Date of Award

Summer 8-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum, Instruction, and Leadership

First Advisor

Richard Shrubb


More adults are looking to higher education to re-enforce job security, potentially increase future income, and enhance skill sets and credentials (Ritt, 2008; Business Education Forum, 2013; Stevens, 2014; Harrison, 2017). The traditional structure of higher education institutions, however, continues to pose challenges for adult learner access (Tobolowsky & Cox, 2012; Dachner & Polin, 2016; Croix, 2018). The purpose of this study, utilizing a Distributed Leadership framework, was to identify, evaluate, and analyze university policies and procedures that utilize the Council of Adult and Experiential Learning Principles (CAEL). The study identified the level of CAEL Principle implementation found from policy analyses that are in accordance with adult learner best practices. Nine university websites were analyzed over a three-month period to find policies, programs, and resources. Feedback was received by members of each university within the system. The results found that all nine institutions had at least two policies, programs, or resources that fit adult learner needs according to CAEL Principles. However, eight of the nine institutions showed no evidence among at least two CAEL Principles. Establishing policies and procedures to help facilitate adult learner processes will likely help increase persistence rates and in turn, university retention rates (Woosley, Slabaugh, Sadler, & Mason, 2005; Fusch, 2012).