Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Elinor A. Scheirer

Second Advisor

Dr. Paul Eggen

Third Advisor

Dr. Katherine M. Kasten

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Barbara Kruger

Department Chair

Dr. Jennifer J. Kane

College Dean

Dr. Larry G. Daniel


This qualitative research study focused on the perceptions of 12 faculty members teaching courses in adult basic education and described their professional experiences and interactions with adult learners within the context of a two-year, public, postsecondary institution. Participants, ranging in teaching experience from 13 years to 43 years, volunteered to take part in one-to-one, semi-structured interview sessions to offer insight into their professional experiences. The interview sessions yielded the complex, context-specific data for detailed analysis. Data analysis, supported through educational criticism and relevant concepts from the professional literature (Eisner, 1998), was used to develop four themes: how the faculty viewed themselves professionally, how faculty viewed their students, instructional strategies used to promote student learning, and perceived challenges to student learning. Faculty perceived themselves as caring, humanistic managers; moreover, faculty viewed their students, while limited in certain fundamental academic skills, as being capable learners equipped with ancillary skills that could be used to complement their classroom learning. Furthermore, faculty reported that they used active, student-centered instructional approaches relevant to students' experiences to promote learner persistence in the face of challenging circumstances. This study included recommendations for leaders in higher education to provide high-quality professional development opportunities for faculty and adequate counseling, mentoring, and tutoring services for the students the faculty serve.