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ERIC Number: ED521418
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May
Pages: 81
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 72
The Adult Learner and the Applied Baccalaureate: Lessons from Six States
Bragg, Debra D.; Ruud, Collin M.
Office of Community College Research and Leadership
To date, no research has examined the AB degree through a state policy lens or has acknowledged the scope of involvement of 4-year colleges and universities. This omission limits current understanding of the AB degree as a potential contributor to the higher education system and to the nation's college completion agenda in particular. The primary goals of this study were to document the extent to which AB degrees are offered by higher education institutions in the 50 states, to examine different approaches and models for implementing and awarding these degrees, and to explore the state and institutional policy contexts that surround the awarding of AB degrees by community and technical colleges and 4-year colleges and universities. The study was conducted in two phases, beginning with a national inventory of AB degrees in the U.S. public higher education sector (Phase 1), and extending into a multicase study of 6 states (Phase 2). In 2009, the authors began the second phase of the study by conducting case studies in six states (Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, and Washington), which were selected because of their engagement in AB degrees, but also because of their diversity in policy and program approaches to various forms of baccalaureate degrees. In looking at the six states that were the focus of Phase 2 of the study, several themes emerged. First, despite a paucity of impact data, state and institutional administrators believe that AB degrees benefit adult learners, particularly those who are currently working or who are using the degree as a means for job advancement. Also important to this investigation was the fact that interview and online survey results confirmed that students targeted for AB degrees are overwhelmingly adult learners who are working, but this group also included unemployed or dislocated workers and active military personnel. Students of color and students with disabilities were identified by program directors responding to the authors' survey, as was also evident in their field observations and interviews. The findings lead to several conclusions about past developments in and potential of the AB. The authors offer several recommendations to continue to advance research and development concerning the AB degree. Appended are: (1) The Applied Baccalaureate Project Advisory Committee Members; (2) State-by-State Inventory; (3) Identified Applied Baccalaureate Programs in the Six Selected States; and (4) The Applied Baccalaureate (AB) Online Survey Instrument. (Contains 2 figures, 11 tables and 1 footnote.)
Office of Community College Research and Leadership. 51 Gerty Drive Room 129, Champaign, IL 61820. Tel: 217-244-9390; Fax: 217-244-0851; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation for Education
Authoring Institution: Illinois University, Office of Community College Research and Leadership
Identifiers - Location: Arizona; Florida; Kentucky; Oklahoma; Texas; United States; Washington