Adult, Career, and Higher Education

The Early Days

Dr. Bill Danenburg and Dr. Don Jaeschke, who had become members the USF faculty prior to 1960, convinced the founding dean of the College of Education, Dr. Jean Battle, to create the Adult and Vocational Education Department. Prior to the department’s establishment, Dr. Dannenburg had a position in the area of continuing education. Dr. Jaeschke was employed on a Florida Department of Education grant to train cooperative education teacher-coordinators. They were also instrumental in persuading Rex Toothman to leave his position at the Florida Department of Education and join the College of Education faculty to help create and organize the new department. For the next several decades, the Department of Adult and Vocational Education (AVE) flourished as it added programs, faculty, and grant projects. For many years, the department had in excess of $1 million in funded grant projects each year. In addition, USF enjoyed a reputation as the leading and the largest vocational education department in the Florida State University System (SUS) which focused on the preparation of personnel for vocational education.

Initial Programs

Undergraduate vocational teacher education programs offered in the Department of Adult and Vocational Education from its inception were Business Education, Industrial-Technical Education, Marketing, and Distributive Education. Master’s degree programs in the department and in all of the undergraduate programs listed above were added beginning in 1968.

In addition to these degree programs, a large initial certification program was offered as part of the Industrial Technical Education Program (ITE) for vocational instructors recruited directly from business and industry. In the early 1990s, certification for these industrial technical instructors who were hired was based on their work experience, was removed from state certification altogether and became a district based certificate. An advanced certification program of 36 credit hours leading to an additional level of Rank II State Certification for ITE teachers had been offered for many years as well, but this was also moved to the district level at the same time.

Coursework leading to state endorsements for Teacher Coordinator of Cooperative Education (TCCE) and Work Experience (WE) were also offered. The Business Education and Marketing and Distributive Education programs also offered courses leading to teacher certification with degrees in areas such as business for those who wanted to go into teaching.


Faculty in the Marketing and Distributive Education program were Bill Danenburg, Don Jaeschke, Jim Pope, and Pat Patterson. USF’s program was one of only three in the SUS and was by far the most productive. Both the undergraduate and master’s programs were phased out shortly after the retirement of Pat Patterson, the last of its original faculty members as was the decision of the administration not to invest any replacement faculty resources in that program.

The Business Education and Industrial Technical Education programs enjoyed strong levels of enrollments during the 1980s and 1990s but were closed in 2001. The administration made a decision not to invest new faculty lines in these two programs to replace faculty who had retired. This decision was made with the knowledge that St. Petersburg College (formerly St. Petersburg Junior College) was willing to launch their own business education and industrial technical education programs utilizing their extensive labs to make the programs viable.

The first faculty hire for the Industrial Technical Education program at the College of Education was Clarence Collier, who was employed on a Florida Department of Education grant, to teach initial certification courses for Industrial Technical Education instructors teaching in the state’s prison system. Full-time tenure track faculty serving in the Industrial Technical Education program listed in order of arriving at USF include: Dr. Jim Selman, Dr. Ray Hill, Dr. Frank Johnson, Dr. Bill Blank, Dr. Roger Cantor, Dr. Charles Gagel, and Dr. Alan Kohan.

The Technology Education program, which was begun in 1990 as a track within the Industrial Technology Education program, had only had one faculty member, Dr. Ken Smith. Although this program area was on the state critical-shortage list and enrollment was good, the Technology Education program was also shut down in 2001 because St. Petersburg College was prepared to begin a similar program.

Full-time faculty members who have served in the Business Education program have been Dr. Cal Miller, Dr. Ernest Miller, Dr. Joe Cotton, Dr. George Vanover, Dr. Carolyn Vanover, Dr. Rex Toothman, Dr. Mary Durso, Dr. Judy Lima, Dr. Clyde Welter, and Dr. Janet Scaglione. A major change impacting the Business Education program was the elimination of all “skill” courses being taught by USF such as typing, shorthand, office machines, etc. with the community colleges assuming responsibility for offering such courses. This reduced the faculty numbers in the area of business education from a historical high of approximately four full time faculty members to an eventual low of one.

Early tenure track faculty in the Adult Education program included Dr. Henry (Hank) Brady, Dr. Robert Palmer, and Dr. Sherman Thompson. Faculty members serving in the master’s program were Dr. Diane Briscoe and Dr. Wayne James. Current faculty members include Dr. Dan Gardner and Dr. Suzanne Kirkman, who joined the faculty in 2005. Dr. Bill Young joined the department as chair in 1999, and is currently a faculty member in the department.

Master’s Degree Programs

The Adult Education master’s of arts program has been part of the Adult and Vocational Education Department since its founding and continues to operate and enjoys healthy enrollment. It is the only program in the department that offers regular courses and degree clusters on regional campuses.

The Business Education master’s of arts program has been essentially dormant for the past five years or so and the decision has been made to eliminate it. The Industrial Technical Education master’s of arts program had modest enrollment during the 1990s largely due to lack of faculty to recruit students and support the program. In 1999, Dr. Bill Blank approached Associate Dean Connie Hines with the idea of essentially creating a new master’s degree program aimed at all vocational education personnel using the label Career and Technical Education (CTE) but avoiding the laborious process of creating a new degree program by substantively revising and renaming the existing Industrial Technology Education master’s of arts program.

He presented this concept to the other tenure track faculty in vocational education, Dr. Janet Scaglione and Dr. Alan Kohan, and they endorsed it. Dr. Blank prepared an extensive proposal to change the Industrial Technical Education master’s of arts to Career and Technical Education master’s of arts along with other changes which were all approved. The master’s of arts program in Career and Technical Education began in the fall of 2001 with about 25 students and operated on a Saturday format with web enhancement.

