Gary J. Dean has contributed to the field of adult education in many ways, especially in his practice, his scholarship, and his service to the profession.
Dean has authored or co-authored four books, more than 60 articles, and more than 80 professional presentations. He initiated and has co-edited the PAACE Journal of Lifelong Learning for the past 21 years. One of his books, Designing Instruction for Adult Learners, has been a bestseller for Krieger Publishing Company. It has been the primary book used in graduate programs dealing with instructional design of adult education for many years and continues to be used widely in the national and international communities.
One of Dean’s most remarkable achievements is his design and development of an important adult education journal, the PAACE Journal of Lifelong Learning. It began in 1991 with a proposal by Dean to the PAACE Board of Directors. The first volume was published in 1992 and has been published annually since then. The journal typically consists of invited, referred, and theory-to-practice articles. The mission of the journal is to enhance practice in adult, continuing, community, and distance education. Over the years the influence of the journal has grown. It has been cited as a leading journal in adult education and has an editorial review board that includes scholars from across the country. Its importance is reflected through the numerous articles that have been published from around the world.
The scope of the journal continues to grow. The editors look to expand its influence and reach through addressing current issues, as well as emerging trends in the field. The PAACE Journal of Lifelong Learning is a major addition to the development and growth of knowledge in the field of adult and continuing education.
Dean nurtured the MA in Adult and Community Education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania from a small, floundering program to a flourishing, independent department. Since 1987, Dean provided leadership through innovative strategies including developing an off-campus program, collaborating with other departments, and moving the program online.
Dean has been instrumental in the development of a graduate program in adult education that has graduated many students who have made significant contributions to their organizations, professions, and communities. The growth of the program in many ways is supported and marketed by these individuals who find value in their educational experiences that contribute to their practice. Dean is responsible for creating an environment that allows learners to develop into and thrive as reflective practitioners.
His work has implications both outside of and within the field of adult education. Outside of adult education, Dean has been able to collaborate with scholars from other disciplines (such as counseling and psychology) to write reviews and research standardized instruments. Within adult education, Dean has been able to bring his expertise in psychometrics to bear on the applications of standardized instruments to assess adult learners and educators. Throughout his career, Dean has remained committed to bringing adult education opportunities and resources to the regional, national, and international community.
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