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61 Sharan B Merriam

Page history last edited by Kelly McCarthy 9 years, 2 months ago

May 24, 1943



Personal Data

Born:                    New York City

Parents:                Harold W. and Janet S. Ballard. 

Married:               Allen H Merriam, September 5, 1964 (Divorced, 1980)

Married:               Robert W. Rowden, February 16, 1990

Children:              Paula H. Merriam and Laura S. Merriam




Ed.D.     Rutgers University, 1978 (Adult Education)

M.Ed.,   Ohio State University, 1971 (English Education)

B.A.,      Drew University, 1965 (English Literature)

Certificate in Higher Education Studies, Rutgers University, 1977



1965                     Foreign Language Teacher, Peace Corp Volunteer

1967-68               Teacher, Special Education, Surratsville, Maryland

1968-69               Teacher, English & Social Studies, Upper Marlboro, Maryland

1970-72               Instructor, Experimental Inter-Disciplinary Fresh Course, Ohio, State University

1973-76               Instructor, English & Speech Department, Trenton State College

1975-77               Teacher, Seminar on Interviewing the Aged, New Jersey Division on Aging, Trenton, OH

1976                    Teacher, Course on Memory and Concentration for Government Employees, Metropolitan Regional Council,

                            World Trade Center in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut

1975-76               Teacher, GED and ABE courses, Trenton State College Adult Learning Center

1975                     Instructor, Communication in Administration course, Edison College, Princeton

1973-76               Consultant, New Jersey Civil Service Training Center, Trenton & Newark

1977-78               Adjunct Faculty, Research Assistant, and Coordinator, Graduate School of Education, Rutgers, University

1978-81               Assistant Professor & Gerontology Center Associate, College of Education, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and

                            State University

1981-85               Associate Professor, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois

1985-present       Professor Emeritus, Adult Education and Qualitative Research, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia


Awards and Honors

1984                       Philip E. Frandson Memorial Award for Literature in Continuing Education

1985                       Cyril O. Houle World Award for Outstanding Literature in Adult Education for Adult Education:

                               Foundations of Practice (1982, with G.G. Darkenwald)

1988                       Post-doctoral Kellogg Fellow in Adult Learning Research, Montana State University

1989                       AAACE Outstanding Service Medallion Award for service to field of adult and continuing education

                               as co-editor of the 1990 Handbook

1991                       Selected as a Research Fellow with the Project for the Study of Adult Learning, a National University

                               Continuing Education Associating Project

1992                       Selected as an Advisor/Mentor for the National Extension

1993                       Leadership Development (NEL) Program, University of Wisconsin & Kellogg Foundation

1993                       Georgia Adult Education Association’s Literary Award for Lifelines: Patterns of Work, Love and Learning

                               in Adulthood(coauthored with R.S. Caffarella, published in 1991)

1997                       Delegate, Commission of Professors of Adult Education (CPAE) to participate in the Fifth International

                               UNESCO Conference on Adult Education, Hamburg, Germany

1997                       Senior Teaching Fellow, Office of Instructional Development, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

1997                       Recipient of the Cyril O. Houle World Award for Outstanding Literature in Adult Education for the book

                               The Profession and Practice of Adult Education: An Introduction, at AAACE (with R. Brockett)

1998                       Fulbright Scholar to Malaysia, Serdang (June to December)

2000                       Selected for the Inaugural Class of the University of Georgia Teaching Academy

2000                       Recipient of the Cyril O. Houle Award for Outstanding Literature for the book, Learning in Adulthood

                               (3rd edition with R.S. Caffarella and L. Baumgartner)

2002                       Recipient of the Career Achievement Award from the Commission of Professors of Adult Education

2003                       Inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame

2004-07                  Elected to the Board of Directors, Capella University, Minneapolis, Minnosota

2006                       Visiting Scholar, Department of Lifelong Education, Soongsil University, Seoul, South Korea from March to June

2007                       Recipient of the Cyril O. Houle Award for Literature in Adult Education  



Membership-Professional Organizations

American Association of Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE)

American Educational Research Association (AERC)

Commission of Professor of Adult Education (CPAE)

Georgia Adult Education Association

North American Adult Education Research Conference (Steering Committee)

Coeditor of Adult Education Quarterly (five years)

Co-editor for the book series, Professional Practices in Adult Education & Lifelong Learning

Mentors, Houle Scholarship Program sponsored by the Kellogg Foundation




2014 - (with Kee, Y.)  Promoting community wellbeing: The case for lifelong learning for older adults. Adult Education Quarterly, 64(2), 128-144. doi:10.1177/0741713613513633

2013 - (with Bierema, L. L.)  Adult learning: Linking theory and practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

2012 - (with Muhamad, M.)  Traditional healers and western medicine: The challenge of addressing Malaysia's cancer burden through collaboration. Asian Journal of Social Science,40(2), 234.

