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62 Steven D Brookfield

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Personal Data


Born in Liverpool, England 1949 

Married Kim, 1986

Children: Molly and Colin 


Started his teaching career in 1970




1991--Doctor of Letters (LL.D.) Honorary degree awarded by the University System of New Hampshire for 'Contributions to the Understanding of Adult Learning and Educational Practice'

1980--Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Awarded by the University of Leicester, United Kingdom. Thesis on Independent Adult Learning

1977--Post-graduate diploma in University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. Adult Education Thesis on Discussion as a Teaching Technique

1974--Master of Arts (M.A.) in University of Reading, United Kingdom. Theoretical Sociology Thesis on Charles Booth and Sociology

1971--Post-graduate diploma in University of London (Chelsea College), United Kingdom; Modern Social & Cultural Studies Mass Communications, Popular Culture and Social Theory

1970--Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) (Honours) in Coventry University, United Kingdom; Modern Studies Interdisciplinary degree in History and Politic




Fellowships and Visiting Professorships:


2002--Visiting Professor, Harvard University


1998-2000--Honorary Research Associate, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Australia


1996--Findling Fellow at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.


1992--Research Fellow of the Project for the Study of Adult Learning (PSAL)


1989--Visiting Fellow of the Institute for Technical and Adult Education at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia


1984--Kellog Fellow. Represented the Commission of Professors of Adult Education at the 1984 SCUTREA meeting, Bristol, UK. (SCUTREA: Standing Conference on University Teaching and Research into the Education of Adults)





1991-current--Distinguished Professor, University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. "My distinguished professorship is a unique university-wide position. I am not assigned to any specific department, but hold a 'university professorship'. As Distinguished Professor of the university I attempt to create a high profile for the university through my writing and speaking and to model a cross-unit, interdisciplinary contribution to the scholarly life of the community. My time is split between writing, publishing, speaking, program development, professional development, mentoring, and teaching."


2002--Visiting Professor, Harvard University


1982-1991--Professor, Department of Higher and Adult Education, Columbia University, Teachers College, New York. Taught master's and doctoral level courses in adult education, qualitative research, critical thinking; served as doctoral dissertation chair for 25 students, member of 50 doctoral dissertation committees, twice served as interim head of department, member of college wide academic affairs committee and grievance committee.


1989--Visiting Fellow, Institute for Technical and Adult Teacher Education, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. A sabbatical position. Taught on master's courses in adult education, conducted workshops for human resources development program, and gave presentations to several community groups.


1981-1982 Research Officer, National Advisory Council for Adult and Continuing Education (England and Wales). Responsible for planning and conducting research projects in response to ministerial requests, and for writing drafts of the final reports. Particular responsibility for senior authorship of report on distance education and adult students.


1980-1981--Visiting Assistant Professor, Division of Administrative, Higher and Adult Education, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Taught master's and doctoral level courses in adult education, distance education and community education.


1974-1980--Head of Department, Department of Community, Social and Environmental Development, Malvern Hills College of Adult Education, United Kingdom. Organized adult educational programs in the west midlands across a range of subject matters. Developed and ran an educational advisory service for adults, a correspondence tuition service, a study skills unit, and a supporting autonomous adult learning groups scheme.


1972-1974--Lecturer in Sociology and Adult Education, East Devon Technical College. Taught courses in sociology, mostly to adult social work retraining courses.


1971-1972--Lecturer in Sociology, Thames Valley University, United Kingdom. Taught mostly on GCE 'O' and A' level courses.


1970-1971--Lecturer in General Studies, Lewisham and Eltham College of Further Education, United Kingdom. Taught liberal/general studies to apprenticeship courses across a range of vocations.


Awards and Honors


2001 Leadership Award from the Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE).  2011, 2005, 1996, 1989, & 1986 Cyril O. Houle World Award for Literature in Adult Education from American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE)


1986 Imogene Okes Award for Outstanding Research in Adult Education (AAACE)


2003 LL.D., honorary degree, Contributions in Shaping Adult Educational Practice, Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn.


