Task force focuses on higher education for adults

Rachel Abbey

Higher education institutions in Ohio are looking for ways to reach out to their adult learners through the Task Force on Adult Education.

The task force, a joint effort among the Ohio Learning Network, the Board of Regents and colleges and universities across the state, is looking at broad questions related to higher education for adults, said Kate Carey, executive director for the Ohio Learning Network. Lots of adults in Ohio are working but do not have all the skills they need to succeed in today’s economy, she said.

“What can Ohio do to better serve its citizens?” Carey said.

The task force wants to figure out efficient ways to serve adults who want to further their education, Carey said. At the moment, members of the task force are identifying problems, looking at what other states are doing and discussing possible solutions.

For example, many adult learners have time commitments that traditional college students do not, Carey said. They may be working full-time or have kids, so they may need a more flexible schedule. The task force could discuss the possibility of offering shorter classes or more distance learning courses to address that issue.

“The purpose is to look for interesting and innovative ways to serve adults,” Carey said.

Provost Paul Gaston is involved in the task force. He said they are targeting adults who have some college education but have not completed a bachelor’s degree.

With a representative from Ohio University, Gaston said he will be looking at what individual institutions can do by themselves and by working with each other to encourage adult education. He said he thinks this is partly because of Kent State and Ohio’s recent partnership.

Contact administration reporter Rachel Abbey at [email protected].