Building a Department of Adult Education at the University of British Columbia, 1957-1977
Keywords:Education, University History, Eric Damer, HIC, 2002
The diversification of universities into different departments and programs of study have various explanations. The degree program in adult education at the University of British Columbia "the first of its kind in Canada " for example, began with influential administrators who proposed and authorized it in anticipation of student demand. They then hired a professor of adult education, Coolie Verner, who used his considerable institutional status to create a curriculum, attract students, conduct research, and hire additional staff through the 1960s. Although changing circumstances in the following decade lessened Verner's influence, he had created an enduring institutional structure. Verner's activities illustrate the role of individuals and internal politics in determining administrative units at a university and, as a consequence, in legitimizing the research and teaching that occurs within those structures.