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John McKinley Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

The adult education holdings are collectively known as the
Alexander N. Charters Library of Resources for Educators of Adults.

Overview of the Collection

Creator: McKinley, John, 1921-2011
Title: John McKinley Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1956-1987
Quantity: 2 linear ft.
Abstract: Writings, correspondence, memorabilia of the adult educator, proponent of Participation Training and developer of the Indiana Plan (for adult education in the church); also includes published writings by others.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

John McKinley (1921-2011) was an American adult educator, proponent of Participation Training, and developer of the Indiana Plan (for adult education in the church).

McKinley received his Bachelor's degree from Indiana State University (1947) and his M.A. (1949) and Ed.D. (1960) from Indiana University. He joined the faculty of Indiana University in 1952 and taught for more than thirty years, retiring as Professor Emeritus in 1983. His focus areas were in diagnostic theory and practice in group and organizational settings, and in small group training and development. He was also interested in adult education in the church, for which he developed the Indiana Plan to assist denominations in planning adult education.

He authored numerous books, book chapters, articles, and papers, including Design for Adult Education in the Church and Participation Training for Adult Education. In 1975 he received the Outstanding Adult Educator of the Year award from the Adult Education Association of the USA (now the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education, or AAACE).

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The John McKinley Papers consist of correspondence-subject files, memorabilia, and writings.

Correspondence-subject files contain book reviews, notes on lyceums in early America, and correspondence with two churches on McKinley's Indiana Plan. Memorabilia contains letters and tributes on the occasion of McKinley's retirement in 1983. Writings contains writings by McKinley (articles, books, a dissertation) and by others (books, one dissertation).

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Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence-subject files are arranged alphabetically. Writings are subdivided into those by McKinley, listed alphabetically by title, and those by others, listed alphabetically by author.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

The library holds a considerable number of collections related to adult and continuing education, as well as numerous other resources in the general collection. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing of manuscript collections, and to the Classic Catalog for circulating items.

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Subject Headings


Bates, Bonnie.
Blumberg, Arthur, 1923-
Bode, Carl, 1911-1993.
Delalić, Ešref.
Golembiewski, Robert T.
Kadoya, Shinji.
Leskinnen, Heiki
Leypoldt, Martha M.
McKenzie, Leon.
McKinley, John, 1921-2011.
Peel, Donald.
Rock, Michael, 1942-

Associated Titles

Cyclical tradition.


Adult education -- Finland.
Adult education -- United States.
Adult education -- Yugoslavia.
Church and education.
Participation training.
Religious education of adults.
Research in religion and education.

Genres and Forms

Manuscripts (document genre)



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

John McKinley Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of John McKinley, 2008.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: MRC
Date: 8 Dec 2008
Revision history: 8 Aug 2022 - bioghist updated to reflect McKinley's death in 2011 (MRC)

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Correspondence-subject files
Box 1 Book reviews of McKinley's books 1961, undated
Box 1 Boyd correspondence on the Indiana Plan 1956-1958
Box 1 Lyceums undated - photocopies of articles, research notes, etc
Box 1 McKitrick correspondence on the Indiana Plan 1958
Box 1 Peel, Donald circa 1981
Box 1 Retirement letters, tributes, etc 1983
By McKinley
Box 2 Creative Methods for Adult Classes 1960
Box 1 The Cyclical Tradition undated - notes, drafts, typescripts, microfiche (2 folders)
Box 2 Design for Adult Education in the Church, co-authored with Paul Bergevin 1958
Box 2 Group Development Through Participation Training 1980
Box 2 Guide to Program Planning 1965 (2 copies)
Box 2 Participation Training for Adult Education, coauthored with Paul Bergevin 1965
Box 2 "A participation training program in a mental hospital: an experiment in adult education" 1960 - McKinley's dissertation for his Ed.D. degree, Indiana University
Box 2 "Participation training in perspective: problems, issues, and futures" in Viewpoints, vol. 51, no. 4 July 1975 - special issue on participation training (2 copies)
Box 1 "Pedantic thoughts on the meaning and nature of continuing education" in Adult Leadership February, 1972
Box 2 Studies in Education 1960 (Thesis Abstract Series) 1961 - McKinley is on p. 283
Box 1 "Material to be developed further"
Box 1 "MSS to be typed"
By others
Box 2 Bates, Bonnie / Lifeline (Melbourne): A Case Study in the Use and Training of Volunteer Telephone Counsellors 1978 (2 copies (1 hardcover, 1 paperback))
Box 2 Blumberg, Arthur and Robert T. Golembiewski / Learning and Change in Groups 1976 - heavily annotated throughout by McKinley
Box 2 Bode, Carl / The American Lyceum: Town Meeting of the Mind 1956 - heavily annotated throughout by McKinley
Box 2 Bureau of Studies in Adult Education / Strategies for Teaching Effectiveness: A Collaborative Experience 1976
Box 2 Delalic, Esref / Workers' Universities in Yugoslavia: An Adult Education Modality 1979 - inscribed by author
Box 2 Grattan, C. Hartley, ed. / American Ideas About Adult Education, 1710-1951 1959 - heavily annotated throughout by McKinley
Box 2 International Journal of Religious Education vol. 35, no. 9 May 1959 - special issue on the Christian education of adults
Box 2 Kadoya, Shinji / "The application of group discussion in Japanese society" 1977 - dissertation for M.S. Ed. degree for which McKinley was thesis adviser; includes note from author
Box 2 Leskinnen, Heiki / The Provincial Folk School in Finland (Indiana University Monograph Series in Adult Education, No. 3) 1968
Box 2 Leypoldt, Martha M. / 40 Ways to Teach in Groups 1967 - inscribed to McKinley
Box 2 Leypoldt, Martha M. / Learning is Change: Adult Education in the Church 1971 - inscribed to McKinley
Box 2 McKenzie, Leon / Decision Making in Your Parish 1980 - inscribed by author
Box 2 McKenzie, Leon / The Religious Education of Adults 1982
Box 2 Rock, Michael / Grippings: Trusted Meanings on the Human Journey 1987
Box 2 Rock, Michael / Reflections: The Human Journey 1985 - inscribed by author

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