Is lifelong learning good for you?

Posted by pt91 at Jun 27, 2012 09:39 AM |
International conference on wellbeing in adult education links with 150th anniversary of groundbreaking college

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 27 June 2012

The University of Leicester’s Vaughan College is to mark its 150th year of providing adult education by hosting a major conference for the national professional body for lifelong learning researchers.

To accompany this, it will also be hosting a 24-hour celebratory event that will examine the ‘Vaughan tradition’ in adult education and how its ideal of a higher education experience that benefits all regardless of background has become highly relevant to today’s turbulent job market.

The annual Standing Conference on University Teaching and Research in the Education of Adults (SCUTREA) conference 2012 will take place from 3 - 5th July at John Foster Hall, University of Leicester. Entitled ‘Adult Education and Well-Being’, it will provide opportunity to wrestle with questions about whether learning throughout adult life is ‘good for you’, what that might mean, and how this can be measured and evaluated.

In addition, a pre-Conference event linking the 150th Anniversary of formal adult education in Leicester at Vaughan College to the conference theme is to be held from 2nd-3rd July. It will look at what Vaughan College has stood for and will focus on how ‘the Vaughan tradition’ now fits into current thinking, policy and practice.

Organiser of the events Dr Clive Marsh, Director of Learning and Teaching at the Institute of Lifelong Learning, said “Adult Education has changed hugely over the past 150 years, mainly because the state – rather than churches or other voluntary bodies - now offers so much of the secondary, further and higher education available.

“Even in the midst of major funding changes at national level, Vaughan College continues to stand for a tradition which seeks to find ways for people to experience University-level education.”

Vaughan College was originally established as the Working Men’s Institute in Leicester’s Union Street in 1862 to improve conditions and educational opportunities for the city’s working classes. It became part of the University of Leicester in 1929 and its values reflect the University’s credentials for being ‘elite without being elitist’

Dr Marsh continues, “The ‘Vaughan Tradition’ is still at work whenever people enter the University of Leicester tentatively, not really sure of what to expect – perhaps because no other family member has been to University - and are not really sure it’s for them, and yet stick with it, and grow and develop in ways they never thought possible.

“As the University of Leicester’s teaching centre for the Institute of Lifelong Learning, Vaughan College offers opportunities in University-level learning for those who, because of age or background, might not immediately think of themselves as ‘university students’. But Vaughan has been doing that kind of thing throughout its history.”

This year, the Institute of Lifelong Learning also introduces a revised programme which includes accredited short courses in humanities and arts and in management studies. These are ideal for people who wish to ease themselves into study before committing to a longer, more intensive course. Also new for this year is the Certificate in Humanities and Arts from which people can progress to the BA Humanities and Arts.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Robert Burgess, said, “I am delighted that the University is celebrating the achievements of Vaughan College.  Throughout the years it has made studying at a higher education institution accessible to everyone, which is one of our aims.  Lifelong learning is vital in today’s society and it is important for us to continue to develop policy and practice in line with changing priorities and society’s needs.”

Click here for more information on the 150th anniversary of Vaughan College.

Notes for editors:

For more information contact Vicky Anderson, va50@le.ac.uk

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