Americans is the Black
Church. It has a prime opportunity to help African American adults with a variety of health
issues. With a strong pervasiveness of diseases such as diabetes, AIDS, and high blood pressure,
just to name a few, that disproportionately affect the African American community, many
churches are beginning to offer different forms of health education for adults.
         Arguably, the church’s response to issues in the African American community has been
reactive in nature; and some would even say non-existent. Nonetheless, there are some churches
which have resources to respond to issues of the African American community. So, the
opportunity exists for the Black Church to take a proactive approach in the health care of its
members and community at-large. And, while there has been some research which has explored
the many roles of the Black Church (Chatters 2000; D’Apolito, 2000; Isaac 2004 & 2005;
Rowland 2001) there is limited data on its health educational role. Understanding how health
education is woven into the fabric of the church life has been difficult to determine based on
available information. The purpose of this study was to explore the health education activities of
African American churches.

        The authors were interested in surveying a wide cross-section of Black churches and
denomination affiliates. Based on a careful search of the literature in Black/African American
studies, religion, health, and health education, the authors developed a questionnaire that focused
on health care issues in the Black Church. In addition, we obtained church demographics and
background information on the pastor of the church. We used a variety of sources to develop a
comprehensive list of churches and pastors including the Internet, Black Church mailing lists,
and church directories. Using convenience sampling, a questionnaire was mailed to
approximately 700 pastors of largely Black congregations in Ohio and Illinois. Pastors were
asked to respond to questions in three major areas: health care issues in the Black Church,
church demographics, and personal background. The authors acknowledge limitations regarding
the data in this study. First, some denominations are overrepresented in the findings. Secondly,
pastors may have asked another individual who may have had direct experience with the health
education programs in the church to respond. Consequently, the perceptions may not be a true
reflection of the pastor.
        The majority of the respondents in the study were pastors of Baptist churches (62%)
followed by African Methodist Episcopal churches (18%) and Church of God in Christ churches
(6%). Most of the pastors in this study were between the ages of 50-59 and held terminal
degrees (31%). Over 60% rated their health status as good. The majority of churches were
situated in urban (inner city) located in the inner city or urban area and had small congregational
sizes ranging from 100 to 249 members. Not surprising, the majority of the pastors reported that
their churches were primarily made up of women. Additionally, many of the pastors described
the overall socioeconomic status of the church as “Blue Collar” (58%). Furthermore, 43% of the
churches were 50-99 years old and 22% were 100 or older.
         Of the total number of respondents, 59% offered a health education program (HEP) or
ministry whose purpose was to educate members and/or empower them to take better care of
themselves. Of the 41% who indicated they did not offer an HEP, 57% indicated it was due to a
lack of financial resources; 46% stated lack of health care resources as the primary reason for not
offering any kind of HEP. An overwhelming majority (94%) of those who offered HEPs stated
the mission was to educate members of the congregation. The most dominant type of health
education offered in the church was through written and printed materials. And, of those who
reported having health care materials available, 62% stated their health education materials were
specifically targeted to African Americans. When asked about the number of health care
professionals who are members of the congregation, 52% asserted they had between 1 to 5 health
care professionals in the church. The low number of health care professionals in the church may
be reflective of the paucity of African American health care providers in the total population.
The two major health concerns facing the congregation as noted by the pastors were diabetes
(29%) and high blood pressure (29%). Nonetheless, when posed the same question in relation to
African Americans in general, it was heart disease and HIV/AIDS. Regarding the pastors’
perception of the overall health status of their congregation, 57% stated it was “fair” while 40%
noted it was good. The reverse was true when it came to the overall perception of the health
programs in their church. Only 43% felt they were good and less than 35% fair. Only 15% rated
them as excellent.
        In determining which health issues to address, most pastors reported that either a member
of the church who was a health care professional or a health care professional who was not a
member of the church made a suggestion to offer or provide information (i.e., seminar) on a

particular topic. Between the reporting period of August 2005 and August 2006, specific HEPs
were offered in several areas including alcohol and drug abuse, breast and prostrate cancer, and
chronic obstructive disease. However, most pastors reported offering workshops or seminars on
diabetes and providing health screenings for high blood pressure. This is important as most of the
pastors indicated that high blood pressure was the greatest health concern facing their church and
African Americans in general. As such, it was not surprising to learn that high blood pressure
and diabetes were reported as the major cause of death among congregants during the reporting

        Although the breadth of adult education literature continues to expand and cut across
disciplines, some areas, such as health education in the Black Church have lagged. Undoubtedly,
more research needs to be conducted in this area. There are opportunities for health and adult
educators to collaborate in an effort to bring about health changes for African Americans.
        Despite apparent gains in some facets of society, African Americans continue to
experience disparities in healthcare. Based on the preliminary findings, it appears that many
African American churches have followed in the footsteps of their predecessors by providing
learning opportunities, and in this case, through HEPs. This should come as no surprise
considering the number of pastors who reported attaining a terminal degree. Since Johnstone
and Rivera’s (1965) landmark study, it has become common knowledge that educational level
and education participation are correlated. Along those same lines, the more educated the pastor,
the more likely he or she is to provide educational opportunities in the church (Isaac, 2005).
        The research suggests the churches in this pilot study are responding to the health needs
of African Americans in a number of ways. According to Hill (2003), education materials are an
important source of health care communications about medical treatment and health behaviors,
but their value depends on their accessibility. Making health care materials available is just one
strategy the church is using to help eradicate health care disparities. Some churches place
information or announcements in church bulletins while others make it available on a table or
wall file in the church vestibule or other heavily trafficked areas. or While there is no way to
know the extent to which individuals are reading health care material once they take it, Hill
explains that, “Information can play an important role in fostering patients’ self-care behavior”
(p. 5). Thus, making an effort to provide the information is monumental. Diabetes and high
blood pressure are major illnesses affecting the African American community. Most pastors in
this study were aware of this and responded through workshops/seminars and/or health
screenings. Since research incessantly points to significant disparities and differences in the
health care and the treatment options for African Americans, different approaches have to be
employed to close the gap on health inequalities, especially as they relate to ethnic minorities
such as African Americans. “Meeting people where they are” is a quote often used by pastors
when they preach. The same can be said in relation to addressing health issues among African
Americans. The Black church is one place where health professionals (i.e., educators) and
African Americans can converge.
        Although the churches in this study are taking steps in the right direction, there is
apparently room for improvement as a small percentage reported their programs were excellent.
Consequently, there is more that can be done. An important consideration for health care
providers and educators is whether there is a need to provide some standardization in how health
education is delivered in the Black Church. For example, future research could aid educators to

better develop an educational program that churches could use in to assist church members in
understanding their own health issues. In this study, workshops or seminars were primarily
used. Future research should aim to describe in more detail the structure of health education
programs and their educational value. In addition, another important consideration for future
research would involve the use of electronic communication devices in the delivery of health
care education. Some churches are already using the Internet as a means to communicate with
members about upcoming events. As more individuals gain access to the Internet, it could be a
means to provide health information. So, it is feasible that it could also be used to provide health
information as well. Finally, research could be conducted to examine the extent to which
learning is taking place after attending a health seminar or workshop. We can learn how, if at
all, congregants are applying the health knowledge they gain.
        This pilot study leaves much opportunity for a further examination of the role of the
Black Church in an effort to eradicate the health disparities experienced by ethnic minorities.
Undoubtedly, subsequent research in this area could explore benefits and outcomes of health
education in the black church. The importance of health education in the church provides another
forum for people to better understand and respond to health care providers.

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        communities. Health Education and Behavior, 25(6), 689-99
D’Apolito, R. (2000). The activist role of the Black Church: A theoretical analysis and
        empirical investigation of one contemporary activist Black Church. Journal of Black
        Studies, 31(1), 96-123.
Hill, L. H. (2003). Health literacy is a social justice issue that affects us all. Adult Learning,
        15(1), 4-6.
Institute of Medicine. (2002). Unequal treatment: Confronting racial and ethnic disparities in
        health care. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Isaac, E. P. (2005). The future of adult education in the urban African American church.
        Education and Urban Society, 37(3), 276-291.
Isaac-Savage, E. P. (2004). The role of adult education in the African American church: A
        ministerial perspective. Perspectives: The New York Journal of Adult Education, 3(1), 4-
Johnstone, J. W. C., & Rivera, R. (1965). Volunteers for learning: A study of the educational
        pursuits of adults. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine.
Lawson, M. S. (1993). Illustration of effective church education with adults. In K O. Gangel &
        J. C. Wilhoit (Eds), The Christian educators handbook of adult education (341-356).
        Wheaton, IL: Victor books.

National Healthcare Disparities Report: Summary. (2004). Agency for Healthcare Research and
       Quality, Rockville, MD. Retrieved February 20, 2007, from
National Urban League (2006). The state of Black America. Retrieved January 22, 2007, from
Rosenbaum, S., Markus, A., & Darnell, J. (2000). U.S. Civil Rights policy and access to health
       care by minority Americans: Implications for a changing health care system. Medical
       Care Research and Review, 57(s1), 236-259.
Rowland, M.L. (2000-2001). Lift Every Voice and Sing: Adult learning in an African American
       Church. Arts and Learning Research Journal, 17(1), 176-197.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2000) Oral health in America: A report of the
       Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
       National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Michael L. Rowland is an Assistant Professor, Section of Primary Care and Director of
Diversity at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, Room 3166 Postle Hall, 305 West
12th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210,

Dr. E. Paulette Isaac is Chair of the Division of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and
an Associate Professor of Adult Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, One
University Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63121,

Copies of the actual survey are available upon request.

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

  Mentoring and Social Capital: Men’s Perceptions of Learning, Mentoring,
   and Social Capital Creation for Women in Central Pennsylvania Rotary
              Clubs (A follow-up to women’s perceptions, 2004)
                                        J. Paul Rutter, III

        This paper explores learning in Rotary clubs that have newly allowed women as
members. This paper covers men’s perceptions of women’s learning within the club confines
with respect to mentoring and social capital’s existence. Phenomenology and grounded theory
were used to investigate the lived experiences of women that are members of Rotary clubs in
central Pennsylvania.
        This research project is a follow up to earlier research on social capital creation and
mentoring that originated from my interests in gender equity (Rutter, 2003). In that research
project the findings indicated that among the women I talked to, Rotary was not leveling the
playing field but it was the best thing available to allow access to the informal learning,
mentoring, and networks that white males traditionally have enjoyed.

                                      Coming to the Problem
        In 2003, I used a phenomenological research method to explore learning, mentoring, and
social capital within central Pennsylvania Rotary clubs. At that time, I used standpoint and muted
group theories to dissect the interviews conducted and subsequent research (Rutter, 2003). Over
the years of my career in banking and being involved in business, I’ve seen the good ol’ boys
network work against persons not in dominant power positions of their communities. This new
research on men’s perspectives may shed new light on learning how someone’s habitus can be
affected by placement in a space not previously posited by a person and could lead to further
introduction of equality measures (Bourdieu, 1980).
        The need for equality and lessening gaps of access to social capital by gender has been
shown in the literature over the years. Societal problems have been shown to be associated with
under classes as they are constrained by limited power and privilege (Bowles & Gintis, 1976).

                                         Women in Business
        The status of women in business is like a glass half empty or a glass half full; there has
been progress, though not enough. A 1990 survey found women occupied 42% of all
management positions in the United States but the positions tended to be low-wage assignments
(Morrison & Von Glinow, 1990). Additionally, in the top tier of management positions of the
Fortune 500 companies less than five percent of the positions were filled by women (Powell,
        In a study in 1993, some of the obstacles holding women back were found to be lack of
mentoring (Geller & Hobfoll, 1993), and limited access to informal communication networks
(Ibarra, 1993). The importance of social capital and building networking ties was noted in Robert
Putnam’s landmark book, Bowling Alone, “Service clubs like Rotary mobilize local energies to
raise scholarships or fight disease at the same time that they provide members with friendships
and business connections that pay off personally” (Putnam, 2000).
        The concept of the “good ole’ boys network” has never been successfully adapted to the

feminine gender. The lesser participation of women in management positions, especially at upper
levels of management, is well documented. Studies of female managers in the United States have
generally ruled out lesser skills, abilities, attitudes, and motivation as reasons for the slower
career progression of women (Dipboye, 1987; Stroh, Brett, and Reilly, 1992). Discrimination
against women is pervasive at all levels of management and as women move up in the
hierarchies they will face more obstacles relative to men (Wright and Baxter, 2000).

                                         Research purpose
        The purpose of this project is to explore the perceptions of male Rotarians regarding the
lived experiences of women that joined and contributed to Rotary clubs in Central Pennsylvania.
Following this purpose, the research question is: what are the perceptions of men in Rotary with
respect to female membership as a vehicle to increase access to informal learning networks?
        At the onset of this study I hoped the research would add to what I had learned regarding
Rotary and women’s struggles related to access and how the access is used or withheld. Other
areas this research would help are in leading to new theory or new information regarding existing
theory in the area of standpoint or muted group theories.

Social Capital.
         In the field of adult education, researchers and practitioners want to be able to verify the
contributions of participation in different things to determine trends and issues in a measurable
manner of social capital (Ilsley, 2002). Social capital itself is perhaps best described by L. J.
Hanifan (1920) and Robert Putnam (2000), as referring to the connections among individuals—
social networks and the norms of reciprocity, good will, fellowship, sympathy, and
trustworthiness that arise from them.
         Without looking for deeper meaning, on the surface it seems as if social capital is an
important part of achieving success in the workplace. There is wealth and trust being built
(Pearce, 2003; Putnam, 2000; Schmid, 2002; Tucker, Jr. 2002). Of course women would want to
have a role in this part of network building. But since women have been able to join former
men’s clubs have they been able to experience the mentoring and social capital that these clubs
have going for them? This research attempted to further define what social capital means in the
context of women in civic clubs that were former male only clubs and the access to social

        Mentoring plays a role in access to social capital. The definition given by Hansman
(2002) of a mentor being a teacher, advisor, or a sponsor fits with what might be expected in a
civic club where mentoring might take place. Bierema (1999) writes that formal mentoring
programs set up by workplace organizations might not be serving employees best. Alternative
mentoring gained by involvement in a civic club similar to Rotary clubs might be a better guide.
Research conducted through the Fortune 1000 organizations in 1999 suggests that successful
mentoring occurred on an informal basis. This study addressed this phenomena looking for
evidence of successful mentoring in an informal basis (Ellison, 2002).

                                    Theoretical Framework
Standpoint Theory
        To look into the issue of networking, mentoring, and informal communication that exists
in civic clubs it was important to talk with the persons that can affect most the issue. Standpoint
theory focuses on how gender, race, class, and other social categories influence the
circumstances of people’s lives, especially the social positions they have and the kinds of
experiences fostered within those positions (Wood, 2001). Each person sees society only as it
appears from the perspective of his or her social group (Hegel, G.W.F., 1807); that is why men’s
viewpoints in this similar study to the 2003 one is important.

Muted Group Theory
       Muted Group Theory is when a dominant group in a culture or social hierarchy
determines the communication that will exist. Because the mastering dominant group determines
language or social mores, subordinated groups are muted. A muted group approach to
communication reflects a theoretical advance where those traditionally without societal power
describe ways in which they communicate within oppressive dominant structures (Orbe, 1998).
Orbe claims that muted group status is not fixed but it is constantly reinforced (Orbe, 1998).
While doing these research projects I thought membership in Rotary could be the catalyst for
change, enabling power to be shared by men with women.

        Qualitative research methods were used to collect data, code, reflect, and review
transcripts interviews in order to investigate the meanings of lived experiences of research
subjects to determine if the interviews yielded new theory, corroborated or added to existing
        The research project I conducted borrowed from ethnographical research ideas described
by Geertz with the ability to learn through interviews going back to the beginning of time for an
issue (Geertz, 2000). The beginning of time as related to Rotary and female membership is 1987.
All men I interviewed were members prior to 1987. Otherwise, phenomenological approach to
qualitative method was employed fully.
        This research project used phenomenology as the appropriate method because it is the
study of lived experiences used to recapture the meaning of everyday experience (Foucault,
2000), and “anything that presents itself to consciousness is potentially of interest” (van Manen,
        The intent of the research was to develop an account of a phenomenon that would
identify the major constructs, or categories in grounded theory terms, their relationships, and the
context and process, thus providing a theory of the phenomenon that is much more than a
descriptive account (Strauss & Corbin, 1990; Becker, 1993) and allows for the reader to
determine his or her own conclusion without my stating findings much like a reader would
interpret poetry (Merleau-Ponty, 1973).
        In this research, there was more than one unit of analysis (Baptiste, 2002). The more
obvious one is the male Rotary member as a group, but after interviews there were other
variables or smaller units of analysis that were isolated for analysis. The male Rotary members
were known as the case or the largest unit of analysis. As the data was analyzed, I searched for
an independent core variable, to serve as the foundation for theory generation.

        Even though this study was a follow-up to a recent study, I followed Glaser and Strauss
regarding making hypotheses before generation of theory. I tried to not have a pre-set notion so
that I might be open to any trend that would evolve. Generation of theory would occur after data
collection (Glaser and Strauss, 1967; Charmaz, 1983; Stern, 1994).

        Several themes did emerge from the study and one happenstance that I had not previously
considered even though it was the driving force in my own interests in this subject area. All five
men acknowledged a desire for an equal playing field for women in their own families: for their
daughters, granddaughters, or daughters-in-law as a reason to strive for equal access. A banker
with close to twenty years in Rotary let me know, “I was an advocate of women joining Rotary
from the very beginning. I have three adult daughters.” The retailer told me that his “perceptions
are slanted terribly” because of the fact that he had two daughters finishing college and he wants
them to “get a fair shake in the world.” An accountant that had also joined Rotary several years
before membership was extended to women let me know that his actions, and allowance of
access to various channels in the club, has been effected by his two daughters-in-law and three
granddaughters, causing him to look at things differently.
        In this previous thought, the respondents also spoke of a natural evolutionary process that
has allowed women to grow in to positions within the club out of their standpoint, and perhaps
leading one day to a role reversal where men will be looking to women for access. The nearly 70
years old accountant told me that for his generation, women joining Rotary and being equal has
been “an evolutionary thing that we’ve had to grow into since we didn’t grow up with equality.”
With regard to ones standpoint in a relationship, the banker told me that he has been fascinated
by the evolving social structure and women in the workplace with women moving into positions
of importance and significance from having to initially act like men. This was not an uncommon

                         Conclusion and implications for adult education
         In the previous study, I learned that women found membership in Rotary the closest thing
in their opinion to gaining equal access to the networks that allow for creation of social capital
(Rutter, 2003). In this new study, I learned that men think and say they are doing the things to
allow for parity but in reality their actions are close and removed from equality through separate
seating and inviting to membership. But as most told me, membership is going through an
evolutionary process not just in the club, but also in their generational societal mores. I would
ask isn’t fifteen years plenty of time? So in agreement with the previous study, I have to concur
that while it isn’t perfect, it may be the best thing available in the business world for leveling
access to informal networks for mentoring and social capital creation. The interesting thing to
look for in the future will be reversals. In this study, one respondent let me know he wondered
what the women that always sit together are thinking about. Perhaps a longitudinal version of
this study could be completed in the future. The responses have helped form response ranges for
a possible quantitative survey in the future.

Baptiste, I. (2002). Tit bits on observation. Unpublished manuscript.
Bierema, L. (1999). A model of executive women’s learning and development, Adult education
        quarterly, (49)2, 107-121.
Bourdieu, P. (1990). The Logic of Practice (Richard Nice, Trans.). Stanford: Stanford University
        Press. (original work published 1980)
Bowles, S. & Gintis, H. (1976). Schooling in capitalist America: Educational reform and the
        contradictions of economic life. New York: Basic Books.
Charmaz, K. (1983). The grounded theory method: An explication and interpretation, in
        Emerson, R. (Ed.), Contemporary field research: A collection of readings, Little Brown
        Company, Boston, MA
Dipboye, R. L. (1987). Problems and progress of women in management. Koziara, M. S.
        Moskow, & L. D. Tanner (Eds.), Working women: Past. present. and future (pp. 118-
        153). Washington, DC: BNA Books.
Ellison, A. (2002). Mentoring in contexts: the workplace and educational institutions.
        (Information Series Report No. 388). Columbus, OH: National Center for Research on
        Teacher Learning (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.388).
Foucault, M. (2000). Power (Robert Hurley and others, Trans.); In J. D. Faubion (Ed.). New
        York: New Press
Geertz, C. (2000). The interpretation of cultures (2000 ed.). New York: Perseus Books Group.
Geller, P. A., & Hobfoll, S. E. (1993). Gender differences in preference to offer social support to
        assertive men and women. Sex Roles, 28, 419-432.
Glaser, B. G. & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. Chicago: Aldine.
Stroh, L. K., Brett, J. M., & Reilly, A. H. (1992). All the right stuff: A comparison of female and
        male managers' career progression. Journal of Applied Psychology, 77, 251-260.
Tucker, K. (2002). Beyond Tocqueville: civil society and the social capital debate in comparative
        perspective. [Review of the book Beyond Tocqueville: civil society debate in comparative
        perspective] Contemporary Sociology, (31)4, 462-463.
Van Manen, M. (1990). Researching lived experience. Albany: State University of New York
Wood, J.T. (2001). Gendered Lives. Boston: Wadsworth.
Wright, E.O. and Baxter, J. (2000). The glass ceiling hypothesis: A reply to critics. Gender &
        Society, Dec 2000.
J. Paul Rutter, III, doctoral candidate in adult education at the Pennsylvania State University,

Presented at the Midwest Research to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN September 25-27, 2007.

                       Learning Together to Build Social Capital
                                          Linda. D. Sayre

        This paper will examine the impact of social capital on volunteer activities. It will
encourage discussion on the ways in which the theory and, especially, the practice of adult
learning can enhance social capital and volunteer efforts.
        The term social capital has gained increased attention since Putnam’s (2000) landmark
study Bowling Alone. There are various ways to use social capital including: networking for job
and career opportunities; leading a fuller, and less isolated personal life; and achieving social,
political and community goals through group action. This paper discusses all of these, but
concentrates particularly on the latter.
        I did my doctorate a major volunteer organization, the League of Women Voters, with an
emphasis on self-efficacy and human capital gained by its leaders. However, simultaneous with
this was the growth of deep friendships, and personal connections... Leaders and members also
gained from the reflective benefits of the use of consensus for decision making and
        The League is a “community of interest,” not just of location, for reformers using
collective efficacy to address key electoral and policy issues. The research discussed will
examine the process of the League and its use of social capital to achieve political and social

        After he and other “social capitalists” extensively explored social capital in the 1990s, in
Bowling Alone (2000), Putnam examined a wide variety of forms of social interrelations. He
used survey methods to inform his theory, and concluded that the degree of associational
activities and membership had dramatically declined since the 1950s. There has been much
ongoing discussion and debate on the nature and causes of this decline, if a decline existed at all,
or if new forms of social capital had replaced the old. A number of theorists have agreed with
Putnam’s basic thesis, while adding some differing points of emphasis and analysis. Others have
been critical, and offer different interpretations and methods for validating their theories.
        Since volunteer groups represent one of the greatest sources of social capital and lifelong
learning, these interconnections will be the focus of discussion. The League of Women Voters
will be used as a case study of using social capital within a volunteer group to achieve non-
partisan political reforms. Among those I interviewed in the League, when asked on a
questionnaire what their chief reasons were for joining the League, all mentioned doing
something worthwhile and meeting like-minded people. On the other hand, many leaders using
contacts gained in the League, along with Bandura’s perceived self-efficacy (Bandura, 1997),
enhanced competencies, knowledge and confidence that often translated into human capital.
        How can the practice of effective adult learning build social capital? How do volunteer
and community organizations both build and use social capital? The session will include a
group(s) exercise to give the participants an opportunity to discuss their own volunteer or
community work, including in college and university outreach programs. They can share
approaches, which the group coordinator will share with the larger group, and the smaller group

will keep in contact by email with any shared approaches. The coordinator will also keep in
touch with the presenter who can communicate with these developments to the larger group.
Finally, the conclusions will be based on the study prior to the session, but hopefully will be
enhanced by the participants’ input.

Is there a decline of social capital or a transformation?
        This will not be an in-depth or comprehensive review of social capital theory, as all and
more may be well known by the participants and the main focus will be on its relation to
volunteer activities. Using extensive survey information, Robert Putnam (2000) traced what he
concluded was the decline of associational organizations of all kinds in America. He believed
that since the 1950s when there was a high level of such organizations and relationships, there
has been a sharp decrease in both. Bowling Alone (2000) in its reference to the decreasing
number of bowling leagues, replaced by individual and small group bowling, is merely an
example of a much more widespread and profound phenomenon.
        Two well known concepts of Putnam’s are bonding and bridging social capital. Bridging
tends to be inclusive and brings together heterogeneous groups of people, and bonding more
exclusive among homogenous groups. For the purposes of our discussion, this is reiterated
because some critics of Putnam believe he perhaps over glorifies the 50s in both its bonding and
bridging groups, such as bowling leagues that brought many people together. However, in
addition to the extreme example of the KKK as a negative bonding group, Putnam also says that
neither the 50s nor 60s were ideal for marginalized groups.
        Halpern (2005), on the whole, agrees with Putnam’s model, except that he believes that
he is more policy oriented and interested in cross cultural issues than Putnam. He also prefers
the term “social fabric,” and “transformation” rather than “capital” and “decline.” He has
difficulty seeing social capital as something you can obviously invest, trade or withdraw. Social
capital may lead to rewards sooner, often as in family, friends, and neighbors, or later with
networking for a job. He also sees changes in social capital rather than merely decline.
        Among the “social capitalists,” Lin (2001) seems to place the most emphasis on a model
similar to human capital, even though he distinguishes the two, as well as both from physical and
cultural capital. “The premise behind the notion of social capital is rather simple and
straightforward: investment in social relations with expected results in the market place” (Lin,
2000, p. 19). Thus his major emphasis in examining social capital is the “networking aspect,”
and its benefits both to individuals, and to organizations wishing to recruit those who also have a
good amount of human capital. Amy Fried in McLean, Schultz & Steger (2002) thinks that
Putnam does not pay enough attention to structural differences in society, and how political and
social differences affect social capital. However, it should be mentioned, that he points to the
advantages of affluent, educated people in gaining from social capital, and addresses a broad
variety of policy issues at the end of Bowling Alone.
        There are a number of other “social capitalists” who have done important research based
on strong empirical evidence. Whether they disagree or partially or largely agree with Putnam,
there has been a fruitful exploration of the concept that will continue. Further, it is important
that relationship between social capital, adult learning and volunteer activities continue to be
analyzed and discussed.

Volunteering and Social Capital
        In examining motivations for political volunteering, including interviews with volunteers,
Verba, Lehman, Schlozan and Brady (1995) discovered there were four basic types. These were:
“self-serving” (“I might get a job”); “social” (“I find it exciting to work with people I enjoy”);
“civic” (“my duty as a citizen,” “to make my community/nation better”); and “collective”
(“chose to influence government policies” (Verba et al, 1995, pp. 115-117). The social, civic,
and collective best describe the League of Women Voters primary motivations. In Verba et al
there were follow up questions on how responsive they thought government would be to any
complaints they had and their influence on local government. Bandura (1997) describes political
efficacy as a form of collective efficacy:
        …in the political arena, perceived efficacy is reflected in the participants’ beliefs
        in their collective capability to accomplish social changes through political action.
        To make change, they must be able to convert diverse self-interests into a
        common purpose.
        Volunteer work is an asset to bonding social capital as a way of reinforcing mutually
beneficial relations, and taking responsibility for people who might otherwise be completely on
the margins. Some volunteer organizations seek to act as bridging social capital to allow more
cooperation and collaboration between heterogeneous groups in order to meet mutual goals.

The League of Women Voters: Building and Drawing on Social Capital.
         I did my doctoral research on the League of Women Voters, examining it primarily from
a human capital point of view, but given the processes of the League it also was abundant in
social capital. The League was born from the Suffrage Movement in 1919, but had its greatest
growth after World War II, when the economy allowed at least most middle class households to
live on one income. This is the era that Putnam believes was highest in associations and groups
of various kinds. Putnam, after examining many causes of the decline of social capital, decided
television was the main culprit. Nonetheless, he acknowledged many other sources, including
the entry or reentry of women into the workforce in the 1970s. This was particularly true for
volunteer organizations.
         However, the League was fairly unique, and should be of interest to adult educators and
community educators, as well as learners. It was both an educational and advocacy organization.
It is perhaps best known for its voter education efforts, and the sponsoring of the presidential
debates. However, even in its advocacy role for a wide span of policy positions, it was an
educational organization. Members and leaders had to learn in depth about issues before taking
and backing positions.
         From the human capital perspective, the members and leaders mastered many
competencies along with education and advocacy. However, for our purposes here, especially in
terms of lifelong learning, the process of the League is central. At the heart of the League
process is consensus. This was part of the League’s “study before action” (Neuman, 1994, p. 14),
but it also was the basis of how decision making and communication were conducted. As more
than one leader emphasized, consensus reinforced really listening to the others’ points of view,
thinking self-reflectively about your positions, perhaps modifying your positions, and presenting
your positions more articulately and thoughtfully.
         An organization like the League, of course, benefited from bonding social capitalism.
Most of the members were educated, white, middle class women. This was not a great aid in
increasing diversity, or recruiting new sources of membership.

        However, it did mean that generally, even at the beginning of member’s involvement,
there was a high level of trust, and shared values. This also led to a good deal of peer modeling
and mentoring. In order to successfully achieve their educational and advocacy goals, they also
used bridging social capital to communities, politicians and policy makers.
        The League was a case of strong social capital reinforcing individual and group adult
learning. They, in turn, acted as adult and community educators building social capital, and
engaging in social and political action. All of the leaders I interviewed were feminists (given the
roots and practices it would be hard for them not to be). However, a sentiment of regret was
echoed more than once about having to reenter the workplace in the 1970s. In these cases, it was
not so much the women’s movement that propelled this, but the inflation of the decade. Two
prominent examples of this were women who entered high level government and consulting jobs
in the 1970s, but said if they had been wealthy they would have felt they were doing something
equally intellectually stimulating and worthwhile in the League.
        The League was an example of a group with high levels of access to bonding social
capital and the ability to keep developing bridging social capital to achieve their goals.
Examples from Putnam’s Better Together (2003) speak of groups with little access to power who
work successfully together to a series of common ends. In one case, as a community member
mentions, “the most dangerous thing we do is talk to our neighbors” (p. 17). They do this
through a series of one-on-one conversations, and small group meetings. In two very different
contexts, consensus in the League and relational organizing in a Mexican community in El Paso,
listening, reflecting, learning, and coming to shared goals created rewards from social capital.

                                          Group Exercise
        The session will include a group (s) exercise. Members of the group can share
experiences where they believe adult learning and social capital reinforced each other. If they
found a particular theory relevant that can be shared, but the emphasis will be on successful
practice. This should allow “best practices” to be shared, and the group coordinator(s) can
follow up with the presenter with any developments.

        Although “social capital” as a term was coined by Hanifan in 1916, it has become an
increasing a source of discussion and debate by a number of “social capitalists” since the 1990s.
There is a two way connection between social capital and adult learning. Balatti and Falk (AEQ,
2002), conducted an extensive study of a community education program in Australia. The
results revealed that engaging participants in learning to gain the knowledge and confidence to
take advantage of available forms of social capital was as critical as skills training and its
connection to human capital.
        Volunteer efforts may be a particularly good way to encourage bonding and bridging
social capital. However much many volunteers may view themselves as acting in their
“enlightened self interest” (social capital in the bank), the general purpose of many volunteer
organizations is to meet larger goals. Thus even in closely bonded organizations, they may be
serving or interacting with other groups or people they would not know. In some cases, like the
League, however heavily bonded, they need to create bridging social capital in order to be
        This is an area that could be a particularly relevant for the intertwined relationship of
adult learning and social capital. Volunteer organizations have a specific need for relationship

building, and their study may throw added light on encouraging the connections between adult
learning and social capital.

