Dr. Martha Cleveland-Innes
My work in the field of adult and higher education spans eighteen years and includes program development, curriculum design and research. My first two degrees are in Sociology, with a switch during my Master's degree to 'the sociology of adult education'. My Ph.D. is from the University of Calgary with a concentration in the Sociology of Adult and Higher Education. This means I have a particular interest in social forces that impose themselves on learning and education.
In the sojourn between completing my Masters degree and commencing my Ph.D. program, my work designing learning environments for adult learners began. I developed and implemented programs to serve non-traditional students in a university setting. In keeping with my sociological focus, these programs were designed to enhance social and academic integration for learners with special needs. These groups of learners included returning learners, students who had spent time away from a formal education setting before coming to university and students with disabilities. Managing a team of staff and student volunteers, we designed programs for special needs students such as specialized orientations, transition workshops, and a term-paper writing workshop series. A particularly satisfying part of this work involved creating adapted learning environments for students with disabilities, such that they could appropriately access the learning environment without compromising academic standards.
I continued my commitment to research during this time, integrating research projects, and publishing reports and articles, into my work with non-traditional students. I served in community education at times, designing and delivering programs when a strong need surfaced. The call to continue my studies was strong. I applied and was accepted to a doctoral program in adult and higher education. I continued my program development and learning environment design work, at a reduced rate. hile completing my Ph.D. I added graduate students to my list of constituents, acting as the Dean's Advisor on Graduate Student Issues for four terms. Shortly after I completed my Ph.D. in the fall of 1996, I was asked to join a task-team of academics, students and curriculum designers to create a new curriculum template for undergraduate programs. I spent two years engaged in conceptual development, while distilling information from the campus, expertise from team members and other campus members, and the literature in higher education and curriculum development, to create a new vision, framework and delivery methods for the University of Calgary's undergraduate programs. While the level of complexity is much greater, the work responds to the same call: by what means do we ensure the most salient and enduring learning outcomes? Beyond the personal mission, the call to be accountable, to produce relevant, current and meaningful education experiences for students, to respond to the needs of the society in which we exist, is now mandatory. My commitment to the continual improvement of learning environments to enhance learning outcomes remains. Acting on this commitment compels me to employ rigour in my research and practice in the field of education and training. Integrating research and teaching, I teach courses in research methods to students in graduate programs in education and workplace learning. These courses are delivered face-to-face, by audio-conference and computer-mediated conference. As of May 2001 I will be a full-time faculty member in the Centre for Distance Education at Athabasca University. Until then, I am acting as a sessional instructor for AU and consulting in the corporate world on technologically-mediated workplace learning. I consult as a curriculum designer for companies such as Quaker Oats Canada/US, TELUS, and Optime Training International.
I balance my academic life with singing in a mixed choir and study at the Calgary Italian Cultural School. In the center of my life is a family of three children and their Dad, two dogs, two horses and varying numbers of fish. My children span two decades, the result of fitting child-bearing into career requirements: June-Marie, 18; Ashley, 13 and Aaric, 6. My partner Stuart is a super-Dad who also serves as Director of Information Technology Trouble Management for TELUS.