ERIC Number: ED219624
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Coulds and Shoulds: The Dilemma.
Lutter, Judy Mahle
A 2-year study was conducted to examine the impact of Continuing Education for Women (CEW) at the University of Minnesota on women's lives. Using data from a 22-page questionnaire filled out by 1,134 women who had taken at least one continuing education course at the University, and in-depth personal interviews with selected participants, the study focused on the lives of women who were between the ages of 37 and 45. It was found that the average student in CEW at Minnesota is a 42-year-old woman who already possesses a bachelor's degree. Very often she is returning to explore new career and/or degree possibilities. This study also found that women aged 37-45 experienced a great deal of dissonance between old expectations and new desires. Although most still had children at home, a significant number were either working full or part time. Frustrations and problems arose because they had rarely placed personal desires first. Returning to school was often the opening wedge for many other changes. The research indicates that this group needs special support; more than any other group, they were torn between what they "should do and be" in the traditional sense, and what they "could do or be" as articulated by younger women. The dilemma may cause personal and family disruption and distress. Although life styles and family responsibilities varied, almost everyone said they wanted to be employed and were using CEW classes and counseling to help define and reach those goals. (Author/KC)
Descriptors: Adult Development, Adult Students, Continuing Education, Educational Needs, Employed Women, Employment Level, Family Relationship, Females, Middle Aged Adults, Midlife Transitions, Part Time Employment, Postsecondary Education, Self Actualization, Self Evaluation (Individuals), Sex Role, Student Attitudes, Student Educational Objectives, Womens Education
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: University of Minnesota
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, March 19-23, 1982).