Ellen Ironside's legacy resides in the context of many roles. As an adult student, she brought visibility to the concept of older-than-average learners, helped to develop an adult student organization, and served as a role model for late participation in doctoral study and a career in adult education. As Dean of Continuing Education at Meredith College, where she served for ten years until her retirement, she brought adult education into the mainstream of this traditional liberal arts institution. She expanded and improved the existing re-entry degree program and created noncredit offerings for personal and career development. She initiated contract work with area industry and professional groups to provide leadership, management, and workforce training.
As a teacher of adults, she taught in the continuing education program during her entire tenure at Meredith. As a retiree, she has been invited to teach a course in the history and philosophy of adult education to graduate students in the Department of Adult and Community Education at North Carolina State University.
As a leader in volunteer organizations and professional associations, she chaired the Women's Issues Unit of AAACE before being elected to the Board as a Division Director and then its President in 1993-1994.
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