Ballati, J., & Falk, I (2002). Socioeconomic Contributions of Adult Learning to Community.
        Adult Education Quarterly, 52 (4), pp. 281-298.
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: the Exercise of Control. New York: W.H. Freeman& Co.
Fried, A. (2002) The Strange Disappearance of Alexis de Tocqueville in Putnam’s Analysis of
        Social Capital. In McLean, S.l., Schultz, D.A., & Steger, M.B. (Eds.) Social Capital:
        Critical Perspectives in Community and “Bowling Alone.” New York & London: New
        York University Press.
Halpern, D. (2005). Social Capital. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Hanifan, L.J. (1916) The Rural School Community Center. Annuals of the American Academy of
        Political and Social Science, 67, 130-138.
Lin, N. (2001). Social Capital: A Theory of Social Structure and Action. Cambridge, UK:
        Cambridge University Press.
Putnam,R. D. (2000). Bowling Alone. New York, London, Toronto, Sydney: Simon & Schuster
        Paper Backs.
Putnam, R., Feldstein, L.M. & Cohen, D. (2003). Better Together New York, London, Toronto,
        Sydney: Simon & Schuster.
Sayre, Linda (2002). Volunteer Leaders: Learning and Development in the League of Women
        Voters. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.
Verba, S., Schlozman, K.I., & Brady, H. (1995). Voice and Equality: Civic Volunteerism in
        American Politics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Linda D. Sayre, Consultant, 448 Riverside Drive, 121, NY, NY 10027,

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

           Facilitating Group Conflicts Among Diverse Adult Students
                             in Online Small Groups
                               Regina O. Smith & John M. Dirkx,

        Increases in the use of collaborative contextual learning, a diverse student population, and
online education place more value in honoring and giving voice to student differences. Learning
to work across such differences in contemporary contexts of higher and adult education
represents an emotionally-laden challenge for teachers and students alike. This paper explores
the emotional issues small, online learning groups face and ways of effectively facilitating
groups that are addressing such issues.

        Over the last forty years, educators have increasingly stressed the need for students in
higher and adult education to be more active in their learning, for learning activities to be more
contextual, collaborative, and experience-based, and for learning itself to be understood as a
process of constructing meaning. These ideas have also become manifest in numerous disciplines
within higher education, such as mathematics, engineering, health occupations, education, and
business. It is safe to say that the practice of teaching and learning within higher and adult
education is undergoing a dramatic paradigm shift that has affected literally all levels and sectors
of educational practice.
        As we in higher and adult education place emphasis on widening participation and more
diverse student participation, educational leaders and practitioners will be increasingly working
with students who are different from one another with respect to culture, race, gender, socio-
economic status, experience and background, age, learning style, and ability. As we implement
curricula and pedagogical strategies that are more learner and learning-centered, more value is
placed on honoring and giving voice to these differences. Learners increasingly find themselves
part of active and collaborative learning environments in which the experience of difference
among their peers often becomes a bewildering and frustrating dimension of their education. If
teachers can help learners understand the conflict and find healthy ways to address it, learners
can grow and develop from the process (Ringer, 2002; Smith & Berg, 1987). However, if
teachers attempt to solve the group conflict through traditional rational conflict resolution
methods, they might inadvertently stagnate or destroy the group and the collaborative process
(Miller, Trimbur, & Wilkes, 1994). The instructor must therefore, walk a fine line between too
few and too many interventions (Dirkx & Smith, 2004). What it means to learn to work across
difference in contemporary contexts of higher and adult education represents a challenge for
educators and students alike.
        Yet, the research on small collaborative groups fail to help educators understand how to
evaluate the group conflict, when to intervene, and how to intervene. There is little research
available to help instructor recognize the source of the conflict and the proper intervention
strategies to facilitate the group through the conflict. Because of this dearth of information in
helping students learn to effectively work across difference, the instructor may inadvertently
create additional conflict for the learner and further marginalize some group members. The
purpose of this paper is to explore the emotional dynamics that arise when students are learning

to work across difference in online environments and to suggest ways in which teachers might
effectively facilitate the related group process.

            The Problem of Learning to Work Across Difference in Virtual Groups
        The use of online learning within higher and adult education has dramatically increased
and working adults have been a primary population to whom this form of education has been
targeted. Online programs often draw students from numerous regions within the United States,
multiple countries and multiple generations. Early attempts in online education focused on
increasing access but more recent efforts reflect concern for student satisfaction and attrition
(Palloff, 2005). For this reason, many advocates of online learning are recommending the use of
learning communities and collaborative strategies (Palloff & Pratt, 1999; 2005). A third of all
higher education institutions that offered distance education courses in 1995 increased to 78% in
1998 and 89% in 2001. However, teachers are still novices in this new arena and require
considerable support and professional development opportunities in order to understand and
realize the potential of e-learning with small groups. Collaborative learning environments
substantially increase interaction levels, but also increase the need for relatedness and intimacy
levels among diverse peers whom they cannot see. Increased needs for relatedness and intimacy
increase the likelihood of conflict as students try to work across their many differences. The
exponential growth of online education with the diminished physical communication cues and
delayed communication patterns greatly exacerbates the challenge for online instructors.
        Those in postsecondary education who have worked extensively with small group
approaches to learning will readily recognize the profoundly ambivalent feelings that students
have toward group work. On the one hand, they want to be actively involved and enjoy the
engaged nature of learning that group work provides. On the other hand, their past experiences
with groups often lead them to loathe the prospects of spending time trying to learn in a group
context. Our prior studies (e.g., Dirkx & Smith, 2004, Smith, 2005), which examined the
experiences of learners in online collaborative groups, support this seemingly paradoxical
perspective that learners hold. In this research, we found that the online collaborative group
space served both adaptive and destructive functions. On the one hand, the groups with the most
salient differences such as culture, race, language, age, educational background, and work
experience had more incidents where online collaborative group work was a site for development
and growth because it allowed the participants to rework their identity as learners and group
members. A number of the participants began to see their role in the emotional tensions the
group experienced, adjusted how they interacted with the group, and indicated that they felt
themselves changing as a result of their group membership.
        On the other hand, online collaborative group work was also a site where participants
often faced unsafe learning conditions, which served to de-authorize group members who are
normally marginalized within the larger society. These learners included younger members of
the group, students of color, learners with less work and subject matter expertise, master’s
students, certain female learners, and international students. The instructor, who has years of
experience with group dynamics, frequently monitored the chat rooms and discussion boards,
and held online office hours, In contrast to many face-to-face settings, however, clues to the
issues the online groups faced remained elusive until after data from student interviews and
reflective journals were analyzed. The results of our research of online groups are aligned with
research on heterogeneous groups in other online courses (e.g., Haraisim, 1987), face-to-face
workplace groups (O’Reiley, Williams, & Barsdale, 1998), among face-to-face engineering

students and among face-to-face medical student groups. Much of the literature in online
learning largely ignores these emotional conflicts and provides little help to faculty as they
facilitate the process. Motivated by a conflict-avoidance mentality, teachers often step in and
take control of the group, which destroys the collaborative process (Miller, Trimbur, & Wilkes,
         Thus, teachers need to do more about when and how to intervene in online learning
groups that are confronting emotional issues related to working across difference. The literature
on collaborative learning (Bruffee, 1999), group dynamics (Ringer, 2002; Smith & Berg, 1987),
and communication (Hodgson & Reynolds, 2005; Meyers & Brashier, 2002) provides helpful
ways to consider that this facilitation process should look like.

   Framing Online Emotional Issues within Collaborative Learning and Group Dynamics
        Collaborative learning (Bruffee, 1999) encourages students to value and honor individual
differences. According to Bruffee this collaborative learning is the process by which
heterogeneous groups of learners reach consensus on the resolution of ill-structured problems to
co-construct knowledge and to share classroom authority. To effectively engage in
collaboration: (a) the teachers must share their classroom authority with the students, (b) the
students must accept the new authority and (c) group members must work interdependently and
accept responsibility for one another’s learning. The newly formed power relations creates
powerful, emotional, and paradoxical tensions between the individual and the group (Smith &
Berg, 1987), the group and the teacher (Salzberger-Wittenberg, Henry & Osborne, 1983), and the
developmental process of the individual, the group, and the teacher (Smith & Berg, 1987).
        As living unique entities, small groups grow and develop much like individuals
(Wheelan, 1994). As they create their own guidelines, rules, and goals, groups move through
progressive recurring cycles of interdependent behavior. Group dynamics theorists (i.e. Smith &
Berg, 1987) maintain that the central issue for groups and individuals within the group is to
nurture processes of individuation (personal identity within the group). Group membership
generates unconscious tension around conflicting fears of de-individualization (obliteration by or
fusion with the group), or of estrangement and alienation from the group. The group manages the
fears that members bring through conflict exploration (Smith & Berg, 1987). According to
theorists such as Smith and Berg, while the individual member is trying to avoid the tension, the
group is pressuring the individual to give in to the conflict so that the group can manage their
fears and move on to productive work.
        Yet, researchers (Dirkx & Deems, 1994) contend working through these tensions is
significantly mediated and constrained by self-other relationships. The individual (self) brings to
educational experiences their personal life histories, prior experiences, and role relationship
schemata, which they use to organize and make sense of the situation. Since this meaning
making takes place within the collaborative group, it reflects a dynamic interdependence of the
self with others within this social context. That is, the meaning-making process is relational.
When learners participate in social learning situations they use their personal life histories and
schemata to structure meaning from the situation. These personal life histories and schemata are
represented past experiences from one’s family and society. These schemata remain unconscious
but they create considerable extreme difficulty for learners when working with others who are
different with regard to such characteristics as age, race, gender, sexual orientation, educational
background and ability. As group members seek to understand the different perspectives that the
diverse members represent, they must learn to negotiate their differences in ways that allow

communication to remain open. Yet, we know from research on face to face classrooms that,
when the roles of the teacher and students are changed, conflict arises in the dynamic interplay of
conflicting teacher-learner expectations, wishes, and fears (Salzberger-Wittenberg, Henry, &
Osborne, 1983). These expectations are rooted in traditional classroom authority configurations.
These same dynamics are also present in small groups (Tenant, 1997).
        Using an emotional perspective on face-to-face groups, Saltzberger-Wittenberg, Henry
and Osborne (1983), maintain that both teachers and learners hold dependency fantasies that the
teacher, who is perceived to be the ultimate source of knowledge and wisdom, will comfort and
teach the learners the knowledge they want and need. The teacher’s ability to live up to such
fantasies is problematic in collaborative settings because teachers have voluntarily given up
some of their authority in order to empower the student groups (Bruffee, 1999). When these
fantasies do not manifest themselves in reality, the learners react by overly criticizing the teacher
and engaging in passive aggressive behaviors, such as arriving late and acting helpless (Ringer,
2002). Group members engage in various anxious behaviors such as blaming, denial, and
ignoring group members’ messages. Some of these behaviors are associated with or seem to
reflect perceived differences among group members based on salient traits such as gender, race,
age, and culture (Cheng, Chae, & Gunn, 1999). The resulting tensions create unbearable
emotional stress for teachers, who fear losing control and also react negatively (Saltzberger-
Wittenberg, Henry & Osborne, 1983), further fueling anxious behaviors among group members.
        Many of these behaviors signal normal adaptive group processes and individual
development as well as destructive processes that can create precarious learning contexts. The
instructors must therefore interpret behaviors that signal normal adaptive processes and those
which signal destructive processes (a) within themselves (b) among group members, and (c)
between themselves and the groups. Due to the physical distance between the student groups and
the instructor in online environments and the virtual and invisible nature of learner participation,
these acts of interpretation become quite difficult.

                  The Importance and Complexities of the Consensus Process
        Consensus decision-making, a key element of collaborative learning should allow group
members to keep communications open as they navigate the various perspectives from the group
members. Nonetheless bringing these different points of view together, into a consensus or
synthesis of knowledge, involves considerable group discussion. Group discussions should
encourage individuals to coordinate different points of view, which in turn enhances reasoning
and higher order thinking skills that promote shared knowledge construction (McKnight, 2000).
Consensus is critical to the process (Straus & McGrath, 1994) because it is only through
consensus that the members of the group must listen, hear, understand, and finally accept the
viewpoint of fellow group members. When students merely brainstorm or discuss well-
structured problems, they can easily dismiss other points of view or allow one person to provide
the solution (Straus & McGrath, 1994). Consensus collaborative discussions should result in
members talking each other out of or reframing their previously unshared beliefs and attitudes as
they discover that some of their beliefs and opinions are socially indefensible (Bruffee, 1999).
        Consensus therefore, assumes that the group space is a demographic space in which all
voices can be heard, that students know how to negotiate differences in opinions, worldviews,
and perspectives, and that traditional hierarchical structures found in society are somehow
overcome in the among the small diverse online groups. Scholars such as Trimbur (1989)
criticize Bruffee’s notion of consensus collaborative learning because it ignores the political

nature of consensus discussion- making. Trimbur (1989) suggests that we view consensus from
the lens of conflict. Trimbur expands Habermas’ (1975) notion of “success orientation of
instrumental control and relational efficiency” (p. 610) and maintains that consensus does not
reflect the ability to neutralize dissenting opinions, but rather accepts that consensus is a struggle
that is never fully resolved.
         Hodgson and Reynolds (2005) take a more critical view. They point out that the “lack of
non-verbal information, information that would be present in face-to-face interactions, is what
makes the medium potentially more democratic. Yates (1997) refers to this view as the
‘democratic theory’ of CMC. The lack of face-to-face cues has, as she explains, been seen as
equating to some kind of Habermasian ideal speech situation, in that communication can proceed
as if manifestations of difference are not present” (p. 16). In contrast, Meyers & Brashier (2002)
explain it is indeed nearly impossible for students to create democratic spaces within the online
environment because students do not know how to argue their own point of view in ways that
maintain open communication. She points out that students have not been able to do this in face-
to-face groups and that the non-verbal cues which are largely missing from the online
environment, exacerbates the process. Hodgson & Reynolds concede that in reality, to be a
member of a community such as a small group, usually entails “subjugation to its core values
and norm of behavior, and to deviate from these in resisting assimilation is run the risk of
becoming marginalized in order that the integrity of the community is preserved” (p. 16). Such
an outcome is, of course, antithetical to the ideals of consensus collaborative learning.

                     Practical Issues in Facilitating Online Group Dynamics
        Instructors must also learn to intervene in ways that facilitate the model the ways in
which students should work with their difference so that all can grow and develop from the
process (Ringer, 2002; Smith & Berg, 1987). Yet, the literature on small online groups fails to
address these issues in ways that are helpful to practitioners. Thus, the purpose of our paper and
the presentation is to explore ways to facilitate consensus collaborative online learning in ways
that facilitate allow students to explore rather than to marginalize group diversity. During the
session we will engage the participants in discussion through questions such as:
    • What counts as group process in an online environment?
    • What constitutes a group meeting in an online asynchronous environment?
    • How do instructors recognize the expressions of emotions within a textual online
    • How do instructors intervene when the group is experiencing emotional conflict?

                                       Cited References
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Chen, D., Chae, M., Gunn, R.W. (1998). Splitting and projective identification in multicultural
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Dirkx, J. M., & Deems, T. A. (1994, October 13 - 15). The influence of self-other relationships in
       constructivist approaches to adult learning. Paper presented at the Midwest Research to
       Practice in Adult, Continuing, and Community Education, The University of Wisconsin -

Dirkx J.., Smith R. (2004). Thinking out of a bowl of spaghetti: Learning to learn in online
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Harasim, L. (1987). Teaching and learning on-line: Issues in computer-mediated graduate
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        success and failure in collaborative learning. In K. Bosworth & S. J. Hamilton (Eds.),
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Meyers, R. A., & Brashers, D. E. (2002). Rethinking traditional approaches to argument in
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        corporate settings. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Rosser, S. V. (1997). Re-
        engineering female friendly science. New York: Teachers College Press.
Tennant, M. (1997). Psychology and adult learning. London: Routledge.
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Salzberger-Wittenberg, I., Henry, G. & Osborne, E. (1987). The Emotional Experience of
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Regina O. Smith, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Administrative Leadership, P.O. Box
413, 2400 E. Hartford Ave, Enderis Hall 635 Milwaukee, WI 53201
John M. Dirkx, Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education, Michigan State University, 419 Erickson
Hall, East Lansing, Michigan 48824

Paper presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education at Ball State University, Muncie Indiana, September 25-27, 2007.

       A Spectrum of Possibilities: Workforce Development Professionals
               and Their Decision to Enroll in Higher Education
                   David S. Stein, Lynn A. Trinko, & Constance E. Wanstreet

        This study validates a model related to the decision to enroll in higher education among
workforce development professionals. The five-factor PRISM model (Possibilities, Reflective
Learner, Institutional Support, Synchronizing Learning and Earning, and Match with an
Academic Reputation) plus the number of years out of school accounted for 22% of the total
variance in the decision to enroll. WDE professionals who are out of school for six years or more
are 2.5 times more likely to be in the enrolled group compared to those who have been out of
school for less than six years.

         Adult learners account for almost half of higher education enrollments in the United
States; and in the next decade, they may exceed the number of traditional-age college entrants
(Kim, Collins, Williamson, & Chapman, 2004). The factors that motivate adults to enroll in
higher education assume more importance as institutions adapt to a changing body of learners.
Developing strategies that help adults decide to enroll is particularly important in a state such as
Ohio, which sustained an 8.5% reduction in workforce development-oriented faculty in 2002
alone (Ohio Collaborative, 2003). Ohio would greatly benefit from increased numbers of
workforce development instructors. However, there appears to be reluctance among Ohio adults
to engage in higher education. Approximately 80% of Ohioans do not have an undergraduate
degree, and only 7% hold a graduate degree (Knowledge Works Foundation, 2005).
         Given the need for more workforce development instructors and the low enrollments in
postsecondary credentialing programs, knowledge of the factors that workforce development
professionals consider when deciding to enroll or not enroll in further educational opportunities
would assist higher education institutions in developing strategies for helping adults decide to
         Stein and Wanstreet (2006) developed a theoretical decision-to-enroll model from the
adult enrollment literature that has four factors: pathway to a better life; reflective learner;
synchronizing learning, earning, and living; and match with an academic life. The PRiSM model
suggests that adults consider multiple items simultaneously and weigh their importance relative
to their life stage, previous academic experience, institutional support, and to the decision to
enroll. This study attempted to validate the PRiSM decision model with workforce development
professionals who made a decision whether to enroll in a degree/licensure program offered by a
large Midwestern university.

                                     Method and Procedures
        The study examined these primary research questions: (a) What is the factor structure
underlying the decision to enroll in a credentialing program in workforce development and
education? (b) How well does the PRiSM model predict enrollment?
        An instrument was developed to measure the factors influential in contributing to an
adult’s decision to enroll in a workforce development credentialing program. One dependent

variable was measured: intent to enroll. Demographic variables included gender, age, distance
from course location, and length of time out of school.
         Intent to enroll was operationally defined as an adult’s self-reported decision to enroll
based on the perceived level of influence multiple factors may have had in the decision-making
process. The factors were related to securing a pathway to a better life; reflecting on prior
learning experiences; synchronizing learning, earning, and living; and fitting into an academic
life. Intent to enroll was measured on a questionnaire developed by the researchers and based on
Scanlan and Darkenwald (1984) and Darkenwald and Valentine (1985). Content and face
validity were established through a panel of experts.
         The questionnaire was sent to an accessible population of 421 adults with e-mail
addresses who had inquired about, applied to, or been admitted to credentialing programs offered
by the Workforce Development and Education section at a large Midwestern university between
2003 and 2006. Instructions on the Decision to Enroll in WDE questionnaire asked participants
to rate the influence of 48 items on a five-point scale on their decision to enroll. One (not
influential) was the low point and five (very greatly influential) was the high point. Items
included “I have the discipline to set aside time to study,” “The institution’s reputation in the
WDE field is good,” and “Other students like me are in the program.”
         The initial distribution was in September 2006 with follow-up questionnaires sent by a
third party in October 2006. Enlisting a third party who assigned an ID code to respondents
ensured that they remained anonymous to the researchers while maintaining the ability to send
follow-up messages to nonrespondents. This resulted in 75 questionnaire responses (18%
response rate). Respondents included 47 females (63% of total respondents) and 28 males (37%
of total). In comparison, of the total 346 nonrespondents, 190 (55%) were female and 156 (45%)
were male. Forty-nine respondents enrolled in a workforce development credentialing program,
and 26 did not.

Factor Structure
        Common factor analysis using a maximum likelihood extraction method and a promax
rotation of 48 self-report enrollment decision items was conducted to assess the factor structure
underlying the decision to enroll. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling adequacy was
.724, indicating that the correlations were adequate for factor analysis (Meyers, Gamst, &
Guarino, 2006). Similarly, Bartlett’s test of sphericity was significant (p<.001), indicating
sufficient correlation between the variables to proceed with the analysis (Meyers, Gamst, &
Guarino, 2006).
        An examination of the scree plot indicated that five factors, all with eigenvalues greater
than 2.0, accounted for 57% of the total variance with the remaining factors providing
diminishing returns. Communalities were high for each of the items, ranging from .656 to .913.
The five empirically determined PRISM factors are as follows:
    1. Possibilities (eigenvalue = 12.15) accounted for 30% of the variance and had 14 items
    2. Institutional Support (eigenvalue = 3.91) accounted for 10% of the variance and had eight
    3. Sychronizing Learning and Earning (eigenvalue = 2.89) accounted for 7% of the variance
        and had six items
    4. The Reflective Learner (eigenvalue = 2.49) accounted for 6% of the variance and had
        four items

    5. Match with an Academic Reputation (eigenvalue = 2.00) accounted for 5% of the
       variance and had four items
       Cronbach’s coefficient alpha was .93 for Factor 1, .86 for Factor 2, .81 for Factor 3, .64
for Factor 4, and .56 for Factor 5, indicating good subscale reliability for the first three factors.
Table 1 shows the items associated with each factor in the empirically tested PRISM model.

Table 1. Factors and Components of the Decision to Enroll Model.
         Factor                                            Items
Possibilities           intellectual challenge, useful courses, interesting courses, ability to
                        master content, have time for course work, personally satisfying, can
                        attend regularly, enjoy studying, satisfy need for WDE knowledge,
                        able to finish program, fulfill personal obligation, increase career
                        opportunities, have time, suits professional image

Reflective Learner          have confidence, previous academic success, can sacrifice leisure, and
                            family care arrangements

Institutional Support       convenient bookstore hours, convenient library hours, technical
                            support available, easy enrollment process, accommodate special
                            needs, helps cope with technological changes, and students are like me

Synchronizing               boss’s encouragement, coworkers’ encouragement, friends’
Learning and Earning        encouragement, employer benefit, employer pays a portion, and ability
                            to get time off work

Match with an               credential in the field, program reputation, convenient location, and
Academic Reputation         will change relationships at work

Predicting Enrollment
         Logistic regression with simultaneous entry was used to determine how well the PRISM
model predicted enrollment. The criterion variable is dichotomous (enroll or not). For the initial
analysis, the predictor variables were the scores for Possibilities, Institutional Support,
Synchronizing Learning and Earning, the Reflective Learner, and Match with an Academic
Reputation. Subsequent analyses tested the demographic variables of age, distance from courses,
and length of time out of school. Age and distance from courses were not separately statistically
related to enrollment and were deleted from the analysis.
         Results of the initial logistic analysis indicate the five-factor model fits the data, although
it is not statistically significant (χ2 (5, N = 75) = 8.72, p = .121). The model accounted for 15% of
the total variance in the decision to enroll (Nagelkerke pseudo R2 = .151). Prediction success for
the cases used in the model was an improvement over chance, with an overall prediction success
rate of 68% and a correct prediction rate of 86% for WDE professionals who enrolled in a
postsecondary workforce development academic program. The prediction success rate for those
who did not enroll was 35%.
         A subsequent analysis tested the model plus length of time out of school (dummy coded 0
= 0-6 years and 1 = 6-40 years, based on the median of 6 years). Again, the six-factor model fit

the data, although it is not statistically significant (χ2 (6, N = 64) = 10.86, p = .093). The model
accounted for 22% of the total variance in the decision to enroll (Nagelkerke pseudo R2 = .219),
a 7% increase over the base model. The overall prediction success rate was 73%. Correct
prediction rates for WDE professionals who enrolled increased to 91%, while the prediction
success rate for those who did not enroll remained at 35%.
        Table 2 shows the regression coefficients (B), the Wald statistics, significance level, odds
ratio [Exp(B)] and the 95% confidence intervals (CI) for odds ratios for each predictor. The odds
ratio for length of time out of school indicates that those who are away for six years or more are
2.5 times more likely to be in the enrolled group compared to people who have been out of
school for less than six years.

Table 2. Logistic Regression Results for Predicting Whether WDE Professionals Will Enroll in a
Postsecondary WDE Academic Program.
                                                                          95.0% C.I. for
Step         Variable Entered           B       Wald       Sig. Exp(B) Lower Upper
1      Possibilities                -.063     3.022       .082    .939     .874 1.008
       Institutional Support          .050    1.205       .272   1.051     .962    1.148
       Synchronizing Learning &       .033      .546      .460   1.034     .946    1.130
       Reflective Learner             .025      .045      .832   1.025     .815    1.290
       Match with an Academic         .223    3.445       .063   1.250     .988    1.582
       Time Out of School             .897    2.158       .142   2.452     .741    8.112
       Constant                     -.341       .029      .865    .711

                                     Discussion and Implications
Research Question 1: Factor Structure
        What is the factor structure underlying the decision to enroll in a credentialing program in
workforce development and education? The theoretical PRiSM model (Stein & Wanstreet,
2006), based on the adult enrollment literature, has four factors: Pathway to a Better Life; the
Reflective Learner; Synchronizing Learning, Earning, and Living; and Match with an Academic
Life. The theoretical model suggests that adults continually assess the costs of enrollment against
the benefits of improving the path their life will take; they consider their academic readiness and
their images of higher education; they weigh the place of study in their lives against their other
obligations; and they consider their potential match with an academic life.
        The empirical PRISM model emerging from the present study has five factors:
Possibilities, Reflective Learner, Institutional Support, Synchronizing Learning and Earning, and
Match with an Academic Reputation. The empirical model suggests that in making a decision to
enroll, adults assess the possibilities a program offers for course work that will be personally
satisfying, professionally useful, and intellectually challenging. They consider previous academic
success and whether suitable family care arrangements can be made as well as the ease with
which they can enroll and obtain technical support. Adults also want to know that other learners
like them will be in their program. They seek the support of employers and friends, and want a
credential from an institution with a good reputation.

         Although the theoretical and empirical models share many of the same components,
institutional support emerged in the empirical model as a separate factor. Institutions that offer
easy enrollment, convenient bookstore and library hours, technical support, accommodations for
special needs, and have enrolled other nontraditional adult learners create a welcoming
environment for adults deciding whether to return to school.

Research Question 2: Predicting Enrollment
        How well does the PRISM model predict enrollment? The PRISM model is an
improvement over chance in predicting enrollment in a WDE credentialing program. Using the
five factors of Possibilities, Reflective Learner, Institutional Support, Synchronizing Learning
and Earning, and Match with an Academic Reputation will result in a moderately high correct
prediction rate for those who enroll. When information about years out of school is added, an
improved model results and the prediction rate is better than chance 23% of the time.
        Neither age nor physical distance were related to enrollment in this study. However,
knowing how many years prospective enrollees were out of school can be helpful for those
involved with adults making the decision to enroll in a WDE credentialing program. Adults who
are away for six years or more are 2.5 times more likely to enroll in a WDE credentialing
program compared to people who have been out of school for less than six years. Recent
graduates may be establishing careers and families, which leaves little time for educational
pursuits. For example, one respondent indicated that having a husband in school makes further
education for her financially out of reach until he graduates. Another respondent cited time
constraints with work and family.

        Institutions offering WDE credentialing programs can help adult students enroll by
exploring the possibilities the credential will provide them in terms of personal satisfaction and
professional opportunities. In addition, higher education institutions should be realistic about
identifying the need to resolve family care arrangements and any issues with devoting adequate
time to course work at the expense of leisure time. Peer discussions about balancing academic
requirements with work and family relationships may be helpful. Any effort that helps adults see
other adult learners like them succeed in an academic setting would aid the decision to enroll.
        The reputation of an institution’s WDE program is a factor in adults’ decision-making
and should be a focus of marketing and recruitment efforts. Targeting WDE professionals who
have been in the workforce for at least six years would be fruitful. Additionally, the institution
should be easy to do business with regarding enrollment and student support, including library
and technology services. Institutions that recognize the complex, multifaceted nature of the
decision to enroll in higher education will be better equipped to address the factors identified in
this study and increase the percentage of adults who enroll in WDE credentialing programs.

Darkenwald, G. G., & Valentine, T. (1985). Factor structure deterrents to public participation in
      adult education. Adult Education Quarterly, 35(4), 177-193.
Kim, K., Collins, H. M., Williamson, J., & Chapman, C. (2004). Participation in adult education
      and lifelong learning: 2000-2001. (National Center for Education Statistics Publication
      No. NCES 2004050). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Knowledge Works Foundation. (2005). Ohio education matters. Retrieved April 10, 2005, from
Meyers, L. S., Gamst, G., & Guarino, A. J. (2006). Applied multivariate research: Design and
        interpretation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Ohio Collaborative. (June, 2003). Condition of teacher supply and demand in Ohio: A report to
        the Ohio Department of Education. Retrieved October 11, 2005, from
Scanlan, C. S., & Darkenwald, G. G. (1984). Identifying deterrents to participation in continuing
        education. Adult Education Quarterly, 34(3), 155-166.
Stein, D. S., & Wanstreet, C. E. (2006). Beyond yes or no: Factors in adults’ decisions to enroll
        in higher education. Journal of Continuing and Higher Education, 54(2), 2-12.
David S. Stein, Associate Professor, Workforce Development and Education, The Ohio State
University, 283 Arps Hall, 1945 High St., Columbus, OH 43210,

Lynn Trinko, Program Manager, The Ohio State University Lima, Galvin Hall 205A, 4240
Campus Drive, Lima, OH 45805,

Constance E. Wanstreet, Ph.D., Workforce Development and Education, The Ohio State
University, 2200 Olentangy River Road, Columbus OH 43210-1035,

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

                      Finding Voice: Adult Learners and Shared
                         Decision Making in Family Literacy
  Blaire Willson Toso, Esther Prins, Brendaly Drayton, Edith Gnanadass, & Ramazan Gungor

       This paper reports the findings from a collaborative research project which explored
parents’ experiences as leaders in a family literacy program’s parent advisory council. Our
findings suggest that the PAC enhanced program effectiveness and parents’ learning, and
stimulated important psycho-social benefits. These results illustrate how FL and adult education
programs can equip learners to exercise more control over the decisions that affect them.

        Adult educators commonly espouse values such as participation, inclusion, and
ownership, based on the belief that adult learners should have a say in curricula, scheduling, and
other programmatic matters. However, in practice examples of effective, substantive participant
leadership are rare (Jurmo, 1989), and adult learners are often positioned as recipients of services
rather than as active decision makers (Campbell, 2001). As such, scholars and practitioners can
learn from cases in which students influence decisions and shape their own program. This paper
reports the findings from a collaborative research project which explored parents’ experiences as
leaders in a family literacy (FL) program’s parent advisory council (PAC).

