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Transforming from Ally to Antiracism Co-conspirator

Laura L. Bierema By Laura L. Bierema, AHRD President

Recent and historical racial unrest propelled the Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD) Board to make a strong statement abhorring racism, violence, and hate crimes of any kind in alignment with AHRD's Standards on Ethics and Integrity. The statement supporting Black Lives Matter and denouncing racism was approved in early June 2020, distributed to our membership, and posted on our website. Board members received positive feedback on the statement, and we are proud to take a strong stand against racism, hatred, and violence. Nevertheless, not all AHRD members were pleased with the statement, and one long-term member contacted me after reading the statement to register disappointment that it did not speak to Black members, acknowledge racist incidents in AHRD, or present a concrete plan for action. This member was correct. I worked with this member and other Board members to follow up on the original statement in a way that did not sugar coat the history of racism within the AHRD community. I am excited to announce that the Board unanimously approved the follow-up statement and created an AHRD Antiracism Task Force.

I hope you will read the statements and share your feedback. Personally, these weeks of violence and protest have deepened my dedication to unlearn racism and commitment to create more inclusive organizations and a socially just world. The work of unlearning racism is demanding and continuous, and I want to take a moment to share what I have been thinking and doing to learn, unlearn, and take mindful, timely action to work for change.

During these past weeks, Black friends, colleagues, and students have confided they are "not okay" as the media chronicled Blacks being suffocated by the police, murdered while running, reported as dangerous and threatening while bird watching, and shot for sleeping in a car, all during the midst of a frightening global pandemic and white supremacist-laced political rhetoric and violence in the United States. I have listened to Black people's accounts of being "not okay," and it pains me to see friends hurting, communities crumbling, and history repeating. Being "not okay" is okay, and I am not okay with this moment or the history that brought us here. I am committed to sitting with Black colleagues who are "not okay" to listen, see, and hear their pain, and engage in the difficult conversations and hard work ahead to create equitable spaces and communities. I expect to make mistakes and missteps along the way. That is okay because creating a scholarly community and society where all are valued, engaged, and believed is worth it and essential.

During the 2020 AHRD conference in Atlanta, the Town Hall Forum focused on naming and challenging metanarratives in HRD. Metanarratives (grand or master narratives) are ways of seeing the world—all-encompassing stories that help people understand the context, make meaning, and clarify purpose in life. What we call things matters and metanarratives are ways of talking ourselves into a reality, such as "AHRD is not racist," or "We are advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion." Racist metanarratives might be statements such as "I don't see color" or "I am colorblind," or "All lives matter." These claims invalidate our Black colleagues' stories about discrimination and are grounded in the assumption that we've solved racism. Unfortunately, we have not solved racism; we have chosen to dismiss and deny it among our ranks. Another metanarrative is "I am an ally." Being an ally is crucial, although if that means you, as a white colleague, are only reading antiracism books, posting support for Black Lives Matter on social media, and feeling empathy with the Black community, that is not enough.

Educational scholar, Dr. Bettina Love, University of Georgia Professor of Educational Theory and Practice and author of the 2019 book We Want to Do More than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom, argues that being an ally is not enough observing, "The bar for allyship is low. Reading about racism is not the same as living it." Allies typically are well versed in racism but don't take action against it. Dr. Love urges white folx to shift from allyship to being antiracism co-conspirators. As she puts it, co-conspirators come to the table with something more, willing to take personal and professional risks to fight racism. Admittedly, I have long considered myself an ally of marginalized groups and have focused on creating humanly sustainable, socially just organizations and communities through my teaching, scholarship, and service. I realize, though, that is not enough and am sitting with what I can do to better support, affirm, and champion Black colleagues.

As Dr. Love implores, I am becoming an antiracism co-conspirator, evaluating my actions and taking more risks to abolish racism. In the C-Span video linked above, Dr. Love insists, "Don't wait for a leader to come along and start fighting for racial justice. Don't wait for someone else. Be that leader." I am working on being that leader and invite the AHRD membership to hold me and the Board accountable for addressing racism within our community. Moreover, I don't mean just issuing statements; I am talking about sustained, substantive action to address racism. I am taking Dr. Love's challenge of the "ally" metanarrative to heart and embracing a new metanarrative of antiracism co-conspirator.

Won't you join me?

Love, B. L. (2019). We want to do more than survive: Abolitionist teaching and the pursuit of educational freedom. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.

