Dr. Milka Atanasova

Hall of Fame Class of 2014

Dr. Milka Atanasova’s contributions to the field of adult and continuing education are significant and far reaching. For more than 20 years, Atanasova was an outstanding teacher, scholar, and practitioner and was well respected in the adult and higher education community for her guidance, writing, and research.

As a professor and department head, she educated a generation of Bulgarian leaders in her field. She held two positions at the University of Sofia St. Kliment Ohridsky, as associate professor in Adult Education and Didactics in the bachelor’s program and the Management of Vocational Development for the master’s program. She also taught courses in instructional design and learning management for the master’s program at New Bulgarian University, as well as leading courses for teachers in multiethnic classrooms and courses in active learning methods in adult and continuing education.

In addition to teaching, Atanasova extensively presented and wrote about adult education, counseling, and other higher education topics. In the books and articles she has published in the national press and online she has addressed didactics and adult education, contemporary approaches and methods of education, and educational models and techniques for active learning. Atanasova had established adult education as a dedicated independent field of research in the higher education system. She was regularly requested to make presentations in her field for national and international audiences and was also a widely sought after speaker and presenter for professional conferences.

Atanasova was an active participant in a range of adult education organizations in Bulgaria throughout her career. She coordinated seminars and other activities and implemented the dissemination tool box for the institutions that participated in Lifelong Learning Week and Lifelong Learning Days, including libraries, NGOs, chambers of commerce, city and county halls, universities, museums, and others. She supported the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) and their activities to fulfill such goals as education for active citizenship, popularization of the best practices of EAEA members at academic and non-governmental levels, and leading discussions about opportunities for strengthening the empirical research in the field of adult education.

While stressing the important role of civil society organizations in adult education, Atanasova was a strong advocate for state responsibility in adult and continuing education provisioning. Atanasova promoted the European Dimension of Learning and the participation of Bulgaria in European projects, as well as cooperation at the international level and did so according to European standards and principles, therefore strengthening the eligibility of the adult education/permanent education sector toward the local and governmental authority. Long involved in public and civic issues, Atanasova stimulated citizens to be more active in the field of adult education.

She devoted her life to promoting the practice of adult and continuing education in Bulgaria and exemplifies the true spirit of the field, as she worked toward more effective cooperation between EU member states and candidate countries from southeastern Europe in the field of adult education.