Age Inclusivity in Higher Education
Aging populations mean more older adults are looking to higher education to meet their professional needs as they experience longer work lives. Similarly, many older adults plan to stay engaged in some form of learning for personal development—with institutions of higher education being an appealing educational destination. In addition to increased diversity in the age of learners, there is also increased age diversity among faculty, staff, alumni, and other communities of interest engaged with institutions of higher education.
An “age-inclusive” approach embraces the concept of ensuring higher education provides meaningful experiences across the entire life-course for all. For example, in addition to offering programs for age-diverse learners, an age-inclusive campus’s services and resources will provide healthcare services that meet the needs of individuals of all ages and acknowledge and address challenges that family caregivers face. Similarly, their personnel policies and practices uphold age inclusivity as part of their larger diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.
Ageist beliefs permeate society, with the neglect of age in academia and its historic age-segregated structure sustaining negative attitudes and unconscious age biases that impact individuals of all ages. There are many ways higher education can shape teaching and learning environments that disrupt ageist beliefs and biases in constructive ways and promote intergenerational solidarity.
The Age Inclusivity in Higher Education (AIHE) program is an outgrowth of the Society’s support, beginning in 2014, of the Age-Friendly University initiative initiated by Dublin City University and now led by Arizona State University. GSA’s Academy of Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE), an organization of colleges and universities that offer education, training, and research programs in the field of aging, formed an AIHE workgroup. The GSA AIHE Workgroup publishes a quarterly newsletter, Age Inclusivity in Higher Education; has developed a toolkit; and produces additional resources that support age-inclusive programs, practices, and partnerships in higher education. The AIHE Workgroup welcomes feedback about the resources, including how those in academia use them to promote age inclusivity at their institution. Please send correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tools for Age Inclusivity in Higher Education
Advancing age inclusivity can occur at different levels and junctures within an institution — for example, in a course or academic program, within a specific college, or across an entire campus. The toolkit can be used by faculty, students, administrators, and other campus leaders. The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) and its Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE) designed this toolkit, with support from AARP, to provide resources to advance age inclusivity in institutions of higher education. The suite of tools can be used by faculty, students, administrators, and other campus leaders and may be adapted to meet your institution’s approach to making the case, building relationships, addressing ageism, crafting new efforts, and conducting assessments.
Age Inclusivity in Higher Education Newsletter
The Age Inclusivity in Higher Education Newsletter is a place where educators, administrators, scholars, and community members can share news about how colleges and universities are responding to aging populations and the rise of more age-diverse campuses.
AIHE Interest Group
AIHE Interest Group provides an opportunity for educators, researchers, administrators, and others interested in advancing age inclusivity in higher education, and members of the global Age-Friendly University (AFU) network, to share information about campus activities, network happenings, and related efforts that support the development of age-inclusive programs, practices, and partnerships.
Becoming an Age-Friendly University Partner
In this first webinar of a series of three, the presenters describe why higher education needs to be more age-friendly, the vision of the AFU initiative, and how your institution can join the AFU network.
- Joann M. Montepare, PhD (Lasell College—Massachusetts, USA)
- Kimberly S. Farah, PhD (Lasell College—Massachusetts, USA)
One Vision, Many Paths: Making an Age-Friendly University Work for You
During this webinar, the second in a series of three, the speakers examine how different institutions approach their AFU vision and offer examples of how your institution can draw on its distinctive strengths to realize the AFU principles.
- Carrie Andreoletti, PhD (Central Connecticut State University—Connecticut, USA)
- Andrea June, PhD (Central Connecticut State University—Connecticut, USA)
A Starting Point for Looking at Age-Friendliness on My Campus: AGHE Can Help
In this third webinar in the series, the speakers discuss data-gathering approaches to explore your institution’s age-friendly assets, gaps, and opportunities along with how AGHE can be an Age-Friendly University resource for you and your institution.
- Nina M. Silverstein, PhD (University of Massachusetts Boston—Massachusetts, USA)
- Marilyn Gugliucci, PhD (University of New England—Maine, USA)