Morris T. Keeton
Hall of Fame Class of 1999
In 1974, a Change magazine survey of 400 college and university presidents, foundation executives, journalists, and government officials cited Morris T. Keeton as one of the 44 most important people in American higher education. His work, spanning some 30 years, has added immeasurably to our understanding of adult learning and of the life situations that affect adults' patterns of participation in education. No less remarkable has been his advocacy of mechanisms to enhance access to education for adults and his creativity in conceptualizing and implementing these mechanisms.
Dr. Keeton is currently Senior Scholar and Co-Director of the Institute for Research on Adults in Higher Education at University of Maryland University College, an institute he helped to design and found. Previously, he founded the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and is its President Emeritus.
Through the late 1970s, CAEL became a force advocating for both the legitimacy of the field of adult higher education and the services needed by adult learners on the nation's campuses. Dr. Keeton led CAEL into most of the arenas crucial to adult learners and the practice of adult higher education: increasingly sophisticated prior learning assessment, computerized guidance systems for adults, recognition and legitimacy to the continuing education professionals on the fringes of campuses, labor union-college-employer partnerships, and influence on state and federal legislation related to adult learners.
Dr. Keeton's contributions to adult and continuing education include a body of literature and scholarship which is perhaps best represented by the landmark volume, Experiential Learning: Rationale, Characteristics, and Assessment (1975). This work set the framework for all the policies, models, manuals, and training developed by CAEL in the years immediately following its publication.
Dr. Keeton has made many presentations in the U.S. and abroad, including at UNESCO meetings and conferences. His honors and recognitions are numerous. For his outstanding contributions to the field, he was given the Leadership Award of the Association for Continuing Higher Education in 1996.