Adult Education Guided Intensive Study (AEGIS) | Teachers College Columbia University

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Academic Catalog

Academic Catalog 2018-2019

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Adult Education Guided Intensive Study (AEGIS)

Department of - Organization & Leadership

Contact Information

(212) 678-3760
Professor Lyle Yorks

Program Description

AEGIS is a highly selective, fast-track cohort program leading to the Ed.D. in Adult Education Guided Intensive Study for mid-career professionals who work full time and who choose to pursue a doctorate in a concentrated format. The program emphasizes leadership for adult and organizational learning. Scholar-practitioners are helped to examine and critique theory and professional experience. The program is designed for experienced, self-directed professionals capable of completing a rigorous program emphasizing guided independent study. Coursework is completed over a two-year period.

A new cohort begins in June of odd years (i.e., 2015, 2017). Participants attend a concentrated two-week session at Teachers College in each of three summers. During the academic year, they meet for Friday evening and Saturday seminars four times each semester for a total of four semesters. Due to state requirements attendance in all class sessions is mandatory. Absence will result in having to withdraw from the AEGIS program (“step out”) with some possibility of reenrolling with a subsequent cohort (at the same stage of progress through the sequence). Should a student step out of the program, tuition refund, if any, will be handled on a case-by-case basis. 

Degree Summary

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

For a complete listing of degree requirements, please click the "Degrees" tab above

For a complete listing of degree requirements, please continue on to this program's "Degrees" section in this document

Degree Requirements

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

AEGIS students must complete 39 graduate credits at an accredited institution taken prior to beginning of the AEGIS program; either transfer credits or TC credits. AEGIS students fulfill the remaining 51 course points at Teachers College in a structured program that provides required courses in three areas: theory, research, and the study of professional practice in various settings where adults learn. For the final phase of the program, students must pass a certification examination, write a qualifying paper, and complete a dissertation.

First Year: (22 points)

Summer (Two-week session)

  • ORLD 6800 Workshop in adult education: Life history (2)
  • ORLD 6902 Pro-seminar in adult education (3)
  • ORLD 6908 Adult Development (3)


  • ORLD 6800 Workshop in adult education: Literacy/ABE (1)
  • ORLD 6908 Adult education/learning: Theory and practice (3)
  • ORLD 6918 Introduction to research (3) 


  • ORLD 6800 Workshop in adult education: Strategic advocacy (1)
  • ORLD 6903 Qualitative research (3)
  • ORLD 6906 Program development (3)

Second Year: (26 points)

Summer (Two-week session)

  • ORLD 6908 Advanced Seminar: Leadership in Adult Education (3)
  • ORLD 6918 Literature Review (3)
  • ORLJ 5340 Basic Practicum in Conflict Resolution (3)


  • HUD 4120 Methods of empirical research (3)
  • ORLD 6914 Learning communities I (2)
  • ORLD 6918 Advanced research seminar (3)


  • ORLD 6800 Workshop in Adult Education: Technology in Organizations (1)
  • ORLD 6908 Workshop on Workplace and Organizational Learning (3)
  • ORLD 6915 Learning Communities II (Virtual) (2)
  • ORLD 6918 Advanced Research Seminar (3)

Third Year: (3 points)

Summer (Two-week session)

  • ORLD 6800 Workshop in Adult Education: Capstone (1)
  • ORLD 6916 Learning Communities III (2)

AEGIS course offerings vary from cohort to cohort.  Please see the most recent Program of Study Advisement Guide (located on the Adult Learning and Leadership program website as a PDF file) for current core sequence requirements.

Application Information

The list below outlines supplemental requirements for the admission application:

  • An application essay, not exceeding ten double-spaced pages, that addresses the following:

For centuries Western philosophical thought has considered the uniqueness of human beings and how they differ from other species that inhabit the earth and the special responsibility this uniqueness entails.

Thomas Aquinas, building on the work of Aristotle, tells us: “the ultimate intrinsic end of man is the perfection of his highest and specific faculty, namely his intellect.” John Donne, when confronted with his own imminent death, tells us that “no man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”

In your view what assumptions underlie each of these statements? In what ways are these statements contradictory or complementary? What do these statements tell us about individual and societal responsibility for leadership and learning? What dilemmas, if any, do they suggest for the role of education in society? How should adult educators address these implications? What assumptions are you making about your role as an adult educator in your remarks?

