UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The study of adult education at UBC, 1957-1985 Damer, Eric John

Abstract

In 1957, The University of British Columbia launched Canada's first degree-granting program in adult education. It subsequently grew to be one of the largest departments in the Faculty of Education, and recognized internationally for its work. As it grew, however, the program lost its initial administrative privilege. This study asks why UBC had the honour of this Canadian "first," and how the program flowed and ebbed. It shows the relations between the department's administrative and intellectual activities, and how the program fit British Columbia's social development more generally. The study concludes that the successes were largely opportunistic, as the program profited from the changing face of higher education more generally and privileges secured under an early administrative regime. The program's failure was that it did not create a stable identity independent of these opportunities: it failed to gain recognition from academic outsiders as the home of distinct adult education research and knowledge, and it failed to become the gatekeeper of a controlled profession.

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