Administration of Adult and Community Education


The history of adult and community education in the US can be traced back to the beginning of the country existence. However, its contemporary phase commenced during the social disruptions witnessed during the 1960s. They include the environmental movement, the revitalized peace movement attributed to the Vietnam War, the women’s movement, the American Indian Movement, and civil rights movement. These social disruptions played a pivotal role in compelling educators to rethink the importance of education as a social intervention tool. The outcome of these social disruptions is the passing of numerous federal education mandates from basic to higher education. They include the National Literacy Act, the Job Training and Partnership Act, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Volunteers in Service to America, and Tribal Colleges. Before the 1960s, adult and community education was mainly in the voluntary sector. However, the protest movements helped in the rapid institutionalization of adult and community education as typified by the increase in university-trained facilitators. In addition, adult and community education was used as a measure to help promote equity for marginalized groups. This paper focuses on the three management components considered important in planning adult and community education, which include budgeting, personnel administration, and marketing. Other aspects explored in the paper include finance and legal considerations.  

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Budgets are used in all organizations irrespective of complexity and size. A budget outlines the plan of company’s financial operations. In this regard, the budget estimates the expenditures for a specific period as well as proposes means used in funding the expenditures. The budget is often divided into categories referred to as budgetary accounts, which denote the fiscal conditions and operations regarding the budgetary process. Examples of budgetary accounts include revenues, appropriations, and projected encumbrances. Projected revenues represent the expected income for the budgeting period. In the context of adult and community education programs, expected incomes could include funds received from the parent organization required in operating the program, the tuition fees collected, grants, and donations among others. Appropriations represent permissions approved by the statutory body of the parent organization to formulate expenditures and obligations for particular purposes. For instance, an appropriation can be made for personnel that sets the aggregate limit for salaries awarded. Other examples of appropriations include the expenditure limits on equipment and supplies. Encumbrances represent commitments that are chargeable to a particular appropriation, such as the obligated payments of purchase orders and salaries. When encumbrances are paid, they are converted to liabilities. 

The complexity and the size of the organization have an impact on the budgeting process. Some organizations make use of a centralized budgeting system characterized by using one fiscal document for all divisions. Centralized budgeting is considered efficient owing to the fact that only one large budget is prepared and administered. There is little concern about the different needs of the various divisions within the organization; as a result, operations are treated equally and all special needs are disregarded. For example, the adult education program may need more funds when compared to other divisions in the organization. Owing to the fact that the organization controller is the one who administers the budget, the authority of the adult educator with respect to making decisions that can have fiscal implications is reduced significantly. It has been cited as a common problem in many educational institutions with adult and community education programs. Educators have raised concerns regarding fiscal managers exercising control over professional functions. 

In a decentralized budgeting system, each division within the organization develops its fiscal plan. Decentralized budgeting is considered more cumbersome owing to the fact that it requires the involvement of more people in the budgeting process when compared to centralized budgeting process. Nevertheless, the involvement of more people in the budgeting process has been associated with positive outcomes such as improved decision-making and higher employee morale. In the context of adult and community education, a decentralized budgeting process implies that decisions having an impact on adult education are more likely to be made by people who are closely involved with the program. Nonetheless, efficiency is sacrificed because of the need for more people being involved in the administration and planning of the budget. 

Budgeting is a crucial requirement of the planning of the program to be effective. The starting point for the preparation of the budget involves developing the education plan that outlines the services offered. In adult education, budgeting can be likened to the equilateral triangle having the educational plan, as its base, whereas the revenue plan and the expenditure plan constitute the remaining two sides. In the event, when one of the sides of the triangle is decreased, the planner is compelled to lessen the remaining sides in a proportionate manner. The underlying inference is that there is the need to maintain a balance between the anticipated expenses, anticipated revenues, and the educational plans. Special attention must be devoted to the variables that have considerable impact on the operations. Special programs in adult and community education may require relatively high levels of costs. For example, classes for handicapped adults are more likely to cost more when compared to other types of classes. Moreover, innovations can also increase the costs associated with the program. Creative teaching and pilot projects need materials and equipment less utilized. Other issues that require special attention during the budgeting process include supplies and equipment, fixed costs such as insurance and social security, salary adjustments, and staffing costs. 

Personnel Administration

Personnel Supervision

Personnel supervision focuses on the extent to which staff members meet the expectations of their respective positions. In the context of adult and community education, there is the need for the administrator to utilize diverse methods of assessments, such as supervisory evaluation, peer evaluation, student evaluation, and self-evaluation. Performance evaluation has the main objective of identifying staff members performing below the required standards (summative evaluation). In addition, performance evaluation can be used in identifying areas of improvement among employees (formative evaluation). Both summative and formative evaluations have to be incorporated into the performance management system. As a result, the performance management ought to be designed in such a way that it helps employees while at the same time identifying workers who are meeting their expectations. 