                                          Literature Review
        FL programs are geared toward the needs of low-income families (Auerbach, 1995;
Gadsen, 2004) and typically focus on involving parents in their child’s education, particularly
through literacy activities in the home. Most participants in federal Even Start programs are
women who live in poverty and have not completed high school. Many studies examine how
parents can better teach their children (Morrison, Bachman, & Connor, 2005), but few have
explored the parent role in helping define what it means to be an involved parent in literacy,
education, and child rearing. Paradoxically, mothers are given responsibility for ensuring
children’s educational success, yet exercise little control over their children’s learning (Griffith
& Smith, 2005) or over their own adult education and FL programs. In short, families and
mothers are often targets of educational programs, but have little say in program goals,
curriculum, planning, implementation, or evaluation (Reyes & Torres, 2007).
        Participatory adult education involves learners in making decisions about their own
learning. Knowles (2005) maintained that in order to engage adult learners, education should
build on learners’ experiences and knowledge and incorporate them in planning. Based on an
ethical stance of social justice, Freire (2005) sought to shift power relations both in the classroom
and society at large. Auerbach (1993) further emphasizes that to be truly participatory learners
need to be involved in developing curriculum that is based in their social contexts.
        There are two overarching rationales for participation: instrumental and intrinsic (Schafft
& Greenwood, 2003). The former seeks to increase program effectiveness, while the latter posits
that adults have the right to participate in creating programs that are supposed to serve their
interests (Fingeret & Jurmo, 1989). Adult education scholars assert that the purposes of
participatory education are to enhance perceptions of autonomy, critical thinking, leadership, and

active citizenship (Campbell, 2001; Fingeret, 1997; Rogers, 2006). Such programs can help
learners understand how their personal circumstances are shaped by social structures (e.g.
poverty, racism), increase program involvement, and become more active citizens in their
communities (Freire, 2005; Goldgrab, 1994; Norton, 1994a, 1994b). However, participatory
education also poses challenges such as tension among learners and staff as they negotiate the
changing positions of power and decision making processes. Students are often unsure of how to
become leaders, make decisions, or come to consensus. Teachers and staff may also have
difficulty teaching and sharing leadership and program control, as this is an inherently political
process (Campbell, 2001; Rogers, 2006).

                                      Background and Methods
         The Lewistown Even Start program, located in rural central Pennsylvania, created the
parent advisory council (PAC) in 2004, after the program’s annual assessment showed they had
not met the state standards for parent involvement (e.g., communication with teachers). The staff
believed they could increase parents’ investment in the program by giving them a say in
developing portions of the adult education and early childhood curricula. The PAC, comprised of
adult students attending the program, involves learners in making decisions about programmatic
issues and program improvement. The PAC meets once a month during a scheduled class. Our
study examined whether parents perceived a change in their position of power in the program,
moving from subjects who were acted upon to social actors (Andruske, 1999; Rogers, 2006).
         The project emerged between Esther Prins (a Penn State professor), Lewiston Even Start
staff, and parents on the PAC regarding a service-learning project for a graduate course, Family
Literacy. The program coordinator suggested the project could document the impact of the PAC
on the program and parents. Graduate students conducted the research with staff and parents as a
class project. In this participatory research project (Greenwood & Levin, 1998), staff members
and parents played an active role in formulating research questions, collecting and analyzing
data, and making decisions. Parents and staff were consulted at each step of the project. The
project sought to understand how parents and staff perceived the efficacy of learner participation
in decision making, both as it affected the program and learners’ self-perceptions. We decided on
the following research questions: How has PAC enabled adult students to have a voice in the
program? In what ways have program participants’ voices not been heard? What impact has PAC
had on the program, program participants, and the community? How have program participants
extended what they have learned and experienced in PAC to their lives outside the program?
         The parents chose to represent their experiences as PAC members by video taping a
PAC-designed and -led field trip, and making a scrapbook of photos they took during the
research project. (Parents used disposable cameras to photograph things which conveyed PAC’s
impact on them and their families). They reviewed the transcripts and video. Guided by the
research questions, graduate students employed a close reading of the data sources (field notes of
3 PAC meetings and a program activity, transcripts of a group interview with 3 parents and
another with 3 staff members, a student journal, video recordings of the field trip and parent
council meetings, PAC meeting minutes, and photographs taken by parents), coded the items
separately and then collectively identified the most prominent and relevant themes.
         All of the participants were white, as is typical of rural Pennsylvania. Theresa (all
participants gave permission to use their real names) is a 23-year old mother of 3 children. She
restarted the program in September 2006 and has since obtained her GED. Crystal, a 25-year old
single mother of two, also restarted the program in September 2006. She works full-time and is

working towards her GED. Matt is a 34-year old volunteer firefighter and father of 2 children.
He has been enrolled in the program since September 2006 and is a GED graduate. Jamie is a 28-
year old widow with 2 children. She has been in the program since January 2005 and has since
completed her GED. Three staff members worked on the project with us: Valerie (early
childhood teacher), Carolyn (adult education teacher), and Wendy (Even Start coordinator). They
have worked with the program for 5, 9, and 3 years, respectively.

        Our study supports previous research on participatory education showing that involving
learners in curriculum planning and leadership increases investment and achievement. For
example, a staff member commented on a student-initiated book club: “We could not get them to
read and now they help pick out the titles and they love the books and there is open discussion
and it has been such a wonderful thing because of their involvement.” Additionally, exercising
leadership enhanced learners’ self-efficacy in and outside of the program. Learners attributed this
to gaining control over some programmatic decisions and seeing concrete results from having
greater say in the program. This perception of control extended to control over their children’s
lives and future.
        Program participants had a voice in the program in several ways. First, they had an active
voice in the adult education and early childhood curricula. For instance, Jaime remarked, “We
[staff and parents] use all of the input from different parents and we actually do make an impact
on what the kids learn in the Even Start room and what we learn in the classroom. I gave my
input at different times.” Parents were also able to choose topics that better reflected their needs,
interests (e.g., selection of reading materials and child development topics), and concerns for
their children’s development. As one parent shared, “The parent council just does not do field
trips and stuff, we get to decide what types of activities our children do….You get to decide
exactly what happens in your children’s classes.” PAC also recreated the parent incentive
program by reviewing and adjusting the requirements (e.g., number of library visits and time
spent reading with children at home), and choosing and planning rewards. Students also planned
family and school events, such as Thanksgiving feasts or all-family fun nights.
        We also found that participants’ voices were limited to specific areas. Students had no
say in how monies were allocated in the program. Rather, students told the staff what they hoped
to do and the staff researched the cost to see whether the budget could accommodate the request.
As one staff member shared, the staff decided which areas of the program students could
influence and had final say about which suggestions would be implemented: “The staff decides
whether this is an issue that can be changed or this is something where there is no way to change
it….Not in front of the students or anything like that.” Yet, the staff also believed there was room
to expand other responsibilities for PAC members, such as setting PAC meeting agendas.
        The PAC influenced the program, participants, and the community in specific ways.
Parents and staff believed students had learned a great deal through their leadership experience
and reported more consistent program attendance. The staff credited a student-developed
contract with increasing parents’ involvement in the program and their understanding of program
performance standards: “We were not meeting the Even Start standard for the amount of times
[parents] spoke with their child’s teacher. So we took it to the parent council and with our local
evaluators and we broke the question down and realized that maybe they were misunderstanding.
So that really helped us…because the next year we went up in that standard.” Staff members also
noted that participants transferred decision-making strategies and communication skills to other

settings. For example, a staff person observed, “I hear …many of them talking about how they
had a conversation [with their spouse]. That is important between the two of them.” Teresa noted
that [PAC] “helps me to be able to be more open. Say things a little bit more. I mean, it is hard
for me to do that, but— Because I have never really had to stay in a lot of things in my life. So
having that and being able to say something and say it out in the— You know, gives you a little
bit of courage.” Finally, participants reported that being able to exercise their voice in a position
of leadership carried over into the community and their personal lives. Cristal wrote, “I’ve never
been to something like [PAC] and I enjoyed sharing my opinions about whatever subject [we]
was talking about...I have applied my experience to the outside world ….I believe that I am a
leader in my children’s eyes because they look up to me and if they look up to me then that
makes me know that I am being a good parent. Parent council meetings have encouraged me to
be a leader by teaching me that no matter what I do in life that there are still people put there that
look up to me.” Participants also volunteered at other community programs, planned and hosted
fundraising events, promoted the FL program at other community events, and reported gaining
self-confidence and a sense of agency.
        Moving away from the teacher as expert model, students involved in PAC began to see
each other as experts and resources for learning and solving child rearing problems. For instance
Jaime stated, “I mean everybody has an issue with their child at one point in time where they
cannot solve it. And here you have the support of the parents who have been through everything
that you have been through, that can talk to you.” Research suggests this type of interaction
enhances self-esteem and extends students’ networks of information and support (Andruske,
1999; Fingeret, 1997).
        By influencing program decisions, students experienced the FL program as a location of
power. Some parents were required by welfare to attend FL classes. Paradoxically, within this
context of constraint and compliance with state regulations, PAC enabled students to exercise
some control. They were able to influence the curriculum and programmatic matters, changing
their position from mandated students to active participants in program governance.
        Finally, actively involved students were more likely to complete the program goals (e.g.,
attendance at school events, scheduling home visits, project completion, reading to children),
particularly the goals that parents had reformulated. For instance, a staff member observed that
involvement in PAC had made parents “more aware of the [program] standards” and enhanced
their participation. Attendance also increased both in classes and at sponsored program activities.
        Participants extended what they learned in PAC to their lives outside the program. The
confidence and sense of control they gained through PAC enabled them to access information
and make other changes in their lives. Participants sought options for continuing their education,
health care, and future career possibilities. Others were able to make more informed personal
choices (e.g., leaving abusive relationships or forming new relationships). All participants
believed that their parenting skills and self-concept as a “good” parent had improved, allowing
them to assist others in caring for themselves and their children, for example, taking time for
oneself, intervening on another child’s behalf, and volunteering in parent-help organizations.

                                   Discussion and Implications
        Our findings suggest that student involvement in PAC enhanced program effectiveness
and parents’ learning (as measured by performance indicators), and stimulated important psycho-
social benefits. These results underscore how FL and adult education programs can equip
participants to exercise more control over the decisions that affect them. In turn, as learners

become more active participants and leaders in their home, school, and community, they build
broader social networks (Fingeret, 1997). Students who befriended other students created a
stronger emotional support system. Such networks can provide students greater access to outside
resources, extending their ability to access information, social services, job opportunities, and
social support (Smith-Doerr & Powell, 2005), and also offset depression and anxiety and
increase their sense of control over their lives (Belle, 1982). Policy makers, curriculum
developers and staff need to be intentional about including leadership and substantive decision-
making opportunities for learners in adult education programs. They will need to determine how
these opportunities are created and what kinds of decisions learners can make. Leadership
opportunities enable adult learners to gain confidence and practice speaking and negotiating with
others in formal situations. Program staff should consider how to develop leadership among
learners (e.g., assignment of leadership roles).
        Future studies should examine larger and more racially diverse groups of participants, the
effects of participatory learning on children, and whether parents’ newfound skills are short- or
long-term. Lastly, we need to examine how leadership is shared and developed between students
and staff in order to question and change social structures that shape students’ lives. Our research
found that staff maintained control over which decisions and changes learners could make,
indicating that the impact that parents might have on programming or program philosophy is
limited. As Rogers (2007) cautions, participatory learning can be co-opted: If participation is
used only to give an illusion of control, it merely reinforces hierarchical power relations.
        This research on participatory learning in FL highlights both staff members’ and
students’ desires and goals for a successful program and, in the case of participants, their and
their children’s future. Participatory education continues the social justice tradition of
questioning who has the power to decide what is learned and how it is learned.

Andruske, C. L. (1999). Exploring everyday spaces: Women's transitions from welfare to paid
        work and education. Paper presented at the SCUTREA 29th Annual Conference,
        University of Warwick.
Auerbach, E. (1995). Deconstructing the discourse of strengths in family literacy. Journal of
        Reading Behavior, 27(4), 643-661.
Auerbach, E. (1993). Putting the P back in participatory. TESOL Quarterly, 27(3), 543-545.
Belle, D. (1982). Social ties and social support. In D. Belle (Ed.), Lives in stress (pp. 133-144).
        Beverly Hills: Sage.
Campbell, P. (2001). Participatory literacy practices: Exploring pedagogy. In P. Campbell & B.
        Burnaby (Eds.), Participatory practices in adult education (pp. 55-76). Mahwah:
        Lawrence Erlbaum.
Fingeret, A., & Jurmo, P. (Eds.). (1989). Participatory literacy education. San Francisco: Jossey-
Fingeret, H. A. (1997). Literacy for life: Adult learners, new practices. New York: Teachers
        College Press.
Freire, P. (2005). Pedagogy of the oppressed (30th Anniversary Edition ed.). New York:
Gadsen, V. L. (2004). Family Literacy and Culture. In B. H. Wasik (Ed.), Handbook of Family
        Literacy (pp. 401-425). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Goldgrab, S. (1994). Activating student participation. In J. A. Draper & M. C. Taylor (Eds.),
        Voices from the literacy field (pp. 231-242). Malabar: Krieger.
Greenwood, D., & Levin, M. (1998). An introduction to action research: Social research for
        social change. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Griffith, A., & Smith, D. (2005). Mothering for schooling. New York: RoutledgeFalmer.
Jurmo, P. (1989). The case for participatory literacy education. In A. Fingeret & P. Jurmo (Eds.),
        Participatory literacy education (pp. 17-28). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Knowles, M. S., III, E. F. H., & Swanson, R. A. (2005). The adult learner; The definitive classic
        in adult education and human resource development (6th ed.). Burlington: Elsevier.
Morrison, F. J., Bachman, H. J., & Connor, C. M. (2005). Improving literacy in America:
        Guidelines from research. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Norton, M. (1994a). Literacy, welfare and popular education. In J. A. Draper & M. C. Taylor
        (Eds.), Voices from the literacy field (pp. 139-154). Malabar: Krieger.
Norton, M. (1994b). Sharing power and authority. In J. A. Draper & M. C. Taylor (Eds.), Voices
        from the literacy field (pp. 195-204). Malabar: Krieger.
Reyes, L. V., & Torres, M. N. (2007). Decolonizing family literacy in a culture circle:
        Reinventing the family literacy educator's role. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy,
        7(1), 73-94.
Rogers, A. (2006). Escaping the slums or changing the slums? Lifelong learning and social
        transformations. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 25(2), 125-137.
Schafft, K., & Greenwood, D. (2003). Promises and dilemmas of participation: Action research,
        search conference methodology, and community development. Journal of the Community
        Development Society, 34(1), 18-35.
Scott, S. M., & Schmitt-Boshnick, M. (2001). Power and program planning in a community-
        based context. In P. Campbell & B. Burnaby (Eds.), Participatory practices in adult
        education (pp. 123-141). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Smith-Doerr, L., & Powell, W. W. (2005). Networks and economic life. In N. J. Smesler & R.
        Swedberg (Eds.), The handbook of economic sociology (2nd ed., pp. 379-402). Princeton:
        Princeton University Press.
Blaire Willson Toso, PhD Candidate, Adult Education, PSU; Dr. Esther Prins, Assistant
Professor, Adult Education Program, PSU; Brendaly Drayton, PhD Candidate, Adult Education;
Edith Gnanadass, PhD Candidate, Adult Education, PSU; Ramazan Gungor, PhD Candidate,
Adult Education, PSU. Contact the first author at:

We would like to thank the Lewistown participants for their contribution to this project; it would
not have been possible without their willingness to share their experiences.

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

              Descriptive Case Study: Participation Training Institute
                                          Marjorie Treff

        This case study describes Participation Training, a required graduate course in the adult
education program at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis that trains participants
in the fundamental principles of effective group work. First, participants practice planning a
discussion by agreeing on a topic stated as a question that could not be answered yes or no. Next,
participants identified related goals that expressed desired results or outcomes that they hoped to
achieve through discussion. Then participants devised an outline to guide the subsequent
discussion, and to reach their goals. The outline defined both the specific nature of the content of
the discussion and the sequence to be followed. After participants practice planning a discussion
several times, they conduct the discussion using the plan as a guide. Finally, they reviewed their
process, and applied the results to the next planning session. Through a recursive cycle of
reflective engagement, reflection on their own individual and group function, and identification
of necessary changes, participants learned to monitor their own actions and responsibilities as
interdependent actors, as well as those of other group members.

         Today’s student of adult education theory is likely to have more than a passing
acquaintance with terms popularly associated with educational study: co-constructed knowledge,
collaboration, experiential learning, dialogue, and reflection are just a few of the words that
comprise the modern verbal currency of our discipline. In the 1960s, when Participation
Training for Adult Education (1965) was published, the glossary included definitions of many
terms that described the structure of relationships within a learning environment, terms such as
“participant,” “process,” “collaboration,” and “consensus” (102-104). Each of these terms
implies that the student, the learner, is an actor in her own learning, engaged in some enterprise
in relationship to an “other.” The book “describes a practical idea of adult learning called group
participation training,” and rests on the assumptions that “adult learners should have the freedom
to assert their individuality” and that they “can learn how to work and learn together
cooperatively without injuring the dignity and respect due fellow learners” (p.5). The actual
practice of what the book subsequently outlines describes a residential, weeklong intensive
training program that was conducted at Indiana University in Bloomington called Participation
Training Institute. Today, that institute is offered as part of a master’s degree in adult education
at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

                                   Importance of the research
       Discussions about group, cooperative, and collaborative learning are not new to adult
education. Many adult education practitioners would agree that learning among and with
members of a group can have powerful effects on those learners, and result in knowledge greater
than any one member could produce. The widely accepted (although not exclusive) desirability
of group cooperative and collaborative work is evident not only in adult education, but is also
apparent in higher education. At the college level, many courses have a group component on the
syllabus, or some community service commitment for faculty as well as students, and students

and teachers alike are required to work together with others to produce some evidence of their
learning (Brookfield & Preskill, 2005; Gamson, 1994; Imel, 1991, 2000). However, U.S.
educational institutions still promote a culture of competition and individualism among students.
The work produced by students, from the elementary level forward, is evaluated for individual
learning. Students complete examinations individually. They compete for limited placement at
universities and colleges. Standardized testing ranks student scores against those of their cohort
group. Policing academic conduct has become big business (i.e.,, and institutions
threaten dire consequences if a student is caught cheating. Even in the university writing center
where I consulted with students, many were afraid to ask for help because, in the words of a
soon-to-graduate senior, “It feels like cheating.”
         At the same time, many teachers remain perplexed about how to teach, or even identify,
the skills necessary to work and learn collaboratively. Peters and Armstrong (1998) associate
those difficulties with traditional educational models. They describe the following typology of
teaching and learning: Type One teaching and learning reflects a traditional liberal model of “the
sage on the stage.” The underlying assumption is that the teacher is the “expert,” knowledge is an
object that is deliverable, and the student simply the passive receiver of that object (p. 78). Type
Two teaching and learning, still reliant on the teacher as the “primary source of information”
(p. 79), but providing for student discussion, allows students to have the opportunity to share
knowledge with one another, and with the teacher. Nevertheless, because the emphasis is on
sharing already-held knowledge, Type Two still results primarily in individual learning. Type
Three teaching and learning focuses on the co-construction of new knowledge, and relies on a
shift in power relationships within the classroom. The teacher no longer claims authority nor
expertise; rather, teacher and students alike contribute their individual knowledge to co-construct
some new, greater knowledge that could not be achieved individually. “With power comes
responsibility, and when the teacher relinquishes some of his or her power and the power of the
student increases, the student also must also assume greater responsibility for what happens in a
teaching-learning experience” (p. 84). In Participation Training, this shift of power from teacher
to student is not left to random chance, or the implied potential of students’ abilities to take
control, but is addressed precisely and explicitly as one purpose of the training.
         Participation Training was developed “as a series of supervised small-group discussion
activities designed to achieve one primary teaching-learning goal: the development of effective
group discussion teamwork for application in (a) collaborative learning groups and (b)
collaborative problem solving/program planning groups” (McKinley, 1980). Although some
might question McKinley’s apparent equation of the pursuit of inquiry-oriented “group tasks”
with collaborative learning and problem-solving, according to the definition of Type Three
teaching and learning, effective group discussion seems to be an important component of
collaborative learning.

                                       Limitations of the study
        This study is intended to inform a doctoral dissertation; consequently, the literature
review is confined to academic research. While I recognize that many programs exist outside of
the academy to train people in effective group work, boundaries were necessary to control the
focus of my research. This case study will provide one focused point of research in what will
eventually expand into a broader research agenda.
        As a graduate of IUPUI’s master’s program in adult education, as well as a certified
Participation Training facilitator, I recognize that my position as an “insider” influences my

perceptions of meaning, the questions that I ask, and my sense of identification with the object of
this research. Although some might question my research because of my prior relationship to the
program, I rely on Bogdan and Biklen’s (2003) defense: to ignore it would ask me “to
compromise the logic of the research approach” I have chosen (p. 69).

                                         Literature Review
        With the exception of several out-of-print texts, references to Participation Training as it
was originally defined by Paul Bergevin and later, John McKinley, are brief and only rarely
found in academic literature. Although there are organizations that provide training programs
that may appear similar to Participation Training, many of those focus on group dynamics, on
effective meeting operation and increased productivity, and on objective, measurable outcomes.
        Within the academy, we seem to continue to struggle with definitions. Is Participation
Training really collaboration, or collaborative partnership, as McKinley (1980b) intended? Yorks
and Marsick (2000) define collaborative inquiry, one element of Participation Training, as a
“process of repeated episodes of reflection and action through which a group of peers strive to
answer a question of importance to them” (p. 266), which closely describes a portion of
Participation Training’s structure. Saltiel (1998) refers to a study by Baldwin and Austin that
describes the “collaborative process as allowing the individuals involved in collaboration to
negotiate their roles, processes of decision making, goals, and methods” (p. 7), and admits that
“there is not a consensus regarding definitions of different concepts or terms. This contributes to
a certain measure of confusion” (p. 5). It is Wildavsky’s emphasis, cited in Saltiel (1998), that
may come closest to the intention of Participation Training: “Wildavsky describes other
characteristics of collaborative partners, such as the ability to both give and follow directions and
the capacity to visualize the progression of activity” (p. 6). This emphasis on reciprocity of
responsibility (“give and follow directions”) reflects the specific intention of Participation
Training to teach group members “to help plan, and take part in” discussions, to “learn how to
help others in a group-learning situation,” and to “learn how to develop disciplined freedom of
expression” (Bergevin & Morris, 1965, p. 9). It is possible, then, that the title “Participation
Training” has simply been replaced by other terminology. However, these definitions still do not
provide a means to accomplish what is defined; they simply describe ideal characteristics.
        In teaching and learning situations, since many terms are used to describe group
processes (sometimes interchangeably), it is important to clearly define what is Participation
Training. That might be better accomplished by understanding what it is not. It is not “group
psychotherapy” because, according to Bergevin & Morris (1965), the trainer has no treatment
function, and deals not with issues of psychodynamics, but with sociodynamics; it addresses
relationships between people in a group rather than with personalities in a group (p.19). It is not
leadership training because it trains the group members rather than the leaders (p.17). In fact, in
my experience, one of the outcomes of the training institute has been that the group arrives at a
functional position that no longer requires the presence of leaders outside of the group itself; this
was clearly demonstrated by the group in this case.

                                     Framework and methods
        Because of my prior experience with Participation Training, as well as the particular
definition of intrinsic case study (Stake, 1995) that I chose to frame this work, I made specific
choices about how to approach data collection. My pool of data regarding Participation Training
encompasses nine complete institutes. Rather than consider all of the data from earlier institutes

as data for this case study (which I understand would constitute a multiple case study), I chose to
focus only on a single institute conducted in March, 2007, from which to collect data, and did so
through direct observation.
        Since this research was to emphasize the form and delivery of Participation Training, I
constructed a chronological record of events. I simply recorded what unfolded, including the
instructor’s directions and remarks, and observations about behaviors exhibited by individuals
throughout the weekend. My observations began at 8 a.m. on the first day’s meeting, and ended
at 3:50 p.m. on Sunday, the last day, when the institute was concluded.

        The course was conducted over a three-day period during which participants met in a
classroom on IUPUI’s campus, and worked together towards the stated course objectives. At the
end of each day, the group disbursed. This structure differs from the original iteration of
Participation Training, when students and facilitators lived and worked together for five full
days, 24 hours each day. The primary instructional processes were presentation and discussion,
involving everyone present. Early in the sessions, the facilitators introduced a planning tool and
made explicit the expectations about, and definitions of, group dynamics, the roles each
participant would play during the institute, and responsibilities that promote purposeful
normative conditions.
        The discussion planning tool central to Participation Training is made up of three
elements that provide structure and purpose for each discussion: the topic, the goals, and the
outline, known among participants as the TGO (McKinley, 1980). Using this TGO as a
framework, the participants developed and used these elements in each of sixteen planning
sessions over three days. Early in the training, the group was restricted to planning a discussion,
and the facilitators offered interventions often, to keep the group focused. As the group’s
development progressed, those interventions became more infrequent. When the group was able
to construct a plan clearly and competently, they conducted the discussion. During each planning
and discussion session, one group member acted as a public recorder, and one as a dedicated
observer who provided feedback after the session.
        The first step in planning the discussion was for participants to agree on a topic, stated as
a question that could not be answered yes or no. After agreeing on a topic question, participants
identified related goals that expressed the desired results or outcomes they hoped to achieve
through discussion. Then participants devised an outline to guide the subsequent discussion, and
to reach their goals. The outline defined both the specific nature of the content of the discussion
and the sequence to be followed. The product of each step was publicly recorded and made
available to participants during the entire process.
        In each of the nine institutes that I have observed, every group has eventually focused on
its own function as topics for discussion. The following example summarizes one TGO that the
group in this case developed together on the last day of Participation Training:
Topic: In what ways has our group evolved since Friday (the first day)?
Goal 1: Identify ways we have activated the seven normative conditions.
     • List the seven normative conditions.
     • Each participant will share a specific example from our group work that illustrated one or
        more of the normative conditions.

   •   Everyone will share an opinion about how each of those normative conditions has been
Goal 2: Continue to move towards autonomous functions and effectiveness.
   • Based on Outline for Goal 1, identify those behaviors we do well that support
       collaborative effectiveness
   • Select two that we will deliberately incorporate into our next discussion plan.

Conclusions and Interpretations
        Although the format of the institute has changed since its early inception, the
fundamental principles remain intact. Whether or not one views the institute as teaching
collaboration, Participation Training was designed as a collaborative learning and collaborative
decision making activity. The activities and discussions that unfolded between members of the
group demonstrated several points of development, possibly because as the group planned
discussions, the topics eventually focused on elements of the group’s own function.
         In many ways, this Participation Training institute resembled Peters and Armstrong’s
(1998) definition of collaborative learning within the context of Type Three teaching, in which
the collective learning is more than any one collaborator could achieve: “The relationship among
collaborators is vital to the process . . . when we ‘see’ group learning occur, we ‘stop the music’
and help students reflect” (p. 83). While this same reflective process is integral to Participation
Training, the focus differs in one very critical way: Participation Training provides for learners’
metacognitive understanding of themselves as intentional actors in relationship to the group
process, as well as to each one of the group members. The participants guide the reflection. It
may specifically address the problem that Peters and Armstrong pose:
        Telling any group of people how to learn collaboratively and expecting them to
        apply what they are told seems to us to be a contradiction in intent, or perhaps in
        types. Besides, that approach hasn’t worked for us. We and the students need to
        jointly construct what for most of the group is a new way of learning (p. 82-83).
        In this case, Participation Training specifically provided the framework in which to learn
shared leadership and communication, and the training necessary for learners to reflect on and
effectively apply their new knowledge. Through a recursive cycle of reflection on their own
individual and group function, and identification of necessary changes, participants learned to
monitor their own actions and responsibilities as interdependent actors, as well as those of other
group members. Participation Training provided a means for learners to experience “the
progression of activity” (Saltiel, 1998, p. 5) through recursive means: each session ended with
“an open appraisal in which participants assess their joint effort, identify obstacles, and plan to
improve the learning situation” (Bergevin & Morris, p. 10).What resulted was an affectively
autonomous group of individuals “who learn, through experience, . . . goal setting, interpersonal
communication, evaluation, consensus, disciplined observing, leadership, focusing of topics, and
discovering and meeting educational needs” (Bergevin & Morris, 1965, p. 10).

Recommendations for further study
        Genuine collaboration requires not simply a change in teaching methods, but a shift in
attitudes about what constitutes knowledge. Adult educators, involved at both institutional and
community levels, share the responsibility of helping learners bridge this chasm between an
ingrained internal model of individualized effort, and the necessity of acting as a contributing

member of a group engaged in cooperative, potentially collaborative, teaching and learning.
Descriptions of classroom practices that support learners’ abilities to work effectively together
may eventually lead to a broader understanding of the underlying principles of how people learn
to collaborate, ways to develop methods that help learners work collaboratively, and effectively
connect theory to practice. Further investigation of these methods should include connections to
participatory democracy, adult developmental theory, transformational learning theory, and
collaborative learning. More specifically, it would be interesting to conduct a pilot study with a
group of master’s- or doctoral-level students early in their degree work, and measure what effect,
if any, Participation Training would have on their collaborative participation in subsequent
coursework. In a larger arena, Participation Training might be viewed as one means to teach
individuals how to work together to create social change; comparisons of Participation Training
to programs such as those provided by Paulo Freire (1973) or Jane Vella (2002), might offer
insight into the connections between people and transformative and/or collaborative learning.

Bergevin, P., & Morris, D. (1965). A manual for group discussion participants. New York: The
         Seabury Press.
Bogdan, R., & Biklen, S. K. (2003). Qualitative research for education: an introduction to
         theory and methods (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Brookfield, S., & Preskill, S. (2005). Discussion as a way of teaching: tools and techniques for
         democratic classrooms (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Freire, P. (1973). Education for critical consciousness. New York: Continuum.
Gamson, Z. (1994). Collaborative learning comes of age. Change, 26(5), 44-50.
Imel, S. (1991). Collaborative Learning in Adult Education. ERIC Digests Eric Digest 113.
         Retrieved July 1, 2006, from
McKinley, J. (1980). Group development through participation training: a trainer's resource for
         teambuilding. New York: Paulist Press.
Peters, J. M., & Armstrong, J. L. (1998). Collaborative learning: people laboring together to
         construct knowledge. New directions for adult and continuing education, 1998(79), 75-
Saltiel, I. M. (1998). Defining collaborative partnerships. New directions for adult and
         continuing education, 1998, 5-11.
Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.
Vella, J. (2002). Learning to listen, learning to teach: the power of dialogue in educating adults
         (Second ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Yorks, L., & Marsick, V. J. (2000). Organizational learning and transformation. In J. Mezirow
         (Ed.), Learning as transformation: critical perspectives on a theory in progress (1st ed.).
         San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Marjorie Treff, Ball State University; 1905 Lawndale Dr., Fort Wayne, IN 46805;

Presented at the Midwest Research to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN September 25-27, 2007.

                    Teaching for Political Savvy in the Workplace
                                Daniela Truty & Sarah Purlee-Hall

        Office politics appears to be a ubiquitous phenomenon in the contemporary workplace.
Despite technical competence, careers can derail as a result of political blunders. Negative
connotations stand in the way of open discussions about office politics and the political
competence required to successfully navigate them. Skill sets for developing political savvy tend
not to be systematically taught to all workers, potentially negatively affecting their
employability. The authors believe that coursework designed to raise awareness about, and
develop, political skills could and should be offered to all students in higher education and at
university levels. In this paper, they describe an example of such a course that is currently taught
at an urban Midwestern state university. Implications for the scholarship and practice of adult
education across disciplinary boundaries are presented.

