Strauss & Corbin Max van Manen Guitar at the Adult Ed Tri-state Conference Malcolm Knowles Clark Moustakas Strauss & Corbin First degree, an associates, was earned while serving on a submarine in the depths of the Pacific Ocean off of Hawaii. Profs and students from the Tri-state conference up at Cornell / Ithaca A Penn State education has to include football. We are...Penn State! Relaxing, camping with Anne

Welcome to my Web site. I'm Paul Rutter, an adult educator and doctoral candidate (ABD) in adult education currently enrolled in my final research dissertation credits at Penn State in University Park. I hope to be graduated in May 2011. I've completed comprehensive exams and my dissertation proposal exam in early summer 2010. Now I'm done collecting data and completing the final edits of my dissertation on using political identity to uncover preferences for alternative funding of education for adults. I love learning in classrooms and being involved in discussions so having completed class work is sad. My professors have been awesome. For me, adult education is about access to the opportunity for education. There are many other parts of adult education of course, such as the best ways to teach adults in various situtations and negotiating power to create programs that enable adults to become full members of their society. I'm particularly enamored with distance learning.

USS Hawkbill SSN-666To the left is my old boat (the USS Hawkbill) at the North Pole with a guest.
I began my academic career on that boat in distance education literally under the polar ice cap, when I was taking courses and mailing them back to the University of South Carolina (& residence classes on the weekend at Leeward Community College)... Through the magic of great educators designing course work for sailors I was able to study below on my boat where it was nice and toasty compared to being on top of the ice. No trudging to class in snow back then. In fact I had it made compared to hard to find parking and walking to classes at Penn State! But you'll find no complaints here about the snow. My basset hound Ginger would rest at my feet as I studied. (Ginger died Jun, 2006 RIP+; two beagles Henry & Dini have found room at my feet now!)

Returning to graduate school at the Pennsylvania State University is a third phase of my career, building on the experiences of the first two as a submariner and a banker.

Much of what I have accomplished academically has been through distance and adult education. Over the past twenty years, I have used distance and adult education in diverse settings. While serving in the Navy as a machinist mate in the Pacific Ocean on a fast attack submarine I took distance education classes and was graduated with an associate's degree from the University of the State of New York's Regents External Degree Program. I transferred credits from local campuses of Leeward Community College, Florida Southern College, Hawaii Pacific College, and University of Hawaii at Manoa too. When I received my honorable discharge, I enrolled at the University of South Carolina, not only as a traditional student but also as an adult student (since I had recently turned 25) in a program for "mature" students.

Higher Education Milestones

  • A.S. Degree from New York Regents (now Excelsior College). Earned through distance learning methods while serving in the US Navy on Submarines under the Pacific Ocean.
  • B.S. Degree in Business from the University of South Carolina. Major: Finance.
  • M.Ed. Degree from the Pennsylvania State University. Major: Adult Education.
  • D.Ed. Comprehensive exam passed. Considered ABD. The Pennsylvania State University. Major: Adult Education.
  • Studied in the MBA program at Augusta College (now Augusta State University).
  • Webmaster Certificate from the Pennsylvania State University (20 CEUs).
  • Graduate Certificate in Distance Education from the Pennsylvania State University (18 graduate hours).
  • Graduate Certificate in Marketing Research from the University of Georgia (12 CEUs).

With all the credit earning from classes via distance learning and attending class at local colleges while I was serving in the Navy, I was able to earn my baccalaureate degree in business with a major in finance in two years. Later, I continued my education in a MBA program at Augusta College (now Augusta State University), by attending night classes while working as a bank manager.

Not too many years after marrying, I moved north to the frozen tundra of Michigan with my wife where she earned a Ph.D. at Michigan State University. We ultimately moved on to Penn State where she is on the faculty. I continued my career in banking upon moving to both Michigan and Pennsylvania. Then my little sister's husband died of a heart attack (and remembering when I was 26 my brother a Navy Lt and pilot had been killed), I re-evaluated life and what it means for me and decided I wanted to go back to graduate school and I took some courses through Penn State's continuing education program. I took advantage of a huge employee discount in tuition as well and enrolled in a Penn State program leading to certification as a Webmaster. I left banking and joined Penn State's Outreach.

While working in Outreach, I developed a curiosity about developing education opportunities for adults. My classwork interests migrated to the adult education program as a way to make socio-cultural conditions better for everyone. I applied to the adult education graduate program. The program accepted me as a master degree candidate. I earned the M.Ed in August 2003. That same summer I was accepted to the doctorate program and began taking courses and work leading toward a D.Ed. Now I'm through with the D.Ed. except defending my dissertation. It is related to public funding of higher education for adult learners. The faculty at Penn State are among the best and when one combines University Park and Penn State Harrisburg ADTED faculty, we are ranked very highly by Washington Monthly in the only all inclusive rankings. Of course I am NOT biased.


Rutter, J. P. III. (2007). Mentoring and social capital: Men's perspectives of learning, mentoring and social capital creation for women in central Pennsylvania Rotary clubs. Proceedings of the 2007 Midwest Research to Practice conference. (Paper accepted for September 2007 presentation at Muncie, Indiana).

Ahern, L., Pfaff, M., Rutter, J.P. III, Johnson, M. (2007, August). Measuring Political Beliefs, Identities, and Attitudes: New Approaches to Old Problems. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Washington DC.

