Sharan Merriam is a Professor of Adult Education at the University of Georgia. Her scholarship has helped shape the discipline of adult education. Through her 20 published books, dozens of articles and chapters, and editorship roles over the past 25 years, Dr. Merriam has made significant scholarly contributions to adult education in the areas of philosophical foundations, adult learning and development, and qualitative research methods. She is read and recognized worldwide for her groundbreaking works. Her co-authored book, Learning in Adulthood is a key organizing instructional text for graduate study and professional development in adult learning.
Dr. Merriam's textbooks and her engagement with the field both nationally and internationally has contributed to adult education, her works have guided many scholars of adult learning and development.
In her nearly 25 years in the field of adult and continuing education, Dr. Merriam has held leadership roles in both the Commission of Professors of Adult Education (CPAE) and in the Adult Education Research Conference (AERC). Her leadership in numerous volunteer editorial roles includes five years as co-editor of the Association's main theory and research outlet, Adult Education Quarterly; co-editor of the 1990 Handbook of Adult and Continuing Education; review editor for eight different journals; and currently, co-editor for the book series, Professional Practices in Adult Education and Lifelong Learning.
Dr. Merriam mentors future scholars and junior colleagues worldwide. This mentorship has been formalized through the Houle Scholars Program sponsored by the Kellogg Foundation. The Houle Scholars Program helps develop emerging scholars in North America, Southern Africa, and Latin America.
Along with numerous teaching and research awards, Dr. Merriam has been a Fulbright Scholar to Malaysia, and won the Houle World Award for Outstanding Literature for three different books, a distinction which she alone holds.