A follow-up survey of the graduates of the Continuing Education Programs, University of Saskatchewan, 1966-1980
Brown, Lillas Marie
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The increased adult education activity in society has caused an increased demand for professionally prepared adult educators and a concern regarding their appropriate training requirements. These developnents led to this follow-up survey of the graduates of the Continuing. Education Programs, university of Saskatchewan, 1966 to 1980. The research problem was to investigate the professional roles of the graduates, to ascertain their perceived competency to perform these roles, and to ascertain their perceived adequacy of preparation from their graduate programs to perform the roles. A conceptual framework developed from the literature was used to analyze the research pcoblem. It consists of seven defined roles of adult educators--administration, research, instruction, program planning, evaluation, counselling and community developnent. These roles are described by 31 requisite competencies or specific adult education work activities. This list of adult education work~activities was used to determine the specific adult education work activities the graduates are performing in their work and volunteer roles. This list was also used to determine the graduates perceived current competency levels in each of the activities and to determine their perceived adequacy of preparation fran the Programs in Continuing Education to perform each of these activities. A mailed questionnaire was sent to the graduates and an 87% response rate (N=l03) was obtained. The data were cooed and analysed by canputer program. The majority of the graduates (68%) live and work in Saskatchewan; hence the results and conclusions very much reflect the Saskatchewan adult education scene. Conclusions: 1.Professional Affiliation The graduates as a group have divided and dual loyalties in terms of professional affiliation. Some graduates primarily affiliate with adult education while others primarily affiliate with other professions--likely the profession of their undergraduate degree. 2. Adult Education lM:)rk Roles and Activities Adult education work roles and activities fall into two clusters based on the proportion of graduates performing them. The first cluster includes program planning, instruction, administration and evaluation. Activities in this category are performed by approxi~ately two-thirds of the graduates. The second cluster, performed by approximately one-third of the graduates, includes research, counselling, and community developnent. 3. Adult Education Volunteer Roles and Activities The graduates perform a broad range of adult education work activities as volunteers, serving at all levels in Houle's pyramid and not only at the base performing direct guidance and teaching of adults. Secondly, the pattern of work activities performed in volunteer roles is different fran those performed in work roles. 4.Appropriateness of Graduate Professional Preparation The graduates are performing work activities for which preparation at the Master's and Postgraduate Diploma level is appropriate. These graduates can be termed adult education practitioners according to the Douglah and Moss model (1969). 5. Perceptions of Current Corrq;?etency to Perform Adult Education Wbrk Activities The graduates generally perceive themselves to be competent to perform the adult education work activities. However, the graduates feel more competent to perform activities in the program planning and instruction roles, and less competent to perform administration, research, evaluation, community development and counselling roles. 6.Perceptions of Adequacy of Preparation to Perform Adult Education Wbrk Activities As a group, the graduates' perceptions of adequacy of preparation from the Programs in Continuing Education can be described as "adequate". However, it should be noted that some individuals perceived their preparation to be less than adequate, and that for some activities a considerable number of graduates indicated that they had received no preparation. 7.Relationships Between Adult Education WOrk Activities Performed/Not Performed and Perceived Adequacy of Preparation No one global conclusion can be drawn to explain the data regarding the relationships between adult education work activities performed/not performed and_perceived adequacy of preparation. Four different patterns emerged arrongst the work roles and respective activities. There are those exhibiting no relationships (evaluation activities), those exhibiting positive relationships (research activities), those exhibiting negative relationships (administration activities), and finally those exhibiting a mix of positive relationships and no relationships (counselling, community development, program planning and instruction activities). 8.Relationships Between Perceived Competency and Perceived Adequacy of Preparation for Adult Education work Activities The graduates who perceive themselves to be competent to perform adult education work activities, also perceive that they were adequately prepared by their Program in Continuing Education for those activities. However, the relationships were far from perfect indicating that competency can be attributed not only to graduate professional preparation, but also to other factors such as work experience, self-study, inservice training/conferences/workshops and undergraduate preparation. Recommendations for further research and implications for the University of Saskatchewan Programs in Continuing Education were made.