May 2, 2018

“Re-visioning” Adult Higher Education Webinar Series Takes Place in June

Series to Focus on Underrepresented Adult Students

Adult students learning in a residency, which is a face-to-face setting.

“Re-visioning Adult Higher Education, Underrepresented Adults: Power and Identity in American Higher Education,” a four-part webinar series with internationally recognized presenters, takes place this June.

All sessions will be held from noon to 1 p.m., EST, and be offered in Blackboard Collaborate:

The upcoming webinar on Monday, June 25, “A Holistic Approach to Support Adult Indigenous Students,” will be presented by Stephanie J. Waterman, a member of the Onondaga Nation, Turtle Clan, and associate professor at the University of Toronto. More information about the webinar, and a bio of the presenter, are available below.

Sponsors SUNY Empire State College Center for Mentoring, Learning and Academic Innovation and the Office of the College Professor of Adult Learning and Mentoring invite the national and international higher education communities to participate in these free webinars.

The SUNY Empire sponsors welcome and encourage conversation around key issues, challenges and possibilities for adult higher education today and in the future.

Underrepresented Adults: Power and Identity in American Higher Education

What are the social and economic forces that affect underrepresented adult students who want and need to learn? What are the challenges and barriers these students face in their pursuit of a college education? How can institutions become responsive to the identities, experiences and knowledge of African-American, Native American, Latino and formerly incarcerated students? What are the consequences of these students’ invisibility in higher education? How can underrepresented adult learners become central to our thinking and practices as adult educators?

Adult educators and analysts who have grappled with the realities of underrepresented students will focus on these vital questions, presenting their ideas, research and recommendations regarding the power of exclusion and the possibilities of inclusion in adult higher education.

All sessions will be held from noon to 1 p.m., EST, and be offered in Blackboard Collaborate:

Monday, June 4

  • “Negotiating Polyrhythms: Moving Toward a Praxis of Inclusive Adult Education,” Lisa Merriweather, associate professor of adult education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
    • Webinar description: Merriweather posits that people live in a shrinking world, where technology seemingly closed the gulf between global societies. But lived realities tell a story of emotional, as well as spatial, distanciation from “the other,” which creates an environment ripe for benign neglect in the form of exclusionary practice and pedagogy in adult education spaces. In this presentation, Merriweather will offer a conceptual grounding for practice through the development of polyrhythmic sensibilities. The goal is for listeners to gain a greater appreciation of the role cultural polyrhythms play in increasing social interdependence and the inherent pedagogy of inclusion that it engenders.
    • Presenter bio: Merriweather is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She received her doctorate in Adult Education, with a graduate certificate in qualitative inquiry, from the University of Georgia in 2004. Her research focuses on issues of equity and social justice within the historical discourse of adult education, informal education and doctoral education. She explores anti-black racism through the prism of a critical philosophy and sociology of race lens and employs Africana Philosophy, Critical Race Theory and qualitative and historical methodology to investigate topics found at the nexus of race and adult education.
    • A recording of Merriweather's webinar is available, as well as her PowerPoint presentation.

Tuesday, June 12

  • “Considering the Adult Learner at Hispanic-Serving Institutions,” Becky Klein-Collins, The Council for Adult & Experiential Learning.
    • Webinar description: Many Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) are developing intentional strategies for supporting their Latino students and their success. As they do so, CAEL’s Becky Klein-Collins believes it is important that they also focus on the particular needs of the Latino adult student, whose postsecondary experiences are different from students transitioning to college directly from high school. Klein-Collins will discuss how the CAEL is working in partnership with Excelencia in Education on a new project to engage with HSIs on developing new strategies for supporting the adult Latino student. Klein-Collins says that one of those strategies could be to develop the institution’s prior learning assessment offerings, drawing on the lessons from earlier research conducted by the CAEL-Excelencia team. Klein-Collins will revisit those findings and share how they can inform strategies for serving the adult Latino student.
    • Presenter bio: Becky Klein-Collins is the associate vice president of research and policy development for CAEL. She oversees research in topics related to higher-education innovations, prior learning assessment, competency-based education and workforce development. In addition to her research activities, Klein-Collins assists in developing new approaches for policy change at both the federal and state levels and is the author of numerous articles and policy position papers for CAEL.
    • A recording of Klein-Collins webinar is available, as well as her PowerPoint presentation.