       A worker who is politically savvy,
       Can maneuver through complex political situations effectively and quietly; is
       sensitive to how people and organizations function; anticipates where the land
       mines are and plans his/her approach accordingly; views corporate politics as a
       necessary part of organizational life and works to adjust to that reality; is a maze-
       bright person. (
       In the U.S. workplace, researchers concur that political savvy is a critical competence for
employability, performance of one’s job, promotion to a different job, and overall career success.
According to DuBrin (1990), “To ignore office politics is to ignore those underlying forces that
account for the differences in success between equally talented people. People who understand
and use office politics to their advantage are much more likely to succeed than their politically
naïve counterparts” ( However,
       Politics in organizations involves going outside the usual, formally sanctioned
       channels, something nearly every successful manager has done at one time or
       another. The real political moves are the ones not written down anywhere.
       Simply put, politics is an illegitimate means of getting things done” (Reardon,
       2002, p. 2).
Given the importance of honing political skills and the covert nature of the subject, the questions
then become, who learns about political savvy, and where, when, and how does one develop it.

The Problem
         The problem is that the formal education system in the U.S. seems to focus on cognitive
and technical skills development and political savvy is not systematically taught as a component
of a curriculum that prepares workers for employment. A Google exploration using political
savvy courses as the search words revealed few higher education institutions that have courses
with political savvy in the title or in the course description. Those that do seem to focus on
professional leadership development. In the workplace, skills for political savvy are not
systematically taught to all employees. Instead, workers must learn about political savvy on their

own, in informal and often incidental ways and by actively experiencing political situations in
the everydayness of their work lives. Some managers and particularly those identified as
potential future leaders are offered workshops or executive coaching on political savvy, but these
tend to be both expensive and exclusive. We believe that systematically teaching about power
and influence in the workplace as they affect ability to successfully carry out one's
responsibilities and then teaching all would-be-employees/-workers about the need to influence
and leverage power for attaining personal and organizational ends is a powerful tool. Some
wonder how and if such an elusive, context-bound, and application-focused skill set could even
be taught through formal classroom instruction anywhere. We claim that the concepts and skills
for political savvy can, and ought to, be taught within the higher education and high school
curricula to all students, regardless of disciplinary concentration or school attended (See Truty,
2006). In this paper, we provide one example of how political savvy in the workplace is being
taught within an HRD undergraduate curriculum at an urban commuter state university in the
Midwestern U.S. We offer some insights into contextual considerations for this course before
presenting an overview of instructional techniques that were selected to bring content to life.
Finally we offer some important implications for the scholarship and practice of adult education
across disciplinary boundaries.

                      Learning and Acquiring a Political Savvy Skill Set
The Course
         HRD 313D: Political Savvy in the Workplace has been taught as a title varies course in
summer 2006 and 2007. Student evaluations showed that the course was enthusiastically
received, and several student comments pleaded for it to be offered again because their
colleagues had expressed interest in it. This paper is co-authored by the instructor/designer and a
student participant in 2006. The student participant is currently a master’s degree student and a
scholar-practitioner working as a human resources professional in a manufacturing firm. She
reports having regular opportunities in the course of her workday to apply the principles/skills
learned in this class. We believe that this rich perspective adds depth and legitimacy to the story
about this course.
         Learners and context. This Hispanic-serving university is known for its ethnic diversity.
In fact, diversity is one of its values. Most of the students in this course were employed full time,
often in addition to child and/or elder care responsibilities. Students’ ages ranged between early
20s through late 40s. According to annual questionnaires, job-related reasons for seeking a
major or minor in HRD are among the most frequently cited by students in HRD.
         Instructional design considerations, methods, and rationale. Major purposes for this
course included raising student awareness of the importance of political savvy for career success;
raising awareness about what ethical political savvy looks like; guiding students’ reflection about
their own level of political savvy; helping them identify strategies for developing political skills
in their workplaces; and guiding students in articulating their own political skills development
         The course Blackboard site was developed for purposes of student participation in
discussion forums, providing ongoing feedback about the course, accessing course documents,
and exchanging files. Multi-media equipment in class was utilized by the instructor to teach
course concepts via PowerPoint, the Internet, CD-ROM, and DVD. It was also used by students
for a final course presentation to the class.
         Three “texts” were required for the course, including a Firo-B self-scorable instrument, a

booklet to explain implications of Firo-B profiles in an organization, and a readily accessible
popular press book about successfully navigating office politics by McIntyre (2005). The Firo-B
(Available through is a tool for raising awareness
about the degree to which one prefers to show and receive affection, inclusion, and control when
interacting with others. The McIntyre book was selected because of its aesthetic appeal (a
smaller-sized, paperback book with an unintimidating title), thoroughness with which the author
treats the topic, accessible language with which it is written, and vignettes drawn from
professional practice. Students reported their satisfaction with this book because they recognized
characteristics of people and situations discussed in the readings. They commented that they had
lent the book to others in their families or at work, discussed the readings with co-workers during
lunch, and that they read beyond the readings even before they came due. The instructor
augmented concepts discussed in these texts with scholarly journal sources that were posted on
Blackboard for optional reading. Students became aware of the concepts undergirding political
savvy through these tools.
         Reflective journals. Students were instructed to regularly capture their thoughts about
course concepts as they were personally experienced or observed at work. The final installment
included a personal “political game plan” (McIntyre, 2005, p. 250) for attaining actual short term
personal and professional work-related goals. A bonus of this assignment for the instructor was
its illumination of student perceptions of course design as it was being implemented, providing
an opportunity to make changes in-progress as deemed appropriate.
         Solicitation of a coach. Much discussion about political savvy and how to navigate
office politics is found in the literatures of consultancy and executive coaching. Executives are
rarely given honest feedback by their subordinates and cannot readily get away from their
organizational duties for formal training opportunities. Thus, executive coaching is sometimes
recommended or invited to provide a stop-freeze for reflection, one-on-one development, or
remediation. Such activities are perceived to be legitimated by executive coaching because it is
reserved for those of whom the organization thinks highly and in whom the organization has
already heavily invested over time (Kilburg & Diedrich, 2007). We believe that the benefits of
well-honed political skill apply to all workers across organizational levels, not just the executives
or managerial staff. Yet, employees are unlikely to be formally provided a coach by the
organization. Thus, students were repeatedly encouraged to identify a person they considered
particularly politically savvy in their workplace (if possible) and solicit his or her service as their
coach for developing political competence. They were advised that the coach could even be a
trusted family member, friend, or course colleague who did not necessarily need to be political
skilled but who would routinely check in with them to hold them accountable for identifying and
reflecting upon specific action steps toward attaining their goals. Toward the second half of the
course, some students reported via their journals that they had indeed solicited someone to serve
as their coach. The instructor encouraged continuation of this relationship beyond the end of the
course. The co-author of this paper selected a professional coach after completion of the course,
and she used the skills learned in the course to develop a coaching program at her place of
employment. She currently coaches two individuals using the concepts of political savvy.
         Class activities. Class activities throughout the semester included the following
instructional methods: interactive lecturettes with PowerPoint presentations; movie clips from
12 Angry Men, for example, to illustrate and discuss relevant course concepts; small group
activities composed of randomly matched partners to encourage practice with issues of power
and influence toward mutual ends; collaborative whole group activities on Blackboard (for

example, constructing a profile of the politically savvy worker as awareness of characteristics
grew throughout the course); synthesis and application of cumulative understanding of the
political savvy concept by playing The Office-Politics Game (;
and articulation of a considered small group response to actual letters requesting coaching about
office politics posted on the or McIntyre websites
( Permission was obtained from the students to forward their replies to
those webmasters with the possibility that they would be published on line. Other classroom
activities included small and whole group analyses and discussions of executive styles vis-à-vis
how they shape organizational culture and hold implications for political behavior at work; guest
speaker presentations to illumine how office politics play out in their workplaces, how they
successfully navigate them, and how they acquired political competence. One guest speaker
presented “power on behalf of the collective” via movies, including Salt of the Earth, Matewan,
and Norma Rae. A major activity involved discussion about students’ results of a self-scorable
Firo-B inventory. This was a challenging self-awareness exercise that sometimes revealed a
discrepancy between one’s display of affection, control, and inclusion as projected to others
versus one’s needs for others to project them toward him- or herself. If students feel dissatisfied
or frustrated in interactions that matter to them, they learned that such discrepancy could be one
reason why. A popular activity was a whole-class play called “A Killer of a Class”. The
instructor created this play involving the whole group as actors and actresses to debrief student
understanding of assigned readings about political blunders that could lead to “commit[ting]
political suicide” (McIntyre, 2005, p. 107). The instructor participated as the narrator to connect
the various skits into a cohesive whole play. The instructor facilitated a whole group debrief at
the end of the production to stress the highlights of the various concepts if the students had not
done so already. Through discussion and reflective journals, students commented about how
enjoyable and powerful this activity had been for them because they were able to see themselves
in these situations from an observer’s perspective. After taking this class, the co-author of this
paper used this technique to help the employees she coaches apply concepts of political savvy to
their specific workplace situations. A final synthesis paper analyzing the student’s choice of an
interview of a politically savvy person in his or her workplace, a book beyond the required
course texts, or a movie that one now recognized as illustrative of or having implications for
political savvy in the workplace plus a professional presentation of this paper to the class took
the place of a final exam.
        In summary. By creating a safe and open environment from the very first class session
and through the use of the above-mentioned activities, this course attempted to raise student
awareness of relevant concepts, allow them to demonstrate their growing understanding of
political savvy on an on-going basis, practice their developing skills, and begin reflective, self-
monitoring, and planning practices that would hopefully transfer to the workplace and continue
over time. Unfortunately, the instructor of this course has no official data yet about the extent to
which the impact of this class spilled over into the workplace. However, the co-author of this
paper has frequently discussed how she continues to apply these concepts and skills in her own
human resources work environment. Because of the need for continued reflective application
and feedback in the workplace context, we acknowledge that what this course alone could
accomplish may be bounded. We strongly believe, however, that because political skill is not
openly taught in the workplace beneath the levels of select organizational leaders, teaching this
course in an urban state university setting has the potential for enhancing common workers’
effectiveness and employability. We are happy to share a copy of this course syllabus with you

and/or discuss some of the activities more thoroughly upon request.

                    Implications for Future Research, Scholarship and Practice
         This paper holds important implications for the scholarship and practice of adult
education, particularly for those employed as HRD professionals responsible for career
development. They must not only systematically address political competence for the workers
they assist, but they, too, must become aware of the importance of, and ways for, teaching
political skill. Adult educators interested in emancipatory education and advocacy will find that
teaching about political savvy and helping all workers, regardless of socioeconomic status and
prior formal academic preparation, levels the playing field by making people aware of unspoken
norms that may threaten their livelihood and giving them tools for identifying and leveraging
their power and influence for enhanced employability. This paper is important also for
professionals working in the human resources arena who sense the activity of organizational
politics and the need for workers to behave in politically savvy ways. Although they recognize
the need to coach and develop employees’ political skills, they often lack the nomenclature and
the tools with which to do so.
         The creative professional will find that some of the instructional techniques used in the
Political Savvy course can be adapted for their workplace context. Human resource practitioners
who are responsible for culture change initiatives will find the principles of political savvy
especially useful as they develop their leadership/corporate culture plans. A seemingly
untapped site for teaching all workers about power and influence in the workplace and ways for
developing political competence is the community setting. Adult educators who have
themselves become knowledgeable about the importance of developing political skill and
possible ways for instruction could adapt some of the techniques in this paper for workshops
sponsored by community libraries, community centers, and even the park districts.
         Finally, although our discussion thus far has focused on the importance of political savvy
in the workplace and we have assumed that it is a paid workplace, the development of political
competence is beneficial for those toiling in the voluntary sector as well because they, too, must
negotiate power and influence with others just to accomplish their goals. Thus, this paper holds
important implications for anyone who might not be an official employee within academia or
formal workplace sectors. The overall hope we hold for the benefits of our paper to others in the
field is that it provide an impetus to, and model for, development of systematic approaches for
fostering awareness and political competence for all who need or desire sustainable employment.
We argue that all workers and those preparing to enter the paid work force for the first time
ought to be taught about political competence and how to behave in politically savvy ways by
having an opportunity to practice and receive constructive feedback within the framework of a
safe classroom environment.

DuBrin, A. J. (1990). Winning office politics: Dubrin's guide for the '90s. Paramus, NJ:
        Prentice-Hall, Inc.
James, F. (Creator). (2006). The Office-Politics Game . Order from
Kilburg, R. R., & Diedrich, R. C. (Eds.). (2007). The Wisdom of Coaching: Essential Papers in
        Consulting Psychology for a World of Change. Washington DC: American Psychological
Litton, D. S. (2007). Info Bits. Retrieved August 1, 2007, from

McIntyre, M. G. (2005). Secrets to winning at office politics: How to achieve your goals and
       increase your influence at work. New York, NY: St. Martin's Griffin.
Reardon, K. K. (2002). The secret handshake: Mastering the politics of the business inner
       circle. New York, NY: Currency Doubleday.
Truty, D. (2006, October 4-6). Political Savvy: Elusive and Vital. Paper presented at the
       2006 Midwest Research-to-Practice, University of Missouri-St. Louis J. C. Penney
       Conference Center.
Daniela Truty, Associate Professor of Human Resource Development (HRD), 122 E. Placid
Ave., Glendale Heights, IL 60139,; Sarah Purlee-Hall, HRD Graduate
Student/Human Resources Generalist , 132 S. Main Street, Algonquin, IL ,

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

              Twin Solitudes: Separation, Transformative Education,
                    and Reunification of Post-Colonial Cyprus
                                              Rey Ty

        Post-colonial Cyprus is a divided country with one nation branched out into two major
distinct ethnic groups: the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots who share a long common
domestic history, yet they have their different languages, religions, and external relations. Aside
from having a proper noun, Cyprus is neither a de jure nor a de facto unified political entity.
Using critical theory as the research paradigm, this qualitative research contends that
transformational learning, which promotes communication, social justice, and social action, is
pivotal to social change. This research demonstrates that popular community education, which
builds sustainable communities through social capital, advances durable inter-ethnic dialogue
and collaborative action. The outcome is conflict resolution and durable peace—one person and
one activity at a time.

Research Problem
        Pre-colonial Cyprus was the mythical birthplace of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love,
where people of Turkish and Greek heritage lived in harmony. But post-colonial Cyprus is a land
of conflict. Britain colonized Cyprus from 1878 to 1960, after which Cyprus became a
Commonwealth republic. Colonial and early post-colonial Cyprus was composed of people in
two communities who politically cohabited with each other, but not without difficulties.
However, because of political differences, the “Green Line” separates Muslim Turkish Cypriots
from Orthodox Greek Cypriots since 1974. The Turkish Cypriots live in the North for the most
part; and, the Greek Cypriots, in the South. Since May 1, 2004, Cyprus is a member of the
European Union, though the island is still politically split into two legal entities (Ker-Lindsay,
2005). Thus historically, the relationship between the Northern Turkish Cypriot community and
the Southern Greek Cypriot community in post-colonial Cyprus is like a pendulum swing, flip-
flopping between harmony, political struggle, and outright armed hostilities.

      Research Questions
      This research raises the following questions:
   1. How did the current socio-political situation develop in Cyprus?
   2. How can popular community education promote the social transformation of Cyprus?
   3. To what extent can transformative learning have a sustainable impact on the future socio-
      political situation of post-colonial Cyprus?

       This paper is a qualitative case study of a training program for promoting bi-communal
dialogue for Cyprus conducted in 2006 at Northern Illinois University. The data were gathered
through participant observation, Freireian critical reflection (1970), historical analysis, email
exchanges, as well as the document analysis of program-related archival materials, such as
anonymous formative and summative mixed-method evaluation results regarding the impact of

the NIU peace education on the participants’ personal and social transformative learning. The
emerging themes provided the inputs for the generation of a grounded model of good practices in
popular education as an agent for social transformation.

Separation: Current Socio-Political Situation in Post-Colonial Cyprus
         While Cyprus is the mythical birthplace of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, after Cyprus
won its war of resistance against British colonial rule in the early 1960s, post-colonial Cyprus
has become a land where there is hostility and violence between Greek Cypriots and Turkish
Cypriots since December 1963 (Hitchens, 1997). The Greek Archbishop Makarios campaigned
for Cyprus to merge with Greece, which prompted the BOKA guerrilla force to attack the British
and in the process exiled Makarios. While the Cypriot Constitution provided for power-sharing
between the two communities, but it was unworkable and fighting broke out. United Nations
(UN) troops deployed in 1964 did not stop inter-communal violence (Plumer, 2003; Richmond,
1998; Richmond & Ker-Lindsay, 2001). UN troops patrolled the “Green Line” that divides the
island into two. With the downfall of Makarios in 1974, Turkey militarily intervened and
invaded northern Cyprus, after which the Turkish Cypriots controlled about one third of the
island. In 1983, the Turkish Cypriots unilaterally declared their territory as the independent
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which only Turkey recognized (Brewin, 2000). Turkey
deployed over 30,000 troops there. Today, Turkish Cypriots live in the northern third of the
island and the Greek Cypriots in the southern two-thirds. Due to the prospect of Cyprus
becoming a member of the European Union, negotiations sponsored by the UN were conducted
in 2002 and a peace proposal was discussed (Tocci, 2004). However, hopes were dashed
because the Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders did not reach an agreement on the U.N. plan by
the March 2003 deadline (Palley, 2005). Thereafter, however, travel restrictions eased. For the
first time in thirty years, people are crossing borders and contacts between the Greek Cypriots
and Turkish Cypriots have been reestablished. Once again, there is hope for improvement of bi-
communal relations.
         Given that EU entry was imminent, a revised UN reunification plan was presented in two
referendums in the two communities in April 2004. The plan failed because although the
Turkish Cypriots approved it, the overwhelming majority of the Greek Cypriots rejected it.
Cyprus remained split, as it joined the EU on May 1, 2004 (Hannay, 2005). In December 2004,
Turkey agreed to recognize Cyprus as an EU member before the accession talks for Turkey was
scheduled for October 2005. In May 2005, U.N. and Greek Cypriot officials started exploratory
talks on prospects for new diplomatic peace efforts (Ker-Lindsay, 2005). By June 2005,
Parliament ratified the proposed EU Constitution.
         Because of political conflicts for the past four decades, Turkish Cypriots and Greek
Cypriots do not talk to each other. They live literally along ethnic lines, with the Green Line
demarcating the borders between the two communities. At times, they end up in diplomatic
impasse or armed hostilities. Greek Cypriots turn to Greece for all types of support; and, Turkish
Cypriots, to Turkey. Verily, Cyprus is composed of twin solitudes. Conflict has not completely
ended (Papadakis, 2005), as a result of which, the search for peace continues (Anastasiou, 2006).

Popular Community Education and Social Transformation
       Prospects for transformative learning are plentiful. The International Training Office of
Northern Illinois University (NIU) acts as a catalyst for social change. The objectives of the bi-

communal peace education program are to offer a workshop that will provide Cypriots with the
opportunity to meet and interact with their respective peers from each side of the island and to
provide a multi-cultural and intercultural perspective to the students and an understanding and
appreciation of the diversity of American cultures. By serving culturally diverse populations
(Ross-Gordon, Martin & Briscoe, 1990 and by making space (Sheared & Sissel, 2001) to both
communities, NIU provided a culturally relevant popular community education (Talmadge,
1999) to the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. During the conduct of the program, students
were introduced to the fundamentals of conflict management and learned leadership skills
through in-door and out-door challenges, bi-communal dialogue and community work. In terms
of substance, the training program used a comprehensive framework that wove together and
unified the training content. It exposed the participants to both pro-active and reactive methods
of bi-communal dialogue and conflict resolution. See the concept map below.

Figure 1: Grounded Framework for Inter-Cultural Dialogue & Conflict Resolution

        The pro-active method is associated with involvement in different levels of working
together in order to build a truly bi-communal community and to develop skills in conflict
management. The reactive method linked with how to manage existing conflicts. As far as pro-
active methods of bi-communal dialogue and conflict resolution were concerned, the participants
were exposed to (1) the anti-reactionary model, (2) traditional or minimalist model, (3) coalition
model, and (4) social transformation model. The aims of the anti-reactionary model were: not to
condescend or disrespect other people’s differences, cultures or religions; not to self-righteously
criticize other people’s religion and/or convert them to one’s faith; and, be blind to
discrimination of any kind and not do anything about it. The aim of the traditional or minimalist
model was to encourage people of one community to learn about people of other communities by
“talking” about the issues, reading books or listening to audio books; inviting speakers; giving
lectures; attending lectures; and, watching a documentary film or a movie. The aim of the
coalition model was not just “talking” but “doing” things to encourage people of one community
to learn about people of other communities, by working side by side with people of different
cultures and faith traditions to promote positive social change through voluntary community
service efforts. By working together, people of different communities learn more about each
other’s cultures by which they build a truly intercultural or interfaith community. Participants in

the community model formed friendship and trust which enabled them to understand more
deeply each other’s differences, similarities, cultures, and faiths. The aims of the social
transformation model was to encourage people of different communities to come together as one
group; empathize with and work to help downtrodden social classes or marginalized groups for
social transformation through various direct and indirect services. Hence, they cross the
imaginary line and interact with one another.
        Moreover, the participants were exposed to different modes of reactive methods of
interpersonal and social conflict resolution, both formal and informal. Informal modes of
personal and interpersonal conflict resolution include dialogue, forgiveness, meditation for
peace, and community mediation. The participants conducted dialogues and meetings using
parliamentary procedures, building consensus, and writing declarations and resolutions.
Community learners were exposed to these pro-active and reactive conflict resolution strategies
through meaningful, fun, and sometimes formal indoor and outdoor activities.

Reunification: Sustainable Impact of Popular Community Education on the Future of Cyprus
        There is a wide range of peace education programs: psychologically-based conflict
resolution, social conflict resolution, interpersonal mediation, interfaith dialogue, inter-ethnic
dialogue, diversity and multiculturalism workshops, human rights training, social justice work,
and social-change-oriented community development. NIU’s peace program for Cyprus is a
combination of the above approaches, leaning towards action for social justice and durable
        By attending the NIU peace program, they were able to accumulate social capital
(Coleman, 1990). Specifically, they gained new warm-body friends from the other community;
share common knowledge, understanding and values; joined an informal group, including an
online social networking group—Yahoo group; regularly interact with one another physically
and electronically through all types of communication networking; engage in civic work; and
help each other. They continue to communicate regularly through the electronic social
networking group as well as to organize meetings in both the North and in the South. Indeed,
with the social capital they have accumulated, they have consolidated building a community of
communities. Abstract political enemies become concrete close friends. See illustration below.

                                                                               Ty, 2007

Figure 2: Social Capital

        The participants were satisfied with the way by which the peace program was creatively
implemented, especially as it involved the active participation of the co-learners. Before coming
to NIU, people in each of the two communities brought with them all the built-in negative
stereotypes about the others, hence, the twin solitudes. At the same time, they brought with them
their prior knowledge and experience as well. Through active learning strategies, they learned
new knowledge, new skills, and new attitudes that tore down the walls of discrimination and

prejudice. They engaged in multiple voluntary community work. Through their activity-based
learning, the participants had experienced personal transformation, which supports building
bridges of peace with people from the other community, which heretofore was not the case.

       The following summarizes the results of the research. One, Turkish Cypriots and Greek
Cypriots lived harmoniously side by side each other, until they won their war of independence
from Britain. Two, from the 1960s to the early 2000s, the two communities segregated
themselves from one another and hostilities ensued. Three, the UN called for the two
communities to start engaging in dialogues as a way to promote peace. Four, thereafter,
grassroots-level as well as top-level diplomacy is taking place. Five, the implementation at NIU
of a Cyprus program for bi-communal dialogue provides data regarding best practices that
generates a grounded theory of how a popular education program can promote social change and
peaceful coexistence among people of diverse backgrounds. Collaboratively, they construct new
knowledge. From the foregoing discussion, a grounded model is developed. See below.

                                                                     Interactive                             St
                                                      y        Transformational Model                         So & C
                                                                                                                cie iv
                                              His                                                                  ty il
                                                                               1 Social

                                                                                                                             Thin & Doin


                                                                             2 New Social

                                                                                                                                     , Fe



                                       Transformation                          Peace
                                                                                                          & Values
                                                                            as Agents of

                                                           Individual                              Group’s
                                                            Knowledge,                     Social Capital Formation
                                                                                                                                     Re er,

                        Te Lea                            Skills & Values                          Peace
                                                                                                                                 ity, nd

                          ac rni
                                                                                                                              nic Ge

                            hi ng                         Transformation                          Program
                              ng S
                                                                                                                           Eth lass,

                                St tyl
                                  ra es

                                    te &
                                                                                                                    nal, l
                                               Individu                                                        egio Globa
                                                       als, Gro                                           al, R     &
                                                   & Lead      ups                                    Loc l, Int’l,
                                                           ers                                           on a
                                                                              Economy, Politics
                                                                                                     Nati                  Rey Ty, 2007
                                                                                 & Culture

Figure 3: Interactive Transformative Model: Dialectical Unity of the Personal and the Social

         Using Freire’s framework, this paper reveals that historical, social, economic, political
and cultural contexts affect the separation and reunification of people of different cultural
backgrounds. This research confirms that transformative education for peace plays a crucial role
in facilitating intercultural dialogue, which is a starting point for the creation of conditions for
the development of just peace. This transformative learning is an imperative primary stage that
provides the venue for people of different backgrounds to listen to one another, to engage in
meaningful dialogue, to live together, to break stereotypes, to debate, and to work in a
multicultural coalition, and to engage in social work leading to profound social transformation.

Importance of the Research to the Practice of Popular Community Education
        This research is important to the practice of community education, as it presents a case
study of how academic institutions and popular community educators can play a concrete role as
catalysts of change in the transformation of actually existing societies. With the grounded model

developed as a result of this result, this research contributes to existing knowledge: it shares the
findings regarding the best practices in the education program that can be applied in bringing
about social change in societies where conflict necessitates a community education intervention.
In addition, this research work presented a grounded theory based on the results of the analysis.

Parting Words
        This paper confirms that sustainability and social capital are tools to put together lasting
communities. Indeed, popular community educators are agents of change who build social
capital among the co-learning participants that links them to a social network to start, continue,
and sustain their inter-communal dialogue as a step in healing historical wounds and building a
community of communities that leads to a durable peace—one activity and one person at a time.
From social disequilibrium, a new social dynamic is constructed.

Anastasiou, H. (2006). Broken olive branch: Nationalism, ethnic conflict and the quest for peace
        in Cyprus. Bloomington, Indiana: Author House.
Brewin, C. (2000). European Union and Cyprus. Huntingdon: Eothen Press.
Coleman, J. S. (1990). Foundations of Social Theory. Cambridge, MA, Harvard, University
Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.
Hannay, D. (2005). Cyprus: The search for a solution. New York: I.B. Tauris.
Hitchens, C. (1997). Hostage to history: Cyprus from the Ottomans to Kissinger. London: Verso.
Ker-Lindsay, J. (2005). EU accession and UN Peacemaking in Cyprus. New York: Palgrave
Palley, C. (2005). An international relations debacle: The UN Secretary-General's mission of
        good offices in Cyprus, 1999-2004. Portland, Oregon: Hart Publishing.
Papadakis, Y. (2005). Echoes from the dead zone: Across the Cyprus divide. New York: I.B.
Plumer, A. (2003). Cyprus, 1963-64: The fateful years. Lefkosa, Cyprus: CYREP.
Richmond, O. (1998). Mediating in Cyprus. Portland, Oregon: Frank Cass.
Richmond, O. and Ker-Lindsay, J. (Eds.) (2001). The work of the UN in Cyprus: promoting
        peace and development. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Ross-Gordon, J. M., Martin, L. G., & Briscoe, D. B. (Eds.). (1990). Serving culturally diverse
        populations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Sheared, V. & Sissel, P. A. (2001). Making space: Merging theory and practice in adult
        education. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey.
Talmadge, C. G. (Ed.). (1999). Providing culturally relevant adult education: A challenge for
        the twenty-first century. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Tocci, N. (2004). EU accession dynamics and conflict resolution: Catalysing peace or
        consolidating partition in Cyprus? Burlington, Vermont: Ashgate.
Rey Ty, International Training Office, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115, Thanks to Dr. Richard Orem, Dr. Wei Zheng, & Dr. Jorge Jeria for your kind help.

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, September 25-27, 2007.

                     Critical Post-Colonial Feminist Theory:
              Past Contributions, Challenges, and Future Possibilities
                                    Rey Ty & Maimouna Konaté

       Literatures on feminist theory abound: they challenge the dominant traditional modernist
worldview that uses the male perspective as the standard by which all social phenomena are
measured. Thanks to feminists, theories now span the whole range of the ideological spectrum.
However, post-colonial feminism is still on the fringes. Rejecting sweeping generalizations, this
paper highlights specific cases from Asia and Africa in order to analyze the different actions and
discourses of women from the Third World. By so doing, this research contributes to
mainstreaming women’s voices from the Global South as well as promoting post-structural
analysis which treats women, not as an indistinct unified blob, but as a heterogeneous group of
individuals and groups with discrete identities and dissimilar agenda.

Research Problem
        The so-called objective science does not reveal inequalities, differences in gender, class,
countries, color, ethnicity, abilities or religion. In particular, there is a lack of women’s voices in
the dominant literature. When they do exist, in the form of critical theory and feminist theory,
they are usually from the West. Aside from Freire (1970), we do not hear much about post-
colonial thinkers. For this reason, subaltern voices in Africa, Asia, and Latin America in general
are muted, including women’s. The rationale of this paper is to question the current state of
feminist theory and to contribute to the literature in adult and community education about
feminism in Third World countries.

Purpose of the Study
       This paper aims to examine the praxiological contributions of women’s movements in
Asia and Africa to the development of a more inclusive feminist theory building.

Research Questions
       This collaborative research deals with women’s movements in the Third World, which
work for the construction of a just society by struggling against the constraining economic, social
and cultural structures. In the poor countries, traditional culture, male domination and poverty
cause the oppression and marginalization of women. This study examines the contributions of
women’s movements in the Global South to gender equality in the context of social, gender, and
national liberation. It addresses the following questions:
       Based on the emerging data,
    1. What are the contributions of critical theory and feminist theory to understanding the
       women’s question in general?
    2. What are the challenges to the existing critical feminist literatures in terms of theory,
       methodology, and content?
    3. How do Third World women contribute to enriching feminist theory in particular and the
       field of adult education in general?

Research Methods
        The research paradigm is critical research, where the researchers are change agents who
accept multiple truths, with the view to women’s emancipation everywhere. This is a
collaborative study which is composed of two parts: first, a review of literature of feminist
theory; and, second, a qualitative research using the case study design that investigates an Asian
case study and an African case study—specifically, the Philippines and Mali. To identify the
trends and past contributions in the literature, abstracts in ESBSCO Host, ERIC, ERIC Digest,
InfoTrac, OCLC Search, and ProQuest were used as research databases to gather refereed
journals and academic books related to the topic. The case studies from Asia and Africa were
used to provide data from which a grounded model emerged. This research builds on the
triangulation or the cross-checking of multiple sources of information based on field research,
non-participant observation, community dialogue, interviews, document analysis, electronic-mail
communications, and literature review. The analysis of data involved grouping and developing
codes or categories out of the emerging themes. The data that emerged from the systematic
research findings provides the raw materials in the generation of a grounded model. Our
positionality as feminist Asian male and African female researchers, respectively, is an important
factor that affected data collection, analysis, and interpretation.

