Jack Mezirow

Jack Mezirow, Bermuda 2014

Jack Mezirow, Bermuda 2014

Jack Mezirow was Emeritus Professor of Adult and Continuing Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, Former Chairman, Department of Higher and Adult Education, and Director for Adult Education. Before coming to Teachers College, Professor Mezirow was Associate Dean for Statewide Programs, University of California Extension and Director, Division of Human Resource Development, Latin American Bureau, Agency for International Development. At Columbia University he established and directed a pioneering doctoral program in transformative learning, Adult Education Guided Independent Study (AEGIS). He passed away in New York on September 24, 2014. Until his death he was engaged in research, consultation and writing.

Professor Mezirow's research interests were in adult learning and education. He worked over the past two decades on an evolving Transformation Theory that attempts to delineate generic dimensions and processes of learning and its implications for educators of adults. His work has initiated a transformative learning movement in adult education. Articles, critiques and dialogues continue to appear in the Adult Education Quarterly and elsewhere.

Latest books include Learning as Transformation (with Associates 2000), Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning (1991) and Fostering Critical Reflection in Adulthood (with Associates, 1990). Both were published by Jossey-Bass and have been translated into other languages. Fostering Critical Reflection received the Frandson Award for Outstanding Publication in Continuing Education and Last Gamble on Education (with Darkenwald and Knox, Adult Education Association, 1975) won the Okes Award for Outstanding Research in Adult Education. He is author of other books, chapters, research reports and numerous articles, and is currently working on a new book on transformative learning.

Since his retirement, Professor Mezirow made presentations and led seminars on transformative learning at many universities in the U.S. and in Spain, Finland, Canada, Thailand, Puerto Rico, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. He was Chairman of the First National Conference on Transformative Learning, held at Columbia University in 1998.

Professor Mezirow had been a consultant in adult literacy and community development for UNDP, UNESCO, AID, USIA, Asia Foundation and World Education in many countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Recent assignments were as advisor on adult literacy to the Government of Pakistan and as leader of an international team of World Education consultants studying distance learning in Thailand for the Government of Thailand and the Asia Development Bank.

Professor Mezirow lived in New York City and East Hampton, NY. He held an Ed.D. Degree in Adult Education from the University of California at Los Angeles and B.A. and M.A. Degrees in Social Sciences and Education from the University of Minnesota. His wife, who died earlier, was a consultant in arts administration and his son the captain of a charter fishing boat in Seward, Alaska.