Rutter, J.P.III. (2007). Public Funding of Higher Education for Adults in the United States. Proceedings of the AERC-CASAE (North American Adult Education Research Conference). 48th annual, Vol.2. Presented at the annual meeting of AERC-CASAI in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Ahern, L., Pfaff, M., Rutter, J.P. III, Johnson, M. (2007, June). Measuring Political Beliefs, Identities, and Attitudes: New Approaches to Old Problems. Poster session presented at the annual Graduate Research Exposition, University Park, PA.

Rutter, J.P. III (2006). Workforce education systems in Lebanon. Poster session presented at the semi-annual Learning and Performing Systems department meeting, University Park, PA.

Rutter, J.P. III (2005). Social capital and mentoring for women in central Pennsylvania Rotary clubs. Proceedings of the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Adult & Continuing Education Research-Harrisburg, PA.

Rutter, J.P. III (2004). Access to adult education. Poster session presented at the semi-annual meeting of the Learning and Performing Systems department meeting, University Park, PA.

Rutter J.P. III (2004). Usability of Websites for Outreach Education, Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the Outreach Education National Conference, University Park, PA.

Rutter, J.P. III (2004). Access to Higher Education for Adults. Poster session at the Outreach Education National Conference, University Park, PA.

Rutter, J.P. III (2004). Mentoring and social capital: Learning and perceived networking opportunities for women in central Pennsylvania Rotary clubs. Proceedings of the Midwest Research to Practice, 23, 182-187.

Rutter, J.P. III (2004). Mentoring for women in men only civic clubs. Proceedings of the Ethnographic Qualitative Research in Education. Presented Albany, NY.

Rutter, J.P. III (2004). Measuring usability of Web sites in adult and continuing education. Workshop presented at the annual Penn State Web Conference- University Park, PA.

Rutter, J.P. III. (2003). Web site usability. Invited panelist at the annual Pennsylvania Adult and Continuing Education Conference (PAACE). Hershey, PA.


Commission for Adult Learners, 2005-present

Planning Committee for Distance and Continuing Education Awards, 2007

College of Education Dean's Student Advisory Forum, Co-organizer of College of Education 2006 Bike-a-thon, 2003-2007

Making Life Better Award from Continuing and Distance Education, 2006

Graduate student representative for the Adult Education program, Responsible for organizing poster sessions involving three academic programs each semester PSU 2001-2006

Co-organizer/planner of the Tri-State Adult Education retreat in Ithaca, New York, 2004

Invited judge, 19th annual graduate exhibition, Penn State University, March 2004

Inducted in Pi Lambda Theta honor society for graduate students in education, 2003

Recipient of the Keller Outreach employee scholarship for graduate studies, 2003


In the past couple of years for academic purposes, I have written about adult education related to financing and public financing of education to alleviate the debt that adults carry into education programs or restrict them from participating. This was presented as a paper/ poster session at the AERC Adult Education Research Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. My most recent work was measuring political attitudes without alarming anyone about the way a political party feels about an issue. I plan to use this with financing of adult education. There is very little in adult education literature related to this topic. This was presented at the Research Exposition in May 2007 and the AEJMC conference in August 2007.

In other studies, I have written and completed qualitative research studies in networking, mentoring, informal workplace education, and social capital that exists in business organizations. Another research interest of mine pertains, not surprisingly, to programs developed for the Navy.

A third area of interest combines my finance background with adult and distance education and economic cycles. Are there any measurable correlations or regressions that exist?

Religious education and availability of distance education courses for would be seminarians is another interest. Is this void a possible distance education program and opportunity waiting to take off?

Power and access to adult classes is an area that I have recently written on. To me, adult education is suppose to be this "thing" that would solve a gap that exists in society between the haves and the have-nots. I think because of the constraints facing many Americans and the way the government positions its help for higher education, the well-educated members of society are becoming more educated and the ones without education access are falling by the wayside.

Adult Education helps provide the part of human capital needed to fuel our economy for growth. My background running banks, developing business, and my involvement in adult education mean I bring the skills, experience, and interest to the table that are necessary to advance the discipline. My areas of interest are linked to my diverse life experiences, and it is with great hope for improving distance and adult education in the areas of mentoring, military services, economics, access, and spiritual programs that I have continued my education toward a doctorate in adult education.

One of my goals is to be involved with things that make education for adults on the front burner in higher education side. Right now I work with Penn State University in Outreach and Distance Education (World Campus) evaluating and developing educational opportunities across the board for adults at various levels. For several years it was a terrific place to be paid while learning significant amounts of information about adult learners. All too often adult educators forget the money side of creating adult education opportunities. In the United States, adults have too much debt and an area I want to explore is a way out of not increasing debt to participate in education. (My dissertation-no less!). Perhaps information on what could be the next Land Grant Act will be from my work. I'm an instructor for World Campus, a volunteer advisor, and represent adult learners to the department and college now. Maybe through the university or fund raising for education programs would give me insight to the real world of funding higher education. I've raised plenty of money and awareness for others so maybe I'll turn my helping to adults now.

I created this page to contain links to various adult and distance education web sites, so that no matter where I am in the world, I can enter a cyber cafe, go to and find these bookmarks and my blog.

Adult Learning and Distance Education Bookmarks

email me

My personal Web site