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Association News

From the Board

By Ross Azevedo, Board Member

Academic Reviewing: Are You Truly Doing Your Part for the HRD Academic Community?

The Academy of Human Resource Development is justifiably proud of its four academic journals of long-standing: Human Resource Development Quarterly, Advances in Human Resource Development, Human Resource Development Review, and Human Resource Development International, as well as our newest associated publication, the Journal of Open Education Research. These journals constitute a set of foundational resources for the field of Human Resource Development as well as forming some of the many vital links that bind us together as an academic community. It is the welfare and long-run survivability of that community, and your role therein, that I am addressing in what follows.

I have, in turn, chosen to address a practice which is at the very heart of our journals and without which they would be total failures — academic reviewing. I do this because all is not well in paradise… and I understand that we are not alone as this is also true at many other the academic journals, from discussions with colleagues in other fields!

In so many ways the academic reviewing process is the lifeblood of our journals as is true of every academic discipline. The journals provide the avenues for new theoretical developments to be exposed, venues for expansive research reviews which bring together the varied aspects of a particular topic of inquiry, the door openers for the presentation of new research questions and answers for academics and scholar-practitioners alike, and the gateways for new models and statistical techniques which allow ever-deeper inquiries into the very essence of our field. Put differently, it might be said that our journals represent one version of the sum and substance of our academic community as they report the latest in the world of academic knowledge in HRD.

For the uninitiated, the reviewing process typically involves sending a submitted manuscript out to three reviewers (who may be members of the editorial board or ad hoc reviewers) for their analyses and comments upon the paper. These are intended to provide a set of rationale for the editor to decide to accept, reject, or ask for revisions/rewriting of the paper. The use of three is intended to serve as a balanced set of comments and avoid “ties;” the use of two could leave the editor with one “yes” and one “no,” with no clear guidance in deciding. In some cases, a manuscript will be sent to a fourth reviewer for those situations where reviewer reports do not lead to a clear conclusion.

Defining Meaningful Academic Reviewing

At this point, to the consternation of some, let’s consider a more specific definition. I suggest that we are talking about “meaningful academic reviewing.” As will become apparent, this definition is of particular relevance to the discussion which follows for “meaningful academic reviewing” means providing full reporting to the editor so he/she can make a reasoned judgement as to the publishability of a manuscript, a clear presentation to the author(s) as to why publishing, revising, or rejecting is being recommended, and a showing of one perspective to each of the peer reviewers so they too may gain a particular reviewer’s insights from the process… which is particularly important in the case of rewrites as they set expectations for manuscript authors.

At the risk of raising the ire of more of the readers than I have done so far, let me offer one definition of the “meaningful academic review,” all from one reviewer’s perspective:

  1. A full discussion of the extent to which the manuscript does or does not advance the field of HRD theoretically and/or empirically,
  2. An evaluation of the theoretical basis of the manuscript, if appropriate, as well as a careful consideration of the appropriateness of the theory to the empirical treatment if included,
  3. An analysis of the appropriateness of the “measurement” technique(s) if used to answer the question(s) under study (e.g., Is a case study appropriate or is a multi-subject statistical treatment correct for the inquiry?),
  4. A consideration of the limitations you find in the manuscript and an addressing of whether they are can be rectified or ignored — or are fatal to publication,
  5. An assessment of whether the author(s) has/have done what they have claimed they will do at the beginning of the manuscript; such promises are often not fulfilled, and
  6. A complete explanation of the reasons for recommending the editor accept, revise, or reject the manuscript.

As a reviewer for all of the domestic journals of the Academy, I have found the experience to be personally valuable (yet too often quite different from the definition offered above), but I am certain it is challenging from the journals’ (and their editors’) perspectives. Recall that, traditionally, the editors have generally although not always “shared” the reviews on individual manuscripts with all reviewers involved so they can understand the ultimate decision on a manuscript. To be blunt, the reviews I have received from others have ranged from most thorough to falling embarrassingly short. What use to authors, editors, or other reviewers is a review which says only, “Don’t publish this.” or “Looks good to me.” as I have received from my peers via editors? As a submitter of manuscripts, I have personally received reviews to which I have asked the question: “What paper did this reviewer read; this review bears no relationship to the manuscript I submitted insofar as I can tell?” Such appraisals do not constitute the “meaningful academic reviews” which are so important to the HRD academic community.

