Tom Heaney


Associate Professor and director of the Adult Education Doctoral Program

Programs/Classes Taught:

ACE 600 Introduction to the Adult Education Doctoral Program
ACE 601 Advanced Seminar: Critical Reflection and Critical Thinking
ACE 602 Life History and Adult Education
ACE 603 Advanced Adult Development and Learning
ACE 604 Adult Education: Core Concepts and Processes
ACE 605A Reflective Practice Seminar I
ACE 610 Research Methods in Adult Education
ACE 620 Understanding Adult Education Practice
ACE 605B Reflective Practice Seminar II
ACE 640 Research: Critical Engagement Project Proposal Seminar
ACE 650 Research: Literature Review Seminar
ACE 655 Philosophy of Adult Education
ACE 605C Reflective Practice Seminar III
ACE 660 Research: Critical Engagement Project Methodology
ACE 661 Educating in a Social and Political Context
ACE 605D Reflective Practice Seminar IV
ACE 670 Research: Advanced Data Collection and Analysis
ACE 605E Reflective Practice Seminar V
ACE 699A Dissertation: Critical Engagement Project I
ACE 699B Dissertation: Critical Engagement Project II

Areas of Expertise:

Adult education in a social and political context
Adult education as a practice of democratic social change
Adult education as a tool for social and racial justice


Tom was an associate and co-founder of the Lindeman Center for Community Empowerment through Education, a Chicago-based organization that developed education and research projects with low income and oppressed groups. Center projects focused on indigenous efforts to build democratic structures and transform local conditions.

His activities within the Center ranged from supporting the development of "grass roots," literacy organizations grounded in local struggles to a multi-year project developing the capacities of residents in public housing to take over control of their communities through Resident Management.

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

Tom is an associate professor of adult education at National-Louis University and director of the Adult Education Doctoral Program, which began in the summer of 1996. Formerly a member of the graduate faculty at Northern Illinois University, he received his Ph.D. in Adult Education from the Union Institute and University in 1980.

The principal focus of his own 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, and exploring the implications of electronic media for democratizing the production of knowledge and communications.


The Union Institute and University, 1977–1980. Ph.D., Adult Education.
Northern Illinois University, 1976–1977. Fifteen graduate credits in Adult Education.
Loyola University, St. Mary of the Lake College, 1959–1963. M.A., Education/Theology.

Research and Interests:

Heaney, Tom and Ramdeholl, Dianne (eds.)Reimagining Doctoral Education as a Practice of Adult Education. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco. To be released in 2015.

Heaney, Tom. "The Illusive Ground between Town and Gown." in Dianne Ramdeholl, Decentering the Ivory Tower of Academia. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco 2013, pgs.35-44.

Ramdeholl, Dianne; Giordani, Tania; Heaney, Tom; and Yanow, Wendy (eds). The Struggle for Democracy in Adult Education: New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, Number 128. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco 2011.

Heaney, Tom. "The Pursuit of Social Justice in Situations of Conflict." In Elizabeth Burge, Negotiating Ethical Practice in Adult Education: New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, Number 123. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco 2009.

Heaney, Tom. "The Relationship between Adult Education and Society," in Arthur Wilson and Elizabeth Hayes (eds), Adult Education Handbook 2000. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco 2000.

Heaney, Tom. "This Isn't Kansas Anymore, Toto: Team Teaching Online," in Mary-Jane Eisen and Elizabeth Tisdell (eds), Team Teaching and Learning in Adult Education Contexts. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco 2000.

Contact Information:

Tom Heaney

(312) 621-3274


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