Adult and Higher Education

Jay Peterson

Jay Paterson

Place of employment:  Vermont Technical College
Title:  Director

Job Description:

Jay manages the division that handles corporate education and training and works with business contracts state-wide. Jay’s work impacts workforce development for the state of Vermont and for the past few years he has been instrumental in bringing a program called the Workforce Development Academy to people who are charged with developing Vermont’s workforce into the next century. Jay is well aware of how important lifelong learning is to earning a living in the state of Vermont. With a staff of 12 and additional part-time contractors, Jay’s unit offers key work-related educational programming to help adults stay competitive and employed in today’s global economy.


Jay had been working in distance learning or interactive television when the field was dominated by people who had strong technology skills. Jay noticed that “There were not a lot of educators.” Jay wanted a master’s level program with a solid focus on adult education, one that would help him understand what it takes to develop and instruct a good class for meaningful learning. “I felt that if I was going to stay in the field, I needed to study adult education for credibility and for my own foundation.” Fortunately for us, Jay found what he was looking for at USM!

Experience in the Adult and Higher Education program:

The program was challenging for Jay at first because “It was difficult to return to studying as I had graduated from my undergraduate program in political science 8 years earlier.” Reading Dewey made a lasting impression, perhaps due to Dewey’s connection to Vermont. During the program, Jay came to appreciate the close relationship between adult education and the great philosophers. He summed up the connection this way; “Adult education is living, and living is adult education.” He realized that people have been thinking about the great questions about learning and education for millennia. As Jay sees it, “We want to quantify and give people tools, but adult education isn’t only about how you organize flip charts. We should appreciate the ‘art’ involved in adult education.”


For more information about the USM Adult and Higher Education program please contact the Office of Admissions at (207) 780-5670 or visit our homepage.