Catherine Hansman

Catherine Hansman

Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Catherine Hansman is a nationally recognized scholar and leader whose research and writing have extended the understanding of mentoring and the experiences of adults in higher education. She has not only written about these issues but has also lived these precepts, building an outstanding doctoral program and serving as mentor to many.

Hansman’s research on adult learning, mentoring, and communities of practice is widely cited and her research has appeared in many leading journals. A co-editor of the Adult Education Quarterly and member of numerous editorial boards, she has edited or co-edited two books. In addition, she has written or co-written one book, 22 refereed articles, 32 invited articles and book chapters, and numerous conference proceedings. Most recently, she has written extensively about professional education, including analyses of both professional education and issues related to mentoring in these fields.She received the Cyril O. Houle Emerging Scholar in Adult and Continuing Education Scholarship (2000-2002) and a Distinguished Faculty Award for Research by Cleveland State University in 2005.

Hansman is best known for her work linking mentoring learning and development and contextual issues. Her chapter in the Handbook of Adult and Continuing Education (2000) provides critical perspectives on formal mentoring programs. Her monograph, Critical Perspectives on Mentoring: Trends & Issues, expanded this perspective and is required reading on this topic. Her article, “Context Based Adult Learning" analyzes learning context as the interaction and intersection among people, tools, and context within a learning situation, enhancing the understanding of informal learning. Similarly, her chapter on "The Politics of Neglect" challenges the broader adult education community to examine how it either accommodates or reproduces hegemonic campus policies toward adult learners. Finally, she highlights issues of diversity in her chapter on "Diversity and Power in Mentoring Relationships" by examining mentoring from a critical perspective, considering issues and barriers to historically marginalized groups within mentoring relationships and issues of power and democracy within mentoring programs to suggest ways of planning and promoting mentoring programs to enhance adult learning and development for all groups of people.

Through her research, mentorship, and leadership in the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE) and the Commission of Professors of Adult Education (CPAE), Hansman has worked tirelessly to advance the visibility and stature of adult and continuing education. She served on the Executive Council of CPAE before being elected CPAE chair. Following this leadership position, she was elected president of AAACE and planned and chaired the 2009 AAACE annual conference in Cleveland, Ohio. She served six years on the AAACE Board and Executive Council. As a faculty member at Cleveland State University (CSU), she worked to expand understanding of adult education across the university and throughout Cleveland. 

Hansman’s work on learning and development and mentoring is interdisciplinary. She has received recognition from many academics outside of the field of adult education. She also has contributed to other disciplines through her work with new scholars on their dissertations at Cleveland State University and the California Institute of Integral Study.