A Review of the Contributions of Past Theories
        This section documents the rich contributions on feminist theorizing in the past. Using
ideology as a classificatory scheme, the most generally recognized feminist theories include (1)
libertarian, (2) social democratic, and (3) Marxist feminism. One, libertarian feminists (Mingst,
2004) believe in both de jure and de facto gender equality, such as suffrage and non-
discrimination in law and in practice. Two, social democratic feminists ((Duncan, Jancar-
Webster & Switky, 2004)—who oppose injustice—believe that the women’s question must be
situated in the socio-economic context. Hence, social democratic feminists focus their social
analysis and social work efforts towards social change through social reform. Critical feminists
link gender analysis with class, ethnicity, color, culture, religion, and abilities. Three, Marxist
feminists (Baylis & Smith, 2005) believe that class and gender intersect. Peasant women and
proletarian women are oppressed who can only be free, if society will be free through
revolutionary change.
        Not usually discussed, as feminist theories as such, are reactionary and conservative
feminist theories. They have definite views of women’s role in society, therefore they are worthy
to be discussed and labeled as feminist theories. Both of which, though, are not true feminist
theories, as they do not advance but suppress the status and condition of women in society.
Reactionaries want to bring back the defunct practices, say, of banning women from studying or
leaving their residence under penalty of physical punishment or stoning to death. Conservatives
(Fukuyama, 1998; Lukas, 2006) are romantic feminists who believe that men and women are
biologically different and that women are weak and need “gentlemen,” say, to open the door for
them and pay the bill as unquestionable standard practice. For these reasons, reactionary and
conservative feminism are not true feminism. In summary, the major feminist theories include
reactionary, conservative, libertarian, social democratic and Marxist feminism. See the
continuum below.

Challenges to the Current State of Feminist Theories
        The foregoing section indicates that feminists of all types engage in dialogues and debate
about the role and status of women in society. The literature on feminist theorizing cited in the
preceding section is impressive. It spans the whole ideological spectrum, indicating that not all
women are alike and that gender analysis is complex and must take into account class, ideology,
and other such positionalities. Thanks to feminist theorizing, gender sensitivity is growing.
        However, based on the data that emerged, gaps still exist. For instance, conservative, and
libertarian feminist theories are essentialist, as they assume that all women are alike, which they
over-generalize and universalize. We can learn from Third-World feminist methodologies. Also,
they only use Western women as the exemplar by which women of all colors around the world
are measured. Post-structural critical feminism is an advancement over the previous types of
feminism, given that women are not generalized as all belonging to one homogenous group, as
each woman is unique and carries unique set of multiple economic, philosophical, ideological,
political, social, cultural, and sexual identities. However, critical feminism only looks at the
conditions of women in Europe, the U.S., Canada, and Brazil. The voices of women in all the
Third World countries are not heard. They are all lumped under the umbrella of post-colonial
feminists, again wrongly generalized as belonging to one homogenous group.

Future Possibilities
        To fill the gap, this research examined two case studies, one in Asia and another in
Africa, in order to dig deeper into the uniqueness and peculiarities of each case. Below is a
discussion on the role of women’s organizations in social change in the Philippines and Mali.
See figure below which situates Third-World feminism in the ideological spectrum.

 Revolutionary     Third World       Left-Wing           Centrist     Right-Wing       Extreme Right
   Marxist            Post-       Critical & Social     Libertarian   Conservative      Reactionary
  Feminism          Colonial        Democratic          Feminism         False             False
                    Feminism         Feminism                         “Feminism”        “Feminism”
Figure 1: Ideology and Feminist Theory, including Post-Colonial Feminism (Ty, 2007b)

         The Philippines. A national organization of women—called General Assembly Binding
Women for Reform, Integrity, Equality, Leadership, and Action (GABRIELA or GAB for
short)—mobilizes women at the grassroots level who are involved in political advocacy work. It
is the largest women’s organization in the Philippines. GAB has branches mostly in the local
rural villages, but also in the cities, regions, provinces, and at the national level. As a movement,
members are united in their struggle against imperialism, feudalism, and corruption. They do not
simply struggle for women’s right in the abstract (Maza & Tujan, 1993). GABRIELA (2007a)
deals with the concerns of women as women, striving to liberate Filipinas from economic and
political oppression, discrimination, sexual violence and abuse, neglect and denial of their health
and reproductive rights. In addition, they struggle for the rights of peasants and workers, both
female and male, as they compose the majority of society. GABRIELA (2007b) is an integral
component of the national liberation movement for genuine national liberation, a democratic and
representative government as well as gender equality in all aspects of life. Clearly, GAB does not
view the women’s question as separate from the national question. They challenge, oppose, and
struggle against political, economic, and cultural hegemony in an effort to create counter-
hegemonic structures and liberating cultures.

         Mali. In Mali, traditional customs and practices, illiteracy, poverty, the misinterpretation
of Islam and patriarchy oppress and marginalize women. However, most women take pride in
their cultural values, which they believe should be conserved, as culture made them who they
are. With their participation in the Association des Femmes Fabricantes de Savon de Koulikoro
Plateau I (AFFSKP), they became change catalysts. They develop job skills and rebuild their
lives by mutual assistance. Before they became members of the organization, most of them were
disengaged and lonesome. After joining AFFSKP, their lives have changed significantly. By
working together and sharing experiences, they supported, taught and learned from one another.
They developed a cottage industry--soap making—which provided them with economic
empowerment. Clearly, the AFFSKP as a social movement provided the primary learning site
for rural women in Mali where they learned about equitable distribution of resources first-hand.
Economic independence was a form of transformation that had occurred in the women. In the
past, Malian women were the proprieties of their husbands who provided for the needs of the
family. This situation is changing, as a growing number of men are now unable to perform these
roles, owing to unemployment and other related other matters. These changes elevate women’s
status in the family. The interviewees become breadwinners in their families, became
autonomous, and assumed some power within the family, and the husbands now cannot simply
control their wives’ lives anymore. Their economic independence empowers them to make
decisions in their families and in their community as well as to make informed decisions about
their lives. Money is the key to their freedom, without which, their choices are very limited.
There are role reversals in their families. Some husbands are willing to take care of the children
and do the household chores, whilst their wives are out making soap: a situation the women
express had never happened before they joined their organization and started bringing money
home. Their husbands are now supportive of their wives, when the latter have needs associated
to their income-generating projects. With respect to their involvement in politics, the
participants felt that politicians exploit them for campaigning purposes during elections, for
women have always been good at organizing and mentoring, but they never took advantage of
the decision-making level, and the elites did not care about women’s issues once they got

    Gains                                                                                      Future
                   Contributions                  Gaps               How to Fill the Gap
Theories                                                                                     Possibilities
Feminist    Gender Sensitivity             Euro-centric           Recognition of the
Theory                                     Essentialism           Contributions of Third-
                                                                  World Women                  Critical
Critical    Partisanship or Non-Neutral    Focus on the West      Bringing the Third World   Post-Colonial
Theory      Perspective                    and Brazil mostly      to Theory Building           Feminist
Third       Political and Economic         Invisibility for the   Inclusion of the Post-        Theory
World       Struggle against Feudal        Most Part              Structural Voices of
Theory      Culture & Foreign Domination                          Women in the Third Word
Figure 2: Taxonomy of Contributions, Gaps, and Possibilities of Feminist Theory Building (Ty,

Restatement of the Research Problem
        Literatures on feminist theory from the West do not adequately explain the conditions
and struggles of Third World women. Throughout history, women have experienced male
domination, colonial oppression, and unequal cultural treatment, which have negatively impacted

their role, status, and position in society, despite their playing a crucial role in social
development. Africa, Asia, and Latin America are no exceptions to the rule. What binds
together women in the Global South is economic, patriarchal, and cultural oppression. Third-
World women are focused on economic survival. However, women in the Global South are also
responsible for maintaining not only their family, but also their village and their community at

        Feminist theory and critical theory in the Global North positively contribute to
highlighting the importance of gender issues in the mainstream discourse. However, there
remains a gap in the literatures as they do not explain the women’s condition in the poor
countries. In the case studies, women in the Philippines engage in political advocacy to promote
women empowerment, while women in Mali engage in economism, demonstrating that there are
different paths to promoting women’s rights. This research contributes to the theory building by
centering the previously marginalized women’s voices from the Global South. Furthermore, it
also contributes to the literature by developing a grounded model—Post-Colonial Feminist
Theory—based on the research findings and opens the feminist discourses for more possibilities
to empower all women, both in the Global North and South.

    Fields                                                                  Living-                  Major
               Main                      Scope                                        Political
                          Countries                 Reach    Continents    Standard                  Actual
             Objectives                 of Work                                       Advocacy
Cases                                                                     Economism                 Outcomes
             Political                  National   Urban &                                        Political
GAB                       Philippines                        Asia         No          Yes
             Work                       & Local    Rural                                          Empowerment
             Livelihood                            Rural                                          Economic
AFFSKP                    Mali          Local                Africa       Yes         No
             Project                               Only                                           Empowerment
Figure 3: Actions of Two Post-Colonial Grassroots Women’s Organizations in Asia and Africa

Implications to the Practice and Theory of Adult and Community Education
        This research deals with building women’s communities, not only in the Global North or
in the Global South as separate communities; thus, building the social capital of women around
the world. It is important for the following reasons. One, women’s voices are often muffled, for
which reason it is essential to push forward the feminist discourse. For this purpose, critical
theory is useful in mainstreaming the hitherto marginalized voices of women. Two, however,
oftentimes when women’s voices are heard in the literature, most emanate from the West and
therefore critical feminist theory is still insufficient in bringing to surface the voices of women in
the global peripheries, such as in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Women are still invisible and
their voices are still stifled in these parts of the world. This paper contributes to feminist
ideology and theory relevant to adult, popular, and community education. This paper shows that
women’s struggle in the Global South is not a separate struggle but linked to a larger social
struggle. Women’s movements in Third-World countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America
challenge the economic, political, and cultural hegemonic structures and propose women’s
rights, a just economy, and equal rights, which immerse women in activities that facilitate social
change. Thus, the raison d’être of Critical Post-Colonial Feminist Theory, which here is a
grounded model based on the findings of our collaborative research, is strengthened.

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Rey Ty & Maimouna Konate, Department of Counseling, Adult, and Higher Education, Northern
Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115, and Thanks to Drs. Jorge
Jeria, Laurel Jeris, Richard Orem, Wei Zheng, Lisa Baumgartner, & Margaret Mbilizi.

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, September 25-27, 2007

         The Conceptualization of Assertiveness among West Sumatran:
                    A Socio-Cultural Descriptive Analysis
                           Irianti Usman & Michelle Glowacki-Dudka

        This study examined how women from West Sumatra Indonesia conceptualize
assertiveness—the nature of expressing thoughts, feelings, and beliefs in a direct, honest,
appropriate way. Factors such as gender, age, power status, and social distance were assumed to
be the socio-cultural variables influencing the selection of strategies by which the assertiveness
is communicatively realized. Varied situations with potential social conflicts were used to elicit
the strategies to voice feelings, opinions, and beliefs, preferred by 30 Indonesian women from
various backgrounds. The elicited strategies tentatively suggest two fundamental characteristics:
(1) the socio-cultural norms appear to have motivated the use of an indirect approach, and (2) the
approach seems to be used for maintaining the social-harmony between the speaker and
interlocutor when a social conflict is at stake. It is also observable that the use of the indirect
strategy may have prevented either party from losing face. The results introduce an implication
for deliberate strategy trainings in the higher education setting whose syllabi accommodating and
emphasizing trainees’ cross-cultural differences.

         Asian women are typically viewed as quiet, passive, docile, withdrawn, happily resigned
to the status quo, never challenging or demanding, and non assertive (Arisaka, 2000); these
attitudes tend to be associated with the sign of oppression and the need for empowerment to help
women in many Asian countries -- especially those of developing countries such as Southeast
Asian countries -- stand up for their rights, be more assertive, strive for equal opportunities to
compete with men, and so forth. The assumptions often to result in seeing the women of these
countries as being ‘weak’ and having a lack of competence to voice their minds (non assertive),
which stands in contrast with the desired values in western feminist concept that encourages the
outspoken, aggressive, and independent characteristics in opposition to male domination,
injustice, and disempowerment.
         Indonesian women are not immune from such stigmas or stereotypes. One main reason
for this generalization may be that there are very few studies conducted on the way Indonesian
women voice their stance. This present situation seems to impose an untested assumption
stipulating that the concept of assertiveness is nonexistent in Indonesian context. The assumed
absence of this concept seems to imply that Indonesian women are 'oppressed' beings and that
assertiveness training is needed to ‘empower’ them. Therefore, we want to investigate how the
Indonesian women conceptualize the term ‘assertiveness’, and whether the concept exists in
Indonesia. Given the interrelatedness between culture and communication (Keesing, 1974; Hall,
1976; Hofstede, 1980). We are also inclined to examine socio-cultural factors that under gird the
strategies used by Indonesian women to deal with dilemmatic or face-threatening- situations.
         Furthermore, we learn that Indonesians, as the member of the collectivist culture group
(Hall, 1976; Ting-Toomey, 1997), value a sense interconnectedness and interdependency, which
is manifested through strong awareness toward maintaining one’s dignity, respect, or positive
image (face). The concept of respect that governs all positive reciprocal interpersonal

relationship dictates the appropriate deferential behavior toward others on the basis of age, social
position, economic status, and sex (Diaz-Royo, 1976). Particularly for women, respect prescribes
obedience and respectful behavior toward authority figures, older people, parents, relatives,
males, husband, and others. Although gender difference is not necessarily the factor that
differentiates societal expectations associated with high respect and compliance toward the
people noted above, women are expected to be more cautious about maintaining the ‘proper’
prescribed behaviors.
    • With the points mentioned above, we posited four research questions to help examine the
        phenomenon in focus as listed below:
    • How do Indonesian women conceptualize the term ‘assertiveness”?
    • What social factors influence the ways or strategies of Indonesian women used to express
        their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs?
    • What do the strategies used to express thoughts, feelings, and beliefs above promote?
    • What are some of the challenges to introduce the western concept of assertiveness in the
        Indonesian context?
        To answer the above questions, we surveyed 30 West Sumatra Indonesian women from
different occupations, marital status, age, and educational background as our research
participants. The remaining parts of the paper include theoretical framework, description of
methodology, results and discussion as well as a section on our concluding remarks.

                                       Theoretical Framework
        Earlier studies on expressing assertiveness seem to suggest cross-cultural differences,
where factors such as gender, age, power status, and social relation often influence the selection
of speakers' strategies to voice their stance. Therefore, being assertive in face-threatening social
situations is a communicative behavior and may potentially be governed by one's social-cultural
norms. Indonesian women may also resort to culturally-motivated assertiveness strategies when
interacting in situations in which social harmony is at stake. With these points in mind, we frame
our study examining the influence of cultures on social interactions, such as the main arguments
associated with the dichotomous notion of western and eastern cultures, politeness and face-
negotiation theories, and the speech-act realization.

Individualist vs. Collectivist.
        Western and Non-Western cultures generally communicate their thoughts, feelings, and
beliefs differently, almost in a dichotomous fashion. Examining communicative behaviors
related to culture can provide insight into the variation of speech patterns that may seem passive
by Western standards, but through this cultural lens is culturally appropriate and assertive.
Studies on this issue (Hofstede, 1980; Gudykunst & Ting Toomey, 1988; and Ito, 1989; among
others) suggest that the notion of individualism-collectivism may be used to explain similarities
and differences in the behaviors. Western cultures that tend to be individualistic; while Non-
Western cultures tend to be collectivist, such as the culture we examined in Indonesia. As
members of individualistic cultures are socialized into their culture, they learn the major values
of their culture (e.g., independence, achievement) and learn preferred ways for how members of
the culture are expected to view themselves (e.g., as unique persons). For instance, individual
goals are emphasized more than group goals in individualistic cultures. Members of collectivistic
cultures learn different major values (e.g., harmony, solidarity) and different preferred ways to
conceive of themselves (e.g., as interconnected with others). Group goals, in contrast, take

precedence over individual goals in collectivistic cultures. Furthermore, members of
individualistic and collectivistic cultures; however, do not just learn one set of values or just one
way to conceive of themselves. Because individualism and collectivism exist in all cultures,
members of individualistic cultures learn some collectivistic values and members of collectivistic
cultures learn some individualistic values (Bellah et al, 1985; Miyanaga, 1991).

Low-context vs. High-context Communication.
          Another cultural contrast between nations, such as the US and Indonesia, is in their level
of direct communication. This is known as low-context and high-context communication. Hall
(1976), describes a high-context message as one in which “most of the information is either in
the physical context or internalized in the person, while very little is in the coded, explicit,
transmitted part of the message (p. 79). People who use fewer words are viewed as more
trustworthy than people who use many words. Listeners also must infer speakers’ intentions
accurately to understand utterances correctly, and communication is used as a means maintain
harmony in their social in-groups. Qualifier words such as maybe, perhaps, and probably are
used to avoid leaving an assertive impression with the listener (Okabe, 1983, p. 34).
          Whereas, a low-context message is one in which “the mass of information is vested in the
explicit code” (p. 70). Openness, honesty, and directness are valued, and emotions can be shared
through this expression. R. Okabe (1983) suggests that low-context communication involves the
use of categorical words such as certainly, absolutely, and positively. These assumptions imply
that people raised in high-context systems will have different expectations from those grew up in
the low-context system. For example, communicators perceived as competent high-context
communicators tend to be reserved. Being reserved, however, is not viewed as a passive activity
as it is in low-context communication; rather, it is viewed as an active activity.

Politeness and Face Negotiation Theories
         A third contrast between Western and Non-Western approaches to assertiveness includes
the notion of politeness and face theories. Although assertiveness values the rights of both the
speaker and interlocutor, a direct, honest and appropriate expression of one’s feelings and
opinions often becomes a face-threatening act for the two parties. This entails that being
assertive in a situation with potential social conflict can result in social disharmony, given that
both parties may lose face. Complicated with differences in gender, age, power relation, and
social distance, standing up for what the speaker believes seems to appear as face-negotiation
between the two actors. Thus, we assume that the success of attaining such a communicative
goal will depend on the speaker’s preferred communicative strategy. It is in this sense that we
see the relevance of the politeness and face negotiation theories.
         Brown and Levinson (1987) develop a concept of face, which defines politeness as
showing concern for each other’s face. Negative face is defined as the desire not to be imposed
upon, whereas positive face refers to the desire to be liked and approved of. Politeness behavior
is also associated with the notion of power relation and social distance between speakers.
Holtgraves (1992), for instance, argues that the relative power two people have and the
relationship between them influences the amount of politeness behavior across cultures. Despite
the fact that the factors that contribute to politeness behavior are consistent across cultures,
Holtgraves further asserts that cultural differences in the way people look at these factors can
lead to intercultural misunderstandings. Ting-Toomey (1988) further argues that in negotiation,
one needs to take into consideration the realities of mutual face-concern, or the face-honoring

processes, which often take place hand-in-hand with face-threatening maneuvers. When working
in a collectivist society where social harmony is the goal, face saving and politeness are very
evident even in an assertive scenario.

Social Distance and Power
        The final factor that we examined in this study was the level of social distance and power
between speakers in the study. These two factors correlate to the notions of directness and
indirectness in realizing certain speech acts, including requests, apologies and refusals. The
researchers, for instance, discuss that children are sensitive to the relative power of speaker and
addressee, and the social distance between them. They observed that young (American) children
tend to use more imperatives when talking to their mothers than fathers, and to give orders to
siblings, but request politely when dealing with strangers. In contrast, Indonesian cultures use a
high degree of politeness when speaking to someone with more power, such as parents, teachers,
employers, and so forth.
        With the above descriptions, we are assuming that voicing assertiveness in Indonesian
cultures may potentially be constrained by the cultural social norms believed and practiced in the
Indonesian speech communities. In this sense, the social variables such as age, gender, power
status, and social distance discussed earlier may also govern the selection of the assertiveness
strategies used by their members. The cross-cultural studies noted earlier seem to suggest that
Indonesian cultures may be patterned with those of the collectivism group. However, with the
population of more than 220 millions and more than 300 tribal cultures, it becomes a great
challenge to label specific generalizations on such diverse entities. Given these facts, we only
intended to contribute some tentative insights elicited from four ethnic groups of Indonesian
women framed in face-threatening social situations involving the socio-cultural factors

        Learning from the theoretical frameworks given above, we surveyed 30 West Sumatra
women living in Indonesia from different backgrounds to study patterns of communicative
behaviors used to assert their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Women were recruited through
personal email lists and on-line guest lists publicly available at the on-line Indonesian regional
and national newspapers and magazines. Although limited in nature, we hope that by including
the multi-social factors and other demographic aspects as stated above, our qualitative study may
reveal initially reliable patterns for proposing some generalizations.
        We designed an on-line survey located at our website in the Indonesian language -
Bahasa Indonesia. It contained a consent form with the option to agree or to disagree to
participate, questions about demographics and 32 open-ended questions that presented scenarios.
In each scenario, the subjects were expected to write what they would exactly say in such a
situation and provide the underlying reasons for their decision. We were interested to investigate
how these women react when they have to deal with the in-laws, their parents, their best friends,
colleagues, government officers, teachers, and employers in such situations. Data analysis was
conducted using grounded theory and constant-comparative method through comparing incidents
applicable to each category derived from the research questions. In other words, we tried to
compare one event with the other and see whether they were interrelated to allow the researchers
to generate a theory. As the elicited data would contain both specific utterances and reasons,
semantic analysis coding method was initially be applied to determine the subjects’ common

patterns of expressing their thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. The results of this semantic coding
served as the basis for further analysis by means of the constant-comparative method and
grounded theory noted.

                                      Findings and Analysis
        This study found that maintaining harmony and social acceptance is seen to be very
important for most participants. Questioning, smoothing, explaining, bargaining, delegating,
conforming, and integrating seem to be the most preferred indirect ways to express their feelings,
thoughts, and beliefs toward people from different social and power distance. We expected that
the strategies used by these research participants would lead us to answer the possible factors
that underlie the choice of action. For example, one scenario is aimed at deriving the women’s
ways to assert their minds to their younger brother in-laws:
        Your husband’s youngest brother lives with you and constantly brings his friends
        to sleep over. Often time they stay up late singing and playing music the whole
        night. You are pregnant and need lots of rest. What would you say to your
        brother-in law and why do you choose such a strategy to express your thoughts?
        We found that most of our participants are prone to use delegating strategies by asking
their husbands to be the mediator to resolve the problems, since the husband is one of the
authority figures or protectors within West Sumatra context. Some women thought that they
would talk to their bother-in-law directly; however, we observed that even though the
participants tried very hard to smooth the way they requested their brother in-law to stop making
noise, the messages were ‘delivered’ indirectly. For example, one woman said:
        “Bro, you love me, right? This cute little one in my stomach kicks me so badly if it
        hears loud noises.”
        When the women were asked to deal with father-in-laws in the scenarios, the women
from all demographic backgrounds responded consistently. They were relatively more relaxed
and direct. Advising and requesting in asserting their feelings and thoughts are the most common
strategies used. For example, one woman responded:
        “Dad, you have to be just toward all of your grandchildren. Your unfairness
        could make them be jealous with each other.”
        Interestingly, they behaved slight differently toward mother-in-laws. The participants
seemed to be a little bit more ‘careful’ to communicate their mind. They might be quite direct,
but at the same time made deliberate effort to integrate to respond to this situation. For instance,
one participant responded:
        “Ma’am, I apologize to tell you that I have a duty to finish grading the papers this
        afternoon. What do you say if we go shopping after I submit the grades today, or I
        could ask someone else to accompany you”.
        The intent seems to come from the desire to fulfill her responsibility as a good
professional and still be loved by her mother-in-law. We could also notice the directness on this
woman’s assertion as well as her effort to integrate to her mother in-law’s interest by providing
alternative solutions.
        Possible assumptions to behave ‘extra carefully’ toward mother in-laws may include: the
sense of hidden ‘rivalry’ between mother in-laws and daughter in-laws that makes their
relationship more susceptible to chaos or conflicts; the contribution of West Sumatra’s culture as
world’s largest matrilineal society meaning that young generations follow mother’s line and
women own family estates; and also mother or mother-in-law is seen as an authority figure,

someone who is very influential in family decision-making activities. Breaking harmonious
relationship with mother-in-law could be considered as a counter-hegemonic act, and can
potentially cause many negative social consequences including the demise of the marriage
        When given a scenario to see the participants’ responses to female government officers,
we noticed that most women used questioning, smoothing, and using apologetic phrases before
expressing their thoughts. Again, we found recurring pattern that the women tend to be very
careful when dealing with female government officer compared to their attitude to male officer.
They might not be too apologetic or direct, but the choice of words were ’softer’ compared to
their responses to male officers.

        Strategies to assert thoughts and minds among these women may vary in directness,
however, we could clearly see that messages they needed to convey were delivered with very
careful consideration toward maintaining social harmony and acceptance in larger society. If we
refer to politeness theory, for example, these women indicated that they were aware of power
distance or their place within the social order, and behaved accordingly in order not to break
harmony, cohesiveness and interdependence within the society. The analysis also gave us the
clue that Hall’s cultural study in high context and low context culture shed powerful explanation
in terms of how the people from the two different cultures communicate their thoughts. He
suggested that people from high context culture such as Indonesians value covert clues instead of
overt ones and still subscribe to the notion that “Silence is golden”. The members of the society
are expected to be sensitive toward other’s feelings in all aspects of life. Verbal communication
and argumentativeness are not highly appreciated, especially when the interlocutors come from
different social order.
        Moreover, most research participants especially toward teachers and employers chose
obliging and integrating strategies when dealing with certain face-threatening situation. We
assume that the fact that most collectivist cultures value educated people and education highly as
well as the anxiety to cause negative impact toward the welfare of family members, (if one loses
his job) contributes to this excessive obedience and submissiveness. Hence, we inferred that
hierarchy and hegemony are well accepted by these women to maintain a sense of ‘membership’
with the larger society, regardless their educational background and socio-economy status.

(References will be shared at the conference).
Irianti Usman, Doctoral Student of Adult, Higher, and Community Education at Ball State
University, Muncie, Indiana,

Michelle Glowacki-Dudka, Assistant Professor at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana,

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

              Communities of Inquiry in a Blended Environment:
           The Effect of Group Mode and Time in Course on Learning
                                    Constance E. Wanstreet

        This study investigated the small-group discussion process in a blended, inquiry-based
course. Transcripts from online and face-to-face discussions were examined within the context of
the Community of Inquiry model for evidence of teaching, social, and cognitive presence over
time. Findings indicate that learners in a face-to-face group exhibited more than twice as much
social presence and nearly three times the cognitive presence than those who met in online chats.
Findings also show that the frequency of teaching, social, and cognitive presence did not change
over time for either group. The study led to a revised Community of Inquiry model.

         Constructivist educators generally agree that communities of inquiry create knowledge
and contribute to higher-order thinking (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000). However,
identifying the elements in communities of inquiry is still evolving, and the relationship of the
elements to one another and knowledge construction over time remains unclear (Meyer, 2004).
         Garrison et al. (2000) have developed a Community of Inquiry model that identifies three
core elements necessary for a worthwhile educational experience: teaching presence, social
presence, and cognitive presence. Teaching presence involves course design, discourse
facilitation, and direct instruction (Anderson, Rourke, Archer, & Garrison, 2001). Social
presence enables learners to project their personal characteristics and includes affective,
interactive, and cohesive aspects (Rourke, Anderson, Garrison, & Archer, 2001). Cognitive
presence is grounded in the critical thinking literature and involves the ability of learners to
construct meaning through sustained communication (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2001).
         The relationship of these elements to one another over time and in different group modes
(online or face to face) has not been adequately examined. Given that blended learning
environments represent a fundamentally new paradigm (Mayadas, Bourne, & Moore, 2005) and
that little is known about their effectiveness (Wu & Hiltz, 2004), and given that groups meeting
in person develop as they change over time (Arrow, McGrath, & Berdahl, 2000) but that little is
known about the development of online groups, this study seeks to bridge the research gap by
investigating changes over time in a community of inquiry situated in a blended learning context.

                                     Method and Procedures
        This quasi-experimental study examined the following primary research question: What
effect do group mode and time have on the relationship of teaching presence, social presence,
and cognitive presence to one another? A content analysis of transcripts from one group that met
via chat and one group that held face-to-face discussions was used to determine frequencies of
teaching, social, and cognitive presence indicators. Statements in the transcripts were
transformed to quantitative data for analysis within the framework of a mixed MANOVA design.

Research Context
        The content was created winter quarter 2006 by learners enrolled in a course at a large
Midwestern university about the philosophical and historical roots of adult education in America.
The course was blended; that is, it combined online and face-to-face experiences. The class met
in person three times: at the beginning, middle, and end of the quarter. At other times, students
worked in small groups to discuss issues around weekly readings and develop a response to
questions posed by the instructor. Group responses were posted to the online discussion board.
        On the first day of the course, learners (N = 26) were randomly assigned to six groups.
Members then negotiated among themselves the mode in which they would conduct their
discussions: either face to face or online. One group (n = 4) was randomly selected to participate
from the five groups that met online. The sole face-to-face group (n = 5) agreed to participate in
the study and tape record its meetings at weeks four and seven.

Research Design
       A two-factor mixed multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) design was chosen for
two reasons: the elements of the Community of Inquiry model are conceptually interrelated, and
together they reflect the underlying Community of Inquiry construct. Therefore, there are three
dependent variables: teaching presence, social presence, and cognitive presence. The between-
groups independent variable is group mode (online or face to face), and the within-group
independent variable is time in course (week four and week seven). The design measured
frequencies of Community of Inquiry indicators in the first half of the course and related them to
frequencies of indicators in the second half of the course.

       Complete transcripts were analyzed according to coding templates from Anderson et al.
(2001), Garrison et al. (2001), and Rourke et al. (2001), the researchers who developed the
Community of Inquiry framework. Categories and selected indicators are shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Community of Inquiry Categories and Selected Indicators
     Element         Categories                             Indicators

   Teaching       Instructional design     Setting curriculum, establishing netiquette
   Presence       Facilitating discourse   Encouraging contributions
                  Direct instruction       Present content/questions, focus the discussion

   Social         Affective                Expression of emotions, humor, self-disclosure
   Presence       Interactive              Referring to others, expressing agreement
                  Cohesive                 Vocatives, inclusive pronouns, phatics, salutations

   Cognitive      Triggering events        Recognizing the problem, sense of puzzlement
   Presence       Exploration              Information exchange, brainstorming
                  Integration              Connecting ideas, synthesis, creating solutions
                  Resolution               Defending solutions

        Analysis involved segmenting the content into meaning units (defined as paralanguage
and statements; i.e., complete thoughts, greetings, and closures), assigning each unit to an
indicator category, and providing tallies for each meaning unit. Two coders worked
independently. A third coder reconciled disagreements. Table 2 shows the scores for teaching,
social, and cognitive presence used in the analysis. The scores represent the final frequency of
meaning units per presence in the online and face-to-face transcripts. Interrater reliability for the
frequency of presence in online transcripts was .91 at time one and .82 at time two; reliability for
face-to-face transcripts was .78 at time one and .93 at time two. Reliability testing was conducted
using Krippendorff’s (2004) alpha (α).

