Brian C. Findsen

Brian C. Findsen

Hall of Fame Class of 2012

Brian Christopher Findsen is a highly respected adult and continuing education scholar-practitioner, noted for his scholarship and published works on adults’ learning in later life and for his historic description of the development of adult and continuing education in New Zealand. Findsen’s work eloquently integrates the practice and study of adult and continuing education and has had impact upon adult and continuing education, as well as gerontology. He has actively engaged in a research agenda to generate new insights about adult learners and adult education, exemplified by the co-edited publication of The Fourth Sector: Adult and Community Education in Aotearoa New Zealand. Within his work, especially in gerontology, Findsen is committed to the theme that learning does not occur in a vacuum but in specific contexts where older adults typically need to proactively respond to social issues (e.g., intergenerational communication, health, housing). His main strategies for dissemination of research and experiential knowledge (derived from tested practice) have included publications and scholarly books, conferences, consultancies, teaching, and membership on international editorial boards.

As a leading practitioner, Findsen has informed and influenced exemplary practices and management of adult and continuing education in New Zealand and Scotland, with the initial development and sustained leadership of graduate adult education in New Zealand. He has also provided an important role of leadership and mentorship as a faculty member, instructor, and supervisor of graduate students, as well as an administrator at the University of Waikato, University of Glasgow, University of Auckland, and Auckland University of Technology. 

Findsen’s career spans 32 years in which he has functioned as a continuing education officer, senior lecturer in adult and continuing education, associate professor of education, department head of adult and continuing education (University of Glasgow), and professor of education and director of a university college that focused on engagement and outreach (Waikato Pathways College). In his earlier work, he was a key player in developing a university outreach and extension division, a model adopted by most of the nation’s universities providing extensive outreach to nontraditional leaders, including the Maori and Pasifika ethnic groups, as well as women and working adults. He was a leader in New Zealand to gain support for adult and continuing education as a professional field of study. 

In addition, Findsen was prominent in establishing graduate adult education in New Zealand through the development of a diploma, master’s, and doctoral program at two New Zealand universities. These programs have strengthened and broadened the expertise and impact of adult and continuing education in New Zealand. 

In more recent years, in Findsen’s focus on critical educational gerontology, he has concentrated his efforts on the integration of theory and practice in later learning internationally, especially through the publication of two books, Later Learning and Lifelong Learning in Later Life. Throughout his career, he has maintained a passion and commitment to adult and continuing education.