Holt School Leads Discussion on Adult Education and the Liberal Arts

The Associated Colleges of the South Focus Forum on Adult Education and the Liberal Arts explored what students can do to manage their education.

The Hamilton Holt School at Rollins College and the University of Richmond’s School of Professional & Continuing Studies (SPCS) recently held a forum at The Alfond Inn to explore nontraditional adult education opportunities for liberal arts colleges. The Associated Colleges of the South (ACS) Focus Forum on Adult Education and the Liberal Arts included representatives from 12 of the 16 ACS member colleges. A grant from ACS to Rollins College and the University of Richmond and a generous gift from the Riva Family Fund provided support for conference costs, enabling 21 faculty members from ACS schools to attend.

Anya Kamenetz, a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services and senior writer for Fast Company magazine, was one of the featured keynote speakers. She addressed the many dramatic changes taking place in higher education and how these disruptive changes are affecting liberal arts colleges. Kamenetz, a Thomas P. Johnson Distinguished Visiting Scholar, gave a presentation titled “The Education Revolution,” which focused on what students can do to manage their education.

Holt School Dean David Richard said, “Adult education can be successfully implemented in liberal arts colleges to reach nontraditional learners, the fastest growing market in higher education. Innovative adult and continuing education opportunities can help to sustain the liberal arts. We hope to have initiated a long-standing dialogue among member institutions on what works and what doesn’t.”

Topics addressed included “Continuing Education in the Liberal Arts Context: The Richmond Experience” by keynote speaker and SPCS Dean James Narduzzi; “Developing A New Major in Health Studies for the Liberal Arts” by Rollins Assistant Professors of Communication Anne Stone and Stacey Passalacqua; “Certification Programming and Lifelong Learning” by Jill Norburn, director of the Rollins Center for Lifelong Learning; and “Hamilton Holt’s View of the Liberal Arts and Its Implications for Adult Education” by Thomas McGowan, professor of sociology at Rhodes College.

A unique collaborative partnership between Rollins College and Millsaps College on “Teaching Dance for Parkinson’s Disease: An Innovative Collaboration Program and Its implications for Learning-based Pedagogy” was presented by dance faculty Robert Sherry and Robin Wilson of Rollins College; Naila Mamoon, assistant professor of biology at Millsaps College; and Misty Owens, faculty member at the University of Texas at Dallas. The project demonstrated how using the imagination in dance and movement has been therapeutic for patients with movement-related diseases.

According to deans Richard and Narduzzi, the Rollins and Richmond adult education programs each have more than 50 years of experience reaching out to meet the educational needs and interests of adult learners through nontraditional schedules and teaching formats. Their hope is that this conference will generate discussions on how liberal arts colleges can maintain sustainability and survival through innovative programs for the adult education market.