2011 - (with Brockett, R. G.)  The profession and practice of adult education: An introduction. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

2010 - (with Kim, Y. S.)  Situated learning and identity development in a Korean older adults' computer classroom. Adult Education Quarterly, 60(5), 438-455. doi:10.1177/0741713610363019

2005 - (with Leahy, B.) Learning transfer: A review of the research in adult education and training. PAACE Journal of Lifelong Learning, 14(1), 1-24.

2002 - (with Bierema, L.L.)  E-mentoring: Using computer mediated communication to enhance the mentoring process. Innovative Higher Education, 26(3), 211-227.

2001 - (with Courtenay, B.C. & Reeves, P.M.)  Time and its relationship to development in the life course: Some reflections from a study of HIV-positive adults. Journal of Adult Development, 8(3), 173-182.

2001 - Something old, something new: Adult learning theory for the twenty-first century. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2001(89), 93.

2001 - Editor's notes. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 2001(89), 1.

2000 - (with Mohamad, M.)  How cultural values shape learning in older adulthood: The case of Malaysia. Adult Education Quarterly, 51(1), 45-63.

1999 - Time as the integrative factor. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 1999(84), 67-75.

1999 - (with Caffarella, R.S.)  Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

1999 - (with Courtenay, B.C. & Reeves, P.M.)  Faith development in the lives of HIV-positive adults. Journal of Religion & Health, 38(3), 203-218.

1999 - (with Reeves, P.M. & Courtenay, B.C.)  Adaptation to HIV infection: The development of coping strategies over time. Qualitative Health Research, 9(3), 344-361.

1998 - Qualitative research and case study applications in education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

1998 - (with Courtenay, B. C. & Reeves, P. M.) The centrality of meaning-making in transformational learning: How HIV-positive adults make sense of their lives. Adult Education Quarterly, 48(2), 65-84.

1997 - (with Courtenay, B.C., & Reeves, P.M.) Ego development in the face of death: How being HIV positive affects movement through Erikson's adult stages of development. Journal of Adult Development,      4(4), 221-235.

1996 - Updating our knowledge of adult learning. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 16(3), 136-143.

1996 - (with Yang, B.) A longitudinal study of adult life experiences and developmental outcomes. Adult Education Quarterly, 46(2), 62-81.

1996 - (with Heuer, B.) Meaning‐making, adult learning and development: A model with implications for practice. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 15(4), 243-255.

1995 - What can you tell from an n of 1?: Issues of validity and reliability in qualitative research. PAACE Journal of Lifelong Learning, 4, 50-60.

1995 - (with Elias, J. L.)   Philosophical foundations of adult education (2nd ed.). Melbourne, FL: Krieger Publishing Co.

1995 - (with Dunn, T.R.)  Levinson's age thirty transition: Does it exist? Journal of Adult Development, 2(2), 113-124.

1995 - (with Simpson, E. L.)  A guide to research for educators and trainers of adults (2nd ed.). Melbourne, FL: Krieger Publishing Co.

1994 - Race, sex, and age-group differences in occurrence and uses of reminiscence. Activities, Adaptation & Aging, 18(1), 1-18.

1993 - (with Clark, M.C.)  Work and love: Their relationship in adulthood. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 16(4), 609-627.

1993 - (with Clark, M.C.)  Learning from life experience:What makes it significant? International Journal of Lifelong Education, 12(2), 129-138.

1993 - The uses of reminiscence in older adulthood. Educational Gerontology, 19(5), 441-450.

1993 - Taking stock. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 1993(57), 105-110.

1993 - Editor's notes. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 1993(57), 1-3.

1993 - Butler's life review: How universal is it? International Journal of Aging & Human Development, 37(3), 1-1.

1993 - Adult learning: Where have we come from? Where are we headed? New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education,1993(57), 5-14.

1992 - (with Clark, M. C.)  Adult learning in good times and bad. Studies in Continuing Education, 14(1), 1-13.

1990 - (with Simpson, E.L., & Pollack, L.E.)  Book review: A guide to research for educators and trainers of adults. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 38(2), 34-36.

1989 - The structure of simple reminiscence. Gerontologist, 29(6), 761-767.

1988 - Case study research in education: A qualitative approach. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

1987 - Young, middle, and preretirement adults’ experiences with retraining after job loss. Educational Gerontology, 13(3), 249-262.

1987 - An overview of adult-education research - Brunner,E.D., Wilder, D.S, Kirchner,C., Newberry,J.S. Adult Education Quarterly, 37(2), 118-119. doi:10.1177/0001848187037002009

1987 - Adult learning and theory building: A review. Adult Education Quarterly, 37(4), 187-198.

1986 - (with Thomas, T.K.)  The role of mentoring in the career development of community college presidents. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 10(3), 177-191.

