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Involvement key for adults in college, faculty research shows

Involvement is key in transitioning non-traditional students into an undergraduate program, according to an assistant professor of accounting at Shippensburg University.bailey

Dr. April Bailey’s research project results, “Transitioning Non-Traditional Students to an Undergraduate Business Program,” and edited by Dr. Michael Marsh, Shippensburg professor of accounting, were recently published in American Journal of Business Education.

Continuing research from her dissertation for her doctoral degree from The Pennsylvania State University, Bailey conducted a study to find ways to help non-traditional adult learners transition into Shippensburg’s undergraduate business program and transition into the university as a whole. As part of her research, she instructed a summer seminar in which the adult students could learn the basics of the program and the university and included such topics as parking regulations, library skills and expectations.

According to Bailey, the research shows it is helpful to the transition if adult students feel involved. Bailey recommends the seminar course to other departments and universities to facilitate a successful start as an adult learner. “The course itself is almost like an involvement activity. It’s almost like this course served as a substitute for the extracurricular activities because the students got to connect with so many people. It’s like they joined three clubs they wouldn’t have time for by taking this course.”

According to Bailey, she hopes her research will help non-traditional students feel more secure and welcomed at the university. “I enjoy working with adult learners; they have a desire to learn. And I, myself, went back for my doctorate over the age of 25, so I was an adult learner,” said Bailey.