Gary J. Confessore
Hall of Fame Class of 2016
Professor Emeritus Gary J. Confessore’s contributions to adult and continuing education have had a transformative affect not only in collegiate settings but for adult learners around the globe.
Confessore has an extensive record of research, publication, and presentation of papers and workshops in a variety of sectors of adult and continuing education. His record of scholarship includes having authored or co-authored 16 books, 20 chapters, 27 juried articles and presentations of 98 papers or workshops on various aspects of adult and continuing education on four continents and 15 countries. He serves as a founding member and member of the Board of the International Society for Self-Directed Learning, which honored him with the 2007 Malcolm Knowles Memorial Self-Directed Learning Award. He also serves as a review editor for the International Journal of Self-Directed Learning.
Perhaps his single greatest contribution to the field is a long and energetic history of international travel to conduct research and workshops on adult and continuing education topics. His service and guidance as the international advisor to the East Asia Federation for Adult Education has made important and material international contributions to the field of adult and continuing education. He has worked with the faculty of the department of psychology at the University of Johannesburg to understand the learning differences associated with tribal origins of their students. He has made efforts to bring an appreciation of learning style preferences to physicians who work with communities throughout Central Africa through the Flying Doctors program of the African Medical and Research Foundation. Also noteworthy are his efforts to record the learning needs expressed by the Orang Asli (first people) of the peninsular Malaysia as their natural jungle range is replaced by oil palm and rubber tree plantations and they must adapt to new life circumstances.
In an age of increased attention on the centrality of organizational learning and continuing professional education, medical educators have undertaken to better understand the principles of adult and continuing education. Confessore is active in this field having served as a program developer and advisor in the efforts of the George Washington University School of Medicine to integrate adult learning principles into the undergraduate medical program, Children’s National Medical Center to develop and deliver a master teacher program for faculty who guide the pediatric residency program, and the Department of Geriatrics and Gerontology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to understand learning in older adults, among many others.
Confessore has had a long career as a senior academic administrator. His leadership responsibilities have been transformative at every institution he served. In addition, working as a W.K. Kellogg Post-Doctoral Fellow under Professor Huey B. Long, he served as associate director of the Oklahoma Research Center for Continuing Professional and Higher Education for four years. The work of that center has made significant contributions to this visibility and stature of adult and continuing education.