1985 - (with Dimmock, K.)  Measuring older adults’ attitudes. Educational Gerontology11(1), 1-7.

1984 - ( with Hyer, P.)  Changing attitudes of women towards family-related tasks in young adulthood. Sex Roles, 10(9), 825-835.

1984 - Developmental issues and tasks of young adulthood. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 1984(21), 3-13.

1983 - (with Mullins, L.C.)  An experimental study of the impact of a short-term training program in death on nursing home nurses. Gerontology & Geriatrics Education3(3), 213-222.

1983 - (with Jones, E.V.)  The use of documentary sources in adult learning and development research. Adult Education Quarterly, 34(1), 54-59.

1983 - Themes of adulthood through literature. New York: Teachers College Press.

1983 - Mentors and protégés: A critical review of the literature. Adult Education Quarterly, 33(3), 161-173.

1982 - (with Brown, C., Dunn, & Mullins, L.)  Short‐term programs on death and dying and aging: A review of selected literature. Educational Gerontology, 8(6), 565-573.

1982 - Some thoughts on the relationship between theory and practice. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 1982(15), 87-91.

1982 - (with Cross, L.H.)  Adulthood and reminiscence: A descriptive study. Educational Gerontology, 8(3), 275-290.

1982 - (with Darkenwald, G. G.)  Adult education: Foundations of practice. New York: Harper & Row.

1981 - (with Mullins, L.)  Havighurst's adult development tasks. Activities, Adaptation & Aging, 1(3), 9-22.



Professional Interest Areas

Adult Education

Lifelong Learning 

Philosophical Foundations 

Adult Learning Theory and Development 

Qualitative Research Methods 

Graduate Study and Professional Development in Adult Learning 

Adult and Continuing Education 

Foundations of Adult Education 

International Adult Education/ Globalization of Adult and Higher Education



Major Contributions to Adult Education 

Helped shape the discipline of adult education


Co-edited (with Ronald Cervero) the AAACE’s journal, Adult Education Quarterly, from 1989-1993


Edited the 1990 Handbook of Adult and Continuing Education, and was co-editor (with Ronald Cervero) for the book series, Professional Practices in Adult Education and Lifelong Learning


Served on steering committees for the annual North American Adult Education Research Conference, the Qualitative Research in Education Conference, and the Commission of Professors of Adult Education


Inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame: Class of 2003


Serves as mentor to future scholar and junior colleagues worldwide


Help to develop emerging scholars in North America, Southern Africa, and Latin America


Presented and conducted workshops at conferences and universities in the United States, China, Canada, India, Malaysia, England, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Botswana, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Palestine, South Africa and Brazil. Presentation topics covered current research, adult learning theory, adult development, and qualitative research methods.


Additional Resources



Photo Gallery







In 2005, Gretchen Bersch, Professor Emerita, University of Alaska Anchorage, began a project to capture current adult education scholars' reflections on their discipline, their scholarship, and their contributions. This was done through videotaped series called Conversations on Lifelong Learning. Merriam was one of the scholars interviewed. The series can be purchased through Bersch's website, conversationsonlifelonglearning.com 


Conversations of lifelong learners.png




One of Merriam's public lectures can be found online at the Qualitative Research ForumThere are audio recordings that follow the slide show.


Merriam public lecture.png




                    The Jossey-Bass Reader on Contemporary Issues in Adult Education (The Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series)Global Issues and Adult Education: Perspectives from Latin America, Southern Africa and the United States (Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education)


Interesting Facts

Merriam holds the distinction as being the only scholar to win the Houle Award for Outstanding Literature for three different books.




Bersch, G.T. (n.d.). In Conversations on Lifelong Learning. Retrieved from http://conversationsonlifelonglearning.com/index.html


Class of 2003. (2012). In International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame. Retrieved from http://www.halloffame.outreach.ou.edu/2003/Merriam.html


Globalization: Challenges and opportunities for adult and higher education. (2011). In Brock University: Faculty of Education, Conferences & Events. Retrieved from https://www.brocku.ca/education/events/speakerseries/smerriam


Mansor, A.Z. (2010, June 21). Sharan Merriam's public lecture on the role of higher education in a globalized world. [Web blog post]. Retrieved from http://qualiresearch-azm.blogspot.com/2010/06/sharan-merriams-public-lecture-on-role.html


Merriam SB [database search field]. (2014). In Web of Science. Retrieved from http://apps.webofknowledge.com/Search.do?product=UA&SID=1Co1PAsIeUGCdmOOxtG&search_mode=GeneralSearch&prID=d837adea-4bc9-4a1c-a488-e0996e2b1c91


Merriam, S.B. (1999, May 18). Personal vita. Retrieved from http://www-distance.syr.edu/pvitasbm.html







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