Looking back on a career at odds with tradition

Murray Block is a former community college and university administrator who looks back from the right side of history.  He appears to have been an adult educator at heart.  He points out that "swimming against the traditional tide can result in muscle power, acceptance, and, eventually, a warm embrace.  Perseverance pays, particularly when it comes to finding ways to provide education for adults who want to learn."  He inspires me.  From The Chronicle of Higher Education.

My 64 Years of Fighting for Innovation
Perhaps I am drawn to the good fight, or perhaps the alternatives available on the fringes attract me and my interest in adult learning. My most recent "retirement" job is in the field of nonprofit distance learning, and when I joined my current employer, distance learning was regarded, at best, with skepticism. Again, advocacy for an educational program serving working adults, with a nontraditional learning model, is my daily work.

The numbers of adults seeking education through online and distance learning are now astounding, and I am fortunate to be at the epicenter of a quality program. Ten to 15 years from now, federal scrutiny and regulation will have, I hope, separated high-quality programs like ours from questionable programs that offer little or no benefit. Perhaps as traditional programs now turn to colleges like mine for expertise in developing supplemental online options, distance learning will gain further respect. Today legitimate online-learning institutions are striving for a seat at the table as community colleges were in the 1950s.

Quite possibly the good fights in higher education are variations on a theme: tradition versus innovation. I've continuously witnessed how innovation has served to improve access: in the 1950s, when technical school provided vocational options for returning World War II veterans, and today, as my distance-learning college educates a new generation of nurses, engineers, business graduates, and liberal-arts majors, among others.

I can't wait for the next fine and noble tussle in higher education.

Comments

roselynn05 said…
Online education clearly has a place at the table of higher education. I have been teaching online classes for the past seven years. There is clearly a need for online classes, especially for returning adult students.

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