NPR

What Adult Learners Really Need (Hint: It's Not Just Job Skills)

The focus shouldn't be "quick-and-dirty" paths to a degree, argues one scholar and activist, but deep learning experiences and strong support.
Source: Jeannie Phan for NPR

More than 2 out of 3 college students today are not coming straight out of high school. Half are financially independent from their parents, and 1 in 4 are parents themselves.

David Scobey says that, as an American studies and history professor at the University of Michigan for decades, he was "clueless" about the needs of these adult students.

But then, in 2010, he became a dean at The New School, a private college in New York City, heading a division that included a bachelor's degree program designed specifically for adults and transfer students.

"Those students schooled me about their needs and how poorly they were supported by higher ed," he says. "I was inspired by their resilience."

You'll hear a reasonable amount of discussion about "new traditional" students today. But the common assumption — in Washington at least — seems to be that they require more vocational education to fill a "skills gap," particularly in STEM

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