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News for Members

Qualitative Inquiry SIG Group Hosts Webinar on Autoethnography

Submitted by Yonjoo Cho

The AHRD Qualitative Inquiry SIG will present a second webinar on autoethnography by Dr. Robin Grenier (University of Connecticut) on June 30 (Tue) at 10:00 am EDT via Zoom at

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Thank You from the Recipients of the Outstanding Book of the Year Award

Submitted by Andrea D. Ellinger

As co-editors of this book, Drs. Robert G. Hamlin, Andrea D. Ellinger, and Jenni Jones extend their heartfelt thanks to all editorial board members, reviewers, and authors whose collective contributions resulted in Evidence-Based Initiatives for Organizational Change and Development being the recipient of the R. Wayne Pace Outstanding Book of the Year Award. This award was recently presented to them by The Academy of Human Resource Development. This book has also been selected by IGI Global Publishers as one of its Core Reference Titles for 2020. To commemorate this award-winning book and core title, IGI Global is offering an exclusive discounted purchase price for this two-volume set using the HAMLIN70 discount code.

The main aims of the book are to assist readers to more fully appreciate the complexities and problems of bringing about effective and beneficial organizational change and development (OCD), the merits of adopting evidence-based practice (EBP) approaches and to demonstrate the ‘reality’ versus the ‘rhetoric’ of evidence-based organizational change and development (EBOCD) across a wide range of ‘Anglo’ and ‘non-Anglo’ countries.

The book provides practical insights and lessons on EBOCD based on the theoretical and philosophical perspectives and critical reflections on change agency practice of its 86 contributing authors. It is ideally suited for organizational change leaders, line managers, HRD and OD professional practitioners, together with business academics and students seeking supportive insights on EBOCD initiatives, whether at the team, departmental or organizational level, or across sectoral, national or cultural boundaries.

Colleagues Darren Short and Professor Joseph Kessels independently reviewed the book and gave it their very positive accolades. Please click here to access the Press Release prepared by IGI Global Publishers about this book.

Kindly remember to use the HAMLIN70 discount code to obtain your exclusive discount. If you contact IGI Customer Service, you will also find receptivity to some other purchase options (split volumes and course readers).

Thank you again for your interest and enthusiasm for this book.

With our best wishes for good health and safety during these unprecedented times,
Bob, Andrea, and Jenni

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Call for Abstracts: Management Consulting in the Era of the Digital Organization

Submitted by David B. Szabla

The transforming world of the 2020s is marked by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. This new environment requires organizational leaders, more than ever, to explore strategies that enhance their adaptive capacity to respond to events such as COVID-19 and the consequential economic crises that follow.

Given the confluence of dramatic changes in organizational life and emerging technology breakthroughs such as robotics, the internet of things, biotechnology, materials science, data science and big data, and quantum computing, this volume of the Research in Management Consulting series explores how research and practice of management consulting unfold in a new era of profound shifts in the way researchers and consultants sense, think, and act.

We seek chapters on a wide range of topics that focus on how management consulting concepts, methods, processes, theory, research, and practice are shifting as a result of new ways of human interaction and emerging technologies. Abstracts may be submitted by faculty, graduate students, or post-doctoral fellows working in traditional university settings, think tanks and other research institutes, and practitioners working in consulting firms.

Abstracts due no later than August 30, 2020.

Complete details available here.

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Call for Papers: Feeding, Fueling, and Clothing the World: An Adult Education and Human Resource Development Perspective on the Agricultural Value Chain

Submitted by Susan L. Karimiha and Sunny L. Munn

New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development is preparing a special issue for publication in January 2022 on workers and workplaces which operate within the agricultural value chain. The agricultural value chain (AVC) consists of the activities, goods, and services which enable products to move from their raw state to the final usable product (Trienekens, 2011). Every day, countless people working in the AVC ensure that humans have food, biofuels, and clothing. Recently, more attention has been paid to the people, organizations, and systems which provide humans with basic necessities to survive (Sethi, 2020). For example, the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic spotlighted the critical role of actors in the AVC such as farmers, processors, truck drivers, and grocery store workers. As the world population and consumption patterns for food, fiber, and fuel increase, a “revolution in social and natural sciences” (Godfray et al., 2010, p. 817) is required to address challenges in the agriculture industry.

Adult education and human resource development (AEHRD) scholars and practitioners hold a special position in this issue of global importance due to the flexibility to study the individuals, processes, and systems within the AVC. However, the current literature in AEHRD relevant to the AVC is limited. The HRD literature has explored processes such as agricultural financing (Williams & Hurley, 2017), national human resource development and agriculture (Rana, Ardichvili, & Taing, 2017), skills assessment (Yawson & Greiman, 2016), and small and medium agri-food enterprises (Lans, Verhees & Verstegen, 2016; Lans, Biemans, Mulder, & Verstegen, 2010). Other research has focused on agricultural extension (Khalil, Ismail, Suandi, & Silong, 2009; Miandashti, Mohammadi, Hoseini, & Zamani, 2008; Karbasioun, Mulder, & Biemans, 2007). Additional scholarly and professional exploration may fill critical gaps in understanding the AVC from the perspective of AE and HRD.

