Dr. Larry G. Martin has been an exemplary leader, scholar, and practitioner of adult and continuing education leadership for more than 35 years. He has been a leading advocate for urban education in adult and continuing education, as well as in exploring complex problems, trends, and issues of adult learners representing urban, racially diverse, and low-income working adults.
His contributions include his collegial leadership as a department chair and as a director of an urban education doctoral program for his university. This academic leadership for more than 15 years has been noteworthy, based upon the growth of faculty, significant doctoral and master’s student graduations from this program, and in professional state and national leadership and commensurate awards.
Martin is best known as a leading authority on urban adult education. Notably, he co-authored a chapter in the 2000 Handbook of Adult and Continuing Education, representing the current foundational understandings for urban adult education. In this chapter, he provided a unique and major contribution to understanding of the urban environment and its significance for specialized development and delivery of adult education programs and services. His subsequent contributions to this topic culminated in the publication of a co-edited book, Adult Education in an Urban Context: Problems, Practices, and Programming for Inner‑City Communities. In this volume, he suggested that the urban context should be defined by several features that have resulted in a bifurcated system of service delivery of adult education programs targeting urban learners. These programs are typically organized around the presumed needs of potential learners based upon their race and/or ethnicity, socio-economic standing, and/or geographical location. The sourcebook was the first to provide an analysis of urban context issues, problems, policies, and programs, particularly as these affect residents of low-income communities.
Martin has also made a significant impact through his key studies on policy changes in Wisconsin’s GED score requirements. Martin’s research study of 960 GED test takers provided evidence of the significant and deleterious effects of state-mandated higher scores on the increased failure rates, lower persistence levels, and lack of employment and educational opportunities among adults seeking the GED. His findings were a significant contribution to the recommendation by a statewide task force of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to lower score requirements. Subsequently, the state superintendent retroactively awarded GEDs to an additional 835 adults. These findings also caused a statewide policy change, contributing to Wisconsin being nationally recognized and honored for its policy leadership and impact.
Martin has presented significant scholarship, including co-editing three New Directions in Adult and Continuing Education volumes and numerous refereed journal articles; book chapters; regional, national, and international conference proceedings; and refereed and invited presentations at regional, national, and international conferences.
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