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OC Instructor researching how post-secondary institutions are meeting the needs of mature students
Okanagan College Media Release

With the current workforce changing careers more often than their parents or grand-parents, and many careers requiring more education than ever before, more and more adults are returning to school. What does that mean for post-secondary programming?Andrew Pulvemacher Oct 2019

It’s a question Andrew Pulvermacher, an Okanagan College Adult Academic and Career Preparation (AACP) instructor, hopes to shed light on through a new line of research.

“Currently, institutions face increasing social, economic and political pressures to serve as de facto extensions of high school, where youth with aspirations of well-paying careers go for employment training,” says Pulvermacher.

“I am examining sociological and philosophical research on the role and place of adult learners in post-secondary institutions and the particular barriers they face. With these findings, I will develop a new philosophical framework for post-secondary programming that can better serve adults’ needs.”

Pulvermacher was recently awarded a competitive federal government grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), in support of his upcoming research.

“It was indeed a lengthy and involved application process, and I’m grateful for the support and encouragement I received throughout the process—and at OC, that support came from many colleagues in the Arts and Foundational portfolio and from the leadership in the Dean’s Office. Truly, I am honoured to have received the grant.”

Pulvermacher is currently on leave to study at The University of British Columbia – Okanagan campus where he will pursue his Masters of Arts in Education and conduct his research.

“Andrew’s research has the potential to contribute to our programming by understanding more about the complexity of barriers facing adult learners as they pursue post-secondary education,” says Robert Huxtable, Dean, Arts and Foundational. “Ongoing research is the foundation for quality courses and programs at the College and we are most pleased to provide a supported leave to Mr. Pulvermacher to engage in such activity.”

Pulvermacher says his passion for his research stems from being an adult learner himself.

“As a former adult upgrading student, I view that experience as foundational to who I am today, and I want to be a part of helping others engage in that experience. Going back to school didn’t just transform my academic life, it made me a better human and offered me a new future.”

“I appreciate the value adult learners bring to the classroom, institution, community, and society. The real-world experiences they bring and the additional outside commitments they carry, make them indicators of educational worth, both real and perceived. I see the potential for post-secondary institutions to better welcome, support, integrate, and serve these students, to the benefit and success of all students.”

The Adult Academic and Career Preparation courses are tuition free at Okanagan College’s four campuses. The courses are for adult learners with a wide range of backgrounds and needs for educational upgrading.

For more information, visit