For instance, constructs important to the AVC, but discussed in different contexts include the concept of decent work and the vulnerability of workers (Hite & McDonald, 2018), as well as the reduced career opportunities, income, and educational inequalities of low wage workers (Torraco, 2018). Prison education research by Flatt and Jacobs (2018) revealed that formerly incarcerated individuals are employed in food services, wholesale trade, agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting – all fields within the AVC. Another study showed that individuals with a disability express interest in careers in agriculture, gastronomy, trade, and transport (Michna, Kmieciak, & Burzyńska-Ptaszek, 2017). Consequently, additional research relevant to the AVC is needed within AEHRD, especially research which might positively impact the work of practitioners to provide new opportunities and overcome challenges.

This issue seeks to address and explore concepts such as:

  • How do concepts important to AEHRD such as workplace motivation, engagement, work-life balance, or other psychosocial factors impact the lives, experiences, and practices of individuals within the agricultural value chain? How do these impact the practices and outcomes of organizations within the agricultural value chain?
  • How can AEHRD contribute to the livelihoods of individuals and organizations in the agricultural value chain?
  • How can AEHRD contribute to work environments within the AVC in a way that promotes inclusivity and human rights protections?
  • What role does AEHRD play in the management of natural resources and sustainable development of the agricultural value chain?

Suggested topics for this issue focusing on the global agricultural value chain include:

  • Legacies of colonialism
  • Generational issues
  • Human rights, equity, and social justice
  • Gender relations
  • LGBTQ+ workplace challenges
  • Research funding and access to study populations
  • Migrant workers
  • Workplace perspectives of marginalized populations
  • Individuals with disabilities
  • Access to education, training, and resources as a driver for market competitiveness
  • Intersections of technology, cultural practices, and employment
  • Organizational development, cooperatives, and farmer associations
  • Dangerous jobs
  • Power dynamics
  • Corporate social responsibility
  • International trade
  • Job performance and individual livelihoods

Submission Information

Please use the regular process for submitting articles for the special issue (

Articles for the special issue will be accepted until February 15, 2021. Including:

  • Empirical, theoretical and conceptual manuscripts (2500-7500 words)
  • A perspective paper focusing on adult education (1000-3000 words)
  • A perspective paper focusing on human resource development (1000-3000 words)
  • A writer’s forum (1000-3000 words)
  • A media review

All submissions will be peer-reviewed. To be considered for this themed issue all papers must be submitted by February 15, 2021. Papers received after the deadline will be considered for future editions of the journal.

For questions or concerns related to the special issue, please contact Susan L. Karimiha or Sunny L. Munn.

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AAACE Membership Discount Code

AHRD members are eligible for a 10% discount off AAACE membership with this Promo Code: “AHRDMemberPartner”

Visit the AAACE membership page here:

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Journal News

Human Resource Development International (HRDI)

Jessica Li, Editor

Human Resource Development International (HRDI)

Special Issue Call for Papers

Engagement at 30: A Retrospective and Look Forward through an International Cross-Cultural Context
Guest Editors: Dr. Brad Shuck, Woocheol Kim, and Luke Fletcher

We are excited to address the application of engagement—whether employee, work, job, or organizational—across cultural contexts and we encourage situating engagement within cultural boundaries that remain underrepresented throughout the world, such as developing and emerging economies, identities, and professions.

We welcome contributing papers that are:

  • Grounded in evidence, including research studies and workplace case-studies (qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-method); and/or
  • Theoretical or conceptual papers that make meaning of the existing literature in novel ways; and/or
  • Thought leader pieces that align with, or challenge, the status quo of engagement.

Deadline: August 1, 2020 for full complete papers due to HRDI for Special Issue.

View the full call for papers and submission instructions here.

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Advances in Developing Human Resources (ADHR)

Marilyn Y. Byrd, Editor-in-Chief

Proposed Special Issue Call for Abstracts

Topic: Women of Color and Leadership

Guest Editors:
Dr. Cynthia Sims, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA
Dr. Angela Carter, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA

Submission deadline: August 31, 2020

ADHR is a thematic journal that features current and emerging topics of significance to the field of human resource development (HRD). The journal is highly relevant to both scholars and practitioners. The guest editors of this proposed special Issue seek authors who are interested in furthering the scholarship on the leadership of women of color.

