2017 Researcher of the Year
Phyllis A. Cummins
Senior Research Scholar
Scripps Gerontology Center, Miami University
Dr. Cummins’ research interests focus on lifelong learning, workforce development, and job training activities for middle-aged and older workers, especially those who are unemployed or underemployed and face economic insecurity in retirement. She has completed several projects for the Ohio Department of Aging, primarily related to SCSEP and is currently a principal investigator on two grants funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Her current research uses data from the Ohio Longitudinal Data Archive (OLDA) to examine educational and labor market outcomes for middle-aged and older student enrolled at any of Ohio’s 23 community colleges. To better understand barriers faced by older students, this project also includes focus groups and key informant interviews with students, faculty, and administrators at three case study community colleges in Ohio. In presenting her with this award, Dr. Harvey Sterns noted, “As someone who has focused on aging and work for many years, I have watched Dr. Cummins becoming a major contributor to this important area. Her current research about adult education and lifelong learning strategies has and will provide essential information about approaches and skills necessary to remain in the labor force at older ages. This work will provide new information regarding successful later life education and employment.”
Dr. Cummins has presented her research in many venues, including annual conferences of the Gerontological Society of America, the National Council for Workforce Education, the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education, and OAGE. She has also published in journals such as the Public Policy & Aging Report, Educational Gerontology, New Horizons in Adult Education & Human Resource Management, the Community College Journal of Research and Practice, and Generations.