Jean E. A. Fleming, Ed. D., R. N.
Jean E. A. Fleming, Ed. D., R. N.
I have considered myself an adult educator since I began volunteering in 1975. I went on to earn a masters and doctorate in the field. I have held numerous positions from literacy volunteer, to non-profit executive director, to graduate faculty and, most recently, experienced being an older adult student in nursing. The latter adventure provided me with new insights into our field and reaffirmed my belief in the need for professionals who understand adult learning and teaching - in other words, the members of AAACE. I have served in leadership positions, including president, for a state association (Colorado), and regional association (Mountain Plains Adult Education Association).
I was active in and once co-chaired the planning committee for the Midwest Research-to-Practice conference. I joined AAACE when it was first formed and have remained a member for most years since. I have served on the Board of Directors with both the Commission on Affiliate Organizations and as Director-at-Large, was active with CPAE, and have assisted with conference planning several times, most extensively in 2007 for the Norfolk conference and in 2010 for Clearwater. I have assisted with strategic planning, had input into the budget, and at one time worked to develop the Foundation. I currently serve as chair for the Health Professionals SIG. I have presented at numerous AAACE conferences and, as an indication of my particular interest in associations, researched and wrote an article for the PAACE Journal on Lifelong Learning (2000), "Professional Associations in Adult and Continuing Education."
AAACE provides a place for unity within the diverse field of adult, community, and continuing education, a place for nurturing a sense of professional identity and belonging. I have always viewed AAACE as our "professional home" and I see my major contributions as focused on that vision. I am committed to making contributions that are aligned with the association's vision, mission, and strategic plan, and to recognizing and supporting the extensive work of the past and current AAACE leadership. Thus, taking the tried-and- true foundations and thoroughly-vetted goals of the association into account, I would focus my energies in three directions.
First, our AAACE home must provide a space where people can connect, communicate, collaborate, and create. To that end I would focus on effectively using both our face-to-face and virtual meeting spaces. Through ad hoc committees we can explore myriad options for conferences and for strengthening our Commissions and Special Interest Groups. I would also focus on professional publications and on advocacy initiatives. When consistently connected, we can explore strategies for supporting research and its dissemination, and we can determine the best approaches for advancing public policy to the benefit of adult learners. All these explorations need the "home base" that AAACE provides and I would focus on enabling members to see and use AAACE as that central base from which extended connections can be made and advances for our field achieved.
Second, our home must have a sound infrastructure. The strategic plan details initiatives to achieve responsive member services, sound internal processes, a strong financial base, and a continued focus on our own learning and development. In support, I would focus particularly on using technology and social media to reach current and potential members, partners, and stakeholders. I would work with experts to formalize consistent processes to guide the internal running of the association. I would seek all potential sources of revenue and all strategies for streamlining association costs. I would support our own training and development as the best means of exemplifying lifelong learning and leadership development. I would focus on providing a steady foundation to enable the association to freely grow in support of its members and its mission.
Third, the doors to our professional home must always be open in demonstration of our basic beliefs. We are inclusive in spirit and we must do everything we can to support each other in keeping that commitment alive, well, and active. This pertains to inviting and welcoming partners in our association work, to providing safe forums in which all of us can be ourselves and flourish, to forming webs of support for one another as we work in our own individual spheres. My focus would be on helping us communicate that spirit of inclusion, of devising strategies to make that inclusiveness a reality wherever we are. My focus would be on supporting and communicating our contributions as educators in lifelong learning to creating that humane world of human fulfillment and social evolution envisioned by AAACE.
Please cast your vote for one candidate
Nancy Fire, Ed. D.
Nancy Fire, Ed. D.
My background includes a career rich in both teaching and learning. I began as a nurse and evolved into an adult educator and state and national work with organizations working with young children with special needs. Through grants and other employment opportunities I've found myself in many roles involving organization development and training such as my latest work in faculty development. I've found myself in many roles involving organization development and training such as my latest work in faculty development. Often I have been in the position of beginning new endeavors or reviving older efforts in times of change. This has provided an opportunity or me to expand my skills in program planning and implementation.
Conference planning is a key skill I have developed throughout my professional career. Most have been large events for diverse audiences and involved planning with multiple groups. Another such key skill I have developed is mentoring. I now serve as a mentor to a staff of graduate students developing a program for over 100 graduate students teaching on our campus. Their interests and passions guide my supportive work with them. Further, I have had several experiences working with grassroots planning for new initiatives such as my work in Oklahoma on behalf of community work with families of children with special needs.