Why One Reviews… and Why Some May Not

Consider some of the advantages of reviewing to you as well as to the field of HRD:

  1. You get the benefit of some of the first looks at the latest research in the field, thus being one of the first in the academic community to know,
  2. You can learn of new research avenues which can be linked to your present research activities and expand your role in the HRD academic community,
  3. Similarly, you can use these latest developments in your teaching, research, consulting and other activities related to your pursuits in the HRD academic community,
  4. You are able to contribute your ideas and research experience to those who are coming up in the field as well as those who are established, reinforcing your role in the HRD academic community, and
  5. You can show at least some of your peers in the HRD academic community what a meaningful academic review really is.

But there are disadvantages that some voice as well, including:

  1. Reviewing takes time, perhaps the most precious commodity extant for an academic or scholar practitioner (and often it is not rewarded, something which will be addressed below),
  2. Editors seem to send for review papers which are unrelated to your work/interests (but which may expand your research and teaching horizons if given the chance),
  3. You were disappointed by one or more reviews you received and feel you can get back at the system (but this fails to recognize these processes are part of a system and the need to make it better),
  4. You feel you are asked to review more often than any of your colleagues are (which most likely indicates you are doing a very good job with your reviews), and
  5. You believe there are no rewards to reviewing (but in many ways, that really depends upon what use you make of the process).

Some Suggested Efforts to Change Things

Given the above concerns, and after discussions with several of my colleagues who have served as editors and reviewers, I am making about a dozen proposals (to which all have contributed) which doubtless will shock some while bringing broad agreement from others. I hope you understand that I would be very encouraged if you are among the latter:

  1. Our journals should establish a time limit (e.g., two years) or article limit (e.g., three) after which they no longer will publish the work of individuals unless they are willing to provide meaningful academic reviews for the journal. This is a test of whether the academic is willing to pay his/her dues as a member of the academic community in order to attain full membership.
  2. Academic departments, when engaged in the promotion and/or tenure process, should expand what they include in a candidate’s portfolio. Given the traditional trio of academic contributions — research, teaching, and service — this record should be expanded to include academic reviewing beyond a simple count of such reviews as part of the package within limits… especially at the assistant to associate level.

    When a faculty member prepares his/her portfolio for advancement, this would involve presenting copies of those manuscripts reviewed, of the faculty member’s reviews of those documents, and a report as to the ultimate disposition of the reviewed items. This is important at both the assistant and full professor levels, although for different reasons. In the former case it is for full entry into the academic community, and in the latter it is for recognition as a senior scholar.

  3. A roughly similar approach might involve obtaining letters from editors of the journals for which the candidate has reviewed as to the quality/quantity of his/her reviews.
  4. Academic departments should request (require?) their new faculty attend the “academic reviewing sessions” offered by the journals at the annual AHRD conferences, giving them the opportunity to interact with the editors and others so as to learn what is expected of them.
  5. Offer expedited reviews of their papers to those asked to review who submit “meaningful academic reviews” in a timely fashion.
  6. Similarly, a journal should not be afraid to send a manuscript and review back and asking for more; this sends a signal to the reviewer that his/her work is deficient.
  7. Offer outstanding reviewer award(s) to as many as you feel are needed. But I would argue that here a great deal of effort extended would be helpful. Initially, the journal has to show reviewers what a truly meaningful academic review is…many honestly do not know. Then the journal might post an “anonymous” scoreboard as to who is scoring the highest through the volume year, giving a reviewer an idea where he/she stands in performance.
  8. Offer good reviewers the chance to join the editorial board.
  9. Remove those editorial board members who provide poor reviews.
  10. Establish a deadline system with reminder dates built in (e.g., two months, one month, two weeks before due date).
  11. Perhaps offer a small stipend to those who turn in a meaningful review of a manuscript and none for a poor review.
  12. In the extreme, allow the manuscript submitter to write reviews of the reviews that are returned.

