Sharan B. Merriam, Ed.D, Professor of Adult Education

Adult and Continuing Education

University of Georgia

Personal Vita

May 18, 1999

Compiled by Marsha L. Cornelius


Sharan B. Merriam.

(Professor Merriam; Dr. Sharan Merriam, Ed.D.)

[Source: Telephone interview with Sharan Merriam, May 18, 1999]

Strategy Hints

E-mail contacts with Angela Weiler, Librarian SUNY Morrisville, Katy Newton, Reference Department Main Library University of Georgia, requests for additional information and assistance from Professor Roger Hiemstra, and e-mail and personal telephone contact with Sharan Merriam.

[Source: Marsha Cornelius]

Bio/historical Note

Born in New York, NY, daughter of Harold W. and Janet (Smith) Ballard. Harold W. Ballard worked in insurance and Janet (Smith) Ballard worked as a museum employee. Married Allen H. Merriam, September 5, 1964; divorced, 1980. Children: Paul H. and Laura S. Married Robert W, Rowden (works in human resources), February 16, 1990. Presently on the faculty in Adult Education at the University of Georgia. Has served as author, co-author, or editor of seventeen books and was co-editor of the Adult Education Quarterly for five years. Affiliated with the Georgia Centenarian Study at the UGA Gerontology Center.

Source of Bio/historical data:

[Contemporary Authors, Vol. 135, p.308.]

Birth Date

May 24, 1943

Source of birth date:

[Contemporary Authors;]


1965--Drew University, B.A.

1971--Ohio University, M.Ed.

1978--Rutgers University, Ed.D.

[source: Contemporary Authors;]

Work History

1978-81--Assistant Professor of Adult Education, Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Blacksburg, VA

1981-85--Associate Professor, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL

1985-present--Professor of Adult Education, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

[source: Contemporary Authors, Vol. 135, p.308; The Writer’s Directory]

Associated Subjects

Adult development and learning

Adult learning

Foundations of adult education

International adult education

Qualitative research methods

[source: Marsha Cornelius]

Associated People

Rosemary S. Caffarella, Carolyn M. Clark, Bradley C. Courtenay, Phyllis M. Cunningham, Patricia M. Reeves, Barbara Heuer, Baiyin Ying, Ralph Brockett.

[source: WebSPIRS]

Associated Organizations

American Association of Adult and Continuing Education

American Educational Research Association

[source: Contemporary Authors Vol. 135, p. 308]

Associated Events or Projects

Served a six-month term as a Fulbright Scholar in Malaysia, June 1998 to December 1998. Worked with researchers at the Universiti Putra Malaysia to analyze data about the country’s non-formal adult education programs. In addition, also taught and lectured about qualitative research methods and design.

[source: Kudos. UGA People: University of Georgia Columns 1998; phone interview May 1999.]

Associated Places

University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.



Cyril O. Houle World Award for Literature in Adult Education, 1995, for Adult Education: Foundations of Practice. Fulbright Scholar to Malaysia June 1998 to December 1998.

[source: Contemporary Authors Vol. 135, p. 308]


(With John Elias) Philosophical Foundations of Adult Education. Kreiger Publishing Co., 1982.

(With Gordon Darkenwald) Adult Education: Foundations of Practice. Harper, 1982.

(Editor) Linking Philosophy and Practice. Jossey-Bass, 1982.

Themes of Adulthood through Literature. Teachers College Press, Columbia University, 1983.

Adult Learning and Theory Building: A Review. Adult Education Quarterly, 1987.

Case Study Research in Education: A Qualitative Approach. Jossey-Bass, 1988.

(With Edwin Simpson) A Guide to Research for Educators and Trainers of Adults. Krieger Publishing Co., 1984, revised edition 1989.

(Editor with Phyllis Cunningham) Handbook of Adult Education. Jossey-Bass, 1989

(With Rosemary Caffarella) Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide. Jossey-Bass, 1991.

(With M. Carolyn Clark) Lifelines: Work, Love, and Learning in Adult Life. Jossey-Bass, 1991.

(Editor with Ronald Cervero) of Adult Education Quarterly, 1989-1993.

(With Carolyn M. Clark) Work, Love, and Learning in Adult Life. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, 1992.

Work and Love: Their Relationship in Adulthood. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 1993.

Adult Learning: Where Have we Come From? Where Are we Headed? (New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education). Jossey-Bass, 1993.

Butler’s Life Review: How Universal Is It? International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 1993.

The Uses of Reminiscence in Older Adulthood. Educational Gerontology, 1993.

(With Carolyn M. Clark) Learning from Life Experience: What Makes it Significant?. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 1993.

Taking Stock. (New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education). Jossey-Bass, 1993.

(Editor) Selected Writings on Philosophy and Adult Education. Second edition. Krieger Publishing Co., 1995.

(With John L. Elias) Philosophical Foundations of Adult Education. Second Edition. Krieger Publishing Co., 1995.

What Can You Tell from an N of 1?: Issues of Validity and Reliability in Qualitative Research. PAACE Journal of Lifelong Learning, 1995.

(With others) Learning that Comes from the Negative Interpretation of Life Experience. Studies in Continuing Education, 1996.

(With Barbara Heuer) Meaning-Making, Adult Learning and Development: A Model with Implications for Practice. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 1996.

(With Baiyin Ying) A Longitudinal Study of Adult Life Experiences and Developmental Outcomes. Adult Education Quarterly, 1996.

(With Ralph G. Brockett) The Profession and Practice of Adult Education: An Introduction. Jossey-Bass, 1997.

Qualitative Research and Case Study Application in Education, Revised and Expanded from Case Study Research in Education. Jossey-Bass, 1998.

(With Bradley C. Courtenay and Patricia M. Reeves) The Centrality of Meaning-Making in Transformational Learning: How HIV-Positive Adults Make Sense of their Lives. Adult Education Quarterly, 1998.


Supportive Bibliography and Resources

Belenky, M. F., Clinchy, B. M., Goldberger, N. R., and Tarule, J. M. Women's Ways of Knowing: The Development of Self, Voice, and Mind. New York: Basic Books, 1986.

Cornelius, Marsha. Telephone interview with Sharan B. Merriam. May 18, 1999.

Ferrara, Miranda and George Schmidt, eds. The Writers Directory 94-96. Detroit: St. James Press, 1994, p 851.

Kudos. UGA People: University of Georgia Columns 1998.

Merriam, Sharan B. and Phyllis Cunningham. Handbook of Adult Education. Jossey-Bass, 1989, pp xxiii-xxiv.

Merriam, Sharan B. Adult Learning: Where Have We Come From? Where Are We Headed? (New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education). Jossey-Bass Publishers. Vol 57, 1993, pp 5-14.

Merriam, Sharan B. and Ralph Brockett. The Profession and Practice of Adult Education: An Introduction. Jossey-Bass, 1997, pp xvii-xviii.

Trosky, Susan M. ed. Contemporary Authors. Detroit: Gale Research Inc. Vol 135, 1992, p 308.


[Postscript: Dr. Merriam was inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame in 2003.]

Modified on September 26, 2003

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