I am a lifelong learner and earned my doctoral degree in Adult and Higher Education after working with adult learners for over 25 years. I believe that even with my experience as both a teacher and learner, I can now only begin to understand the mysteries of learning which guides my work.
I would be honored to serve in as Director-at-Large of AAACE if selected and believe I bring a vision that will be of benefit to the organization. My vision comes from a strong background in adult learning and work in training and development and higher education and includes three strong components: Connections, collaboration, and creativity.
Connections through technology can provide access to education to underserved populations and access to the work of our organization. To me "access" is about connecting education via technology to those who cannot benefit from classes in traditional settings due to remoteness, learning difficulties, life demands, etc. I believe the connections afforded by technology must be extended strongly into our field of adult education. We can reach the "hard to reach" adult populations with knowledge that will lead to employment and other gains. While this may sound "lofty", it is doable as I've seen in my research with adult Native American traditional learners who were learning at a distance.
I would like to bring this passion for technology with me into AAACE to enhance the work of the existing Commissions and interest groups. I began this work with AAACE as one of the original group that developed "Communication Central" for the annual meeting. I believe that online learning can take learners (and our members) to new places and new visions that we cannot accomplish within the walls of a classroom or meeting room. My vision for online learning is to "open windows" with learners (and our members) to content that is limited only by their own imaginations.
Collaborative work brings new energy and new paths for every organization. I've found this in my own work on a large campus as a faculty development specialist. I've seen how one person can only touch a small group of people and affect little change and how the work of multiple people representing multiple interests can affect big change. Small ideas become big ideas and eventually become big work when the energy of many is tied to a goal and program planning. People from many different backgrounds bring individual interests and abilities to the table and new growth occurs. I bring skills as a collaborator and coordinator and find this to be the most enjoyable part of my work.
Creative thinking can bring new, fresh ideas to an organization like AAACE. I believe that everyone is endowed with creative abilities which can provide new paths for AAACE. We are all lifelong learners who, with our combined vision, passion, and energy, have the ability to continue to create an organization that can meet the needs of our world head on! The job ahead lies in connecting our members to their passion within the organization and to provide support for the creative paths that emerge.
If elected, I will bring this vision and passion with me to the work that lies ahead for AAACE.
Christy M. Rhodes, Ph. D.
Christy M. Rhodes, Ph. D.
Christy M. Rhodes received her Ph.D. from the Adult, Career and Higher Education Department at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. She has taught ESOL and EAP abroad in the United Arab Emirates and Costa Rica and currently teaches at Marchman Technical Education Center in New Port Richey, Florida. She has been involved in teacher training and has served on statewide curriculum development projects. She has been a member of AAACE since 2007 and has served on the Graduate Student SIG and Connect and Greet committees. Her research interests include culturally relevant teaching, critical theory, and the history of adult education.
My introduction to AAACE came at the Norfolk Conference in 2007. In the span of two days, I quickly realized that this organization represented me, and all of the various questions and issues that I found highly pressing, yet were not shared by my colleagues in the K-12 system. Throughout the conference, I found myself conversing with educators who voiced concerns remarkably similar to mine about the current and future state of adult education. I engaged in thought-provoking dialogue with the leaders in the field and was astonished when they asked me for my opinion on a variety of issues. Reflecting on the conference during the ride home, it dawned on me that I had begun a relationship with a group that would become incredibly important to my professional development and emotional well-being.
For this reason, I would like to serve as Director-at-Large for AAACE. In this role, my goal would be to work with the AAACE board to expand and enhance the organization's current involvement with graduate student members. As noted in the AAACE Strategic Objectives 2013, it is important to "increase membership, participation, and service for Masters level students". Since attending that first conference in 2007, I have worked with and chaired the Connect and Greet Conference Planning Committee, in conjunction with the Graduate Student SIG. In these roles, I have helped establish various informal and formal networking activities such as the Graduate Student and Welcome Breakfasts. All of these activities share a central theme of developing and strengthening the relationships among AAACE members. However, they have only been a benefit to those members attending the conferences. Therefore, as Director-at-Large, I would extend opportunities for graduate students to interact with AAACE and each other in addition to the conference. I would like to work with the Board to explore various strategies such as online group meetings or publishing a themed issue of Adult Learning highlighting the work of graduate students, as has been done in the past. In short, I would like to use what I have learned from my previous organizational experiences with AAACE to create new ways to reach out to the adult education graduate student community.