Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Educational Policy and Leadership

Content Description

1 online resource (viii, 161 pages) : color illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Kevin Kinser

Committee Members

Hal Lawson, Heinz Meyer


Accelerate learning, curriculum, higher education, instruction, Adult learning, Adult education, Curriculum planning, Instructional systems, Educational evaluation

Subject Categories

Adult and Continuing Education | Higher Education Administration


This is a qualitative case study that examined four institutions of higher education in New York to assess how well they have done at implementing a quality standard established by the Commission on Accelerated Programs (CAP) in 2011 and 2019 calling for accelerated adult programs to incorporate adult learning theory within their curricula and instructional practices. Data collection consisted of interviews with faculty and staff, documentation reviews, and classroom observations. Through iterative case review processes, the author used this data to: a) clarify organizational policy and practices at each of the colleges/universities; and then b) to identify the impact of each organization’s policy, internal practices, and decision making structure on their ability to implement the CAP quality standard. The study employed a unique blend of formative evaluation strategies and logic modeling to organize and interpret the case review data. Building on theoretical frameworks and evaluation technologies developed by Argyris and Schon (1978), Elmore (1979-1980), Friedman (2003), Kazi (2003), Langer and associates (2011), Scriven (1967), and Weiss (1998), the author developed two logic models: a) a practice model premised on the principles of adult learning theory that allowed for the identification of present versus missing criteria/factors needed for implementation; and b) a theory of change model that allowed for an assessment of “fit” of actual practice to the colleges’ professed policies on curriculum and instructional practice. Findings indicate that only one of the four participating institutions successfully met the CAP standard. The remaining three institutions failed to achieve successful implementation. Indeed, the defining characteristic of these organizations was their inability to effectively collaborate and gain consensus within their membership on the fundamental need for an adult learning theory based practice model. Findings increase our knowledge of organizational implementation practices and their impact on instituting best practice standards.