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Perceptions of Characteristics Contributing to Success in Two University-Based Programs Designed for Adults of Retirement Age

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Date Issued:
2007
Summary:
The purpose of this study was to identify characteristics and practices, related values, and the processing of stakeholders ' voices in two educational programs for older adults that are perceived as effective by their stakeholders. This purpose was motivated by the researcher's desire to provide useful information to program leaders and institutional leaders in the field of older adult education. The information is presented for leaders who are building new educational events and integrating them into their organizations. The research was conducted at two sites at Florida Atlantic University: the Lifelong Learning Society at the Jupiter campus and the Memory and Wellness Center at the Boca Raton campus. The voices in this text belong to practitioners, theoreticians, and attendees- all learners as well as contributors. The researcher's face-to-face interviews, group discussions, and observations disclosed four meta themes: (a) envisioning, creating, and establishing the learning environment; (b) program characteristics, (c) fostering persistent participation, and (d) leaders' roles and responsibilities. These themes encompassed both sites while illustrating inherently unique aspects of each program. The setting at each site was comprised of three distinct aspects -physical, affective, and activity- and each uniquely contributed to program success. Although each setting and program had its own reasons and methods for stimulating cognitive functioning, they shared the assumption that wellness and learning are related. Leaders of both programs displayed four foundational qualities: respect, kindness, encouragement, and flexibility. Each of these characteristics fostered strong positive relationships with attendees and partnerships that promote learning among colleagues. These examples of successful leadership suggested several guidelines for front line practitioners. Among these were building expertise in market awareness, fund raising, a wide communication repertoire, and the critical ability of establishing a cadre of program supporters within and beyond the organization. Recommendations for higher-level leaders included attending to core institutional values, community connections, open communication, inclusion of new team members, and the value of listening to everyone's ideas. Factors that advanced the establishment of educational programs for older adults include their growing numbers, assertive voices, and value to host institutions. This study raises the question: in what ways do these formal, communal learning events contribute to follow-up independent learning?
Title: Perceptions of Characteristics Contributing to Success in Two University-Based Programs Designed for Adults of Retirement Age.
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Name(s): Chairman, Rachelle, author
Acker-Hocevar, Michele A., Thesis advisor
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Created: 2007
Date Issued: 2007
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, FL
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 267 p.
Language(s): English
Summary: The purpose of this study was to identify characteristics and practices, related values, and the processing of stakeholders ' voices in two educational programs for older adults that are perceived as effective by their stakeholders. This purpose was motivated by the researcher's desire to provide useful information to program leaders and institutional leaders in the field of older adult education. The information is presented for leaders who are building new educational events and integrating them into their organizations. The research was conducted at two sites at Florida Atlantic University: the Lifelong Learning Society at the Jupiter campus and the Memory and Wellness Center at the Boca Raton campus. The voices in this text belong to practitioners, theoreticians, and attendees- all learners as well as contributors. The researcher's face-to-face interviews, group discussions, and observations disclosed four meta themes: (a) envisioning, creating, and establishing the learning environment; (b) program characteristics, (c) fostering persistent participation, and (d) leaders' roles and responsibilities. These themes encompassed both sites while illustrating inherently unique aspects of each program. The setting at each site was comprised of three distinct aspects -physical, affective, and activity- and each uniquely contributed to program success. Although each setting and program had its own reasons and methods for stimulating cognitive functioning, they shared the assumption that wellness and learning are related. Leaders of both programs displayed four foundational qualities: respect, kindness, encouragement, and flexibility. Each of these characteristics fostered strong positive relationships with attendees and partnerships that promote learning among colleagues. These examples of successful leadership suggested several guidelines for front line practitioners. Among these were building expertise in market awareness, fund raising, a wide communication repertoire, and the critical ability of establishing a cadre of program supporters within and beyond the organization. Recommendations for higher-level leaders included attending to core institutional values, community connections, open communication, inclusion of new team members, and the value of listening to everyone's ideas. Factors that advanced the establishment of educational programs for older adults include their growing numbers, assertive voices, and value to host institutions. This study raises the question: in what ways do these formal, communal learning events contribute to follow-up independent learning?
Identifier: FA00000658 (IID)
Degree granted: Dissertation (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2007.
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Includes bibliography.
College of Education
Subject(s): Older people--Education--United States
Adult education
Educational leadership--United States
Educational planning--United States
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00000658
Sublocation: Digital Library
Restrictions on Access: All rights reserved by the source institution
Restrictions on Access: Copyright © is held by the author with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Restrictions on Access: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Host Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.