Dr. Valerie C. Bryan is a leader in technology adoption and adaptation in the field of adult education. Using instructional technology extensively to encourage adult, community, and continuing educators to embrace the use of information technology to work smarter in a world of change. She helps people add skills to their repertoires that not only help themselves but also people in the communities they serve.
Bryan has crossed disciplines to move adult, community, and continuing education into new arenas, using her mastery of emerging technologies to expedite learning and to disseminate new knowledge. In 1990, when she had assumed responsibility for the Florida Adult and Community Education Network, she replaced the old “copy and mail” process for distributing exemplary projects throughout the United States, first with faxing and then with PDF transmissions to encourage early adoption of best practices and later using HTML. In 1996, she was among the first to recognize the potential of distance learning to bring a whole new dynamic to adult, higher, and continuing education. She developed the first online courses in adult learning at Florida Atlantic University (1996) and went on to assist other faculty, students, and state and national agencies to effectively employ new technologies. Her expertise led to leadership and contributions to the advancement and adoption of technology-based programs at state and national levels. In addition to helping adopt new technologies, Bryan serves on a task force to help academic affairs work alongside state universities and colleges in Florida. She helps develop strategies for better coordinating services and online programs in the state university system and the Florida college system across other delivery systems to ensure state economic development needs and student demands are being met in an effective and cost-efficient manner.
Bryan’s scholarly publications and presentations are prolific, well regarded, and widely cited. They include three books, the latest being Technology Use and Research Approaches for Community Education and Professional Development. She is a contributor to and reviewer for numerous journals and periodicals and has presented on adult learning principles and technology at more than a dozen different conferences, including AAACE and E-Learn, and has received virtual awards for “most downloaded presentation” and two “outstanding virtual presentation” awards. In addition, she presents to universities, state colleges, and health literacy organizations on how technology can help to empower patients and also contributes to blogs geared toward a K-12 audience on the topic of self-directed learning.
An exemplary learning facilitator, she views exchanges with her students as the most thrilling part of her work and is sought after because of her outstanding mentorship. She has chaired or co-chaired more than 90 dissertations, many of which are considered groundbreaking in the areas of use of technology, health literacy, and aging. She encourages every doctoral student to create refereed presentations or publications to share new knowledge with researchers and practitioners. In a wide range of arenas, she expertly advances the principles and exemplary practice of adult and continuing education.
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