Western Region Research Conference on the Education of Adults


  • Keynote Speaker

    We are pleased to announce our keynote speaker for WRRCEA 2013, Dr. John M. Dirkx.  Dr. Dirkx is Professor and Mildred B. Erickson Distinguished Chair in Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education at Michigan State University. Dirkx is also the Coordinator of the College of Education Masters of Arts in Education online program. He teaches courses on teaching and learning in higher and adult education and on research methods. He also advises doctoral and masters students. Dirkx received his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1987 in continuing education, where he studied adult learning, group dynamics, and transformative education. He was a professor of Vocational and Adult Education at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln from 1988 – 1996. Dirkx also directed the Michigan Center for Career and Technical Education from 1997 – 2004 and the Nebraska State Literacy Resource Center from 1992 – 1996.

    Among Dirkx’s primary research interests are continuing professional development for teachers in higher and adult education contexts, internationalizing experiences for graduate students, and online teaching and learning. He is currently working with colleagues in Vietnam and MSU to help develop a comprehensive system of professional development for Vietnam teachers in higher education and community colleges. Dirkx is also co-leader of the education and workforce development team on a USAID project related to development of innovative approaches to addressing global food problems in Feed-the-Future countries. In addition, Dirkx is directing a study of graduate study abroad at MSU and other member schools of the Committee on Institutional Collaboration (CIC) and New York University. Dubbed GLEO (Graduate Learning Experiences and Outcomes), this effort involves identifying, describing, and categorizing types of internationalizing experiences provided to graduate students and faulty by postsecondary institutions, developing a deeper understanding of the experiences associated with these programs, and individual and institutional outcomes associated with these efforts. A major theoretical theme that runs throughout his work in these contexts is the transformative and socio-emotional dimensions of teaching and learning.

    Dirkx is current editor of the Journal of Transformative Education and former editor of Adult Education Quarterly. He is also the primary author of A Guide to Planning and Implementing Instruction for Adults: A Theme-based Approach, editor of Adult Learning and the Emotional Self, and author of numerous book chapters and journal articles on teaching and learning in higher and adult education. He is currently working on a book on the transformative dimensions of teaching and learning.

    Dr. Dirkx will present a talk entitled Re-imagining Adult Education: The Role of Emotion-laden Experience.

  • Re-imagining Adult Education: The Role of Emotion-laden Experience

    Adult educators are urged to design learning experiences that are grounded in work-related and other contexts thought to be relevant to adult learners’ lives. Given recent economic developments, connecting what adults learn with the world of work seems even more important than ever. While these approaches help learners adapt to and cope with the demands of their outer worlds, they also risk sharply narrowing the meaning of adult education and reducing it to a largely instrumental and highly utilitarian practice. The affective nature of most adult learning experiences, however, suggests a more holistic and imaginative perspective to helping adults learn, one that is grounded in a dialogical relationship with their inner worlds. This presentation will explore a deeper understanding of these emotion-laden experiences, what they might imply for how adults construct and reconstruct the meaning of their learning, and imaginal approaches for helping adults work with these experiences.

  • Panel Discussion

    Excellence in Learning and Performance Improvement: Puget Sound Practitioners

    The Puget Sound Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development has over 330 members – mostly practitioners – in Western Washington. This panel, facilitated by ASTDps past president Darren Nerland, will provide a front-line view of adult education practices and challenges. Current topics for discussion include:

    • Evidence-based practice
    • Assessment/Evaluation
    • HPT issues, including needs analysis and fit to training
    • Technology and technological delivery mechanisms

    Panel members are eager to engage the WRRCEA in a discussion of integrating theory into practice.

  • Panel Discussion

    Adult Education in BC: New Developments, Old Challenges

    On this panel practitioners working in various fields of practice in British Columbia such as literacy, aboriginal education, and community education will speak about some new developments and also policy, program and funding challenges.  Presented by the British Columbia chapter of the Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education (CASAE).

  • Important Dates

    • June 1, 2013: Registration Opens
    • August 15, 2013: Deadline for Accepted Papers Submissions
    • August 20, 2013: End of Early Bird Registration
    • September 15, 2013: End of Advance Registration
    • October 3 - 5, 2013: WRRCEA 2013
  • 2013 Co-Sponsors

    For more information on co-sponsoring WRRCEA 2013, please contact us.

  • 2013 Participating Institutions

    • San Francisco State University
    • Sacramento State University
    • University of British Columbia
    • University of Wyoming
    • Western Washington University

    For more information on how your institution can participate in this collaborative conference, please contact us.