Put simply, it is this board member’s opinion that you have to contribute to the scientific literature through the reviewing process to be a true member of the HRD academic community. While we are not as large as some of the academic organizations out there, we are a dynamic group working to make sure our contributions are received and acted upon in the larger universe of participants in the world we inhabit. We, acting as an academic community, must not fail them.

To sum this up differently, the field of HRD, if it is to continue leading the way requires an academic community actively producing quality research, careful review of that research, and the publishing of such research in our journals. To do this, we must have “meaningful academic reviews” of said research submissions so that we are assured that the very best of submitted manuscripts are published as a measure of the value of our academic community to the larger world around us. It is up to us as a community to show our value or we will be marginalized and passed by by others. When asked to review the research of your peers, do not regard it as a chore but accept the challenge as an opportunity to strengthen the academic community of which you are a member. While we are a strong community, we can always be stronger; you will be greatly appreciated when you play your role as a reviewer in making us so.

News for Members

Advance Notice: Board Member Nominations

Our next AHRD Digest will include our annual Call for new members of the AHRD Board. In advance of that, I want to encourage you all to consider whether now is the right time for you to serve so that you can throw your hat into the ring once the Call is announced.

As a reminder, any member of AHRD, including former Board members, is eligible to be nominated to serve on the Board. Self-nominations are also accepted. AHRD has a strong commitment to diversity in its general membership and to the diversity of the membership of its Board.

Serving on the Board provides a wonderful opportunity to help steer the direction of the Academy, and to be at the heart of major initiatives for the coming three years. Next month, we will announce the Call to fill three vacancies on the Board for a three year term (2017, 2018 and 2019). With so much happening around AHRD, this will be a great time to be on the Board! Please take some time over the next few weeks to reflect on this, and then look for the Call in the next Digest. In the meantime, please contact me if you have any early questions about this at

Darren Short
Chair, Nominations & Elections Committee

AHRD Conference in the Americas 2017

It Is Like a “Homecoming” – Let Us Celebrate it

Dear AHRD Colleagues,

The 24th Annual AHRD International Conference in the Americas is back to San Antonio, where it all started 23 years ago. It is like a homecoming. Let us celebrate it. I am excited, and I hope you are too.

As I sat at a dinner table, on the Friday night of the 2016 AHRD Conference in Jacksonville with some other colleagues, we listened to our colleague Michael Leimbach explain how AHRD got started and that the first AHRD Conference in the Americas was hosted in San Antonio. Something in me was awoken, and I had no doubt that yes, I am in my academic home. In my opinion, no other organization provides more ways for interdisciplinary connections to be made in an atmosphere of respect, collegiality and academic rigor in the pursuit of new frontiers in Human Resource Development.

We are delighted to announce that the conference submission system for the 2017 AHRD Conference in the Americas has now opened. All submissions (refereed and non-refereed) are due no later than September 6, 2016.

In your submissions, please be mindful of our blind review process. Because submissions are submitted as MS-Word documents, it is important to ensure that submissions are saved without identifying names and affiliations. Additionally, please follow all submission guidelines.

On behalf of the Conference Program Team of Jason Moats, Sunyoung Park and myself, I would like to acknowledge and thank the following Track Chair Editors: Diane Chapman and Jie Ke (Assessment and Evaluation); David Huang and Cynthia Sims (Technology, E-Learning, and Virtual HRD); YeonSoo Kim (HRD Performance and Strategy); Kori Whitener Fellows (Leadership and Career Development); Dae Seok Chai and Gertrude Hewapathirana (International, Global and Cross Cultural Issues); Karen Johnson and Sanghamitra Chaudhuri (Workplace Learning); Meera Alagaraja and Marie Line Germain (Research Methodology); Catherine Kyeyune (Organizational Development and Change); Marilyn Byrd and Joshua Collins (Critical, Social Justice, Diversity Perspectives in HRD); and, Sarah Minnis (Non-Refereed). Track Chair Editors play a crucial role in ensuring that the quality of the submissions, and the resulting quality of our conference, is high. Our colleagues invest a signficant amount of their time and talent to serve the Academy of Human Resource Development. We owe them a sincere thank you.