Issue Description

Traditional mainstream approaches to leadership (authentic, servant, adaptive, transformational, etc.) assume a homogeneous, universal model of leadership with little consideration of the multiple ways that intersectional identities (race combined with national origin, gender, class, age, disability, sexual orientation, etc.) define the leadership experience. This dominant worldview of leadership fails to recognize women of color in leadership roles, despite their exemplary academic credentials and work experience. Hence, women of color are rendered virtually invisible in the leadership body of literature. This lack of recognition poses a problem of inequality, unequal access, and limited opportunities for growth (Roberts et al., 2018). Furthermore, research is lacking on the alternative worldviews that women of color bring to leadership and the HRD practices they need to effectively lead in the C-suite, across industries, in higher education, for profit, non-profit, and entrepreneurial enterprises. Recognition of BIPOC (Black, indigenous, and people of color), an emerging identity, as it relates to women leaders is encouraged.

Possible topics for this proposed special Issue (non-exclusive) are:

  • The prevalence of traditional approaches to leadership and the limited focus on alternative approaches from the worldview of women of color
  • Critical HRD and social justice perspectives of marginalized women in leadership roles (e. g. individual and organizational levels)
  • Leadership development and mentoring strategies for women of color
  • Diversity and inclusion strategies that advance women in organizations with minoritized ancestry
  • Overcoming systemic organizational barriers to career advancement for women of color leaders
  • Qualitative research approaches for studying the experiences of women of color in leadership roles
  • Theoretical frameworks for studying intersectionality and leadership
  • Other relevant topics that further the scholarship of women of color

This proposed special Issue builds upon Byrd and Stanley’s (2009) ADHR Issue that challenged the lack of sociocultural theories that address intersectionality in the leadership experience. In support of a move toward transdisciplinary approaches to research, contributions from a broad range of disciplines that complement HRD research and practice are welcomed.

Submission Information

Submit an abstract of 400 words (max) that is written in a 3-part format:

  • Problem (that is being addressed and that relates to the call);
  • Solution (that resolves the problem);
  • Stakeholders (the organizational members most directly affected by the problem).

Abstracts should be formatted in accordance with the APA Style Guide (7th Edition) and should be submitted to Dr. Cynthia Sims ( by August 31, 2020.

The guest editors will review the abstracts and select the top 7-8 that will be included in the formal proposal to the Editor-in-Chief of ADHR.

Selected References

Byrd, M. Y., & Stanley, C. A. (2009). Bringing the Voices Together. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 11(5), 657–666.
Roberts, L. M., Mayo, A. J., Ely, R. J., & Thomas, D. A. (2018). Beating the odds. Harvard Business Review, 96(2), 126-131.

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Additional News

Job Postings

Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer

Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) seeks an experienced, mission-focused, and strategic leader for the position of Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer (AVP). The next AVP will work collaboratively across campus to integrate the office throughout all facets of the university as a trusted resource and proactive partner on all matters related to human resources (HR). The HR staff at RIT is strong and dedicated, so to build upon this solid foundation this leader must have a roll-up-one’s-sleeves attitude while focusing on creating a strategic, unified, and ambitious vision for HR at RIT.

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Final Thought

By Tomika W. Greer, AHRD Board Member and Digest Editor

Tomika GreerAs the events of 2020 unfold so does irrefutable evidence of long-standing inequities in healthcare, education, economic opportunities, and social status. In response, this month, AHRD welcomed Dr. Anneliese Singh to continue working with our members and followers through the process of racial healing that she begun as our keynote speaker at the AHRD Conference in Atlanta this past February. Subsequently, the AHRD Board released two statements that boldly speak against racism. Further, in this issue of the AHRD Digest, we see calls for papers related to research that will advance the causes of populations of people who are traditionally disadvantaged and under-studied.

I believe our world will be forever changed by what has occurred over the past few months and the continued developments. The events of 2020 have prompted many people and organizations to speak out against subtle and overt inequities, and take action to eliminate inequities within their spaces of influence. As HRD experts, this is an important time for us to be relevant to solving the problems of the day. I hope you all identify ways you will contribute to this movement…and take action.

Be safe. Take care.

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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

  • Tomika W. Greer, AHRD Board Member and Digest Editor
  • Laura L. Bierema
  • Yonjoo Cho
  • Andrea D. Ellinger
  • David B. Szabla
  • Susan L. Karimiha
  • Sunny L. Munn

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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