Wednesday, June 20,

  • “Reintegrating Formerly Incarcerated Citizens,” John R. Chaney, and Joni Schwartz, LaGuardia Community College, the City University of New York.
    • Webinar description: Racial policies in America have long impacted post-release education for formerly incarcerated citizens as a leading pathway to social integration. From this perspective, this webinar will examine the intersection of race, the criminal justice system and education as one of the greatest civil rights issues in the U.S., while making the case that adult education and community colleges are uniquely positioned to address the issue of mass incarceration.
    • Using a critical race theory framework, together with the experiences of the two presenters, research in the field, “counterstories” of formerly incarcerated students, and current educational initiatives at Queensboro Correctional Facility, this webinar will present adult education as a key strategy in reversing recidivism. At the same time, the presentation looks at constructively engaging the large number of incarcerated citizens returning to their communities. Practical examples of how to engage returning citizens in classrooms, as well an overview how to create partnerships with prisons, also will be examined.
    • Presenter bio: John R. Chaney is widely recognized as an authority in developing effective agency collaborations, which deliver essential transitional services for citizens returning to society from incarceration. Currently the criminal justice program director at CUNY’s LaGuardia Community College, Chaney previously served as the executive director for the nationally acclaimed ComALERT re-entry program in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office. He is the co-editor, with Joni Schwartz, of “Race, Education and Reintegrating Formerly Incarcerated Citizens,” (2017, Rowman & Littlefield).
    • Presenter bio: Joni Schwartz is a social activist, scholar and founder of three adult education centers in New York City. An associate professor at LaGuardia Community College, Schwartz is the general editor of “Dialogues in Social Justice: An Adult Education Journal.” She edited two volumes of “New Directions for Adult & Continuing Education,” in the Jossey-Bass series, including “Swimming Upstream: Black Males in Adult Education,” as well as “Race, Education and Reintegrating Formerly Incarcerated Citizens,” with John R. Chaney. Her work centers on the intersection of race and educational opportunity. “Counterstory: After Incarceration,” her newest documentary film, was just released.
    • A recording of Chaney and Schwartz’s webinar is available online, as is their PowerPoint presentation.

Monday, June 25

    • “A Holistic Approach to Support Adult Indigenous Students,” Stephanie J. Waterman, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.
    • A recording of Waterman's webinar is available online, as is her PowerPoint presentation.
      • Webinar description: Waterman will use a holistic framework for supporting indigenous students, created by Michelle Pidgeon, an associate professor of education at Simon Frazer University, Burnbury, B.C., to explore ways to intentionally weave Indigenous ways of being into higher education’s approach to adult student support.
        Pidgeon’s framework incorporates Kirkness and Barnhardt’s “4Rs:” respect, relationship, responsibility and relevance, with physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual ways of being. Along with negotiation, ways to connect this framework into the fabric of student support will be discussed. The holistic framework provides the foundation for communities, higher education and indigenous, to work toward deeper connections and learning for all members.
      • Presenter bio: Stephanie J. Waterman, a member of the Onondaga Nation, Turtle Clan, is an associate professor in Leadership, Higher and Adult Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. She coordinates the University of Toronto’s Student Development/Student Services in Higher Education Program.Waterman is the 2018 recipient of the Senior Scholar Award from the American College Personnel Association. The award recognizes senior members of their profession who have made exemplary and sustained contributions to ACPA’s mission of generating and disseminating knowledge and who have committed to further advance research and theory. Waterman’s research has explored Native American/Indigenous college student experiences. Her current research project is, “Islands of Sanctuary: Native American Student Affairs.” The purpose of this research is to study Native American student affairs units, personnel and those institutional administrators, staff and faculty with whom they interact. Waterman is a co-editor of “Beyond the Asterisk: Understanding Native Students in Higher Education" (Stylus, 2013), and “Beyond Access: Indigenizing Programs for Native American Student Success" (Stylus, 2018).

Additional details will be provided in the coming weeks. The webinars are free and no registration is required.

Inquiries about the series may be directed to Alan Mandell,, Shantih Clemans,, or Karen LaBarge,

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