Please do not hesitate to let any of the Conference Team know if you have questions. We are here to serve and to make this a great conference.

Thank you.
Robert M. Yawson
Proceedings Editor
2017 AHRD International Conference in the Americas

2016 AHRD International Research Conference in Asia and MENA

desert with camels for the MENA and Asia location

We invite you to submit papers to the 2016 AHRD International Research Conference in Asia and MENA, which will be held in Ifrane, Morocco, between November 2 and 4 (see for more information.) Here are some conference updates:

  1. Please connect with us on Facebook and like the page.
  2. The conference paper submission portal is open.
    You can submit your paper(s) now (deadline: August 1, 2016). Before submission, please review the submission instructions carefully.
  3. Wanted! Conference Paper Reviewers.
    If you are interested in serving as a reviewer, please fill out the form. We will ask you to review two papers at most, and the review process will take place August through September.

If you have any questions about the conference, please feel free to email at or check us out at our conference site.

We look forward to welcoming you to the Conference in Morocco.
Conference Organizing Committee

Research Grant Opportunity

Korea SIG’s International Research on Korea Grant

The Korea SIG’s International Research on Korea Grant promotes AHRD graduate students’ research collaboration on research in Korea. This grant provides $500 to the awardees to reimburse them for research and dissemination expenses for one year only, with eligibility to apply for a subsequent year. Eligible expenses might include, but are not limited to, gifts for participants during data collection; software; data analysis assistance, such as transcribers or translators; AHRD membership, registration for any AHRD conference where the outcome of the award is presented; and travel and lodging while at the conference.


  • Graduate students who are members of AHRD are eligible to apply with a research proposal.
  • A team of students, consisting of at least one Korean and one non-Korean, regardless of where they live, may submit one proposal. A faculty member may be part of the team in a mentor role, though he/she is not eligible to use the funds. The rationale for this eligibility criterion is our desire to expand interest in Korean HRD research, while wanting to ensure sensitivity to the Korean culture.
  • Students can find partners on the AHRD Facebook page or LinkedIn, or contact the Korea SIG chair, Heeyoung Han (, who will distribute your request.
  • Past recipients are eligible to apply in a subsequent year.

Application Process

  • Submit a proposal in electronic format in Word format (not .pdf).
  • The cover page should include:
    • Student names and affiliations
    • The title of the research project
    • The corresponding student’s email address and telephone number
  • Proposals must not exceed 3 single-spaced pages, in addition to the cover page, including:
    • Problem statement
    • Research purpose and questions
    • A brief review of the literature
    • Research methods
    • Anticipated outcomes and implications for HRD
    • Information dissemination plan (including presentation at one of the AHRD conferences)
    • Research project timeline (not exceeding one year, beginning with March following the award announcement at the February AHRD Conference in the Americas).

Submission Deadline

  • Submit a proposal by December 1, 2016, by email to Dr. Han at (
  • The Korea SIG Chair will form a three-person review panel.
  • The final decision will be announced at the AHRD Conference in the Americas in 2017.

Journal News


Our June 2016 is now available and features the following work:

Integrative Literature Reviews

Interventions for Women With Postpartum Depression Symptoms: An Integrative Literature Review for Human Resource Development
Cyntianna C. Ledesma Ortega and Thomas G. Reio, Jr.

Performance Measurement and Performance Indicators: A Literature Review and a Proposed Model for Practical Adoption
Sequoia Star, Darlene Russ-Eft, Marc T. Braverman, and Roger Levine

Theory and Conceptual Articles

Complexity and Organizational Communication: A Quest for Common Ground
Petro Poutanen, Kalle Siira, and Pekka Aula

Deconstructing the Privilege and Power of Employee Engagement: Issues of Inequality for Management and Human Resource Development
Brad Shuck, Joshua C. Collins, Tonette S. Rocco, and Raquel Diaz

Instructor’s Corner

An Evidence-Based Review of Creative Problem Solving Tools: A Practitioner’s Resource
David Vernon, Ian Hocking, and Tresoi C. Tyler

podcast image

This month we will feature two author podcasts from our June issue.

