The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, October 08, 1975, Page page 7, Image 7

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    Wednesday, October 8, 1975
daily nebraskan
page 7
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e older student- variety of reasons
By Theresa Foreman ,
"Some people think of it as basket weaving or a
community college,, yoga course," said Quentin Gessncr, re
ferring to adult education. Gessner is dean of the College of
Continuing Studies.
Older adults have legitimate educational needs, he said.
Both older students and educational institutions are be
coming aware of the non-traditional student's need to be
Since ndn-traditional education programs are open to all
students, and the returning student cannot be defined by
age, no statistics are available to indicate the number of
adult or returning students receiving continuing education..
'Adults who had unsuccessful
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past have some less than
positive feelings about being
in the classroom'
Enrollment 5s up in all areas of non-traditional educa
tion, said Harold Alien, information officer for UNL's
Extension Division. ....
This estimate follows national trends. Authorities say
that one of every four Americans undertook some form of
adult education in the past year.
W.C. Meierhenry, chairman of UNL's adult and continu
ing education dept., said older adults are coming back to
school for a variety of reasons. Some are working on
bachelor's or master's degrees, he said. Others want to
develop skills which will make them more proficient in
their work. Others simply want to improve their general
knowledge. For some, Meierhenry noted, returning to
school provides a worthwhile social outlet.
He said that coming back to school is not easy for many
older students. They find themselves facing situations
similar to those they left behind of IS or 20 years ago.
"Adults who have had unsuccessful classroom exper-
' iences in the past have some less than positive feelings ,
about placing themselves back in the classroom," Meier
henry pointed out.
"Many adults believe coming back to school is an
admission that they have failed," he said. ,
Also, older students have a fear of competing with
younger students, said Irene Johnson, UNL counselor for
non-traditional students. Many have doubts about their
ability to handle college material, she said.
Society and education are youth-oriented, said Meic
J'enry. The older Students can feel alienated on traditional
college campuses.
Special instruction methods are needed to teach the
older, non-traditional student, Meierhenry said. That
student should be much more involved in planning his own
courses, he said. The teacher needs to make the instruction
For the same reason, more discussion is needed when
teaching adults, Meierhenry said.
Most older students are interested in satisfying some sort
of immediate goal, he said, rather than in storing up know
ledge in hopes of using it someday.
Besides needing special instruction methods, many older
students face other problems when they come back to
school, he said.
Adults with families to support often must limit their
attendance to evening classes. Many have little time for
classes and those who work all day are tired when they
attend class.
Transportation to the campus at night is a problem for
some, especially women, Meierhenry noted.
Adults with families to support
often limit their attendance to
evening classes. Transporta
tion to campus at night is a
The cost of returning to school also is a hurdle for many
with families to support, Johnson said. This is especially
true for the single parent.
Meierhenry said many students complain that university
offices are not accessible to the student enrolled in night
school. . ,
, Continued on pg. 10