To appreciate Michael Plater’s passion for the value of adult education is to understand how significantly continued education factored into his own experience.
Plater earned his doctorate in American studies from the College of William and Mary while he and his wife worked full time and raised two children. Prior to that, Plater, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Harvard, earned a master’s in business administration from Wharton and performed a number of management roles in the private sector. This September, he will be formally installed as the 14th president of Strayer University, an accredited 120-year-old institution with 94 campuses in 23 states and in Washington, D.C.
Founded as Strayer Business College in Baltimore in 1892, Strayer offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in accounting, business administration, criminal justice, education, health services administration, human resource management, information technology and public administration. An executive MBA via its Jack Welch Management Institute is also offered online. Strayer provides the flexibility of classes on campus or online, day or night, and guarantees online access to every course offered. The university currently serves more than 50,000 students, including learners in the military overseas.
“The strength of Strayer’s reputation rests with our highly qualified academic leaders, available to our students everywhere,” says Plater.
Elected president by the Strayer University board of trustees after serving as provost and chief academic officer since 2010, Plater is an academic visionary. He regards quality higher education as the best enabler for adults seeking better professional prospects in a constantly changing employment and economic environment. “It is a total myth that the typical college student is eighteen years old,” he says. “Less than 25 percent of Strayer’s students fall into this category.”
Indeed, the quality education the university provides is primarily to adults, average age 35. Because the vast majority of students today are full-time workers with families, Strayer strives to be an environment where students can manage the challenges of their lives while also getting an education. “The job market will continue to evolve,” says Plater. “Because increased knowledge and skills are necessary for employability, it is important for our country to persist in moving adults into higher education.”
It is an individual decision when a potential student wonders “Can I do it?” about going back to school. Continued education is important for career as well as personal development.
Plater says adult learners need to consider three issues when contemplating that step. First, they need to assess their personal and academic readiness to meet the minimum course requirements. Second, they should bear in mind the amount of time and commitment needed for the continued learning they want to pursue. Third, it’s important for students to be self-motivated and to have high expectations of themselves. “When I spend time with adults who are on the fence about making a move toward higher education, I emphasize the necessity to maintain a depth of personal commitment,” says Plater. “If one is not committed, it won’t happen.”
It is Plater’s goal to make higher education more accessible to more people, particularly adult learners. And new President Dr. Michael Plater’s passion for lifelong learning will continue to permeate the relationships he nurtures with the students, alumni, faculty and staff of Strayer University.
For more information on the school, tuition fees and costs, call 888-478-7293, or visit www.strayer.edu.