William D. Dowling

William D. Dowling

Hall of Fame Class of 2001

William D. Dowling is recognized by his colleagues, community, and graduate students as an extraordinary educator. These students and the next generation of adult educators they influence are a continuing legacy of his leadership and dedication to continued learning. 

Adult education as a field of study at Ohio State University flourished during Dr. Dowling's tenure from 1967 until his retirement in 1992. He led the way in the establishment of exciting and innovative projects in literacy education, programs for the incarcerated, and development programs in central cities. He brought professionalism and creditability to correctional education, a long ignored population, and helped change it to an essential integrated component of offender development. Dowling's creativity in program development revitalized the graduate program at Ohio State University, attracting minority students who now lead programs in other states. He also developed weekly educational TV programs for the local PBS station and fostered tremendous growth in the university's noncredit program. 

As a teacher, Dowling shepherded 95 Ph.D. students through Ohio State's graduate program. Within that group was a minority cluster of African and African-American students, greater in numbers than in other universities with adult education graduate programs. This occurred because Dowling saw the need and actively recruited minorities and others from the diverse fields of adult education, literacy education, corrections, extension services, advanced military programs, public health, and business and industry.

Dr. Dowling studied and exchanged working concepts and philosophy of corrections with administrators and staff in the prisons he visited in Europe as part of his own professional development. He continuously integrated theory and practice and sharing knowledge in many countries, including the USSR, Ecuador, Egypt, Puerto Rico, and China.

Dr. Dowling received the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Ohio Democratic Party in 1997, and the William D. Dowling Research Award by the Ohio Association of Adult and Continuing Education.