Who we are

Tom Heaney, Principal


Tom is Professor Emeritus at National Louis University, having been a graduate faculty member in adult education since 1982. He was most recently the director of the doctoral program in adult education at that university—a program that attracted students from throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.  He received his Ph.D. in Adult Education from the Union Institute and University in 1980. The principal focus of his research, study and practice has been on relating the education of adults to increased democratic participation in decision-making, linking this educational work with action for social change.

Prior to his university engagement, Tom was the director and co-founder of a Chicago-based organization that developed education and research projects with low income and oppressed groups. Projects focused on indigenous efforts to build democratic structures and transform local conditions.

He was among the founding members of the North American Alliance for Popular and Adult Education (NAAPAE) and is a former vice-president of the International Council for Adult Education.

Stephen D. Brookfield

Stephen is the John Ireland Endowed Chair, University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis–St. Paul. Since beginning his teaching career in 1970, he has worked in England, Canada, Australia, and the United States, teaching in a variety of college settings. He has written, co-written or edited seventeen books on adult learning, teaching, critical thinking, discussion methods and critical theory. His work has been translated into German, Korean, Finnish, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Farsi, and Albanian. In 2001, he received the Leadership Award from the Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE) for "extraordinary contributions to the general field of continuing education on a national and international level." In 2008 he was awarded the Morris T. Keeton Award of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning for "significant contributions to the field of adult and experiential learning."

He currently serves on the editorial boards of educational journals in Britain, Canada and Australia, as well as in the United States. During 2002, he was a Visiting Professor at Harvard University. In 2009 he was inducted into the international Adult Education Hall of Fame. He was also awarded the Coin of Excellence from the General Army Staff Command College.

Scipio A.J. Colin III

Dr. C had been Associate Professor of adult education and a member of the doctoral faculty at National Louis University until June, 2012. Previously she served on the faculty at North Carolina State University and Indiana University-Northwest. She has over nine years experience as a Literacy, ABE/GED Staff Developer and Instructor with the City Colleges of Chicago.

Her research and scholarship focuses on the historical and philosophical foundations of the field. She grounds her research within the Africentric Paradigm with particular emphasis on Africentric Pedagogy and Womanist Consciousness, African and African Ameripean Adult Education History and Philosophy, and Culturally Grounded Program Planning. Her scholarly work most notably includes the co-edited Handbook of Race and Adult Education (2010).

Dr. Colin is recognized for her outstanding contributions to the fields of practice and research, including being the recipient of the Indiana University Organization of African Ameripean Unity’s Outstanding African Ameripean Educator Award, the AAACE Award for Meritorious Service to the Field, and an Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Profession of Teaching and the Field of Educational History at the International History of Education Sympfile:///Users/administrator/Desktop/David.jpgosium, and Chair Emeritus of the African Diaspora Adult Education Research Pre-Conference.

David Brightman


David is an editor deeply engaged with adult learning, having been the editor for adult education books at Jossey-Bass from 2000 - 2014. He has helped authors develop their ideas into solid, practical and publishable work, identifying strengths in the argument, structure, and style, and offering guidance as to how and where they can best contribute to the literature of the field. He has worked on many award-winning books, including several winners of the Houle Award and the Frandson Award, two winners of the Ness Award, and one winner of the Grawemeyer Award.

David has been especially engaged by projects with a social justice focus, such as: Teaching Defiance: Stories and Strategies for Activist Educators (2006); Learning as a Way of Leading: Lessons from the Struggle for Social Justice (2008); Radicalizing Learning: Adult Education for a Just World (2010); and The Handbook of Race and Adult Education: A Resource for Dialogue on Racism (2010).

David earned his BA degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, with highest honors. This was only one stop on his ongoing career as a lifelong learner, and he later completed the Professional Certificate in Publishing from the UC Berkeley Extension. 

Tania Giordani

Tania is a professor of Adult Education at the College of Lake County, where she currently serves as a department chair for Adult Basic Education and G.E.D.  She received her Ed.D in Adult Education from National Louis University in 2007.

Tania is an advocate for equal access to quality education for all children and uses Forum Theater, a style of Theater of the Oppressed, to engage parents, students and community members in conversations about the current state of public education.  She is a member of the Theatre of the Oppressed Chicago.  Her research interests include college transition programs for non-traditional students, governance in higher education, and parent advocacy.

Dianne Ramdeholl

Dianne has been teaching in the Master of Arts in Adult Learning (MAAL) program at Empire State College, NYC since 2012. She also coordinated the program from its inception until earlier this year. She received her Ed.D. in Adult Education from National Louis University in 2007. Her research focuses on developing educational projects with marginalized populations that promote equitable socio-economic and socio-political conditions. Her research and practice have primarily focused on connecting adult education to increased participation in democratic-decision making. Prior to working in the university, Dianne worked for over fifteen years as a grassroots adult literacy practitioner, utilizing mainly popular education methodologies.

She serves on the Commission of Professors of Adult Education (CPAE) Executive Committee and also the Adult Education Research Conference (AERC) Steering Committee. She was the 2014 recipient of the Phyllis Cunningham Social Justice Award.

Michael Newman

Michael Newman is Australian and started his working life as a journalist in Sydney. In the early 1960s he left for the UK where he tried his hand at acting, writing and film-making but found himself teaching adult education classes to stay alive, then setting adult education classes up, and then working for seven years as a community education worker in inner London. Towards the end of the 1970s he was appointed Warden of the Working Men’s College, an elderly (in adult education terms) institution set up in 1854 to provide a liberal education for working people. In 1982 Mike was invited back to Australia to head up the Sydney Workers’ Educational Association. He left the WEA to work for four years as a trainer with the Australian Trade Union Training Authority, and in 1989 took up a post as Senior Lecturer in Adult Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Technology, Sydney. He retired from UTS in 2001.

 Mike is an honorary life member of the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education in the UK, and of the National Tertiary Education Union in Australia. In 2009 he was inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame.

 Mike has won the Cyril Houle Award for Outstanding Literature in Adult Education three times: for The Third Contract in 1993, Defining the Enemy in 1995, and Teaching Defiance in 2007. Mike continues to do occasional jobs for unions, normally in the form of workshops on activism and learning.

Ericka Turley

Ericka has been working as a change agent for most of her life. Impassioned by early experiences of injustice, she has become a formidable advocate for justice.  She is a program manager for the King County Department of Public Defense in Seattle, Washington and plays a lead role in guiding the department¹s commitment to equity and social justice and engaging coworkers throughout the organization in efforts to ensure the systemic fair treatment of all people.

Ericka is also a fellow at the Shriver Center¹s Racial Justice Training Institute and is working with colleagues to improve the criminal justice system by addressing implicit bias and developing an innovative model of community engagement. Her work at the organizational level is complemented by her work as an adjunct faculty member at Seattle University where she teaches a graduate course on the foundations of adult education.

Wendy Yanow

Wendy has worked with adult learners for over twenty-five years. She is an independent practitioner working as a consultant in higher education and an adjunct faculty member at several Chicago area colleges including DePaul University’s School for New Learning.  

Wendy is committed to helping adult learners, especially those ill served by traditional education to meet their personal, academic and professional goals. She is committed to education for social change and an advocate for educational equity. Wendy¹s research interests include an exploration of the ways in which race impacts educational equity, opportunity and subsequent experience. Focusing on culture as a context for learning, she uses story telling and personal narrative as a method for teaching about diverse life experience.

Wendy has an undergraduate degree in music from the University of Illinois Chicago and a doctorate in adult education from National Louis University.