This qualitative study examined how eight adult degree program administrators negotiate power and interest while planning programs in specific higher education settings: small, private, non-profit, higher education institutions. The conceptual framework was grounded in Cervero and Wilson's program-planning model in combination with Bourdieu's concept of cultural and social capital and Raven's consideration of types of power at play in organizations. The primary means of data collection were in-depth interviews and qualitative questionnaires. There were four primary categories of findings dealing with how these adult degree program planners negotiate power and interest, centering on (a) moving the institutional interest in adult learners from the margins closer to the center, (b) gaining influence by drawing on multiple forms of capital, (c) building a bridge of common interests among key players as a way of leveraging power, and (d) balancing institutional expectations for growth with resource limitations.
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