Guide for Managers of Adult Education Programs




Hudson River Center for Program Development, in collaboration with the NYS Education Department, has developed a Guide for Managers of Adult Education Programs. This guide is an on-line document that will:

  • help new program managers become oriented to the world of adult education.
  • provide support to new program managers as they take on their new responsibilities.
  • serve as an up-to-date resource for program managers making educational and administrative decisions.

The impetus for creating this guide is the large number of program managers retiring in the next few years, resulting in many new administrators starting at the same time. This guide will help smooth that transition.

To begin, simply click on one of the links below. If you have any comments or questions concerning the information presented, please email them to . 

Introduction provides a general overview of the guide and highlights major issues and trends that adult education programs face at the beginning of the new millennium
The Need for Adult Education presents statistics documenting the need for adult education, as identified by the National and State Adult Literacy Surveys (NALS and SALS, respectively). The goals and roles of adult learners suggested in Equipped for the Future, the Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS), and the New York State learning standards are also discussed. Finally, the section addresses the challenge posed by the Workforce Investment Act.
Working with Adult Learners discusses the importance of providing instruction that meets the needs and styles of adult learners. Topics include learning styles, self-directed learning, multiple intelligences, and principles of adult education.
Staffing notes the importance of the experience, quality, and skill of instructional staff. Characteristics of effective staff, hiring staff, staff retention, motivation, performance correction, and professional development are all explored.
Program Design and Delivery covers the issues that must be considered in developing or operating an adult education program. A customer service philosophy, assessment of needs, and program design are discussed. Program design includes student retention, intake and orientation, instruction, support services and referrals, transition, learner assessment, and learner retention.
Collaboration, Cooperation, and Partnerships emphasizes the creation of effective linkages with other agencies to provide more effective services to adult learners. The why and how of building a partnership are addressed.
Program Evaluation and Accountability discusses the increased emphasis on accountability in educational programs. Topics include summative and formative evaluation, comprehensive performance accountability system, National Reporting System for Adult Education, continuous improvement, and compliance.
Financial Management provides an overview of funding, developing and managing a budget, managing cash flow and the financial system, and acquiring funding.
Technology and Distance Learning enhance instruction and support participation of adult learners through non-traditional options. In addition to technology planning, this section explores using technology to support administration, instruction, and distance learning.
Leadership skills are highlighted in this section. Building and maintaining an educational program requires managers to adopt multiple roles: visionary, advocate, motivator, entrepreneur, and communicator. This section also discusses continuous improvement and maintaining balance.


Hudson River Center for Program Development, Inc.