Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Department or School/College

School of Education

Committee Chair

Roberta D. Evans

Commitee Members

David J. Aronofsky, Don R. Robson, Francee O’Reilly


Baby Boomers, Educational Travel, Higher Education, Volunteering


University of Montana


This descriptive quantitative study examined preferences and choices by adult learners (leading edge baby boomers and older adults, ages 50-70), who were participants in Elderhostel international experiential programs and The University of Montana Alumni Association educational travel programs. The study investigated the preferences of the sample populations and their interests in making a career change in mid-life to work in a new career to help improve the quality of life in their community. The typologies of the respondents were compared with their interests to make career transitions to jobs to improve the quality of life in their communities. The study investigated the willingness of respondents to participate in training, certification and/or university degree bearing studies in social responsibility disciplines, including human services, education, environment, arts and culture management, and nonprofit community leadership. The research reported data in the following major categories: (a) reasons for participation in educational travel programs, (b) typologies of participants, (c) career choices, (d) jobs to improve quality of life in community, (e) university or lifelong learning institute training to work in human service work, (f) willingness to change careers to human services, (g) pay tuition for university classes for career transition to human service, education and community leadership positions, and (h) tax credit to spend a year in training to work in public service. Experiential learning, social responsibility disciplines, and making the transition to a new career that focus on the public good are displayed in the tables, figures and descriptions of the research of this study. The correlation of respondents' typologies with their interest to pursue a higher degree in a social responsibility discipline in higher education and experiential learning provided significant findings in this research. The conclusions of this study were: 1. The respondents displayed a willingness to change to a career in social responsibility disciplines, primarily in arts and culture management, human services helping the elderly, the sick and the poor, and civic group leadership, and tutoring and teaching in after-school programs or religious instruction for youth. 2. There is a positive association between the typologies of geographical explorer, adventurer, activity-oriented, and service learning, and the intrinsic rewards to adult learners and their interest in higher education degree programs. 3. There is potential for higher education to attract a percentage of adult learners who want to pursue expanded higher education learning opportunities in social responsibility disciplines. The financial incentives are potentially lucrative for higher education to expand courses that create streams of revenue in the adult learner segments. 4. The respondents of both sample populations overwhelmingly want tax credits to train and work for the public good.



© Copyright 2008 Ann Harwood