Adult learners are changing the face of American higher education. In 1969, 10 percent of the nation’s post-secondary enrollment was composed of adult education. By 1997, 43 percent of the nation’s 14 million post-secondary students were 25 years of age or older. It has been more than 35 years since the typical student in post-secondary education has been a recent high school graduate enrolled full-time in a four-year college or university, working toward an undergraduate degree.
There are many choices for working adults who seek to balance a career and graduate studies or to enter a degree-completion program. Many excellent programs featuring quality faculty and interesting courses are available. As you consider pursuing a degree-completion program or graduate education, how will you choose the best place for you?
“Adult learners want their learning to connect with their daily life and work,” says Dr. Steve McClellan, vice president of Adult and Graduate Studies at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. “They want an education that focuses on the knowledge and skills they need in order to realize personal and professional dreams. We hope they will choose a university that elects to be distinctively different.”
Smart Business spoke to McClellan about the changing education landscape.
How have adult learners changed the face of higher education?
Adult learners are treated as co-creators of knowledge. Learning experiences are often designed in cooperation with learners and directly relate to the adult learner’s work and profession. Faculty members are expected to build upon the knowledge, interests and life situations that adult learners bring to the classroom.
Considerable emphasis is placed on applied ethics through discussions of real workplace issues that require discernment and leadership. Strong support from student services makes the task of registering, securing financial aid and working out scheduling issues virtually effortless. Required textbooks are delivered to the classroom. Advising continues throughout your degree program.
Plus, all vital administrative functions from admissions to alumni services are available online, allowing access from any Internet-connected computer.
What kinds of degrees are offered for adult learners?
A comprehensive undergraduate degree is offered in business administration with majors in management, organizational leadership and business information systems. Accelerated classes are offered one night a week, one subject at a time, and students remain in a cohort group throughout their program.
Graduate programs in business (Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in management) are also available in the accelerated/one cohort model, taught by individuals who have been successful in the business world. A Master of Arts in education degree, with an emphasis on curriculum and instruction, is available to those who aspire to be teachers and are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of elementary, secondary and post-secondary students. It is a program defined by teachers for teachers.
How do schools like yours distinguish themselves from other adult learning centers?
Ours is an intentionally Christian university. Our mission is to raise up Christ-centered leaders who will serve as models to their neighbors, their coworkers, their employers and their community. All courses in the MVNU Adult and Graduate Studies programs are taught from a Christian worldview and emphasize values that are vital to both personal and professional success.
Faculty members are selected carefully in order to bring high levels of competence and real world experience to the classroom.
DR. STEVE MCCLELLAN is vice president of Adult and Graduate Studies at Mount Vernon Nazarene University’s main campus in Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon Nazarene offers a high-quality degree experience that is founded on a Christian world-view, one that prepares students to live a better life and serve others. It is recognized as one of the best programs for adult learners in Christian higher education. Reach McClellan at (877) 431-9610, ext. 4701.