About this same time, Dr. Blank secured grant to support the faculty’s conversion of all master’s of arts courses to an online format and all related courses were converted by the summer of 2005. The program now operates as a fully online two-year program with a new cohort beginning every fall semester. Of the first online cohort which began in fall 2003, 100% graduated in August 2006. The Career and Technical Education master’s of arts program is one of only three fully online degree programs currently in the College of Education and has become very successful and has a 90% completion rate.

Doctoral Programs

In the early 1980s, the College of Education began the process of creating doctoral programs. An agreement was reached with the Florida Board of Regents to allow USF to launch doctoral programs in nearly all of the program areas represented in the College. However, the programs would be specializations under two broad umbrella degree programs. The Ph.D. would be in Educational Program Development with a specialization in each program area such as Vocational Education and the Ed.D. would be in Educational Leadership with similar specializations. This allowed for the launching of the doctoral programs fairly quickly, but also resulted in much of the coursework in the areas of foundations, curriculum, measurement and research being the same for all programs leaving little room for specialization in a quite lengthy program. The dissertation was originally 24 credit hours, and remained so for many years. During this process education specialist degree programs were created in almost all of the program areas in the College.

The two areas in the department in which doctoral programs (both Ph.D. and Ed.D.) were offered were in the areas of Adult Education and Vocational Education. The Adult Education program has always enjoyed fairly healthy enrollment due to having faculty devoted full time to that program and being open to a wide range of students with academic backgrounds in virtually any field. The Vocational Education doctoral program, on the other hand, has always been fairly small (typically enrolling five to eight students at a time) due to never having faculty devoting their full time efforts to the program and having a very limited clientele base to recruit from who work in the field of vocational-technical education.

The Vocational Education doctoral program has been placed under a moratorium freezing new admissions due to lack of faculty resources on two separate occasions. The first time was in the early 1990s and the most recent moratorium was put in place in approximately 2000. When the Vocational Education program recruited its newest faculty addition, Dr. Victor Hernandez, who arrived in August 2004, his hiring was based on the assumption that he would devote a major part of his duties to revamping and relaunching the doctoral program eventually submitting a proposal for a stand alone program. Recently, Dr. Hernandez shepherded a proposal through the approval process to change the name of the doctoral program from Vocational Education to Career and Workforce Education (CWE). Shortly thereafter, the faculty settled on the term Career and Workforce Education to refer to all career related programs in the department (currently local director certification, M.A. in CTE, and the Ed.S. and Ph.D. in Career and Workforce Education).

Evolution of the Department

For over 30 years, from its inception in the mid 1960s, the department name was Adult and Vocational Education. In the mid-90s the Adult Vocational Department name was changed to Adult and Vocational Education and Human Resource Development. This was done in the anticipation of broadening the undergraduate vocational teacher education programs to include those involved in training and development in non-school settings and to boost the visibility of the adult education graduate programs aimed at that same clientele.

Those who have served as department chairs in the original Adult and Vocational Education Department and their approximate dates of service are: Dr. Rex Toothman (1970-1976), Dr. Frank Johnson (1976-1978), Dr. Ray Hill (1978-1988), Dr. Clarence Collier (acting chair) 1988-1989, and Dr. Bill Blank (1989-1999).

In the late 1990s, the Adult, Vocational Education and Human Resources Development Department (AVEHRD) had become quite small due to non replacement of retiring faculty (from a historical high of approximately 12 or 13 full-time faculty in AVEHRD to a low of approximately five) and several years of budget cuts left the faculty feeling somewhat vulnerable. An exploratory meeting was held with the faculty in the Instructional Technology program about possibly merging but it became apparent that these two program areas were just too different.

Shortly thereafter, the department had a similar meeting with the Department of Educational Leadership, which was also a small department. After several discussions, both departments formally merged to become the Department of Leadership Development. The founding chair of the new department was Dr. Blank, with Dr. Art Shapiro taking over after two years. Dr. Bill Young served as the next department chair and during his tenure the two former departments were reconfigured. The program areas of Career and Technical Education, Adult Education, and Higher Education became the Department of Adult, Career and Higher Education (ACHE) while the Educational Leadership program became the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (DELPS).

Interim Dean Dr. Ed Steiner asked Dr. Robert Sullins to serve as Interim Department Chair of this unit, and he accepted the offer. Drs. William Blank, Jan Ignash, Wayne James, Michael Mills, Janet Scaglione, Kenneth Smith, and William Young joined Dr. Sullins as the first faculty in this new unit.

Ms. Colleen Rosssbach served as the department’s first office manager.

Over the past four years, the department has been able to hire Dr. James Eisen and Dr. Don Dellow in the Higher Education area; Dr. Suzanne Kirkman and Dr. Rosemary Closson in Adult Education; and Dr. Victor Hernandez-Gantes in Career and Workforce Education.

The department is fully focused on graduate degree studies and has three doctoral programs in community college and higher education, two doctoral programs and a master’s degree program in adult education, and a master’s degree in career and workforce education.

Additional Photos

Thumbnail of Rodger Cantor, Naiomi O’neal, Bob Hicks, Bill Blank, and Diane Briscoe. Thumbnail of William Dannenburg, Distributive Education Thumbnail of Pat Patterson and Mel Smitizes Thumbnail of AVE Faculty Picture identification (taken at Chinsegut) Thumbnail of Adult Career and Higher Education faculty at reuinion in 2006. Thumbnail of Adult Career and Higher Education faculty.
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