Staff development is another crucial aspect of personnel supervision. As a discipline, knowledge in adult education is expanding rapidly, It poses the need to have in-service education in order to help in ensuring the relevance of the adult and community education programs. The extent to which in-service education will be required depends on a number of factors such as the nature of adult learners, educational experience, frequency of employing new staff, the type of education services offered, and the educational setting. An effective staff development program provides employees with the opportunity for professional growth. A positive association has been established between staff development and formative performance evaluation. 

Recruiting and Retaining Staff

A comprehensive plan for adult and community education incorporates information related to personnel recruitment and retaining. Personnel recruitment may entail determining the internal resources as well as finding the required personnel to undertake the operations of the organization. A number of legislative acts have been enacted that have increased the legal process associated with personnel recruitment. In this regard, the affirmative action and equal opportunity employment require the adult education program planner to be well versed in personnel administration, corporate policies and existing laws. The quality and quantity of applicants depend significantly on the structure of the recruitment program. As a result, special focus should be placed on the recruitment methods and the potential sources. Some of the commonly used methods for recruiting adult education personnel include word of mouth, mailings, placement bulletins in universities, newspaper advertisements and notices to both private and public employment agencies. Just like the budgeting process, the personnel recruitment process can be either centralized or decentralized. The centralized personnel recruitment process is characterized by corporate specialists having most of the responsibility for personnel administration. All the same, adult educators must have considerable involvement in order to ensure that the right personnel is recruited. 


Marketing is also an important function with respect to the planning of adult and community education programs. It has the main objective of creating an interchange between the markets, the public to be served, and the organization. Marketing involves identifying the needs of the society and subsequently serving these needs. In addition, it focuses on selecting target audiences. According to Memon et al, effective marketing ought to be user-oriented and aligned with the objectives of the organization. In the education, the use of marketing has been prevalent, particularly in the case of secondary and elementary education whereby public schools dominate. Recently, universities and colleges have also embarked on marketing in order to compete for the enrollment of students. Similarly, in adult education, marketing depends significantly on the competition as well as the mission and philosophy of the parent or sponsoring organization. 

Marketing adult and community education programs should take into consideration four factors, which include product decisions, pricing, distribution decisions, and promotion and communication decisions. Product decisions denote the programs and courses being offered. Pricing identifies the fees and tuition chargeable for using the services offered by the organization. Distribution decisions denote the geographical locations where the programs and courses will be offered. The promotion and communication decisions outline how potential users of the services will be contacted. The focus on delivery, promotion, and pricing (micro marketing) has been considered an extremely narrow approach with respect to the marketing of adult and community education programs in the sense that the emphasis is only placed on the needs of the organization. On the other hand, macro marketing denotes a broader concept that does not only encompass the organizational needs, but also the needs of the society in which the organization operates. In this regard, the success of marketing is assessed with respect to its effectiveness in creating social change. Some of the promotional activities that can be used for adult and community education programs include informational bulletins, communication exchanges, public service announcements, paid advertisements (in newspapers, on radio and television), organizational newsletters, and public service calendars. 


Financing of adult education takes place through both private and public funding. Public financing occurs at local, state, and federal levels. States have the responsibility for initiating and sponsoring adult and community education programs. For instance, states use the community college system to finance adult education programs. Private foundations such as Kellogg Executive Education programs, Carnegie foundation’s Tribal Colleges Endowment Fund, and the Mott Community Education programs also finance adult and community education programs. Volunteers, especially in non-formal adult education programs, also support adult education. They include anti-racist educators, homeschoolers, mothers against drunk driving, peace activists, and AIDS support groups among others. Community education is funded from various sources, including member fundraising, private donations, federal community development grants, and foundation grants. 

Legal Considerations 

According to the US Constitution, education is considered a responsibility of the state. It is only in instances whereby national priorities may compel the federal government to formulate federal educational policies Even in such a case, educational funds are channeled via the state, which has the mandate for their respective implementation. As a result, states usually adopt a policy that suits their political or educational systems, which differ among states. Nevertheless, adult education in the District of Columbia, federal prisons, and for Native Americans is under the federal government. 


This paper has discussed the three management functions considered important in adult and community education programs, which include budgeting, personnel administration, and marketing. With respect to budgeting, it is evident that albeit cumbersome and inefficient to some extent, decentralized budgeting is the most appropriate because of the involvement of educators. Personnel administration focuses on personnel supervision and recruitment. Personnel supervision emphasizes helping employees while at the same time identifying workers who are meeting their expectations. Personnel recruitment is concerned with identifying the needs of the organization followed by hiring the right people. With respect to marketing, micro- or macro marketing can be used depending on the goals of the organization. Micromarketing is considered useful in reaching target audience; however, when organization is aligned with bringing social change, macro marketing is recommended.