Table 2. Scores for the Community of Inquiry Dependent Variables
                       Online                Sum                F2F                         Sum
             TPa          SPb        CPc                   TP         SP         CP
Time 1           16         127           121      264          77      259        293        629
Time 2           10          71            73      154          45      245        462        752
Sum              26         198           194      418       122        504        755      1,381
a                     b               c
teaching presence, social presence, cognitive presence

Group Demographics
        The online group had four members: two men and two women. Both men were graduate
students. One woman was a graduate student; the other was an undergraduate. The group met in
a chat space and generated 418 units of meaning (statements and paralanguage). On average,
teaching presence accounted for 6.5% of the total presence during discussions. Social presence
accounted for 47%, and cognitive presence accounted for 46.5% of the total.
        The face-to-face group had five members, all women. Four of the members were
graduate students. The group met in a restaurant and generated 1,381 units of meaning. On
average, teaching presence accounted for 9% of the total presence during discussions. Social
presence accounted for 37%, and cognitive presence accounted for 54% of the total.

Statistical Analysis
        A mixed multivariate analysis was conducted to assess if there was a difference between
the group that met online and the group that met face to face in the frequency of teaching, social,
and cognitive presence indicators generated over time. Table 3 shows significant multivariate
effects for the main effect of group mode and a high effect size (pη2 = .91). The effects for time
were not significant, and the interaction between group mode and time was not significant. This
indicates that the linear composite of teaching presence, social presence, and cognitive presence
differed for online and face-to-face groups. There was no difference over time. Nor was there an
interaction between group mode and time, meaning that time and whether groups met online or
face to face had no affect on the frequency of any presence.

Table 3. Multivariate Test Results
Effect                      Multivariate       Value          F         Sig.     Partial Eta
                               Test                                               Squared
Group Mode                  Pillai’s trace      .908         16.42     .005          .91
Time                        Pillai’s trace      .580          2.30     .195          .58
Time * Group Mode           Pillai’s trace      .370           .98     .473          .37
Note: alpha = .05

        Follow-up ANOVAs with a Bonferroni correction to the .05 alpha level for multiple
comparisons indicate that the effect of group mode was significant for both social presence
(F(1,7) = 22.64, p = .002) and cognitive presence (F(1,7) = 34.68, p = .001). The group that met
face to face generated higher frequencies of social and cognitive presence than the group that
met online.

Effect of Group Mode and Time on Presence
        The study’s findings indicate that learners in a face-to-face discussion group had
significantly higher frequencies of social and cognitive presence indictors than those who met in
online chats. Findings also show that the frequency of any presence did not change over time for
either group. These findings lead to several conclusions.
        First, given the same amount of time in a face-to-face discussion and an online chat,
members who meet in person can speak more rapidly than those who meet online can type, thus
generating more units of meaning to be coded. This does not mean that more is better. The
literature offers no guidance on optimal levels of each presence. What is required for a
worthwhile educational experience according to Garrison et al. (2001) is the combination of
teaching, social, and cognitive presence, which was evident in both groups.
        Second, social presence operates differently by mode. More social presence indicators are
needed online—nearly as many as cognitive presence indicators. Garrison et al. (2000) consider
social presence primarily important as a support for cognitive presence. However, the results of
this study show that expressing emotions and agreement as well as referring to group members
by name are vital to brainstorming, synthesizing ideas, and creating solutions.
        Third, low levels of teaching presence are sufficient to support cognitive presence.
Indeed, a high percentage of teaching presence would inhibit shared understanding that results
from brainstorming and connecting ideas because it may mean that more time was spent on
organization and direct instruction rather than on group cognitive activities.
        Fourth, when the initial level of cognitive presence is high as it may have been with the
experienced learners in these groups, more time may be needed to increase it. Based on the
literature, it is difficult to identify a suitable timeframe in which to expect changes in frequency
of teaching, social, and cognitive presence; but being able to compare results from the beginning
of a 10-week course and at the end would be preferable to the three-week timeframe in this

Revised Model
        In general, the Community of Inquiry model has been conceptualized as static and with
three equal elements. The current study anticipated that teaching presence, social presence, and
cognitive presence would be fluid and dynamic in responding to the needs of those in the

learning community. While optimal levels of each presence have not been determined, this study
suggests that for online groups social presence and cognitive presence should each account for
about 45% of the total, and teaching presence should account for about 10% of the total presence
for a worthwhile educational experience. Face-to-face groups may need between 35-40% of
social presence in their dialogue. Therefore, the revised model reflects findings of this study that
show differences by group (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Revised model of the community of inquiry for face-to-face and online groups in this
study. No revisions were made based on time in course.

        First, learners may have to be coached in teaching presence to facilitate dialogue and help
the group move to the integration and resolution phases of cognitive presence. Second, dialogue
that exhibits emotions and group cohesion (i.e., social presence) is critical to the higher-order
thinking that cognitive presence requires and should be encouraged.
        Discussion is a natural part of inquiry-based learning environments. Educators often use
discussion to help learners become critically informed about a topic, take responsibility for their
learning, question their assumptions, and gain more insight into themselves as learners. Making
discussions meaningful in a blended environment involves awareness on the part of the instructor
as to how learners are facilitating discussion, expressing their personalities, and developing
shared understanding through their dialogue with one another. That awareness may result in
coaching strategies for each presence that may vary for groups working online or face to face. In
that way, learners will recognize the dynamic nature of teaching presence, social presence, and
cognitive presence in meaningful discussions that contribute to a worthwhile educational

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       computer conferencing transcripts. The Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks,
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Arrow, H., McGrath, J. E., & Berdahl, J. L. (2000). Small groups as complex systems: formation,
       coordination, development, and adaptation. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based
        environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher
        Education, 2(2-3), 87-105.
Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2001). Critical thinking and computer
        conferencing: A model and tool to assess cognitive presence. The American Journal of
        Distance Education, 15(1), 7-23.
Krippendorff, K. (2004). Content analysis: An introduction to its methodology, 2nd ed. Beverly
        Hills, CA: Sage.
Mayadas, F., Bourne, J., & Moore, J. (2005). Blended learning: Sleeping giant. Sloan-C View,
        4(5), p.1.
        Meyer, K. A. (2004). Evaluating online discussions: Four different frames of analysis.
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in asynchronous text-based, computer conferencing. Journal of Distance Education, 14(3), 51-
Wu, D., & Hiltz, S. R. (2004). Predicting learning from asynchronous online discussions.
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Constance E. Wanstreet, Ph.D., Workforce Development and Education, The Ohio State
University, 2200 Olentangy River Road, Columbus OH 43210-1035,

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

    Listening As Healing Presence: A Preliminary Qualitative Investigation
                                           Patricia Webb

        The capacity to listen well, though central to both learning and relationships, is rarely
investigated as a learning process in itself. Further, case study research indicates that listening
and being listened to are transformative acts that can yield personal, interpersonal, and
communal healing, even among those traumatized by violence and loss. This preliminary study
explores the process of learning to listen, as well as personal and transpersonal outcomes of
listening practice, from the perspective of adults who participate in listening training and practice
within the context of their daily lives.

                         Introduction: Rationale & Research Questions
        Case studies and qualitative research from Africa and South America indicate that people
who have suffered violence and traumatic loss can experience significant healing, greater hope,
and more engagement with their communities through the apparently simple act of telling their
stories and listening to others tell theirs (Haitch & Miller, 2006; Leseho & Block, 2005; Shapiro,
1998). These studies involve no “professional” interventions or techniques. Rather, they explore
the process of mutual telling and listening among people who are willing, attentive, empathic
listeners, and strong enough to serve as vicarious witnesses to another person’s experience.
Consistently, findings indicate such a process creates a transformative environment for those
who suffer, helping them break the cycle of pain and violence and work for social reintegration
and peace.
        The purpose of the present study is to document and analyze the experience of adults who
are learning to practice focused, sustained listening on behalf of others, from the perspective of
adults who have participated in non-professional listening training (ie, not part of any form of
licensed clinical training) and have actively practiced listening with other adults.
        The following research questions are addressed:
     1. What is the experience of adults as they practice focused, sustained listening?
     2. In what ways do adults become more aware of themselves, the other person, and the
        listening process itself, through participation in listening training and practice?
     3. In what ways are adults’ thoughts, feelings, and perceptions changed through
        participation in listening training and practice?
     4. In what ways do adults believe they listen and/or relate differently to others, as a result of
        listening training and ongoing listening practice?

                                           Literature Review
Function & Value of Listening in Life
        Randall (1999) lays a foundation for considering the centrality of listening in adult life by
suggesting that “narrative intelligence” may well be a primary type, within Gardner’s model of
multiple intelligences (1990). Developed by telling and listening to a variety of narrative forms
in daily life, Randall asserts this intelligence is at least as crucial as linguistic, mathematic,
spatial or relational intelligences. It not only equips us to construct sequenced, meaningful
patterns of experience from the many competing perceptions and events of our lives, but it

rehearses our capacity for non-linear analysis, for “it is impossible to understand story – and thus
lifestory – in linear fashion, one insight at a time. …[A]ny story is about several things at once
– love, money, power, faith …” (Randall, p. 12).
        Randall further supports the notion that “telling one’s story” and “living one’s life” are
intertwined within intelligence, so as to effect each other dynamically – reflected in such terms
as “lifestory” and “history”. He cites Bruner (1987) who writes, “a life as lived is inseparable
from a life as told” (Randall, p. 31), and Parry & Doan (1994) who assert, “our stories live us as
much as we live them” (Randall, p. 13-14). He thus suggests a conceptual framework for
understanding the transformative power of speaking and listening to one other’s experience, as
acts that shape not just how we tell our lifestories, but our very lives which follow the telling.

Listening As Healing Presence
         Haitch & Miller’s 2006 case study, describing the 2004 international Watu Wa Amani
(“People of Peace”) conference, held in Nairobi, Kenya, points to further possibilities that
emerge with communal telling and listening. This global gathering of the “historic peace
churches” (Quakers, Mennonites and Brethren) encompassed worship, study, and many hours of
telling and listening to stories about violence averted or survived. “These were not ‘success’
stories in any simple sense. Here peacemaking meant simply truth-telling, and success lay in the
refusal to allow violence to have the last word” (p. 395).
         Haitch & Miller identify five characteristics of mutual listening that fostered healing and
peace at the conference, including the creation of: a psychologically safe space; a communal
space; and an imaginative space, where participants became freer to identify and create
“alternative endings to familiar but destructive patterns” (p.398).
         As a qualitative case study, the conference demonstrated that mutual speaking and
listening can be an effective “vehicle for forming a community of common values … and a
network of relationships that continue thereafter.” Further, Haitch & Miller conclude this is “not
just talk that evades action, but instead [is] a kind of performative action, even sacramental in the
sense it manifests the new reality of which it speaks” (p. 391).
         Similarly, Leseho & Block (2005) found in their travels through Argentina and Chile that
the impulse to speak about suffering both enlivened and emotionally healed the people they met.
The authors conducted extensive interviews with diverse groups in several regions. In Buenos
Aires, La Association de les Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, (the Association of the Mothers of the
Plaza de Mayo), had healed, reintegrated and rebuilt their communities through the mutual
process of speaking and listening to one another:
         The mothers were driven to speak for those whose voices were silenced by the
         military. Only by giving the disappeared a voice, and by making sure that
         everyone knew of the vision of social justice their children died for, were they
         able to deal with their own suffering and to continue to live and try to rebuild their
         country. Through sharing with other mothers, and by the telling and retelling of
         their stories, they have been healing the pain of losing their loved ones. (Leseho
         & Block, 2005, p. 179.)
         As a psychotherapist, Shapiro (1998) notes a “narrative turn” in the mental health field
across Western culture – affirming “the importance of narrative or storytelling in understanding
the spontaneous, unique ways individuals use the tools of language and culture to create the
stories [they] live by” (p. 91). She asserts that not only reading and writing, but also speaking
and listening to “personal narratives becomes an avenue for developing the critical, self-

reflective consciousness that makes us free enough to construct a complex life course using a
broader range of sources” (p.93).
        “Listening is social action,” Leseho & Block (2005) conclude. If so, then it is a critical
activity for adult & community educators to explore and understand in greater depth. By so
doing, we can support the social capital of empathy and solidarity among adults – no less present
in traumatized communities than in those untouched by violence – and can mobilize further
avenues of healing across myriad regions of the world ravaged by social or political violence and
war. The sustainability of these cultures depends on such healing.

        The present study takes an in-depth qualitative approach to understanding the learning
process, as well as broad, personal outcomes of sustained listening practice. Six (6) adults were
recruited through two independent organizations that teach listening practice: the Pittsburgh
chapter of the American Friends Service Committee (“AFSC”); and the Pittsburgh area Re-
evaluation Counseling (“RC”) community. Both organizations conduct periodic trainings in
focused, sustained, and empathic listening and both support on-going listening practice by adults
who attend trainings. Neither organization is involved in the training of licensed professional
therapists or clinical practitioners of any kind.
        The investigator met with each research subject individually and conducted an audio-
taped, 30-40-minute interview, following a semi-structured interview protocol of open-ended
questions that encouraged self-reflection on the learning processes and outcomes at work for
each subject. Interviews were transcribed literally, analyzed and coded for thematic content,
then sorted according to major themes and re-analyzed. Coded data was reduced to seven
categories: background & context; affective awareness; somatic awareness; insight & empathy;
techniques learned; major challenges; and life outcomes. Early findings were discussed with
research faculty and presented to graduate student colleagues for informal critique.

                                          Major Findings
        Background data revealed that the six subjects comprised a diverse purposeful sample,
representing male and female genders (3 each), as well as multiple races, nationalities,
educational and faith backgrounds. Subjects ranged in age from early 40s to late 60s and their
histories of listening practice ranged from 5 to nearly 40 years. All were relaxed, open and
thoughtful during the interview process.
        From the perspective of these adults, major findings of the interview data are as follows.

What is the experience of adults as they practice focused, sustained listening?
       Listening Contexts. Collectively, study subjects have listened in a variety of contexts,
from spiritual practice and experiential group trainings in homes, churches and schools, and then
expanding to listening in support groups, at community events (eg, live theatre or exhibitions), at
workplace and worker strike locations, in a United Nations office setting, with military veterans,
in mediation cases, in peer “co-counseling,” and for a private foundation listening project.
       Challenges & Techniques. Almost unanimously, subjects reported feeling initial
discomfort, anxiety and embarrassment in response to the listening process. Although some
characterized themselves as adventurous people and open to new things, they also expressed
moments of doubt with comments like: “Maybe this is crazy stuff,” or “People really do this?
…Why’d I let them talk me into this?!” Yet, these subjects also reported a rapidly growing

appreciation for the process they were learning, describing concurrent feelings of acceptance,
relief, comfort, belonging, and satisfaction with becoming able to help someone else.
         A common challenge revolved around feelings of uncertainty or inadequacy as a listener.
Even a long-time listener reported anxiety when changing methods or structures for listening –
feeling, at one point, “like a fraud.” Subjects were quick to note that, ironically, such worries
only detract more from their capacity to listen, and many reported learning to accept their
moments of “going in and out,” to relax, and to try to keep the process simple. Other challenges
included learning to handle confidentiality and personal feelings elicited by the speaker, as well
as learning not to give advice or try to solve problems.
         Subjects described a wide array of techniques, either learned in training or discovered in
practice, which helped them with these and other challenges. All reported that their training
taught them not to interrupt, but to learn to relax, maintain eye contact and provide a “steady”
calm presence. One approach advocated a specific structure for time and place of listening,
whereas another approach allowed for more spontaneity. Most subjects either described or
specifically identified “reflection” as a central tool of effective listening and reported that group
discussion was the learning activity most used to foster reflection in trainings. All subjects
emphasized that they learned most by doing and that learning to listen occurred gradually, over
extended periods – even many years – in direct proportion to the amount of listening practice
with which they involved themselves. As one subject stated: “It was hard for me…but you
realize it is a practice. You know? And you do get better; you get tremendously better.”

In what ways do adults become more aware of themselves, the other person, and the listening
process itself, through participation in listening training and practice?
        Affective & Somatic Awareness. Subjects expressed a wide range of strong personal
responses that arose in training and practice, beyond their initial reactions of embarrassment or
relief. Among these were feeling “free,” “generous,” “present,” “trusting,” and “in love,” as well
as feeling “disoriented,” “disturbed,” “fascinated,” “frightened,” “overwhelmed” and even
“devastated.” The latter two emotions were experienced in the context of listening to war
veterans’ for a military listening project, but most listeners also reported “struggling” with
“intense,” “upsetting” or “disturbing” content from time to time.
        Subjects found themselves initially challenged by learning to use their body more
thoughtfully and in new ways. Listener concerns about their own facial expressions, tone of
voice, needing to cough or change positions were expressed primarily in the context of early
listening training and practice. Long-time listeners more consistently reported “losing track” of
themselves. In the words of a military project listener: “…it’s not a conscious awareness [of]
listening…you just simply don’t ever take your eyes off the person. …You stay in the intensity
of the moment with them all the way through….”

In what ways are adults’ thoughts, feelings, and perceptions changed through participation in
listening training and practice?
        All six subjects reported experiencing a significant, sustained process of inner
development toward greater personal satisfaction, compassion and a sense of commonality with
respect to other people. All attributed this process directly to their listening practice. These
inner changes sometimes flowed from efforts to resolve listening challenges; at other times, they
were described as compassionate responses to the speaker, leading to a personal “revelation”:

        It was revolutionary, really. …No matter what you might have perceived
        someone to be, when you really started to listen to who they were, a whole
        different potential opened up for you and them…. I realized that I [was seeing]
        something in other people that I had kind of either forgotten about or didn’t
        acknowledge was present.
        Insight & Empathy. In describing their training and listening experiences, subjects
consistently expressed a steady growth of understanding about human motives, behaviors and
their outcomes – which understandings they applied to themselves as much as to others. One
anti-war activist turned military listener said:
        We just saw the inevitable polarization of people with…very set positions. …If
        you’re not willing to hear each other, then you’re just not going to go anywhere.
        You’re not going to change and grow – you’re just locked in. …I think [listening
        means] understanding my prejudices…. I have to let go and allow somebody
        else’s message to come through…re-examine my thinking and…be much more
        tolerant. It’s how I grow.
Subjects also described a growing capacity for and inclination toward compassion, not only for
people to whom they listened, but for other people in general and for themselves as a result of
listening practice. A peer-listener of fifteen years said:
        We really do all have the same stuff inside…. [Listening is] letting the person
        know, “I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.” You know? …It’s not about coming
        up with the “right” thing…. It’s really about you and me, about being there.
        About me being as “me” as I can, and that’s enough. And with the whole of it,
        comes the part, “We need you.” …You remember how important you are. And
        for me the feeling is, really, I’m part of everybody – I’m human. I’m valued [for
        me] and not for the “work” of it.

In what ways do adults believe they listen and/or relate differently to others, as a result of
listening training and ongoing listening practice?
        Interview data from these subjects evidenced profound effects of listening practice within
each of their lives, extending even beyond the relational data presented above.
        Life Outcomes. All six subjects expressed deep “life-changing” or “transformative”
effects of listening upon their lives as a whole. These subjects reported that listening training
and practice had fundamentally changed them not only as individuals, but in their ways of
relating in intimate relationships, to their life and career choices, and to humans as a whole. Two
of the three female subjects stated listening practice had led to personal “revelations,” as well as
to personal choices that expressed these new realms of awareness through aspects of their lives.
        Two of the three male subjects stated spontaneously that listening practice had shaped
their professional decisions. Both expressed a declining tolerance for conformity to business
norms within their work worlds, as well as growing commitment to integrating the type of
authenticity they experienced in listening practice within their professional and creative pursuits.
Further, both had found ways of effectively doing so, to varying degrees, in their lives.
          Finally, five out of six subjects expressed a growing sense of connection to people,
universally, which emerged from sustained listening practice. This perspective transformation
was expressed most eloquently by one subject as follows:
        You know, we all really are the same … when it comes down to the basics of life,
        we all want to be loved, we all want to be respected, we all want to have fun, to

       experience joy, we all want to be safe. … [I]f you’re willing to let go of this idea
       of pretense or the barriers we all kind of walk around with … it’s an amazingly
       freeing thing. It’s a place of joy, really … to have a a space to let that down, to
       be who you are really are with someone is beautiful. … Let yourself be real.

                                    Conclusions & Implications
        Listening skill emerges as an idiosyncratic, highly experiential process of learning that
rests heavily on the development of a consistent, sustained practice within one’s life. Consistent
listening practice, in turn, appears closely associated with a subject’s reflective capacity and
development of insight and compassion. It would be presumptive to draw a firm causative link
between these factors, however; further study is needed to explore the proposition that a
subject’s listening practice leads to the personal insights and new perspectives cited here.
        Somewhat unexpected was the extent to which these subjects emphasized the
transformative effect of listening across their lives. There was minimal talk of altruism or
feeling “good” because of helping others. Rather subjects focused on ways in which listening
helped the listener. This finding goes somewhat beyond the conclusions of case studies cited
and should be further investigated. Thus, a significant outcome of listening evidenced herein is
the remarkable humility of these practicing listeners – their self-perspective of continually
needing to learn and to grow, and their continual gratitude for a sense of belonging to the human

Haitch, R. & Miller, D. (2006). Storytelling as a means of peacemaking: A case study of
        Christian education in Africa. Religious Education, 101 (3), 390-401.
Leseho, J & Block, L (2005). “Listen and I tell you something”: Storytelling and social action in
        the healing of the oppressed. British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, 33 (2), 175-
Randall, W. L. (1999). Narrative intelligence and the novelty of our lives. Journal of Aging
        Studies, 13 (1), 11-39.
Shapiro, E. R. (1998). The healing power of culture stories: What writers can teach
        psychotherapists. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 4 (2), 92-101.
Patricia Webb just completed her Masters Degree in Adult & Community Education at Indiana
University of Pennsylvania, and is presently a first-year doctoral student in Adult Education at
the Pennsylvania State University, University Park. She may be contacted at 253 Governors
Park Road, Bellefonte, PA 16823 or by email at

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

         Narrative Medicine and Online Life Review for Cancer Patients
                                  Meg Wise & Lucille Marchand

        We report on a pilot study of an online narrative education program within a university-
based comprehensive cancer center. The program consisted of an expert-led dignity-enhancing
interview to elicit a life narrative, delivery of a well-honed life manuscript, and access to a
prototype life review education website with information and expert consultation to enhance
their story by text or images. Eleven patients participated in the three-month study. People with
greater death salience—late stage cancer, or early stage cancer combined with another life-
threatening illness—benefited from telling their story and receiving their story manuscript. Only
people with prior computer experience used the web tools to enhance and share their story—and
they suggested several program enhancements so they could upload revised story and images and
invite their friends and family to view it. Further older (>70) computer users relied on extensive
staff and family support. We conclude that the full online narrative life review intervention is
most feasible for cancer center implementation with computer savvy midlife adults with
advanced illness. Plans for further research and practice are discussed.

         A cancer diagnosis is an unwanted and uninvited life event that engenders significant
physical and existential pain (Parker et al., 2001). And existential pain—the loss of personal
dignity, meaning and purpose in life, and hopes for continued relationships—contributes more to
a wish for hastened death than does physical pain (Chochinov et al., 2005a). However, cancer
can also lead people to reflect on the meaning of their life, create a legacy, and set goals for their
remaining time (Block, 2001). People who make meaning of their cancer, suffering and mortality
often report a growth in compassion, spirituality, relationships and appreciation for life (Bellizzi,
2004). Cancer-related growth is far from typical, but there is growing evidence that meaning-
focused therapies increase existential well-being (and thereby reduce distress) among very ill
patients (Breitbart & Heller, 2002; Classen et al., 2001). Creating and sharing one’s story can
help people live more fully within the elastic shadows of “mortal time” (Frank, 1995). However,
it matters how a story is filtered, as dignity may not emerge in stories constructed through a
despairing lens (Frank, 1995). Oral storytelling is powerful but leaves no tangible legacy; writing
takes time, skill and energy often absent in people who are juggling cancer with adult life tasks.
         Chochinov (2002) addresses these limitations by providing dying patients with an expert-
led face-to-face interview to elicit a dignity-enhancing life story and a "life manuscript" honed
from the interview transcript. The intervention significantly reduced both patient and caregivers’
distress (Chochinov et al., 2005b) and was cost effective (Tenenbaum, 2007). Alas, expert-led
life review elicitation and delivery is offered by a very few high-end cancer or hospice facilities
(or by out-of-pocket private services). eHealth systems, such as the Comprehensive Health
Enhancement Support System (CHESS) used in this study, provides didactic information as well
as narrative learning via communication and personal stories, has been widely tested and shown
to improve healthcare participation and social support (Gustafson et al, 2002; Wise et al., under
review). Given the benefits of interventions that deliver a narrative and life review education,
and the popularity of autobiographical hobbies and cancer websites, we hypothesized that people

could benefit from a program that integrated Chochinov’s intervention with online life review
education earlier in their cancer journey. We describe the theoretical framework, program
components, pilot study results, and implications for further research and practice.

Theoretical Framework
         Our intervention rests on theories of lifespan development and adult learning/coping,
research on narrative interventions and education. Generativity, or productive social contribution
and mentoring, builds a positive legacy and offsets midlife stagnation; integrity involves
completing life goals and relationships and offsets despair in old age (Erikson, 1963). This
assumes people will enjoy in their old age the fruits they seeded in the midlife. But cancer
serves notice that “off-time” mortality may dash those assumptions (Neugarten, 1979) —and
may account for midlife patients’ greater distress as well as their quest greater for meaning
(McClain, Rosenfeld & Breitbart, 2003; Parker et al., 2001). In fact, life events, more than age,
can foster generativity (McAdams & de St Aubin, 1992) and transformative learning (Mezirow,
1991). A cancer lens may render old assumptions senseless; priorities and habits may change.
Such “post-traumatic growth” can lead to a reappraisal of self, the social world, and suffering
itself and reveal hidden strengths, new options, and augment one’s appreciation for life and
relationships (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 1995). Life review, long used in adult education, and illness
narratives used cancer interventions improve quality of life (Classen et al, 2003; Kreuter et al.,
2007). Narratives can impose order over chaos, encourage cognitive reflection, and enhance
decision-making, health and well-being, and connect people to their sense of aesthetics that
suffering is part of the human condition (Carlick & Biley, 2004; Pennebaker, 2000).

                                     Methods and Procedures
Online Narrative Intervention Components
          The intervention consisted of three components: a telephone interview; delivery of an
edited life manuscript, and CHESS: miStory, a prototype life review educational website.
         Telephone interview. Questions were adapted from Chochinov’s (2002) face-to-face
work with near-death hospice patients to address the circumstances of our study participants who
were actively living with or beyond their cancer and included: Can you tell me a little about your
life history (best times, when you grew and changed, difficult times and how did you get through
them)? What are some of the most important things you have done or accomplished in your life?
What do you want your family or loved ones to remember about you? Is there anything you’d
like to say to someone? What have you learned about life that you would want to pass along to
others? How has cancer affected your life? Is there anything about you that you’d like to share?
         Manuscript, The manuscript, delivered via paper and CHESS: miStory, was edited to be
fluid, maintain participants’ voice, and ensure they would be proud to read and share it. To
facilitate revisions, the main questions were retained and highlighted and bracketed notes to
foster reflection or story enhancement were inserted. For instance, [You may wish to expand on
having an AFS student live with you.”], was added below a passing mention of hosting a foreign
exchange student. (She in fact did follow-up). The interviewer summarized key assets,
experiences, and goals, and the editor described how the story was edited and ways to enhance
and share their story with paper/glue or CHESS: miStory resources.
         CHESS: miStory, a personalized website shown in Figure 2, provided information and
expert support on how to enhance the life manuscript. Tools included “My Story in Text”
original story and the editor’s notes in MS Word. In response to an early participant’s request to

upload and share her revised story, we added “My Final
Story.” and “My Images.” Patients provided files and
we uploaded them. ”Story Writing Tips” included
general guidelines, tips for working with each story
section (based on the interview questions) and
suggestions for sharing the story. Links included high
quality websites for cancer, as well as for history,
genealogy, and quotations. People could also create
their own links. Support included interviewer’s
summary, expert mail (MW), and technical support.           Figure 2. CHESS: miStory personal
Sample Enrollment and Study Procedures
        A convenience sample was recruited through a university-based comprehensive cancer
center according to the IRB-approved protocol. Physicians invited eligible patients; the principal
investigator (MW) explained the study and privacy protections by phone, and mailed consent and
forms and a comprehensive survey with demographics, illness, and psychosocial scales. After the
phone interview and registration to CHESS: miStory, the edited life story and feedback
documents were uploaded to the website, and training session on the website (and study
computer or scanner, as needed) was conducted at home or by phone, per participant preference.
At the end of the study people completed the 3-month post-test, participated in an exit interview,
and received $20; their personal website was left active.

         Ten of the thirteen invited patients completed the study. Two (> age 65) declined because
they objected to the website. One 70-year old woman (early stage cancer) dropped out due to a
family problem. The sample included 4 men and 6 women; the mean age was 67 (43-85). Six
(including all 4 men) were very ill (4 had Stage IV cancer; 2 men (> age 80) had significant
comorbidities); 1 woman (age 70) had had a near death experience as an adolescent; 3 early stage
female survivors (early 70s) had resumed active lives. Four reported baseline depression. All
were Caucasian, but this was not a socially privileged sample—6 had a high school degree or
less; 6 had an income of $40,000 or less. Consistent with Pew research on internet penetration, 9
of the original 11 participants had home Internet access (Madden, 2006). But only one over age
65 was truly web savvy. The sample was too small to examine pre-post-test effects. Baseline
scores for post-traumatic-growth and psychological well-being were slightly above the scales’
midpoints with the highest scores for relationship quality and social support and the lowest for
autonomy and mastery. Participants did not find surveys burdensome—but missing data suggest
a shorter survey might be indicated. Key story themes were: a good life, overcoming adversity,
life is a gift, people as priority; I am a better person due to cancer, spirituality, and goals.

Evaluation of Study Components
        Interview and manuscript. Everyone appreciated these features. One woman, who was
feeding her grandchild during the phone interview, noted, “Women have always multi-tasked
while telling their stories.” An accomplished scholar (age 43) with significant medication side
effects noted, “I could never have written this, but these are my words!” Telling and reading the
story encouraged reflection and action. A musician (age 60, Stage IV cancer and history of drug
abuse) said, “After the interview I began to think every bad thing I had ever done, every

remorseful thing.” By the end, he had edited his story, was reconnecting with friends and
estranged family, playing music, and glad he had participated. One woman with excellent family
relationships said, “The question about what do I want to say to someone brought up the fact that
I had never told my family I love them. It really bothered me. A few weeks later I told my sister
and brother-in-law that I loved them and we all hugged. I am so glad I did this.” An 85 year-old
man shared, “This has been so helpful. I always thought I had a pretty ordinary family, but it
was really quite different.” Reflecting on his parents’ loving relationship and his own life
accomplishments offset the pain of putting his wife in a nursing home during the study.
        Revising the story. Three people with no prior computer experience rejected learning it
for revising their story. One used traditional means: “Reading it made me be more reflective…,
but it was just the shell, and I want to get to the yolk. … I made several copies and cut the
manuscript into strips, am writing by hand and pasting things together. When I am done, I will
have my husband type it for me.” Three did minor copy-editing or added photos. Four did major
revisions: One tripled her original story length, and added graphics and four of her original
poems about her cancer and the women in her support group. Of CHESS: miStory, she said, “The
editorial feedback was valuable. When I asked, ‘What should I do?’ You said, ‘Make it my own
story.’ I took out the interview questions and began filling in details.” She then asked how to
upload and share it. A second woman wrote four vignettes (family tree, health and cancer
history, a day in the young family’s life, and hosting an AFS student) and later asked us to post
them on her homepage and for directions and sharing them with her family. An 82-year-old
expanded his story from 11 to 33 pages and scanned 45 photographs (with considerable staff and
family support). In an unsolicited email, “Now that this project is nearing completion, I am glad
that I did it. It will be a wonderful record for my family and friends. Thank you for your help
and patience.” Finally, a 43 year-old woman with recurrent metastatic cancer borrowed a study
scanner and noted, “This summer my 6-year old daughter and I will work on this together. I can’t
focus on writing, but scanning photos and tweaking the text will be so fun for both of us.”
        Living Story. The story lived on in the hearts of others. Caregivers of two patients who
died contacted us. A widow told how the story was part of the couple’s healing, forgiveness, a
peaceful death and her spiritual awakening and ongoing connection to her deceased spouse. A
daughter-in-law called to tell us that she found the original story in its envelope with a note that
it be copied and distributed to family. Notably when asked at the exit interview (a year before he
died) if he had shared his story with others, he replied, “They can see it after I go.”

