In a 1995 keynote address, Stanford University President Gerhard Casper said: “The early decades of the second millennium may bring more changes to universities than in the first 1,000 years.” The decades ahead promise this trend will continue for universities such as the University of La Verne. And many of these changes lie with adult learners, who are enrolling in college in increasing numbers.
I have spent more than 30 years at the University of La Verne, a unique institution that has touched the lives of thousands of students and equipped them with the knowledge and skills to succeed. I am particularly proud of having spent my entire career with adult learners, for whom I have the highest respect and admiration.
Serving adult learners is both my passion and expertise. I worked for 27 years as the senior executive director of our Burbank campus, 20 years as an adjunct professor teaching adult learners, and most recently, as the interim dean of Regional and Online Campuses (ROC). In addition, I was an adult learner myself, completing two post-graduate degrees from Claremont Graduate University and the University of La Verne, while working full time. These experiences have given me a deep insight into the adult learners’ world and the vision of what it will take for the university to continue being successful teaching adults in today’s hyper-competitive environment.
Our mission is to provide our students with a broad-based education that will enable them to thrive and succeed in today’s modern, complex, and interdependent organizations. The same philosophy applies to our adult learners as we strive to empower them to become effective professionals in managing not only their jobs, but also the contextual world “around their jobs.” This requires leadership skills, teamwork, critical thinking skills, as well as cultural competency — all of which are integrated into our academic programs. Guided by this educational philosophy, we will continue to provide our graduates a 21st century education that is relevant to their realities as aspiring professionals as well as responsible, engaged citizens.
The University of La Verne’s commitment to lifelong learning and student-focused culture has contributed to a long, successful history in adult learner programs. The talent and experience of our adult learner leadership team at ROC is unparalleled in the field of adult education. As the new dean, I am inspired by the overwhelming support that I have received from our President Devorah Lieberman and the entire campus community. Reflecting on the future of adult education, ROC will also need a renewed vision, one that focuses on innovative programs and delivery methods, and an ongoing evaluation of the changing needs, challenges, and opportunities adult learners face. Such a vision will enable the University to continue to meet, but also exceed the needs and expectations of our adult learners and become the university of choice for adult education.