Colleges & Universities SIG
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Leading Minds Leading Learning | Battered Not Broken
Daryl R. Privott, Morehead State University
Reflecting on the 2016 voting season, we are challenged to think anew concerning the connection between the theory and practice of social justice and adult education. I suggest that we should mirror the mission of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE), and its call to “provide leadership for the field of adult and continuing education” (AAACE, 2017). It is my belief that as adult educators, we have not provided leadership for the field in addressing social justice issues because we have been battered and are fearful to address civic(s) topics. Battered is defined as “injured by repeated blows or punishment” (Oxford Dictionaries, 2017). Higher education has experienced repeated blows with the reduction of funding by state legislatures, the questioning of the value of higher education associated with student debt and remedial education, and a feeling of powerlessness and fear among many of my colleagues in the wake of the 2016 democratic process. I contend that as adult educators, we should recognize the 2016 voting results as a call to action to inculcate ourselves with the mission of AAACE, become advocates for higher education, and develop strategies for ourselves, our students, and the community. We must engage in civil dialogues that move us away from divisive political rhetoric and recapture our position as leaders in addressing social justice issues; we may be battered, but it is my belief that we are not broken.
AAACE mission and call to action
The mission of the American Association for Adults and Continuing Education (AAACE) compels us to be leaders, expanders, unifiers, developers, disseminators, promoters, and advocates (2017). By acting in this capacity, we will make a positive impact on civic discourse and social justice. We must advocate for higher education in state legislatures and promote to others the value and benefits of higher education. Academia has shown its value in addressing the problems of our society and requires its leaders to advocate for its continuance and growth. Individuals with a college degree have increased earnings, provide increased tax revenues, live healthier lifestyles, and are more active citizens (Baum, Ma, &Payea, 2013). These attributes are needed to address social justice issues. As doctoral degree holders, we are ‘one percenters’; we have more formal education than 99% of the American population (Ryan & Siebens, 2012). As a one percenter, I have the responsibility to advocate, disseminate, and promote higher education. I have a duty and responsibility to use this ‘super power’ to pursue “relevant public policy and social change initiatives” called for in the AAACE mission (AAACE, 2017). My actions and practice must connect with the theory of adult education and the call from the AAACE mission. We must not be fearful to engage in advocacy after the results of the 2016 voting season, and should instead create opportunities for civic discourse with students, colleagues, and the community.
[Reflections excerpt, by Daryl R. Privott, “Battered not Broken” in Dialogues in Social Justice: An Adult Education Journal, (2017), 2(1), pp. 9-11.