Anyone who teaches adults can enhance his or her skills through a new program offered entirely online this fall at the University of Houston-Victoria.
The Certificate in Adult & Higher Education program will teach students through 15 masters- level credit hours about how adults acquire new knowledge.
"We learn differently as adults than we do as children," said Diane Prince, UHV education professor and coordinator of the program. "With our world changing so quickly, we all must be lifetime learners and continue our education throughout our careers."
The new program, which was piloted this summer, is particularly useful to community college professors, since such institutions play a major role in providing additional education to the working public, Prince said. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board staff encourages community college professors to receive such training.
But anyone who educates adults can register for the new program after being accepted as a UHV student. It will be valuable to anyone involved in teaching adults, such as trainers in private companies or those employed by various government agencies, Prince said. The credit hours can be applied toward a master's degree.
All five classes required for the certificate will be offered online every semester to allow students to complete the process as quickly as possible and provide immediate benefits to adult learners, Prince said.
"There is a growing need in our community for high-quality adult education, and we want to help address it as quickly as possible," she said.
Classes will include topics like adult development, the foundations of adult education, history and philosophy of higher education, and governance of higher education, she said.
Each student also will complete an internship individualized to his area of adult education, Prince said. For example, college professors may complete a research project on adult students, while those working in a GED program could focus their research on adults completing their high school education.
UHV offered a pilot version of the program this summer using a mix of online and face-to-face classes to faculty members at Austin Community College and one Victoria College educator.
"As an adjunct history instructor at The Victoria College, I've watched the growth in the number of adult learners in my classroom in just the last four years," educator Holly Heinsohn said.
Some go back to complete their degrees, some need additional training, while others simply love to learn, she said.
She's already found her class work helpful in just six hours of training.
"I've been able to utilize a great deal of what I've learned in theory and actually put it into practice in the classroom," Heinsohn said. "I was able to bring in their prior knowledge, work experience and life experience into the classroom and apply that to some of the historical events and situations that the students are learning about."
Incorporating the greater experience level of adult students into the classroom is one of the techniques taught in the program, Prince said.
Registration for the program is open between now and Aug. 25. For more information about registering, contact UHV Student Solutions at 800-687-3738 or 361-573-0000. For more information about the certificate program, contact Prince at firstname.lastname@example.org.