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Dr. Douglas Smith

Douglas Smith

Hall of Fame Class of 2014

Dr. Douglas Smith’s involvement in adult and continuing education began more than 45 years ago. After receiving a scholarship to complete his master’s degree in counseling at Indiana University, he became a counselor, serving inner-city youth in South Bend, Indiana. He often took these youth to visit Indiana University’s South Bend campus and during one visit he was asked if he would be interested in directing a program offering noncredit programs and courses. Thus began his career in adult continuing education. 

Smith’s achievements as a scholar and practitioner are extensive. As a scholar, his primary areas of research are the relationship of adult education and human resource development, organizational and managerial development, total quality management, and transfer of learning. He has published two books; 16 refereed journal articles; 19 non-refereed publications, chapters, reports, and editorials; six published conference proceedings; and numerous international and national presentations. He is one of three editors of New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, an online peer reviewed research journal. As a consultant, he has conducted adult continuing education programs in more than 30 multinational, international, and national businesses, agencies, and associations. He is a lifelong member of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE), serving as President and designing its website. He has also been a past member of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) and the Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD).

Perhaps his most significant contribution to the field of adult and continuing education is his research and writings on the relationship of adult education and human resource development. Upon recognizing that most of his students were from private and public organizations, he began to develop a model that is now reflected in the concept of the learning organization. His work is based on the premise that the key contribution from adult education is individual learning and the implementation of the adult learning process, and the key contribution from human resource development is organizational learning and the implementation of the vision, mission, and related goals of the organization.  The graduate program (doctorate and masters) at Florida International University (FIU)is based  on these concepts, beginning with the two initial courses: Individual Learning and Adult Education, and Organizational Learning and Human Resource Development.

Smith has also greatly contributed to the area of total quality management, which evolved from his writings in the management of adult and continuing education programs. He co-edited Managing Adult Continuing Education Programs and Staff, consisting of invited chapters by leading adult and continuing education administrators. He also co-authored a book, Total Quality in Higher Education, which launched a series of contributed and invited articles and presentations. 

Another significant contribution in a related field to continuing education is his conducting the internal review of offshore degree programs being offered by FIU. Using the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation criteria, Smith has reviewed three master’s degree programs in Jamaica, a baccalaureate program in China, and two master’s degree programs in Panama and the Dominican Republic.