  • Academic writing sample. Refer to the special requirements for the Adult Learning and Leadership Program for guidelines on the academic writing sample.
  • A personal statement that documents experience in leading, designing, or teaching in programs that serve adult learning in a variety of settings: institutions of education, corporations, healthcare, non-profit and public organizations, or religious and community education initiatives. The personal statement should also identify career/life goals and describe why a degree in this field is a good fit with these goals.
  • A professional resumé indicating several years of experience in program development or administration of adult education, counseling, staff development, or training.

If the application materials are acceptable, applicants will be invited to campus for an interview and will be asked to complete a second on-site writing assignment at that time. Early admission decisions are made in December of the year preceding the beginning of the program. Applicants who want to be considered for early admission decision should make sure that their materials are submitted by November 1st of the year preceding the beginning of the program.  These applicants will be interviewed in November. Applicants submitting materials by January 2nd of the year in which the program begins will be interviewed in February. The admission deadline is January 2nd. Final admissions decisions are normally made by March of the year in which the program begins.

Faculty List



Visiting Faculty


Full-Time Instructors


Adjunct Associate Professor of Adult Learning and Leadership
Senior Lecturer
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Adult Learning and Leadership
Adjunct Professor
Part-time Lecturer of Adult Learning and Leadership
Associate Professor of Practice
Professor of Education/Co-Director J.M. Huber Institute
Professor of Adult & Continuing Education

For up to date information about course offerings including faculty information, please visit the online course schedule.

Course List

ORLD 6800 Workshops and Seminars

Workshop in Adult Education: Life History

This course introduces the use of life history and biological approaches in adult education.  Through the process of reflecting on their life experience, participants gain insight into the field of adult education, develop their capacity for critical self-reflection, and explore strengths and challenges associated with the interpretation of qualitative data.  In order to promote learning and build up the cohesion of the cohort, this course articulates multiple settings (lectures, class and small group discussions) and specific tasks (writing and sharing autobiographical experiences, keeping a learning journal, organizing a field trip in NYC, etc.)

Seminar in Adult Basic and Critical Literacy

This course offers an overview of the field of adult education’s legacy and connections to the study and development of adult basic literacy.  The course covers literacy skills, domestic and global trends, and research.  It also covers critical literacy from the perspective of the role of education and the interplay of power and privilege in defining requisite cultural literacies for individual and collective success.

Workshop in Adult Education: Strategic Advocacy

This course provides a foundation for understanding and utilizing practices for learning and engaging in advocacy under conditions characterized by complexity and uncertainty.  The workshop will focus on how these practices can be applied strategically to organizations (private and public, for profit and not-for-profit) and to individual action in order to address challenges marked by uncertainty and ambiguity.  The objective of this course will be to further develop student capabilities to address complex personal, organizational, and societal challenges strategically.

Workshop in Adult Education: Technology in Organizations

This course is designed to help students understand and cope with the many issues involved in developing organizational learning programs and integrating an important component: technology. The course aims at providing a combination of research case studies together with existing theories on organizational learning in the workplace. The workshop responds to the complex and various dilemmas faced by many human resource managers and corporate executives regarding how to actually deal with the impact of technology on employee learning and management.

Workshop in Adult Education: Capstone

This course is designed to assist students in reflecting on and making meaning of their overall AEGIS curricular coursework and community experience.  It is a closure experience in which they engage in multiple multi-sensory activities oriented towards outgrowth issues and transitioning to the independent research phase of their doctoral study.

ORLD 6902 Pro-Seminar in Adult Education

Adult education is an interdisciplinary field of theory and practice that draws on social sciences. Students in AEGIS are experienced practitioners who come to the program with a wide range of disciplinary, theoretical, and practical backgrounds on which they can draw as they begin this journey.  The pro-seminar provides a common language in our quest as adult education scholar-practitioners.  It is a forum through which students can examine the common threads of adult learning and education that run throughout the different settings and disciplines through which they practice. Students examine the main theoretical orientations and professional practice areas in the field. They also examine and critique the personal, philosophical, and professional presuppositions and underpinnings of their practice.

ORLD 6903 Qualitative Research

This course is the third in a sequence of research courses aimed at helping students understand the qualitative approach to dissertation research. In this course, students begin to scope out the parameters of a topical inquiry and begin to grapple with the many facets of the dissertation proposal.

