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June 2014 AHRD Digest

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by Rajashi Ghosh, VP, Global Strategy and Planning
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Elisabeth E. Bennett, Ph. D
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From the Board

By Rajashi Ghosh, VP, Global Strategy and Planning

How can AHRD get better at being global?
The Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD) currently has members from many different countries, an annual conference in Asia through the Asia Chapter, and is a partner in promoting a conference in Europe with the University Forum for Human Resource Development (UFHRD). But, is that sufficient for being a global organization?

The formal definition of “global” is “of, relating to, or involving the entire world” (Merriam-Webster, online). What are some other — or better — ways to involve the entire world in our pursuit of leading HRD through research?

In my column last year, I reflected on how we can all advocate for the AHRD in some way or form. Our act of advocacy, whether we invite our colleagues to partner with us in research and attend our annual conference, whether we point out how HRD theories and practices have opened up new visions for consideration in other fields, or whether we actively campaign for our organization, should be done with a global mindset. That brings me to the question: How can we as AHRD members strive for a global mindset and what are some challenges confronting us on that path?

I recently came across an interesting interview on TED talk where the interviewer challenged UK’s Ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown to explain if the concept of global citizenship is realistic when there are multiple and at times conflicting national interests at play. In response, Brown highlighted that while the reality of conflicting interest is undeniable, so is the reality of common interests, causes, and plights. He asserted that since we live in one world, we have problems that multiple (if not all) countries in this world are facing (i.e., poverty, climate change, social freedom). Therefore, national interests do not necessarily contradict global interests andnations need to come together to collaboratively surmount such problems instead of getting shortsighted by their differences.

So, how is this relevant to our reflections on getting better at being global citizens as AHRD members? Do we have common questions that prevail over our petty differences and compel us to pursue collaborative research across national borders? Can we as HRD scholars suspend our judgments and truly embrace novel and indigenous ways to address critical issues of HRD plaguing both developed and developing countries across the globe? Can HRD professionals be challenged to merge strategic and critical HRD to find common ground as much as possible for attending to our national interests in a way that does not compromise our global ones?

These questions make me think that being exposed to or providing exposure for HRD scholarship being conducted outside of the U.S. through global conferences and having an international member body (while necessary) are not sufficient steps to promote global citizenship in the AHRD.

To be global citizens, we must continuously reflect critically on how we as HRD scholars and practitioners can strive to provide an equal platform for all who want to engage in knowledge sharing and ask each other the tough questions. Our reflections will then guide us to use our conferences in the U.S. and abroad to build self-sustaining learning communities across the globe where we can empower each other to find answers to the daunting questions facing our field in the global era.

So, thinking of the upcoming AHRD conferences this year, how are you planning to construct learning spaces and communities that can help us critically reflect to be better global citizens?

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Journal News

Great News about HRDR!

HRDR Editor Jamie Callahan is thrilled to announce that Sage Publications has submitted Human Resource Development Review to Thomson Reuters for consideration to be rated in the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI). She wants to let the members know that the decision process takes about a year, and that means we have a limited amount of time to boost the chances of success.

How can you help, you might ask?

Well, if you have any articles that will soon appear in a journal already rated in the SSCI (like HRDQ!), we ask that you take a quick look at the last two volumes of HRDR and see if there are any articles that might be relevant for inclusion as a citation in your forthcoming article. The best thing we can do at this point is to ensure that recent works from HRDR are cited in other SSCI journals.

So, to that end, use your AHRD membership to access the journal for free at Browse around the journal and see if there are any recent manuscripts that might be relevant.

One forthcoming HRDR publication that might have a broad application is the Editorial for 13/3 — which is an update on writing literature reviews. As an editorial, it does not appear in Online First, so if you are publishing any type of literature review in HRDQ, IJMR, or any other SSCI rated journal, please feel free to contact me and I will get you pre-publication access to that work.

This is an exciting time for HRDR and for AHRD. Let's cross our fingers that we are successful at getting a second AHRD journal approved for SSCI!

Thanks to everyone for your support of the journal!

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Member Spotlight

Elisabeth E. Bennett Northeastern UniversityThis month our member spotlight features Elisabeth E. Bennett, Ph.D. Liz is a faculty member in the Ed.D. program at Northeastern University, where she teaches research and concentration courses in organizational leadership studies as well as higher education administration. Courses are delivered primarily through hybrid or fully virtual methods, which is an interesting fit with her research interests. Since her dissertation, Liz has been focusing on virtual human resource development and overlapping constructs, such as informal learning.

Liz has been a member of AHRD since attending her first conference in Austin, TX in 2004. At that time, she was a graduate student at the University of Georgia, and AHRD had been highly recommended by the HROD professors. She presented her first paper the following year at Estes Park, CO, and was also part of the emerging research class that year. She said those two first years left her impressed by the collegiality of established scholars and how her own work was taken seriously. She also made lifelong friendships through AHRD.

In addition to presenting her work in one form or another at nearly all of the AHRD conferences after 2004, Liz has held various positions in AHRD, including track chair editor and co-chair for the Virtual HRD, Technology, and Distance Learning SIGs. She is a former member of the board of AHRD, and reviewed for various tracks and volunteered as symposium chair numerous times over the years. More recently, she joined the editorial board of Human Resource Development Quarterly, and co-edited an upcoming issue of Advances in Developing Human Resources, available this August.

With so much involvement in AHRD, it might be difficult for Liz to recall a single memorable moment as an Academy member, but she did share the time when Elliott Masie was the keynote speaker at the AHRD conference where the theme addressed technology. She stated, “He urged our field not to worry about making our videos and electronic materials too polished or slick. The evidence shows that people may place more credibility in materials that seem home-grown and flawed. Rather, our field should focus on designing technical environments that promote learning. I remember turning to a colleague and saying, ‘That’s exactly what we’ve been writing about with virtual HRD.’ It’s wonderful to have an external perspective on how our scholarship and professional practices can add value to organizational life.”

Professionally, Liz has been reacquainting herself with Jack Mezirow’s books on transformative learning and reflection. For pleasure, she’s been enjoying Connie Willis’ time travel stories. Liz recently finished To Say Nothing of the Dog — which combined a sense of adventure, comedy, and architectural history — and now she’s reading an earlier story, The Doomsday Book.

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Job Openings

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News and Notes

  • The 13th International Conference of the Asia Chapter of Academy of Human Resource Development is to be held in Seoul, Korea, November 12-14, 2014. Details on this exciting event can be found at:
  • Make sure you are getting the most of your AHRD membership — check out Member Central to access your benefits: Plus, we’ve added directions on the new features of the website here:
  • Last month’s Digest featured an In Memoriam for Gary S. Becker, but the author’s name was left off in error. We thank Richard A. Swanson, Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota, for writing that article.

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Final Thoughts

We hope all our members have a safe and enjoyable Summer and remember — the call for proposals for the 2015 AHRD Conference in St. Louis will be right around the corner. So as you enjoy the sun, water, or woods this season, think about what you want to submit!

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