Adult Education Interview

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Adult educators engage students of a variety of ages and abilities. Regardless the setting, adult students come to the classroom with different expectations about what is valuable and what they plan to learn (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007). This is especially true in a community college setting, a setting that is charged with engaging a wide pool of learners. In this essay, I report on an interview experience with Professor Rebecca Horwitz, who teaches psychology courses in the Liberal Arts and General Studies Associate of Science degree track at Monroe Community College (MCC). In that interview, Horwitz and I discussed motivations for entering the adult education field, strategies for teaching adults, and skills in negotiating challenges…show more content…
She entered the adult education field a bit by chance. As a doctoral student in South Carolina (SC), Horwitz was short on cash. She sought out an adjunct appointment at a local community college, and, as she said, “[she] was hooked.” Horwitz completed a Master’s degree in Community Psychology, but decided that community college teaching was her vision for the future. A full-time community college professor now for 7 years, Horwitz says that she sees herself as more of a facilitator than a professor, a person who facilitates and adapts learning to meet the varied needs of her students. She notes, “I know I am successful when I see a change in students faces, when they ‘get it.” Though she commented that adjunct pay in SC was paltry, she feels like she makes a reasonable living as a full-time adult educator at MCC. She says she often has to take a teaching overload in intersessions to make ends meet, but that she loves teaching so an overload is not a huge burden. A normal teaching load at MCC is 5:5, with an average size of class of 40-50 students. Horwitz reports that she primarily teaching Psychology 101, which includes fairly standardized teaching materials (i.e., slides developed collectively by the Departmental curriculum committee) and standardized Scantron exams. She notes…show more content…
Horwitz regularly reflects on her classroom experience to identify challenges and barriers. In terms of challenges involving students, differing motivations can sometimes lead to misunderstanding in her class. She notes that she teaches liberal arts courses for students who may have very little interest in the subject. For example, some students in applied degrees or certificates, such as heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC), dental hygiene, or fire technology, have trouble connecting the need for an introductory psychology course to their desired future profession. Horwitz also notes that some of the challenges of the position are administrative in nature. For example, she chairs several committees, such as assessment and rank/tenure. She also serves on the faculty senate, a college-wide curriculum committee, liberal arts council, and other ad-hoc committees. As a community college professor, Horwitz notes that service burdens are heavy; research, grant writing, and scholarship, while respected by the institution, are not considered essential for promotion. She suggests that a person considering employment in a community college setting should consider how the position is structured in terms of teaching and service demands. She notes that the burdens of the position have

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