Print Page | Contact Us | Report Abuse | Sign In | Join or Create a Guest Account
Professors of Adult Education (CPAE)
Share |

Welcome from the Chair

On November 6 and 7, 2014, the Commission of Professors of Adult Education (CPAE), held its annual meeting in conjunction with the AAACE national conference. Organized to support graduate professional adult education, the CPAE was established in 1959 as a division of the AAACE. For over 55 years this organization has played a pivotal role in supporting the efforts of professors and academic programs to discover, promote and enhance the roles and functions of adult education amid periods of relative stability and tumultuous change.

Under the engaged leadership of Professor Libby Tisdell (Immediate Past CPAE Chair), the meeting was attended this year by 122 CPAE members and 27 students. Historically, these annual meetings have served as focal points to enhance and extend networking opportunities, attend to the business of the organization, engage in professional learning opportunities, and plan future activities. During my two-year term as Chair of the CPAE, we will work to keep the momentum built by Professor Tisdell and her leadership team. Beyond maintaining the current elements and functions of the organization, one of our more specific and immediate goals is to complete the revision of the CPAE Standards for Graduate Programs in Adult Education that was begun last year.

In addition, other potential goals include increasing the membership of the organization to include at least 75 percent of faculty members who teach adult education courses at colleges and universities; determining in what ways the Commission can raise the digital profile and connectivity of the membership; and determining how we can make our membership more highly relevant in the national and international policy-level conversations about teaching and learning with and among adult learners.

A Little History of CPAE

In May of 1955, 15 professors of adult education assembled in Monticello, Illinois "to discuss the role of the university in providing professional training in adult education." What became known as "The Allerton Park Conference of Professors of Adult Education" was held under the auspices of the Section on Training of the Adult Education Association of the U. S. A.

The Commission of Professors of Adult Education (CPAE) is part of what is now the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE), a proud descendant of this early effort to provide a forum for the discussion of important issues related to the academic preparation of adult educators. We are a very diverse group made up of faculty members from programs all over the world.

The Main Purposes of the Commission

The following five purposes define the purpose and work of the Commission:

  • To act as a vehicle for strengthening and supporting excellence in academic programs in adult education
  • To identify and disseminate resources that support adult education as a field of study, research and practice.
  • To provide opportunities for the professional development of professors of adult education.

  • To study and disseminate positions on social issues of concern to adult education.

  • To provide a forum for critical reflection and dialogue on scholarship and practice that reflects the diversity in adult education.

An additional and important purpose of CPAE is to provide a caring, supportive and collegial community for professors of adult education. We seek to achieve this through our annual meeting in conjunction with annual AAACE conference, usually in November. CPAE meetings include sessions designed to address current concerns of members in addition to building community and conducting the business of the Commission. Active Special Interest Groups (SIG’s) include critical theory, faculty development, human resource development, instructional improvement, international/intercultural issues, research & theory, women's research, and neuroscience. There is also often an additional less formal meeting at the annual Adult Education Research Conference (AERC) in early June .

The Commission also maintains an active listserv used to disseminate information to members and others concerned with the preparation of adult educators.
We hope this website is a valuable source of information not only about the Commission and its activities, but also about matters of broader concern to the adult education community, and that the information on the website will answer many of the questions you have about CPAE. Please contact me if you have questions or have suggestions for us, at


Larry Martin

Larry Martin, Ph.D., CPAE Chair, 2014-2016
Professor and Chair of Adult Education
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

CPAE Standards for Graduate Programs in Adult Education