ORLD 6906 Program Development

Learning is at the core of most initiatives in organizations and requires dynamic, collaborative, and innovative approaches to program planning.  A main idea in this course is that program development is about a series of choices. To enable well-informed choice, program planning theory and practice is explored.  Emphasis is placed on developing the knowledge, skills, and values needed to achieve greater capacity for effective program development.

ORLD 6908 Adult Learning & Leadership Seminars

Adult Development 

This course provides an overview of adult development theories and how they inform adult learning.  Students will gain insight into stage and phase theories and how adult growth can be supported in a variety of workplace, educational, and community settings.  Developmental assessments will be examined and differences explored based on theories that differently explore psychological, lifespan, spiritual, moral, and other frameworks for understanding adult development.

Adult Education/Learning: Theory and Practice

This course helps educators gain insight into themselves as facilitators of adult learning based on theory, research, and practice related to learning from and through experience, self-directed learning, and transformative learning theory. This course supports a critical appraisal of one's facilitation practice. The format will be interactive discussion of various theoretical perspectives on adult learning, with a view to how these ideas can be used to understand / improve / change your practice.

Advanced Seminar: Leadership in Adult Education 

In this course, we will explore various theories and practices of leadership from the perspective of adult learning; we will do so in a workplace context.  Specifically, we will examine the framing of leadership as a form of human performance and focus on contextual, conceptual, and behavioral dimensions of leadership.  Our inquiry will be guided by four essential questions: 1) Are leaders born? 2) Can leadership be taught? 3) Does it all depend? 4) What's new/emerging?  The format will be a seminar where cases be read and discussed to examine various perspectives on leadership theory, models of practice, and research in light of class members' own experiences and practice.

Workplace and Organizational Learning

In this course, we will examine trends that have affected the shift to knowledge work and globalization and implications for learning in organizations.  We will contrast structured training practices with the embedded, contextualized nature of informal workplace learning and critically assess learning practices in different settings (business organizations, not-for-profits, higher education, healthcare, community, other educational settings).  Finally, we will examine differences when learning is supported at individual, group, and organizational learning levels.

ORLD 6914 Learning Communities I

Drawing on the literature, presents students with the central challenges of establishing learning communities as an adult education method of practice. Special attention is given to the use of the web as a way of establishing virtual learning communities. Students gain experience through the use of the web to facilitate dialogue linked to their course work.

ORLD 6915 Learning Communities II

Extends the learning from Learning Communities I, with an emphasis on using web technology to facilitate learning communities as part of action learning methods. Special emphasis is placed on developing reflective practice in such communities.

ORLD 6916 Learning Communities III

This seminar focuses on the use of learning communities to facilitate research and inquiry. Students use their own research topics as a focus for the course.

ORLD 6918 Research Seminars

Introduction to Research 

This is the first in a sequence of courses designed to develop student competencies in conducting and assessing research.  The overall objective of this course is for students to become conversant with the current discourse on research and with the most fundamental research designs encountered in practice.  The course begins with a discussion of research paradigms. From this context, the class considers issues around experimental design, survey design and analysis, field/case study research, and action research--all forms of research design and methods with which adult educators and human resource development require competence.

Literature Review

This course is an intensive seminar designed to introduce doctoral students of an AEGIS cohort to the discipline and constituent practices of conducting a literature review within the context of doctoral studies and dissertation work. On conclusion of this course, students will be able to a) search for topic-related literature, b) take and organize notes from the review, c) identify qualities of literature constituting the review, and d) possess knowledge of fundamental resources needed for writing the literature review.

Advanced Research Seminar I

This is the third course in the research sequence.  The objective of this seminar is to help students strengthen their conceptual frameworks, refine their research questions, and tighten their thinking around research design, providing them with the foundation for a robust pilot study experience in the spring.  Students will continue to develop a critical understanding of the nuances, conundrums, and complexity of research methods and the research process.

Advanced Research Seminar II

This is the last course in the research sequence.  It is intended both to advance participants' understanding of the interpretative research paradigm and its accepted methodologies and to facilitate the further development of a viable dissertation proposal.  The course focuses on the following components of the proposal: the proposed research methodology, additional literature review, and refinement of the anticipated context and background.  Students will develop a plan for finishing the proposal.

ORLJ 5340 Basic practicum in conflict resolution

An experiential course aimed at developing basic collaborative negotiation and mediation skills for interpersonal conflict in a variety of contexts. Students will have the opportunity to develop more self-awareness and basic collaborative negotiation skills with supervised practice.