A study of the backgrounds and funtions of selected directors of university operated residential centers for continuing education

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


This study sought to identify backgrounds and functions of the directors of residential centers for continuing education located throughout the United States. Data were solicited from sixty-five directors. Of those center directors responding to the written questionnaire, twenty-one qualified as residential centers having lodging, food, and conference facilities. All centers studied were located on a college or university campus.

Information was collected concerning the demographic characteristics of directors, their professional preparation, the functions they perform, and the role conception they have about their position as director. Demographically, the directors were predominantly male, caucasian, approximately fifty years of age, earned relatively high salaries, and held nonfaculty appointments. While no definite career patterns have been established, it appears that residential center directors are appointed from within their university, have several years of experience as a director, possess a management degree and have no formal credit courses in adult and continuing education. The study identified five functions of importance to residential center directors: (1) the development and training of center staff, (2) the interpretation of center policy, (3) the planning of conferences with clients, (4) the formulation of center goals and objectives, and (5) the supervision of professional program planners. In terms of their own concepts of their role as residential center director, the respondents reported their role as being an educator responsible for effective adult programs as well as a businessman utilizing sound principles and practices.

The results of this study are significant because they provide current information on residential center directors not previously reported.