Dénes Koltai, PhD
Hall of Fame Class of 2008
Dénes Koltai, PhD is the dean of Faculty of Adult Education and Human Resources Development, at the University of Pécs, Hungary. He united Hungarian scholars from various disciplines to establish a scientific school for adult education which began as a new department within the Faculty of Humanities. The school developed into the first institute of adult and higher education in Hungary in 1997. Additionally, Koltai connected his institute to national researchers and established, along with his distinguished colleagues, an academic forum of adult education in the Hungarian academy of sciences.
Koltai has written extensively in the areas of adult education, human resource development, cultural studies, non-profit management, cultural management, adult psychology and sociology. He developed and edited a series of adult education publications with 104 independent volumes of monographs. He has also led and participated in many national and European educational and research projects in adult education within Socrates, Erasmus, Grundtvig, and Leonardo da Vinci. This includes the European TEACH project, a European project to develop modules for teaching adult educators in continuing and higher education.
He has played a significant role as a member of the Hungarian Adult Education Committee (part of the Hungarian Adult Education Institute) since 2002 helping to measure the status of and challenges for Hungarian adult education. His international work includes the participation in UNESCO´s CONFINTEA V conference in Hamburg, Germany in 1997.
Koltai opened the University of Pécs to the international adult education community and hosted several conferences on the history, theory and practice of adult education in Hungary. Many of the field’s recognized scholars have attended the conferences, such as Franz Pöggeler, Paul Bélanger, Peter Jarvis, János Tóth, Jurij Jug, Ewa Przybylska and Mike Osborne. Koltai has helped his fellow colleagues within his department, institute and now faculty, to plan, build up and actively participate in international comparative research activities. His faculty has cooperation agreements with many international universities.
Koltai’s single greatest contribution to adult education is the academic development of adult education into B.A. and M.A. study frames as part of the Bologna-structure of Hungarian higher education and the realization of the Faculty of Adult Education and Human Resource Development of the University. It is the only faculty level higher education unit for adult education in Hungary with a quality assured organizational background to represent both education and research with strong local, regional, national and international relations.