Available now: Dr. Cyntianna Ledesma-Ortega of Florida International University shares the background on her collaboration with Dr. Thomas Reio on the role of HRD practitioners in creating interventions for women employees with Postpartum Depression.

Upcoming: Dr. David Vernon of Canterbury University on his research team’s contributions to our journal’s Instructor’s Corner.

UFHRD logoHRDR partnered with UFHRD 2016 to sponsor the Doctoral Colloquium in Manchester! We thank all the future HRD scholars who were able to attend. Make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter (details below). More photos from the conference will be featured on UFHRD’s Flickr Gallery.

Stay in touch with HRDR!

Learn more about HRDR’s announcements, table of contents, and updates! Sign up for e-alerts from HRDR at HRDR.

Join our conversation on Facebook @HRDRjournal and Twitter @hrdrjournal!

Accolades and Accomplishments

Senior Distinguished Scholar Award, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

K. Peter Kuchinke, Professor

K. Peter Kuchinke, Professor in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, was recognized with the 2016/2017 College of Education Distinguished Senior Scholar Award in May. The award is given in recognition of sustained scholarly quality, significance, and productivity to individuals beyond 10 years from receiving their terminal degree. Peter's research interests include the role of work in overall life design, cross-cultural differences in career preparation and development, and professional ethics. He has published over 150 scholarly articles and book chapters and presented his research at more than 50 national and international education conferences. His current service appointments include Director of Graduate Studies; President of the University Council for Workforce and Human Resource Education; and PromoDoc Ambassador for the European Union’s Erasmus Mundus Program. He was recognized as the 2015 Outstanding Scholar, Academy of Human Resource Development.

Final Thoughts

By Robin S. Grenier, Digest Editor, AHRD Board Member

Do you have some great news? Maybe you got a promotion or tenure? Or maybe you were awarded a great big grant? Did you retire or finally get that book published? We want to hear about these and any other exciting work and accomplishments of our members. Please send a quick note (and a photo if you can) to and we’ll include it in our next Digest issue.

Job Postings

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Clinical Assistant Professor of HRD & Technology Management

  • Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

Academic Professional Faculty members are essential to accomplishing the departmental vision of serving a new undergraduate student population in Human Resource Development and Technology Management. This is a nine-month visiting professor appointment with responsibilities for four undergraduate courses per semester in the area of human resource development and Technology Management. Courses include, but are not limited to, EHRD 203 Foundations of Human Resource Development, EHRD 477 Project Management, EHRD 371 Adult Learning Principles, EHRD 405 Principles and Practice of Leadership in Human Resource Development and Technology Management, TCMG 271 Technology and End-User Support, TCMG 303 Unix System Administration Practices, TCMG 316 Database Systems Administration and Application, TCMG 308 Cybersecurity and Digital Ethics, TCGM 412 Contemporary Issues in Technology Management, and TCMG 476 Managing Technical Networks. Each semester there may be 4 course preparations. Preference will be given to an individual with a strong Human Resource Development and Technology Management background. Read More

Cost of posting:

Members - $25.00
Non-Members - $100.00
PEN Members - FREE, complete the job posting form

Posting information :

Job ads are posted for 90 days and are available to all members and non-members visiting the AHRD website. If you have any questions, please contact us at PEN members, please email the office to complete the Job Posting Form.


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About the Digest


Be sure to let us know if you move or if you change email addresses. You can sign in to your profile or email us at

Contributors to this Issue

  • Robin Grenier, Editor
  • Ross Azevedo
  • Robert M. Yawson

The editors reserve the right to select and edit articles submitted.

The AHRD Digest is published electronically the second week of each month. Please submit ideas and content that would be valuable to members to by the 10th day of the month previous.

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