Unlikely Additions

One Institute of Higher Education plus Two Early Childhood Education and Care Centers equals Investment in Female Adult Learners


  • Susan Parker Robert Morris University
  • Shelly Haser Flagler College, Tallahassee Campus




early childhood education and care, professionalism, community of learners, advocacy


Early childcare professionals represent a cross-section of two underrepresented groups in higher education: childcare educators, and adult female learners. According to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the childcare workforce in 2020 was predominantly female and lacking post high-school education (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/personal-care-and-service/childcare-workers.htm ).  Early childcare professionals often receive minimal training and compensation (Harwood & Tukonic, 2016). Participants in a university credentialing program for non-traditional students participated in a focus group as part of a program evaluation. The data was collected and analyzed. Themes were identified, including anticipated themes such as concerns about cost of college credits, and successfully completing coursework while simultaneously managing personal and work challenges.  However, themes of professionalism, and the significance of belonging to a community of learners were not anticipated.  The focus group provided rich discussion, and the analysis offers thoughts on advocacy for and with the early childhood education and care workforce.  

Author Biographies

Susan Parker, Robert Morris University

Susan W. Parker is currently an Associate Professor, with a Ph.D. in Instruction and Learning, and a concentration in Early Intervention. She has been teaching in higher education for over fifteen years.  Previously, she taught for twenty years in the early childhood field.

Shelly Haser, Flagler College, Tallahassee Campus

Shelly Haser has been in teacher education for over 20 years serving as a department head and department chair. Her background is in K-6 and special education and has worked with many continuing education students pursuing certification to become a teacher.


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How to Cite

Parker, S., & Haser, S. (2022). Unlikely Additions: One Institute of Higher Education plus Two Early Childhood Education and Care Centers equals Investment in Female Adult Learners. Journal of Child and Youth Care Work, 28, all. https://doi.org/10.5195/jcycw.2022.451



Women in Child & Youth Care