1999 Critics’ Choice of the Educational Studies Association for Discussion as a Way of Teaching: Tools and Techniques for Democratic Classrooms


1991 LL.D., honorary degree, Contributions to the Understanding of Adult Learning and Educational Practice, University System of New Hampshire




Membership-Professional Organizations


British and North American Network for Adult Education


Founding member of the International League for Social Commitment in Adult Education


National Executive Committee of the Association for Recurrent Education in the United Kingdom (1981)


Adult Education Research Conference, Chair (1985) 


Consulting Editor for the Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education since 1999


Editorial Board member of Adult Education Quarterly (USA) since 1983


Editorial Board member of International Journal of University Adult Education since 1995


International Editorial Advisory Board member of Studies in the Education of Adults (United Kingdom) since 1994


International Editorial Advisory Board member of Studies in Continuing Education (Australia) since 1987




  2011                                Teaching for Critical Thinking: Tools and Techniques to Help Students Question Their Assumptions. San-Fransisco.  Jossey-Bass.  


The power of critical theory: Liberating adult learning and teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass   UK: Mc-Graw Hill 


Discussion as a way of teaching: Tools and techniques for democratic classrooms. With Preskill, S. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass and Buckingham: Open University Press.

































Racializing the discourse of adult education. Harvard Educational Review. 74(4).


The praxis of transformative education: African American feminist conceptualizations. Journal of Transformative Education, 1(3).


Racializing criticality in adult education. Adult Education Quarterly, 53(3).


Re-assessing subjectivity, criticality, and inclusivity: Marcuse’s challenge to adult education. Adult Education Quarterly, 52(4).


Overcoming alienation as the practice of adult education: The contribution of Erich Fromm to a critical theory of adult learning. Adult Education Quarterly, 52(2).


Challenging ideology: Reclaiming a critical theory of adult learning. In K. Kunzel (Ed.), Is there more to life than learning? Visions of continuing adult education for the 21st century.  International Yearbook of Adult Education. Cologne, Germany: Bohlau-Verlag.


Unmasking power: Foucault and adult learning. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 15(1)


The concept of critically reflective practice. In A. Wilson and E. Hayes, (Eds.) Handbook 2000 of Adult and Continuing Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass


Repositioning ideology critique in a critical theory of adult learning. Adult Education Quarterly, 52(1).


Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

1994, © 1986

Understanding and facilitating adult learning: A comprehensive analysis of principles and effective practices. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass and England: Open University.

1991, © 1987

Developing Critical Thinkers: Challenging adults to explore alternative ways of thinking and acting. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass and England: Open University.


The Skillful Teacher: On technique, trust and responsiveness in the classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


Training educators of adults: the theory and practice of graduate adult education. London and New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall.


Learning Democracy: Eduard Lindeman on adult education and social change. London; Wolfeboro, N.H.: Croom Helm.


Self-Directed learning: From theory to practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


Adult learners, adult education and the community. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University and England: Open University Press.




Professional Interest Areas


Adult Learning

Community Adult Education

Critical Reflection

Thinking and Theory

Discussion in Teaching

Experiential Learning

Negotiated Curricula/Contract Learning Peer Learning

Program Development and Evaluation

Self-directed Learning

Training educators of adults  



Major Contributions to Adult Education


Dr. Brookfield is a prolific writer of books and article in both adult and continuing education, some of which have been translated into Finnish, Chinese, and German.    He has worked extensively in teacher education and developed the Critical Incident Assessment (CIA) Tool to encourage critical reflection in teaching.  He has worked internationally, including Australia, Canada, Great Britain and the U.S., and is one of the leading critical theorists in adult and continuing education today.


Additional Resources



Photo Gallery







      Product Details



International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame.  (2009).  Steven D Brookfield. 

           Retrieved on July 2, 2011, from



Personal Vita Retrieved on July 2, 2011 http://www-distance.syr.edu/pvitasb.html


Personal webpage Retieved on June 2, 2011 from: http://www.stephenbrookfield.com/Dr._Stephen_D._Brookfield/Home.html



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