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Adult-Centered Practices: Benchmarking Study in Higher Education


Adult student enrollment in higher education is approaching 50%, yet most college and university practices have been designed for younger, traditional age students. This study used an innovative benchmarking research methodology, including surveys and site visits, to identify best practices at selected adult-centered institutions. The findings were distilled into one overarching theme and thirteen related themes. The overarching theme, “Adult learner centered institutions have a culture in which flexibility, individuation, and adult-centered learning drive institutional practice” reflects the pervasive student-centeredness of the colleges. The thirteen findings and examples of practices from the colleges that were studied can serve as guideposts to colleges and universities seeking to meet the needs of adult students.

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Mancuso, S. Adult-Centered Practices: Benchmarking Study in Higher Education. Innovative Higher Education 25, 165–181 (2001).

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  • adult education
  • benchmarking
  • student-centeredness