Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Communications



First Advisor

Michael Castro

Second Advisor

Tom Dehner

Third Advisor

Charlene Engleking


This thesis will focus on the needs of the adult or nontraditional student. An in-depth look at bow non-traditional students came to be and how higher education is accommodating them today and tomorrow.

Before 1944, adult students were not commonplace on college campuses. At that time even high school graduation was a rare achievement. However, The Servicemen's (and women's) Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as "The GI Bill," changed all that. The Act provided many benefits but it is best known for giving former soldiers, both male and female, a chance at a college education or a degree from a trade school.

In the 1950s and 1960s the non-traditional students were outnumbering the traditional students. The adult students brought much knowledge and wisdom to class and they were focused on goals. As a result, in the early 1970s accelerated courses for adults only were born. Many were evening classes, and on occasion, a few weekend programs. Friends University, a small Quaker College in Wichita, Kansas, was saved from extinction by adding adult classes to its curriculum.

College and degrees may not be for everyone. There are people in blue-collar supervisory positions who need communication and listening skills more than a degree. Toastmasters International is an organization that has been filling that need for nearly three quarters of a century.

In the past five years distance learning has exploded onto the scene and as a result education is experiencing some stark changes. As a result, the traditional college now is commonly referred to as the "brick college." The distance learning is referred as the "click college." Many colleges are almost being forced to add distance learning to their curriculum or they run the risk of closing and losing out to colleges who do. Those colleges offering traditional and distance learning are known as "brick and click colleges."

In the 21st century there will be a need for checks and balances or quality control if education is to do its job of educating society. A challenge lays at the college portals, be it "click," "brick," or "brick and click."

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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