Feasibility and Sustainability: Acceptance and Potential for Clinical Implementation
         Patients and family enthusiastically endorsed this intervention. Oncologists noted it can
fill a need, “I have a 32 year-old ovarian cancer patient who wants to make a hope chest for her
two-year old daughter; she doesn’t know where to begin.” Cost-wise, it took two physician hours
and three health educator hours to elicit and produce an edited story and feedback. We have
since tested less costly strategies (e.g. health educator for the interviews, and a trained and
supervised undergraduate English major for the standard edits—e.g., eliminating “ums’, false
starts. Notably, physicians are on hand in the case of extraordinary patient distress. Finally,
providing non-web savvy people with computers and Internet access was not helpful, cost
effective nor feasible for broad dissemination—web users required little staff effort.

                  Discussion and Implications for Research and Practice
       We integrated online life review education into a narrative clinical intervention. A pilot

study with midlife and older cancer patients found that high death salience and prior computer
experience benefited most from the full intervention. Nonetheless, “jump starting” the story
from via interview was valued whether or not people went on to use the web-based education
and communication tools. This is consistent with theories that we are hardwired to make
meaning of life through our ongoing stories—and as deeply social beings oral storytelling is
more natural and far easier than writing (Bruner, 1991). Receiving the life manuscript was also
valued as it allowed people to express with eloquence their appreciation of life and self—most
would not have written it. That revising the story was, as one woman said “like self-therapy,”
points to findings that deep writing can improve psychological health (Pennebaker, 2000).
Reflecting on the story encouraged transformative learning (Carlick and Biley; 2004; Kreuter et
al., 2007; Mezirow, 1991). Despite our focus on the individual, the primacy of relationships was
evident in story themes family support for using technology, patient requests to share the story
online, and in bereaved loved ones later contacting us—and consistent with Chochinov’s revised
observation that sharing the story was at least as important as constructing it, leading renaming
the “life manuscript” as a “legacy document” (Chochinov, 2002; et al., 2005b)
        Our preliminary findings suggest it may be feasible and cost effective to implement this
intensive narrative intervention through cancer centers, but more research is needed to measure
specific effects and the mechanisms of these effects. As internet penetration approaches 80% of
U.S. adults under age 65 and cancer becomes more prevalent among this web-savvy age group,
expert-driven eHealth programs must adopt web 2.0 social networking platforms— allowing
people to control their multimedia content and invite and orchestrate their social network, while
maintaining the accuracy, integrity and easy navigation of instructional content. Thus, we have
created a new website on a social networking platform called, “miLivingStory,” that integrates
the instructional content of CHESS: miStory. We have proposed to test whether the revised
intervention will reduce distress and improve existential well-being of web-savvy patients with
advanced cancer (age 30-60) and their selected social network.

Bellizzi, K. (2004). Expressions of generativity and posttraumatic growth in adult cancer
        survivors. International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 58(4), 267-288.
Block S. (2001) Psychological considerations, growth, and transcendence at the end-of-life: the
        art of the possible. JAMA, 285, 2898-2905.
Breitbart, W., & Heller, K. (2002) Reframing hope: Meaning-centered care for patients near the
        end of life. Innovations in End-of-Life Care, 4(6) Accessed
Bruner, J. (1991). The narrative construction of reality. Critical Inquiry, 18, 1-21
Carlick, A., & Biley, F. C. (2004). Thoughts on the therapeutic use of narrative in the promotion
        of coping with cancer. European Journal of Cancer Care, 13, 308-317.
Chochinov, H.M. (2002) Dignity-Conserving Care—A New Model for Palliative Care: Helping
        the Patient Feel Valued. JAMA, 28 (17), 2253-2260
Chochinov, H.M., Hack, T., Hassard, T., Kristjanson, L.J., McClement, S., & Harlos, M.
        (2005a). Understanding the will to live in patients nearing death. Psychosomatics, 46, 7-
Chochinov, H.M., Hack, T., Hassard, T., Kristjanson, L.J., McClement, S., & Harlos, M. (2005b)
        Dignity therapy: a novel psychotherapeutic intervention for patients near the end of life.
        Journal of Clinical Oncology 23(24), 5520-5

Classen C., Butler L,, Koopman, C., Miller, E., DiMiceli, C., Geise-Davis, G., et al. (2001)
        Supportive-expressive group therapy and distress in patients with metastatic breast
        cancer. Archives of General Psychiatry 58, 494–501
Erikson, E. (1963). The eight stages of man. In Childhood and Society. Second edition: New
        York: W. W. Norton & Co. Pages 247-274.
Frank, A. (1995). The Wounded Storyteller. Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
Gustafson, D., Hawkins, R., Boberg, E., McTavish, F., Owens, B., Wise, M., et al. (2002).
        CHESS: Ten years of research and development in consumer health informatics for broad
        populations including the underserved. International Journal of Medical Informatics,
        65(3), 169-177.
Kreuter, M., Green, M., Cappella, J., Slater, M.D., Wise, M., Storey, D., et al., (2007). Narrative
        communication in cancer prevention and control: a framework to guide research and
        application. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 33(3), 221–235.
Madden, M. (2006) Internet Penetration and Impact 2006. Pew Internet & American Life
        Project, Accessed July 1, 2007
McAdams, D., & de St. Aubin, E. (1992). A theory of generativity and its assessment through
        self-report, behavioral acts, and narrative themes in autobiography. Journal of
        Personality and Social Psychology, 62, 1003-1015.
McClain, C., Rosenfeld, B., & Breitbart, W. (2003). Effect of spiritual well-being on end-of-life
        despair in terminally-ill cancer patients. Lancet, 361, 1603-1607
Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
Neugarten, B. (1979). Time, age and the life cycle. American Journal of Psychiatry, 136, 887-
Parker, P., Carl de Moor, W. and Cohen, L. (2003). Psychosocial and demographic predictors of
        quality of life in a large sample of cancer patients Psycho-Oncology, 12(2) 2003, 183-19.
Pennebaker J.W. (2000). Telling stories: the health benefits of narrative. Literature & Medicine,
        19(1): 3-18.
Tedeschi, R. G. and Calhoun, L. G. (1996) The Posttraumatic Growth Inventory: Measuring the
        positive legacy of trauma. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 455-471.
Tenenbaum, D. (2007). Death: The importance of dignity. The Why Files. University of
        Wisconsin-Madison: Accessed
Wise, M., Han, J.Y., Shaw, B., McTavish, F., & Gustafson, D. (revision under review). Effects
        of online narrative and didactic information on breast cancer patient healthcare
Meg Wise, PhD., Assistant Scientist, CHESS Project, University of Wisconsin, 1515 University
Avenue, #3107, Madison WI 53726, Lucille Marchand, MD, Department of
Family Medicine, University of Wisconsin, 770 Mills Street, Madison WI 53726,
Research funded by University of Wisconsin’s Aging and Cancer Program, Paul Carbone
Comprehensive Cancer Center and Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research,
both supported through National Cancer Institute grants.

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

          Adult Education in Local Initiatives for Ecological and Cultural
             Sustainability: Three Case Studies in the Midwest USA
                                             Janice L. Woodhouse

        In the sustainability discourse, education (including training and public awareness) is
claimed to be critical to implementing policies and practices that will achieve economic,
ecological, and cultural sustainability. This paper discusses dissertation research that uses a
multiple case study approach to examine three community-based initiatives in the Midwest
United States designed to improve ecological and cultural sustainability. Each case study was
constructed to investigate what was happening, why it was happening, who was making it
happen, and then examined how adult education was located and defined in that process. A
theoretical model for understanding how adult education fits in the greater context of education
for sustainability is developed. This study ultimately informs a model that describes the
intersection of social movements, environmental education, and participatory process as a means
to achieving ecological and cultural sustainability. 1

                            Introduction and Statement of the Problem
        Global attention has been focused on issues of environmental quality for over 30 years,
and most systematically since the 1992 Earth Summit and Agenda 21, a blueprint for policy
formation and implementation related to economic development that is compatible with
ecological and cultural sustainability (NCSE, 1992). The notion of “sustainability” is most
commonly cited as development which “meets the needs of the present without compromising
the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (World Commission on Environment
and Development, 1987, p. 8). Many governmental and non-governmental programs are
working to bring about ecological and cultural sustainability through international, national,
regional, and local initiatives. For example, the environmental movement is international and
composed of "over 100,000 NGOs that work on environmental issues" (Bryner, 2001, p. 70).
The International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives reported 6,416 local authorities in
113 countries in some phase of implementing a local environmental initiative (Alebon, et al.,
2002). These groups are involved in actions to bring ecological and cultural sustainability to the
places they inhabit. Education is consistently advocated as an imperative in this effort (Smyth,
2002; Tilbury, 1995; UN, 2000). Education is defined here as an organized activity with the
conscious intention of bringing about a change in knowledge, skills, or attitudes, or for the
purpose of identifying or solving personal or community problems (adapted from Liveright &
Haygood, 1969, p. 8 as cited in Courtney, 1989, p. 17).
        Some reports about local environmental initiatives claim that education, training, and/or
public awareness are being used to develop new knowledge, skills, and values (Alebon, et al.,

 I frame these considerations as "ecological and cultural." Economic sustainability is part of both. Since economics
has been the dominant paradigm for determining development policy, I do not ignore it, but I de-center it as an
organizing principle. I consider economics, education, and governance as means to ecological and cultural

2002; Clover, 2003; Fien & Skoien, 2002; UN, 2000). Other reports do not make these claims,
but an examination of the efforts reveals that education, training, and/or public awareness are
part of that process (Woodhouse, 2003). The problem is that there is limited research that
critically examines these claims: the content or process—the particulars of that education (Dietz
& Stern, 2002). The literature review completed in preparation for this research reveals that this
phenomenon is not being examined in the adult education literature or the environmental
education literature to any extent. Therefore the primary question guiding this research is: How
is adult education (including training and public awareness) located and defined as a means to
implementing local initiatives for ecological and cultural sustainability? Secondly, the problem is
that research is needed to examine the adult education in local environmental initiatives within a
greater pedagogical context. Every adult education enterprise is part of a greater ecology.
Therefore this research considers the question: Where does adult education for local ecological
and cultural sustainability fit in the greater context of education for sustainability? And, does
understanding this inform a model for the interaction of social movements, environmental
education, and participatory process?
         This paper presents an overview of the research. Because of the scope and uniqueness of
this research in the adult education discourse, the methods are described in some detail. Findings
discussed in this paper will focus on the primary question.

                                         Research Methods
Phase One
        The research for this dissertation has been carried out in two phases. The design of Phase
One of this exploration evolved with the intention to clarify the significance and feasibility of the
focus of the study, the questions to be asked, the data collection methods, and the methods of
analysis (Yin, 2003). The properties of the phenomenon to be studied were initially identified
through systematic reflection on personal experience and a wide reading of the technical and
non-technical literature on the environmental movement and local sustainability initiatives
around the world. The work of this phase also included participation in the International Council
of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) World Congress in Athens, Greece, 2003. A
preliminary study was conducted analyzing case studies of local environmental initiatives
coordinated in part through the ICLEI. The results of this study were presented at an
international adult education conference in Glasgow, Scotland in 2003 (Woodhouse, 2003).
Learnings from the exploratory phase led to the construction of a theoretical framework for
Phase Two. The theoretical framework is a blueprint for the study that requires theoretical
propositions or a hypothetical story about why acts, events, structures, and/or thoughts occur
(Yin, 2003). The theoretical framework informed the case study design and became the vehicle
for analyzing the data and generalizing results (Yin, 2003).

Phase Two
         Phase Two used a multiple case study approach which is exploratory, descriptive, and to
a more limited degree, explanatory or causal (Yin, 2003). The unit of analysis was the local
initiative: the community-based effort to bring about greater ecological and cultural
sustainability in that place. The goal of the research was analytical generalization. A multiple
case study method was selected to provide a comprehensive, systematically constructed
description of the initiatives.
         Selection of research sites. The research sites were chosen according to specific criteria

related to location, population size, locus of control, focus of local effort, breadth and depth of
the initiative, and attitude of cooperation from key stakeholders. Through reviews of academic
and popular literature, web searches, and networking at conferences, the author located sites that
fit the criteria and then visited the sites to verify that what was claimed in print or electronic
media was a true representation of what was happening in the community. Through this process,
three sites were selected: Champaign-Urbana, Illinois: "Imagine a Sustainable Champaign
County"; Waterloo, Iowa: "The Rath Area Neighborhood Redevelopment Project"; and Racine,
Wisconsin: "Sustainable Racine".
         Selection of participants. The interviewing process began with a key stakeholder in each
community and then used a process called "snowballing" (Bogdan & Biklen, 2003, p. 64) to
identify other key stakeholders. Once the stakeholder agreed to an interview, s/he became a
         Sources of evidence. The applicability of the theoretical framework was tested through
the sources of evidence listed below (Yin, 2003). Each source involved specific data gathering
techniques chosen to collect and organize the volume of data, and to maintain a chain of
evidence for each case study. These sources and techniques included:
     • Semi-structured and open-ended interviews with stakeholder-participants in each
         initiative. Interviews were audiotaped and lasted between one and three hours. The tapes
         were transcribed and copies of the transcription were sent to participants for review and
     • Participation in site visits (e.g., museums, nature centers, other interpretive centers or
         sites of activity), tours of neighborhoods, tours of reconstructed facilities.
     • Participation in and observation of community meetings, workshops, celebrations, and
         other relevant cultural events.
     • Review of related scholarly or popular literature from print and electronic media sources.
Over the course of two and a half years, data collected included eight cubic feet of ancillary
material and 95 formal interviews conducted among the three sites and transcribed to over 3,000
pages of data.
         Analysis and synthesis of all data. Analysis and synthesis of data followed using
explanation building, a form of pattern-matching logic (Yin, 2003, pp. 120, 116) and then cross-
case synthesis (p. 133).
         Application of the theoretical. Findings were compared to the theoretical framework
constructed in Phase One. This effort defined: a) the degree to which the properties identified in
the theoretical framework were present and interacting at the grassroots level in these local
initiatives, and b) how the theoretical framework was useful in understanding the adult education
that was taking place as a means to reaching ecological and cultural sustainability.
         Validity Issues. Validity issues have been addressed through the following verification
procedures (Yin, 2003): 1) Construct validity: triangulation, member checking, and maintaining
a chain of evidence; 2) Internal validity: pattern matching, theory building, and addressing rival
explanations; 3) External validity: claiming the notion of replication logic for a multiple-case
study approach, generalizing results based on interfacing the data with the theoretical framework,
and comparing results with the literature review; 4) Reliability: developing a carefully defined
case study protocol, developing a case study database, securing a reasonably objective and
informed member of each community to review the narrative constructed about the historical
context of each case study.

                                  Overview of the Three Initiatives
        “Imagine a Sustainable Champaign County” is a community-based initiative set in
motion by the Champaign [Illinois] County Board in late 2002. At that time there was no system
in place for the board to review information on the state of the environment in Champaign
County, despite the fact that the board had to make decisions that affected the environment. To
address this deficit, the board appointed an environmental advisory panel of local people who
they thought would have the interest and skills to study the issues and prepare a report for the
board. The panel worked for over two years to identify trends in the state of the county’s natural
environment. They relied on knowledge held by the members of the panel, outside resources of
people and publications, and input from the community. The panel presented their report to the
county board in November 2004. The work of the panel concluded about the time that the
"big.small.all" Champaign County community visioning project began, a process at least
supported if not provoked by the work of the panel.
        “The Rath Neighborhood Redevelopment Project” was created by the City of Waterloo,
Iowa to revitalize the 350-acre segment of the community that had developed adjacent to the
Rath Packing Company founded in 1891 and closed in 1985 (Donnell, 1993). The plant closing
resulted in the loss of several thousand jobs, a decline in the neighborhood’s population and
property values, and an increase in crime. Site contamination and the perception of
contamination from the meat processing functions of the 50-acre plant ultimately qualified the
property for a “brownfields” designation and funding for environmental assessment and
redevelopment. In 2001 the City of Waterloo initiated the construction of a plan to create a
vision and develop a model approach to future redevelopment and revitalization (Vandewalle &
Associates, 2001). The construction of the plan as well as the success of its recommendations
and redevelopment strategies relied on the knowledge, skills, and commitments of the city
council, city staff, economic development facilitators, and the neighborhood residents.
        The “Sustainable Racine” (Racine County, Wisconsin) initiative evolved out of a citizen-
led community forum which laid the groundwork for the formation of a non-profit, non-partisan,
community-based organization called Sustainable Racine. Since 1998, Sustainable Racine has
used community visioning, public planning forums, public seminars, and small group process to
carry out large and small projects to secure blighted neighborhoods and business districts, clean
up its beaches and improve water quality, create partnerships between business and community
organizations to address employment and cultural issues, and to generally educate the citizenry
about the broader implications of a sustainable community.

                             How is Education Located and Defined?
        Much adult education research focuses on what is learned, but before we can study what
is learned in community-based initiatives of this scope, we first have to locate where the learning
is taking place. In all three initiatives education, training and public awareness supported the
effort. Generally the education was non-formal, place-based, and experiential. Most of the
participants were directly involved in the core activities of the initiatives and came to the table
with specific and general areas of expertise related to the objective. However, most still felt that
there were issues and/or aspects of issues about which they needed (individually and
collectively) to be more informed. This was achieved through inviting speakers to various
venues to contribute to the ecological literacy of the participants in areas such as water quality
and management, air quality, land use and comprehensive planning, open space and habitat
restoration/preservation, and green building design. Some participants visited other communities

to observe community-based efforts. In Champaign and Racine lists of readings were circulated
among work groups. In addition, participants worked though collaborative processes,
participated in book clubs, diversity circles, and volunteered with various activities that evolved
from the objectives established in the visioning process.
        Formal training was limited to training facilitators to work in the visioning process.
Public awareness campaigns were evidenced in multiple ways: public media (television,
newspaper, and web site), public forums to create new visions for community development,
questionnaires made available at public sessions, via web sites, and through telephone surveys.
All initiatives created periodic reports of progress, which were made available in paper copy, on
web sites, or compact disc.

                        Summary of Findings Across Three Case Studies
        Most of the adult education that facilitated these local initiatives was ancillary to other
actions taking place and was rarely called “education”—never adult education. However,
education, training, and public awareness processes were used to create spaces for people to set
new visions of more sustainable alternatives to current community development issues, policy,
and practice. The community visioning process is a critical step to ecological and cultural
sustainability (Nattrass & Altomare, 2002; Robert, 2002). Public awareness campaigns and
visioning processes were the most visible of these education processes. The visioning process
became a catalyst for local action, which brought groups with diverse and conflicting agendas
together on common ground. Participation was stronger when people possessed environmental
knowledge, felt a connectedness to place, and when certain frameworks for participatory process
existed. Absent from most of these educational processes were formally trained adult educators.
The lack of knowledge and skills about how adults learn, how to structure coherent educational
experiences, and how to assess results may be limiting local sustainability efforts. These
preliminary findings were consistent across all three cases.
        Educational processes that are part of or evolve within local environmental initiatives are
multi-layered, complex, and diverse. This may be problematic to conventional research
protocols designed to examine discrete aspects of phenomena. The lack of ability or support to
examine multi-layered, complex, and diverse processes—perhaps a result of a lack of systems
literacy and/or the lack of a model for examining this kind of phenomenon—may also explain
the limited research around this issue. This study provides a model for that kind of research.

Alebon, K., Engle, J., Klinsky, S., & Walker, J. (2002). Second Local Agenda 21 Survey:
       Background Paper No. 15. Toronto, Canada: International Council for Local
       Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). Retrieved April 16, 2003, from
Bogdan, R. C., & Biklen, S. K. (2003). Qualitative research for education: An introduction to
       theories and methods (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Bryner, B. C. (2001). Gaia’s wager: Environmental movements and the challenge of
       sustainability. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Clover, D. E. (Ed.). (2003). Global perspectives in environmental adult education. New York:
       Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.

Courtney, S. (1989). Defining adult and continuing education. In S. B. Merriam & P. M.
        Cunningham (Eds.), Handbook of adult and continuing education (pp. 13-25). San
        Francisco: Josey Bass Publishers.
Dietz, T., & Stern, P. (Eds.). (2002). New tools for environmental protection: Education,
        information and voluntary measures. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Donnell, J. D. (1993). Why the Rath Packing Company failed. Waterloo, IA: Grout Museum of
        History and Science.
Fien, J., & Skoien, P. (2002). “I’m learning . . . how you go about stirring things up—in a
        consultative manner”: Social capital and action competence in two community catchment
        groups. Local Environment, 7(3), 269-282.
Liveright, A. A., & Haygood, N. (Eds.). (1969). The Exeter Papers. Chicago: Center for the
        Study of Liberal Education for Adults.
Mirovitskaya, N., & Ascher, W. (Eds.). (2001). Guide to sustainable development and
        environmental policy. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Nattrass, B., & Altomare, M. (2002). Dancing with the tiger: Learning sustainability step by
        natural step. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers.
NCSE (1992). Agenda 21: Report of the United Nations conference on environment and
        development. Retrieved April 14, 2002, from http//
Robert, K. H. (2002). The Natural Step story: Seeding a quiet revolution. Gabriola Island, BC:
        New Society Publishers.
Smyth, J. (2002). Are educators ready for the next Earth Summit? London: Stakeholders Forum.
Tilbury, D. (1995). Environmental education for sustainability: Defining the new focus of
        environmental education in the 1990s. Environmental Education Research, 1(2), 195-
United Nations (UN) (2000). Implementation of the work programme on education, public
        awareness and training: Report of the Secretary-General. (E/CN.17/2001/PC7). Retrieved
        February 16, 2002 from
Vandewalle & Associates (2001). City of Waterloo: Rath Area Neighborhood Plan. Madison,
        WI: Author.
Woodhouse, J. L. (2003). A comparative review of the impact of Agenda 21 initiatives:
        Implications for community-based learning. Conference Proceedings: Researching
        Learning Outside the Academy (pp. 451-458). Glasgow, Scotland: Center for Research
        in Lifelong Learning (CRLL).
World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). (1987). Our common future.
        New York: Oxford University Press.
Yin, R. K. (2003). Case study research: Design and methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA:
        Sage Publication, Inc.
Janice L. Woodhouse, Doctoral Candidate, Northern Illinois University, Box 313, Oregon, IL

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and
Community Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

   Cultural Self-Identity and World Affairs Education: Contextual Building
       Blocks for Sustainable Communities in an Interconnected World
                        Susan Yelich Biniecki & Simone C. O. Conceição

        This study describes adult learners' lived experiences in world affairs educational
programs in order to inform the practice of those involved in international education. Three
themes emerged from the data: past experiences play a role in learning, self-identified culture
influences selection of program, and learning preferences influence choice of program

        Over 80 non-partisan world affairs councils are currently operating in the United States
(U.S.) and are a powerful force in the world affairs continuing education movement for adults.
Councils host presentations and lectures with internationally renowned speakers and run school
programs, teachers’ workshops, foreign policy discussions, national opinion polls, travel
programs, and conferences. In addition, they publish journals, and newspaper columns, and
produce local radio and television programs (World Affairs Councils of America, 2006). The
mission of these councils is to keep the public engaged with and informed about the global issues
of our time.
        World affairs councils regularly gather quantitative data from participants. These data
include rating the speaker, the venue, and the ease of parking using a Likert scale; however, there
is a lack of information about the intersection between how participants learn and world affairs
education. Little qualitative research exists about adults’ experiences learning about world affairs
or their perceptions and experiences at world affairs programs. As world affairs councils struggle
to increase engagement and the U.S. strives to foster a strong, informed civic society on
international issues, it is critical to understand how adults become interested in world affairs,
how they feel they learn best about world affairs, and how they perceive current world affairs
educational programs. Due to the lack of information about learner perceptions regarding world
affairs council programs, describing this phenomenon will assist in the development of more
culturally relevant programs. This information is critical for sustainable communities in an
interconnected world in this age of globalization. Therefore, this study will describe adult
learners' lived experiences as participants in world affairs educational programs (defined as
mostly non-credit programs for enrichment) in order to inform the practice of those involved in
international education.

       The purpose of this study is to understand the essence of adult learners' lived experiences
based on how individuals participating in world affairs programs make meaning of content and
delivery. The study also focuses on how past experience and culture may impact this meaning
making in world affairs educational programs aimed to foster citizen participation in an
interconnected world. Phenomenology informed the methodological framework of this project.
Data were collected through semi-structured in-depth interviews with 18 participants from
March through June 2006. Using purposeful random sampling, participants met the criteria if

they had participated in at least one Institute of World Affairs (IWA) program (the Wisconsin
world affairs council) within the last 18 months. Participants were recruited via an IWA listserv.
The interviews were audio recorded if the participant agreed. All of the participants were asked
to select a fictitious name and answer four short questions on paper to identify their gender, age
range, and the number and type of programs they attended within the past 18 months.
        The interview included life history or a reflection on past experiences, details of the
experience in world affairs program, and reflection on the learner’s meaning of world affairs
programs and their learning experiences. Analytical notes were recorded at the end of each
interview to describe what happened in each interview.
        This study was based on the following research questions: How might past experiences
with learning about world affairs contribute to adult learners’ perceptions? How do learners feel
they learn best about world affairs? How does culture influence meaning making around world
affairs education program content and delivery?
        Topic coding by hand was used to identify and organize all themes on a topic for
description, categorization, or reflection (Morse & Richards, 2002). In the end, three general
thematic areas were identified with several subcategories under each. After reviewing for general
topics and sub-topics, nuances of meaning were identified as well. One analytical memo was
written to tie together different pieces of data (Miles & Huberman, 1994). In addition, other
materials such as program flyers and program planning materials were used to analyze data
including phenomenological literature as well as academic and daily world affairs literature
available. The following strategies were used to maintain the trustworthiness of the study: (1)
thick descriptions of the data so that readers can determine whether the information was
transferable to their context, (2) triangulation of data with program planning documents, (3) field
log to maintain an audit trail, and (4) a confirmability audit at the conclusion of the interviews.

        Sixty-seven percent of the 18 individuals who participated in the study were male. Their
age range included: 18–24 (11%), 25–34 (11%), 35–44 (22%), 45–54 (17 %), 55–64 (17%), and
65 or older (22%). According to the participants, 44% participated in 1-3 programs in the last 18
months prior to the interview, 29% participated in 6 programs, 5% participated in 7–10
programs, and 22% participated in 11 or more programs. All individuals participated in face-to-
face presentations, but only 22% participated in discussion groups and 11% participated in
webcasts. Participants were not asked to give their country/region of origin directly; however,
many offered the information in the interview in the context of self-identified culture. Twenty-
two percent indicated a national identity other than the U.S. Three themes emerged from the
data: (1) the influence of their past experiences in their learning, (2) self-identified meaning of
culture around program content and delivery, and (3) their learning preferences.

Influence of Past Experiences in Participants’ Learning
        Some participants stated that their interest was fostered through “building blocks.” These
building blocks of past experiences included family, religion, war, work, and education. Other
participants described a trigger event such as a trip, meeting someone from another country, a
catastrophe, or a social movement as being a transformative learning experience. For some the
interest was fostered through both building blocks and a trigger event. Several participants
mentioned the election of John F. Kennedy as U.S. President as one of the “building blocks” of
their interest in world affairs. Some described seemingly unrelated trigger events. Lynn

described viewing the movie, The Passion of Christ, as a trigger event. She felt ignorant when
her friends asked her about the influence Mel Gibson might have had on the production. She
researched the issue on the Internet and various links led her to a link to a Scottish newspaper
online, which sparked her interest in reading foreign press. James said that his experiences as a
soldier in the U.S. army in Iraq and Kosovo were critical. He said, “Being Black, I grew up with
the cultural idea that Black Americans are oppressed and the system is against us, but then I saw
that other countries are worse than the U.S.” He did not negate the experience of Black
Americans, but put the experience in a global context.

Self-identified Meaning of Culture around Program Content and Delivery
         Participants connected their self-identified culture to meaning making. Self-described
culture was identified by participants through various lenses such as socio-economic status, race,
ethnicity, national origin, religion, geographic location, family, and educational background.
Factors such as location of the program, time, and speakers were also interpreted through a
cultural lens. For example, a Muslim participant from Pakistan, Jay, stated that it would be
important for the event to have a separate room for prayer because events were scheduled close
to prayer time.
         Foreign born participants living in the U.S. often described their interest in learning about
the world as “cultural.” Each perceived a lack of emphasis on international issues in the U.S.
school system and media. A man from Poland, Stan, described “not having to know” as a point
of privilege. He stated, “You have to want to learn about world, for example, if you
have a nice life in your country and you’re just not being exposed to world affairs, you just don’t
need to learn anything, because the needs for this are very limited in those situations.” When
asked what keeps him participating in world affairs programs, Stan stated, “That’s my life…I
was raised in a culture, before you go to bed, you have to eat your dinner, you have to wash
yourself, and you have to listen to the international news.” Jay stated that “in the country where I
come from, people are generally more involved in politics and especially students….In this
country [U.S.], students don’t get to know much about politics, especially foreign affairs.”
         The U.S. born participants did not perceive national origin as impacting their
involvement in world affairs. Dan felt that world affairs was a “non-issue for most people.” He
usually comes to programs by himself. When asked how learning about world affairs has
affected others in his life he said, “My co-workers will sometimes ask about …terrorism in the
Middle East, particularly Iraq. I’m no expert…I just share what I know. The best answer I have
to this question is that most people just don’t seem to care.”
         Culture was defined by participants in a variety of ways. Socio-economic status was one
area identified as a factor of impact. Groucho, a retired business professional, stated that he grew
up “lower-middle class” and this made him accepting of other cultures. In addition, others saw
race and ethnicity as culture. Alex, a man in his early 20s, said, “I grew up in a middle class
home and I try to take into account both sides. I am a black and white mix and was brought up to
appreciate both cultures. I can see both sides.”
         Curly, a former foreign service officer, saw family as having a cultural impact. His
mother was always “interested in two sides to every story.” He said, “I think she brought me up
to understand that you shouldn’t necessarily accept this side of the story without having learned
the other side…I try to learn two sides of a story, not just a single one.” These answers bridged
the question of culture and program format/learning preference areas of inquiry.
         The desire to attend a program was often based on interpretation through a cultural lens.

