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Adult Learning and Leadership
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Adult Learning and Leadership

In the Department of Organization & Leadership

About > Program Information

Program Information

Adult Learning & Leadership

Our program prepares leaders who help adults improve the way they live and work through more effective instrumental learning, but we do not stop there. A hallmark of our programs is the fostering of transformative learning. Through transformative learning:

  • Adults are helped to identify, probe and change assumptions, values, and beliefs that shape how they think, act, and learn;
  • Adult educators are helped to transform organizations, institutions, learning communities and other settings that influence learning and change.

The mission of the program is to empower graduates as facilitators of learning across the lifespan – in and outside of classrooms and virtual learning spaces. We emphasize leadership for reflective, proactive and transformational learning. Our students help individual adults learn, and they help organizations, institutions, and communities learn from and with those adults. Hence, our focus on adult education and organizational learning that shapes, and is shaped by diverse views and cultures through societal learning.

Graduates from our programs lead, manage, design, deliver, or evaluate learning initiatives. They can be scholars, researchers, evaluators, executives, and learning and development professionals. They work in a wide range of settings: schools, second-chance adult basic education, health care organizations, not-for-profits, government agencies, learning communities, businesses, continuing professional education, and special programs for adults in post-secondary education.

Our mission fits with the mission of the College because we support learning across the life-span with an eye to how adult learning shapes, and is shaped by, societal learning and change. We train students in the use of collaborative action technologies – action research, action learning, action science and collaborative inquiry – to engage adults, organizations and institutions in co-inquiry and change in programs, organizations, institutions, and other learning communities.

Graduates help adults to participate more fully, democratically, and successfully in organizations, institutions, communities and society – as well as to help these social and organizational units to rethink issues of social equity and valuing of diversity.

The focus of the Adult Learning and Leadership Program is Adult Education and Organizational Learning. The intellectual framework of the program examines the relationship of adult learning to organizational, management, and leadership issues. The framework prepares individuals as leaders, managers, and facilitators of learning in relation to lifelong learning, continuing education, and learning from experience at work. The curriculum is designed around levels of learning, development, and change for individuals, groups, and organizations as a whole. Also in focus are the ways in which individual learning can be supported, nurtured, shared, and utilized by larger social units in today’s knowledge society.

The Adult Learning and Leadership Program appeals to professionals who design, develop, and evaluate programs that meet the learning needs of adults in both face-to-face and online formats. They include educators of adults who learn in the following settings:

  • Organizations in the profit, and not-for-profit, or public sectors;
  • Religious and community-based organizations;
  • Basic education classes (literacy, General Education Diploma);
  • Returning adult students with specialized needs in post-secondary education; and
  • Continuing professional education.

The 45-point M.A. program is most appropriate for educators who are involved in the design, management, and delivery of learning. The 60-point Ed.M. and 90-point Ed.D. options are appropriate for professionals who are involved in policy development, strategy, change management, and systems-level learning. The program prepares educators who work with the following groups:

  • Leaders who shape adult education policy and program development, as well as those who act as trainers and  coaches to these leaders;
  • Designers, planners, managers, and developers who are innovating with new delivery models; and
  • Researchers and evaluators of cutting-edge adult education practices.
Testimonials





Spotlight

  • Kimberly J. Bohnet

    Kim Bohnet is the Director of Basic Skills at Howard Community College in Maryland, where she is responsible for grants management, program design, and community outreach for the college's adult basic education programs. Kim has both international and domestic experience in human resources, training and development, and program administration. [...]

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