Martha Cleveland-Innes, Athabasca University

Chair Professor Athabasca, Alberta martic@athabascau.ca Office: (780) 675-6426
(800) 788-9041 ext. 6426

Bio/Research

My work in the field of adult, distance and higher education spans twenty-nine years and includes program development, curriculum design and extensive research. My first two degrees are in Sociology, including a Master's degree in 'the sociology of adult education'. My Ph.D. is from the Universit...

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Bio/Research

My work in the field of adult, distance and higher education spans twenty-nine years and includes program development, curriculum design and extensive research. My first two degrees are in Sociology, including a Master's degree in 'the sociology of adult education'. My Ph.D. is from the University of Calgary with a concentration in the Sociology of Adult and Higher Education. My background in human social behavior science means I have a particular interest in social forces that impose themselves on learning and education.

In the sojourn between completing my Masters degree and commencing my Ph.D. program, my work designing learning environments for non-traditional learners began. I developed and implemented programs to serve non-traditional students in a university setting. In keeping with my sociological focus, these programs were designed to enhance social and academic integration for learners with special needs. These groups of learners included returning learners, students who had spent time away from a formal education setting before coming to university, and students with disabilities. Managing a team of staff and student volunteers, we designed programs for special needs students such as specialized orientations, transition workshops, and term-paper writing series. A particularly satisfying part of this work involved creating adapted learning environments for students with disabilities, such that they could appropriately access the learning environment without compromising academic standards.

My commitment to research developed during this time, integrating research projects, and publishing reports and articles, into my work with non-traditional students. I served in community education at times, designing and delivering programs when a strong need surfaced. The call to continue my studies was strong. I applied and was accepted to a doctoral program in adult and higher education. I continued my program development and learning environment design work, at a reduced rate. While completing my Ph.D., I added graduate students to my list of constituents, acting as the Dean's Advisor on Graduate Student Issues for four terms.

Shortly after I completed my Ph.D., I was asked to join a task-team of academics, students and curriculum designers to create a new curriculum template for undergraduate programs. I spent two years engaged in conceptual development, while distilling information from the campus, expertise from team members and other campus members, and the literature in higher education and curriculum development, to create a new vision, framework and delivery method for undergraduate programs. While the level of complexity is much greater, the work responds to the same call: by what means do we ensure the most salient and enduring learning outcomes?

In 2001 I began my work as a faculty member in the CDE. My commitment to the continual improvement of learning environments to improve access, reduce barriers, and enhance learning outcomes, remains. Acting on this commitment compels me to employ rigor in my research and practice in the field of distance education and training. Integrating research and teaching, I teach courses in research methods to students in graduate programs in education and workplace learning. I also teach Leadership in the EdD.


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