Study participants pointed out aspects of programming which made events more or less
accessible, including accessibility to diverse communities, how local resources are utilized, and
the pricing and timing of the programs. For Jay, if the program focused on Islam, the lack of
accommodation for prayer was a barrier. John, a business professional, had a flexible schedule
which would allow him to leave for events early. Ann, a college administrator, communicated
that she was the primary caregiver for her children, and while she had a flexible work schedule
during the day, she needed to take care of her children in the evenings. Programs held during the
day were the only convenient ones for her. Particularly given the content of world affairs
program, the venue and other logistics can communicate different messages and shape the world
affairs lens through which world affairs content is viewed. The venue and timing are examples of
the learning environment seen through a cultural lens.

Participants’ Learning Preferences
        Learning was best identified by participants through a mix of formats. All study
participants talked about the necessity to gain world affairs knowledge from multiple sources.
Although the Internet was the immediate source participants went to for more information, it was
not identified as the best way to learn about world affairs. In addition, study participants
conveyed that their preference for informally learning about world affairs and their preferred
format often differed. Several participants mentioned that traveling to a place was the best way to
learn, but that it was not always possible. Many thought that active participation was the best
way to learn about a topic, but they couldn’t really see how this would play out at a program.
Participants mentioned talking to people to get multiple perspectives, as well as reading from
multiple sources. When describing the ideal world affairs program, some liked the presentation
and question and answer time (Q&A), and some were looking for more of a format with active
participation, one in which a person could talk to other participants as well as the speaker.
        Participants indicated that the type of speaker was important, and this almost defined
whether the program was a good one or not for some. They emphasized getting information from
people who know the country, including diplomats and experts from the country of focus. Stan
emphasized the need for the programs to not be “one sided” which he interpreted as another
American perspective. He noted that programs could make better use of local resources.
Presenting “both sides” to many was simply bringing multiple perspectives, although not
necessarily non-U.S. based ones, into the program through the presentation, moderator, or Q&A.
In addition, participants mentioned bringing in multiple perspectives either through the
presentation, moderator, or Q&A.

         Candy (1991) states that adult autonomy is apparent in self-directed learning. The results
of this study demonstrate that this autonomy may manifest itself in different ways. The
constructivist nature of learning or building on past experiences to construct knowledge may or
may not involve experiential or social learning. For example, some participants seemed very
comfortable with the speaker presentation and Q&A. As organizations develop new collaborative
programs, it should be noted that a meaningful experience is defined very differently by
individuals based on learning preference and the comfort level in discussing the topic.
         Another case in point involves the new online formats councils may develop.
Newsgroups, listservs, and web-based discussion groups may also be used to facilitate dialogue
on world affairs (Bull, Bull, & Sigmon, 1997). For example, the Canadian Congress for Learning

Opportunities for Women (2001) in Toronto, Canada structured an online dialogue on gender-
based analysis. Eleven individuals participated in the dialogue and 49 only chose to view the
discussion. The conclusion was that the awareness of the issue extended beyond the 11 who
actively participated and beyond the 60 who were registered. As this study notes, erroneous
conclusions may be reached in requiring active participation in order to achieve the goal of
increased democratic participation and developing informed opinions on world affairs. Some
learners may be reflective observers, but this does not mean their form of participation is less
meaningful. In addition, if an educator is aiming towards increasing democratic participation, the
role of the observer may not necessarily mean less awareness or action.
         Listening to others was described as a meaningful formal learning experience for some.
For example, Q&A sessions were described by some as the most interesting part of the program.
Although they did not ask questions, it was interesting to listen to the dialogue and reflect on
answers. Honold (2000) notes that a proficiency level is often necessary to engage in discussion
based learning: “For [some people], a primary learning style may involve reading, then
experimenting with new ideas, then reading and experimenting some more. Learners who utilize
this style may only be comfortable conversing about the subject and gaining additional insight
from other people’s perspectives when they are fairly knowledgeable about at least the basics of
a topic” (p. 37).
         Informal learning was described by learners as they discussed the use of the Internet,
reading, and asking questions of peers. A person’s life stage or work may influence participation
in a program. Smith (1982) states that professionals with high incomes and access to resources
have many of the tools for learning on their own and tend to do so. Collaborative learning may
not be as appealing or appropriate for them as traditional, self-directed forms (Smith, 1982).
Although participants stated that they would often talk to others in order to learn about world
affairs informally, the participatory and collaborative program format was not often mentioned
as a preferred structure. In other words, the question, “How do you learn best about world
affairs?” did not exactly translate into the type of format the person would prefer. It is difficult to
know if a participatory format was not mentioned as a preference simply because the person had
not experienced it, or whether the format was undesired based on experience.
         In terms of diversity and in the effort to incorporate all learners, we may wish to consider
the role of culture in meaning making and how this is of particular importance. Vygotsky (1962)
based his work on the concept that all human activities take place in a cultural context with many
levels of interactions, shared beliefs, values, knowledge, skills, structured relationships, and
symbol systems. Brookfield (1995) notes the need to understand adult learning in its social
context and emphasizes that cross-cultural perspectives need to be introduced to understand
cultural differences. As researchers we ought to be reflecting on the context of programs and
perceptions of learners so that our interpretations of the process are well founded. This socio-
cultural context is defined by the learner and plays a role in world affairs learning experiences.
For example, is reverence for the expert in a discussion the legacy of a positivist tradition or a
cultural base of knowing? Each participant defined a “good” speaker or expert very differently.
Is silence a form of resistance or reflection in a cultural context? Quiet participation was
described as very meaningful for some whereas others desired greater participation. It may be
unfounded to label quiet or less vocal participation as less meaningful. In order to understand
these ways of knowing, it is necessary to fully explore how the learners themselves define their

                                       Implications for Practice
        In this study, three elements have practical implications related to the design and delivery
of world affairs programs: (1) past experiences of participants play a role in their learning, thus
program designers should survey council members to identify factors that attract participants to
attend programs; (2) self-identified culture influences participants’ selection of program; as a
result program designers should pay attention to cultural differences related to logistics; and (3)
participants’ learning preferences influence their choice of program participation; therefore,
offering educational opportunities for participants through lecture, discussions, and web formats
can appeal to a more diverse group of learners.
        Bruner (1987) argues that the human condition is inextricably connected to context, and
therefore, one cannot look at the individuals in isolated segments if one wishes to understand the
holistic picture of their cultural lens. The information gathered from participants in this study
demonstrate the complexity of how learners make meaning of their experiences at world affairs
programs and that past experience and self-identified culture are connected to this meaning
making. Their experiences demonstrate that it is important to focus on the individual’s past and
present experiences in order to understand the holistic picture.

Brookfield, S. (July, 2005). Undermining the very democracy we seek to create: Discussion
       practices in adult education and the dangers of repressive tolerance. Studies in continuing
       education. 27:2. pp. 101-115.
Bruner, J. S. (1987). Life as narrative. Social research. 54. 1-17.
Bull, Bull, & Sigmon, (1997). Internet discussion groups. Learning and leading with technology.
       25:3. pp. 12-17.
Candy, P. (1991). Self-direction for lifelong learning: A comprehensive guide to theory and
       practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Honold, L. (2000). Developing employees who love to learn: Tools, strategies, and programs for
       promoting learning at work. Palo Alto, CA: Davies-Black.
Miles, M. & Huberman, M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook.
       Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Morse, J. M. & Richards, L. (2002). Read me first for a user’s guide to qualitative
       methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Smith, R. (1982). Learning how to learn: Applied theory for adults. Chicago: Follett Publishing.
Vygotsky, L. (1962). Thought and language Cambridge [Mass]: M.I.T. Press.
World Affairs Councils of America. (n.d.) World Affairs Councils of America main
        webpage. Retrieved on March 14, 2006, from
Susan Yelich Biniecki, Assistant Director, Institute of World Affairs, Center for International
Education, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, email: Simone C. O.
Conceição, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, e-mail:

Presented at the 2007 Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, &
Community Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

    Social Change and National Literacy Campaigns An Example from the
                Developing World: Turkish Village Institutes
                                         Özlem Zabitgil

         Literacy has been a lifelong interest to (adult) educators nationally and internationally.
20th century in particular experienced various national and international literacy campaigns.
Some of these regional or nationwide literacy campaigns aimed to impact social change and
justice in addition to spreading literacy skills. It is not novel that many countries implemented
literacy campaigns throughout history. France, Japan, Russia, Tanzania and Turkey are only a
few of these. Educational activities, especially literacy movements are never free of politics or
power dynamics. Literacy education is a political enterprise with imbedded values and interests,
and thus calls for critical analysis. Village Institutes is an example of literacy reform from the
developing world in 1930’s Turkey. This literacy campaign is unique because of its context of
continuing national transformation and the extent to which Turkey was able to change itself. The
evaluation of such a national educational campaign holds significant insights for today’s
educational, literacy and social change goals with the changing needs of the contemporary age.
This project illuminates the potential of educational/literacy reforms for impacting social change
and justice as well as the precautions that need to be taken into account in their praxis.

        This research is a working progress towards my dissertation proposal. This preliminary
report looks at TVI (Turkish Village Institutes) as a literacy reform for highlighting its multi
goals, power and value system surround the TVI through the analysis of social, political and
educational contexts. Adult Education/literacy as a discipline is based on the bricks of social
change. Some adult educators are concerned about losing the original character of education and
giving way to bureaucratic hierarchy. Discussions about the key goals of contemporary adult and
literacy education continue. One of the key questions brought up by educators is, is adult
education challenging or confirming the status quo? Also, Does (adult) education aim for
individual, personal autonomy, or social, collective autonomy? Origins of adult education stem
from social change goals. Social justice mission is visible through the praxis of Paulo Freire in
Latin America and Myles Horton in Highlander Folk School. Finger (1995) argues that the
original mission of Adult education might be unfavorable or counterproductive today. Similarly
Heaney (1993) pinpoints that Adult Education today is marked with technical and skills teaching,
technological training, homogenizing adults to the emerging needs of the contemporary system.
Some of the diverse goals put forward by educators are to provide a second chance of education,
bring job opportunities, career change, impart skills training, homogenize adults into the
mainstream society, self fulfillment or to bring critical self awareness and possibility of social
change to name a few of these goals.
        Hass (1992) argues that Adult education has increasingly become a commodity to sell.
He encourages embracing this commodity orientation towards adult education because we are
living in an era of consumer society and market system. Yet, the dilemma of this learning market
is crystal clear because the free choice is not free and not by choice either. In other words,
educational system creates and reproduces inequalities (Edwards, 1995) by increasing the gap

between ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ (Cunningham, 1993). Not everyone has access to education or
the same educational opportunities. Considering the changing dialogue around the adult
education/literacy, it becomes necessary to re-investigate, re-state and re-claim the contemporary
goals of adult and literacy education.
        Social justice goals of education needs to be reclaimed because adult education needs to
commit to awakening learners critically to their positions in the world and alert them about the
social structures they live in. Regardless of the changing demands of the educational enterprise,
there is an undeniable due for the commitment of social change for including previously
excluded groups if Adult Education/Literacy is to be true to its origins. Educational discrepancies
should be acknowledged and educators need to create space for educational opportunities
stretching beyond the learning market boundaries. In light if this emerging dialogue, it becomes
all the more important to look at the past and diverse contexts with educational and literacy
reforms as we determine today’s educational priorities. With these barometers this paper looks at
the Turkish Village Institutes as a national educational reform of Turkey in 1930s. This cultural
context and era provides a platform of discussion about the particulars of Turkish educational
context and the changing needs of today with the emerging goals of literacy education.

                                        Literature Review
        Think of a country that has lost massive land, and is left with little national pride and
strength to survive: This is Turkey after WWI! Struggle against foreign powers to save empire’s
independence is paramount. Not to be colonized by foreign powers and to protect the remaining
land for an independent nation created the Independence war with the leadership of Mustafa
Kemal Ataturk (the father of Turks). This brought back the remnants of the lost hope and pride to
reenergize the nation. This was the time when Ataturk proclaimed the Turkish Republic
divorcing from the thousand year Ottoman theocracy. On one hand the (national) identity of the
empire was shaken, on the other hand the uncertainty of newly born Republic intensified by
multiple changes and reforms in the political, social, legal, economic, and cultural spheres such
as alphabet reform, clothing reform, secularism etc. to name a few under the leadership of
Ataturk (Mustafa Kemal). Brickman (1985) states that “Culturally and educationally, Turkey is
Western, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Council of Europe, and the
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The image of Turkey began to
change in the outside world, as it opted and co-opted for new governing, lifestyle and identity
following the 1920’s. The question is, how smooth this transition has been, and what has been
lost and gained along the way? Is it possible to change who one is at a split second? Is it
conceivable to embrace the unknown by disrupting the known as in the case of Turkey?
        The proclamation of the Turkish Republic is a significant turning point in Turkish
history, 1923. Turkey metamorphosed itself into a different life style, national and social
character. This meant that the new republic decreed to conform to the principles of
progressivism, modernization and westernization (Brickman, 1985). With the birth of the
Turkish Republic the illiterate rural population formed an overwhelming portion of Turkey’s
total population. Also, the Educational act of a modernized educational system was set as law.
“As President for 15 years, until his death in 1938, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk introduced a broad
range of swift and sweeping reforms - in the political, social, legal, economic, and cultural
spheres - virtually unparalleled in any other country” ( Deep
rooted changes were executed believing that this would allow for the following and sharing of
western developments. Secularism was presented by abolishing the religious rule. From then on

religion dictated to be a private activity for individuals losing its once held power on the legal
system. Some of large scale changes were: the disestablishment of Islam as the official religion
of the country, the closing of religious schools, the ending of religious rule and the ending of the
monarchy. (
          As Turkey negotiates its new identity in a new system in the coming decade, Ismail
Hakki Tonguc, one of the leading educators of the time, embarks upon a national literacy reform
to educate the Turkish population. Turkish village institutes (TVI) is the progeny of the
continuing national transformation and modernization in the early 20th century Turkey. The
Turkish Village Institutes aims to educate all, -young and old- especially rural populations by
reaching out the invisible corners of the rural Turkey. The village institutes in Turkey came into
existence under economic constraints following general depression of the WWII. What makes
Turkey’s literacy reform unique is the extent to which Turkey stretched itself into a new identity
by departing or denying a past heritage for a new existence. Turkey did not only aim to teach
how to read and write and spread written literacy skills, but to transform the thousand year
theocracy and erase its deep mark in the lives of people. And education is used as the main
vehicle of imparting this changing national identity to the Turkish population.
         The first and foremost goal of the TVI was to tackle the overwhelming illiteracy rate
which was 89 % nationally and 94 % in the rural population (Karaomerlioglu, 2000). Similarly,
the inequality in the allocation of economic resources, disparate educational opportunities and
literacy services were paramount. Education is used as a vehicle for educational development as
well as social change, modernization, secularization, and economic improvement. Education is
aimed to mobilize the nation into becoming a more developed and hopefully more just populace
through the function of the TVI. The Turkish Village Institutes (TVI) as a literacy reform is part
and parcel of a larger project of modernization that preceded and succeeded the TVI.
         The TVI represents multi-layered goals. The TVI is an educational reform first and
foremost, but also a national reform of modernization and metamorphosis. One of the main goals
of the TVI was described as the spreading of education to the masses. The appeal of the time was
that it was necessary to break the bondage of illiteracy if Turkey was to be part of the Western
developments. Through the dissemination of education especially to the previously ignored
segments of the country, 5 central grand missions emerged: Modernization, Industrialization,
Nation Building, Secularization, and Democratization. There were continuing debates as to the
role of education and the goals of the TVI (Turkish Village Institutes) in spreading these new
policies and new political stances. Education was seen as a powerful tool to be used to spread
new ideologies. Education was utilized as a mechanism to break away from past traditions and
embrace new ones.
         During the 1930’s period peasants and villagers had become a growing interest to the
Republican elites (Karaomerlioglu, 2002). Before this period urban centers paid very little
attention to villagers or their problems. Intelligentsia realized it was necessary to alleviate
poverty, illiteracy, and lack of technological resources, which were commonplace among the
rural population in order to develop as a nation. The numerical statistics indicate that: 30,000
villages out of the 35,000 villages had no school in the early 1930s (Arayici, 1999, p. 268).
Turkish Village Institutes was created as a major instrument to educate the rural masses under
the leadership of Ismail Hakki Tonguc as an educational experimentation. The name of Institutes
was borrowed from French, and since they were built at the country side they are called Turkish
Village Institutes. There have been various interpretations and claims as to the goals of the TVI
as a literacy reform. It is necessary to highlight the basic premises of the TVI as the following: 1)

Train peasant youth as teachers 2) Free, post-primary, and co-education (Compulsory) 3)
Economic development: 4) bring technology, modern production skills, and agricultural
        a)TVI as a work school: cooperative work b)Cultivate crops, construct institute
buildings, raise animals c)50 % of the curriculum is reserved for Culture Studies: Turkish,
history, geography, citizenship, mathematics, chemistry, foreign language, physics, drawing,
physical education, folk dances, music, home economics, and child care, pedagogy, cooperatives,
and agriculture economics. d) 25 % curriculum devoted to Agriculture classes: Field crops,
horticulture, industrial crops breeding, animal science, poultry production, honey bee production,
aquaculture, and fishing. e) 25 % curriculum devoted to Technical classes: Blacksmithing,
carpentry, building construction, and handicrafts 5) Food production, cooking, cleaning and
planting etc. are self supplied by and for the school. 6) Weekly meetings for reflection, dialogue,
and crisis/problem management, criticism, decision making. 7) Encouraging cultural production
and exhibition of the rural identity. 8) Villagers had to work (~ 60 days annually) for the
construction and repair of the institutes (along with teachers and students) 9) every village
institute had around 100-300 hectares of land at their disposal. 10)20 year compulsory service as
a village teacher in their village upon graduation 11) those who did not accept this proposition,
had to pay all the TVI education expenses to the government with interest rates. (Aktas, 1985 &
Arayici, 1999 & Karaomerlioglu, 2002)

                           Theoretical and Methodological Frameworks
          Critical approach to literacy is utilized for studying the Turkish Village Institutes.
Because of its emphasis on political nature of literacy undertaking, Critical Approach to literacy
is a viable framework for this study. Critical approach acknowledges that power and knowledge
are invariably connected. This approach analyzes social system and one’s standing in the system
by linking the individual to the society. Similarly this approach studies history as a man made
construction to be deconstructed and reconstructed in critical synthesis. Borrowing from Paulo
Freire’s praxis this approach connects ‘reading the word’ and ‘reading the world’. Thus, literacy
education/learning should move beyond the discrete skill instruction alone.
         Critical approach to literacy does not only aim to literal teaching of literacy skills such as
acquisition of phonemes, spelling skills, and deciphering of print literacy, but more importantly
to engagement of critical thinking. Deweyan concept of ‘growth’ and exercise of ‘critical
intelligence’ is applicable for the central tenets of the Critical literacy approach. Demetrion
(2003) argues that “…to live, the student must learn conduct successful transactions with his/her
environment….to grow the, the student must create novel forms of recognition and response”
(1). With this in mind, critical literacy approach acknowledges the importance of the culture,
identity and context in a learning experience and encourages an inquisitive mind towards the
social structures and everyday ways of inequalities. Dialogue and critical consciousness are
initial steps to lead the way for group consciousness and collective action. This framework
encourages the study of TVI in relation to power, values and interests as represented in the texts.
         Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is employed as a methodology for this research
undertaking, because of the political nature of literacy and literacy research accommodates the
epistemological stance of the CDA. Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) gains popularity
especially after 1980s through the works of critical researchers like Fairclough, Wodak and Van
Dijk’s to name a few. Yet the discourse as a concept introduced widely by Foucault in 1960s
refers to the shared knowledge and historical making of the language use. The idea of discourse

and discourse communities are prime importance. The shared rules system for a discourse
functions as a gate keeper and thus permits or refuses entrance to different groups. Since there is
not a literally marked discourse entrance in the society, the participation of a discourse is of a
symbolic one. For example, those who are in the academic field have a discourse system which
is intelligible and accessible only to those who are familiar of that specific discourse. There are
multiple discourses and different rules and membership norms exist. Locke (2004) explains
discourse as giving meaning to the world via ‘sense making stories’ (5). Similarly for Gee (1996)
discourse is ‘forms of life’ and “ways of being in the world” (viii). Others define discourse as
any social transaction such as a text, speech, face to face conversational exchange, an online
communication, news or any media content etc. which embody cultural, social, and power
relationships (Luke, 2004). Du Gay’s (1996, p.43) definition of discourse emphasizes the central
role of the language. Thus discourse for him is “… a group of statements which provide a
language for talking about a topic and a way of producing a particular kind of knowledge about a
topic. Thus the term refers both to the “production of knowledge through language and
representations and the way that knowledge is institutionalized, shaping social practices and
setting new practices into play” (Ainsworth & Hardy, 2004:236). These few definitions vary in
degrees but nevertheless they emphasize discourse as a sense making mechanism, which
includes membership (inclusion and exclusion) in its operation.
         One of the leading names in the CD (Critical Discourse) analysis, Norman Fairclough,
defines CDA’s aim as “to systematically explore often opaque relationships of causality and
determination between a) discursive practices, events, and texts, and b) wider social and cultural
structures, relations and processes; to investigate how such practices, events and texts arise out of
and are ideologically shaped by relations of power and struggles over power” (Fairclough, 1995:
132). With this very statement the CDA translates as a methodology which pursues justice, and
equity in its practice. The CDA is political methodology. Hence, it has a firm purpose of
exposing unjust power structures and how they operate in social relations. CDA pays particular
attention to the relationship of language, power, and identity as can be discerned from the key
words as discourse membership, inclusion and exclusion. The study of language is at the centre
of CDA, yet at the same time language forms only one of the various discourses that were
mentioned above. In this methodology language is not seen as a neutral vehicle of
communication, but a system of discourses, which in its use includes, excludes, privileges and
oppresses. Gee (1999) reminds the loaded nature of language use: “Language has a magical
property; when we speak or write we craft what we have to say to fit the situation or context”
(1999: 11). The importance of language for the CDA is its utilization of language as a means of
discourse transaction and normalization of these political acts. Locke (2004) perceives this to be
shaped and reshaped by various forms of ideological discourses. Language use is an active
process of construction. Fairclough (1995) emphasizes the ‘construction’, ‘constructing’ and
‘construct’. Language constructs discourses, and yet at the same time is constructed through
discourses. There is an ongoing two way relation between language and discourses, which
emphasize possibility of reinforcing a particular discourse or creating a suspense or tension by
refusing the transaction. Additionally, it highlight the continuing and unfinishedness of any
discourse, which gives hope for change, which is captured by Rogers (2003) as language’s
function as “socially constitutive, that is constructing and constructed by social life” (Rogers,
2003:7). It is in this construction that we make, remake and reshape our realities and worlds.

        Just as language is not a neutral vehicle of communication neither is education an
impartial ground for teaching or learning. Education is a human enterprise, and is very much like
other human activities is a political ground for conflicts of power, agency and values (Kincheloe,
2004). The goals of education and literacy programs change with the emerging needs, goals and
interests of its time. The synthesis of a national educational campaign as Turkish Village
Institutes holds significant insights for today’s educational, literacy and social change goals. Not
only we learn about the aspirations, accomplishments, dilemmas and shortcomings of Turkish
educational context and politics, but also gain significant practical and theoretical implications
for today’s educational and literacy goals. As the face of the Adult Education and Adult Literacy
changes in the contemporary age, this research inquiry of working progress holds crucial
implications to learn from.

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        Bother? Critical Discourse Studies. 1, 2, 225-259.
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Edwards, R. (February, 1995). Behind the Banner. Adult Learning. 6,6, 187-189.
Fairclough, N.(1995) Critical Discourse Analysis: the critical study of language, Longman:
Finger, M. Adult Education and Society Today. International Journal of Lifelong Education. 14,
        2, (March-April 1995): 110-119.
Hass, G. Entrepreneurial Education. In Canadian Association for University Adult Education
        Conference Proceedings, p.29-34. Ottowa: CAUCE, 1992. (ED 356 383).
Heaney, T. W. (Winter, 2003). Identifying and Dealing with Educational, Social, and Political
        Issues. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 60, 13-20.
Karaomerlioglu, M. A., (2002) the Peasants in Early Turkish Literature: East European
        Quarterly, 2, 127-153.
Kerka, S., 1996. Adult Education: Social Change or Status Quo? : ERIC Digest. No. 176.
Kincheloe, J., 2004. Critical Pedagogy. New York: Peter Lang Publishing
Korur, A. F. (2002). Democratic Education, the Village Institute System in Turkey and its Art
        Component [Unpublished Dissertation]. Ohio State University.
Locke, T. (2004). Critical Discourse Analysis. New York: International Publishing Group.
Rogers, R. (2003). A Critical Discourse Analysis of Family Literacy Practices. Lawrence
        Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Publishers.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Modernization of Turkey. Retrieved on 9.9.2006 from & (
Özlem Zabitgil, Doctoral Student, Penn State Univ.,
Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

 Adult Education to Transform Healthcare Culture by Creating Exceptional
                               Lainey Docque & Henry S. Merrill

        The session illustrates the innovative facilitation strategy of the EPFE educational
program using a highly interactive format incorporating discussion, a 15' x 20' learning map
space, and participant storytelling to provide positive examples of EPFE and challenging
encounters that help focus on ways to transform the culture through focusing on this core value.
Successful outcomes of the EPFE for the organization's employees include requiring them: 1) to
adopt an attitude focusing on the experiences of patients and families; 2) to develop new
interaction skills and attitudes; and 3) to feel empowered to make positive changes. They also
would need to become better connected with one another and across disciplines, to achieve the
common purpose of creating the EPFE.
        The hospital redesigned their Focus-on-the-Customer Steering Committee and the
curriculum designers a benchmarking trip to Walt Disney Institute for a conference on customer
service to explore moving the hospital from a service culture to one focused on creating an
exceptional experience. They began developing an eight-hour curriculum, including a four-hour
presentation with Fred Lee, author and consultant, followed by a four-hour facilitative learning
experience to integrate conceptual knowledge and skill development through the use of
storytelling, experiential learning, and use of a 15-by-20-foot learning map.
        Managers were required to accompany their employees, so work communities could
remain intact during the learning experience. Managers met with their teams for the last hour of
the educational sessions to elicit feedback for unit plans to improve processes on their units.
Managers verbalized their expectations/accountability plans for implementation of the EPFE.
The storytelling process encouraged open dialogue, fostered participation and enabled creative
problem-solving across interdisciplinary teams. The sessions celebrated creative strategies and
allowed discovery of new ways to exceed patient and family expectations. Participants were
encouraged to challenge employee's assumptions through reflective learning. A facilitator
development program was also created to implement this large-scale initiative. The Director of
Organizational Development contracted with external facilitators to assist with presenting 90
sessions to 2,000 employees and volunteers within a four-month process.
Lainey Docque, Director of Organizational Development, Community Health Network, 8180
Clearvista Parkway, Suite 125, Indianapolis, IN 46256, Email:

Henry S. Merrill, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Adult Education, Room 129,
620 Union Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46202 Email:

Presented at the Midwest Research-to-Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing and Community
Education, Ball State University, September 25-27, 2007.

        Development of Web-based Crime Scene Management Course for
                Veterinarians and Agricultural Professionals
                                  Don McCay & Sandra Amass

         United States agriculture is at risk of terrorist attack (Monke, 2005). Veterinarians and
other agricultural professionals are potential first responders to terror activities involving our
nation’s critical infrastructures of food and agriculture; yet, these professionals have no formal
training in crime scene management. This program addresses those training needs by providing
basic education intended to ameliorate the following concerns: 1) The crime scene could be
contaminated (Garrison, 1994); 2) A tainted scene would interfere with criminal proceedings; 3)
Training deficiencies could endanger the safety of professionals and others; and 4) Individuals
requiring training are full time professionals with a limited ability to attend training at a
centralized location.
         A non-traditional system to deliver information in a fashion easily consumed by
agricultural professionals was developed to address these concerns as a part of Purdue’s
Veterinary Homeland Security program. This course appears to be the first graduate distance
course to bring a working knowledge of crime scene management techniques to learners outside
of the criminal justice system. Many of these professionals volunteer on animal emergency
response teams or work in public and animal health departments. This course provides them a
working knowledge of information not in the normal milieu of agricultural professionals. They
will be applying the knowledge learned to real world situations, whether they are terror based or
a traditional crime scene.
         From conception to fruition, the goal remained constant: Make agricultural professionals
active participants in the War on Terror by expanding their knowledge base in non-traditional
areas. Through the anticipation of a major incident as well as the understanding that a chance
encounter is more likely to occur, learners are schooled in the “how’s and why’s” of modern
scientific criminal investigative techniques. The end product is a learner that is not only a better
professional, but also hopefully a better citizen.

Garrison, D. H. (1994). Protecting the crime scene. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 63, (9), 18-
Monke, J. (2005). Agroterrorism: Threats and preparedness. (Congressional Research Service
       Order No. RL32521). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Don McCay, Indiana State Police, 1425 Miami Highway Bremen, IN 46506,

Sandra Amass, DVM, PhD, Dipl ABVP, Professor, Purdue University School of Veterinary
Medicine and Interim Co-Director of Purdue University Homeland Security Institute, 625
Harrison St. West Lafayette, IN 47907-2026,

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.

              Communities of Practice Serving as an Analytical Tool
                                Min-fen Wang & Lori L. Bakken

        The purpose of this poster presentation is to examine how communities of practice (CoP)
(Wenger,1998) could be used as an analytical tool to examine how physicians become
physician-scientists’ in the workplace setting. The CoP serving as an analytical category refers to
“a level of social structure that reflects shared learning” ( p.126). However, when employing
CoP in a specific research context, researchers would confront the challenge of defining the
category of CoP to meet research purposes. This study examines how PSs’ perceptions of
participation in local CoP influence their belongingness to broader PS-communities. Findings on
how participants developed a full PS identity were presented in the 2006 AERC. This
presentation demonstrates how PSs’ experience of learning CR reflects the theoretical concepts
of the CoP.
        Through purposeful sampling, the learning experiences of 15 participants who have
various levels of engagement in CR activities formed a continuum of novice PSs’ early stages of
CR learning development. Two 60-minute face-to-face interviews were conducted with each
participant over one to two month intervals to collect participants’ retrospective perspectives on
how they learn CR. During the first interview, each participant was asked to draw a “CR-
community” to identify key individuals and groups involved with his/her CR learning.
        Based on participants’ CR-community drawings, the theoretical framework—three
fundamental elements of a CoP, “a domain of knowledge, a community of people and shared
practice” (Wenger,1998, also see Wenger et al., 2002) is adopted to understand their
participation experience, see if they formed a CR-CoP and examine the perceived barriers and
supports that they had. Then, the theoretical perspective—three modes of belonging,
“engagement, imagination and alignment” (Wenger, 1998) are used to look beyond their
research participation at the local level and analyze how their learning experiences shaped their
belongingness to global PS-communities. This study suggests that various forms of peripheral
participation in broadly defined CR should be legitimately encouraged.
        In contrast to a focus on individual learning style, CoP acknowledge the inevitable
tension between individuals and collectives, illuminating what conflicts and oppressions exist
and how individual and social development can potentially enhance each other. The complex of
nature of PSs’ learning is unraveled in light of the structural dimensions of individual and
workplace context, such as power, knowledge access, culture and gender (Caffarella & Merriam,
2000). This study advocates a critical perspective of situated learning (Lave, 1993; Hansman &
Wilson, 2002) and responses to the promise of sociocultural theory in democratizing adult
education to be the one that acknowledges and supports multiple ways of knowing (Alfred,
Min-fen Wang, ME, PhD, Assistant Researcher, Office of Continuing Professional Development
in Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin, Madison, (651) 917-0088,

Presented at the Midwest Research-to Practice Conference in Adult, Continuing, and Community
Education, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, September 25-27, 2007.


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