Futuring for Optimum Outcomes in Higher Education: Addressing the Needs of Today’s Adult Learners
Keywords:Adult learners, high education, futuring tools, trends in high education
If educational institutions are to be prepared to meet the future's challenges, including the unique needs of adult learners in today’s college classrooms, their leaders must plan today to make needed changes. Per the World Future Society, "Proactive, future-oriented thinking can lead to greater success in both work and private affairs. The future will happen, no matter what we do, but if we want it to be a good future, we need to work at it" (2002, available at http://www.wfs.org). Change is inevitable, yet many organizational leaders fail to effectively map out successful transitions. Strategic quality planning, however, provides those who utilize its tools (e.g., environmental scanning, trend extrapolation, Delphi Technique, scenario planning, etc.) with a systematic framework that can help move an organization move from its present state to where its planners want it to be (Alexander & Serfass, 1999). Through a review of relevant literature, this article will explore some of these futuring tools and their appropriate application, with an emphasis on current trends in higher education, and in particular, as it relates to adult learners.
Arnone, M. (2004, February 6). Please leave, already: Lack of space and high costs are forcing states to push students through more quickly. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 50(22), A20.
Bates, T. (2000). Distance education in dual mode higher education institutions: Challenges and changes. Retrieved from http://bates.cstudies.ubs.ca/papers/ challengesandchanges.html.
Beaudoin, M. F. (2003). Distance education leadership for the new century. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 6(2), 1. Retrieved from http://www.westga.edu/%7Edistance/ojdla/summer62/beaudoin62.html).
Brand, M. (1997). Some major trends in higher education: Limited-access model vs. opportunity-driven model. In Vital Speeches of the Day, 63(13), (pp. 402-404). Speech presented on February 7, 1997, at the Economic Club of Indianapolis. Indianapolis, IN: City News Publishing Company. (Gale Group Article No. A19548877).
Brazziel, W. F. (1990). Older students. In A. Levine & Associates (Eds.), Shaping higher education’s future: Demographic realities and opportunities (pp. 99-121). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Brophy, J. (1986, October). On motivating students. Occasional Paper No. 101, East Lansing, Michigan: Institute for Research on Teaching, Michigan State University. Building Motivation (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.4teachers.org
Cass, M. (2004, March 7). MTSU raising standards to curb breakneck growth. The Tennessean, pp. B1, B4.
Culross, R. (1996, November-December). Remediation: Real students, real standards.
Change, 28(6), 50-52.
Daloz, L. A. (1999). Mentor: Guiding the journey of adult learners. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Dill, P. L., & Henley, T. B. (1998, January). Stressors of college: A comparison of traditional and nontraditional students. The Journal of Psychology, 132(1), 25-33.
DiSilvestro, F. B. (Ed.). (1981). Advising and counseling adult learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Elson, J. (1992, April 12). Campus of the future. Time, 139, 54-57.
Greenberg, R. (2000, March). Back to school. Techniques, 75(3), 14.
Gregorian, V. (2004, June 4). Colleges must reconstruct the unity of knowledge. The
Chronicle of Higher Education, 50(39), B12.
Hensley, L. G. & Kinser, L. (2001, Summer). Perspectives of adult learners on returning to college: A study of tenacious persisters. Academic Exchange, 5(2), 181-185.
Howell, S. L., Williams, P. B., & Lindsay, N. K. (2003, Fall). Thirty-two trends affecting distance education: An informed foundation for strategic planning. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 6(3). Retrieved from http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/fall63/howell63.html.
King, E., & Richardson, T. E. (1998, January-February). Adult students in higher education: Burden or boon? Journal of Higher Education, 69(1), 65-89.
Knowles, M. (1986). Adult learner: A neglected species. Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing Company.
Kurtzman, J. (1984). Futurcasting. Palm Springs, CA: ETC Publications.
Levine, A. (1993, September-October). Student expectations of college. Change, 25(5), 4.
McKenna, T. (2003, March). The straitjacket of standardized tests: A Portland teacher wonders: Where is the standardized test that can measure passion for learning, respect for others, and human empathy? NEA Today, 21(6), 10-11.
McPhee, S. (2002, April). Inaugural address. Unpublished manuscript, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro.
Miller, D. (2003, October 13). MTSU reduces hours for getting degree. The Record, 12(7), 2.
Neeley, L., Niemi, J., & Ehrhard, B. (1998). Classes going the distance so people don't have to: Instructional opportunities for adult learners. THE Journal, 72(1), 72.
Nellen, A. (2003, May). Using technology to teach nontraditional students. The Tax Adviser, 34(5), 290-292.
Nelson, C. E. (1996, November). Student diversity requires different approaches to college teaching, even in math and science. American Behavioral Scientist, 40(2), 165- 176.
North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCERL). (n.d.). Retrieved from
Osgood-Treston, B. (2001, Summer). Program completion barriers faced by adult learners in higher education. Academic Exchange Quarterly, 5(2), 120.
Principles of Adult Learning. (1991). Retrieved from http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/committees/FacDevCom/guidebk/teachtip/adults- 2.htm.
Rakow, L. F. (1992). Gender on the line: Women, the telephone, and community life.
Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
Rayburn, L. (2003, June). The standardized classroom. World and I, 18(6), 266-268. Student Motivation to Learn. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.kidsource.com/kidsource/content2/Student_Motivation.html.
Tennessee Tech University, (2003, July). TBR approves cut to 120 hours on most TTU programs. Retrieved from http://www.tntech.edu/publicaffairs/rel/ 120hours.html.
Tifft, S. (1988, October). The over-25 set moves in; adults are fast becoming the majority on college campuses. Time, 132(17), 90-91.
Tucker, K. (1999, April). Scenario planning: Visualizing a broader world of possibilities can help associations anticipate and prepare for change. Association Management, 51(4), 70-76.
Weiler, R. (2004, March 22). Academic standards raised. The Record, 12(17), 2.
Willmore, J. (2001, September). Scenario planning: Creating strategy for uncertain times. Information Outlook, 5(9), 22-28.
World Future Society. (2002). The future: An owner's manual. Retrieved from
Wright, S. W. (1998, March 5). The ill-prepared and the ill-informed. Black Issues in Higher Education, 15(1), 12-15.