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HRD Scholar Hall of Fame

The HRD Scholar Hall of Fame Award is presented to scholars in human resource development and related disciplines who have made enduring contributions to the Academy’s mission of Leading Human Resource Development through Research. The recipient of this Award will be recognized at the AHRD International Conference in the Americas, receive a plaque and a place of honor on the AHRD website, and starting from 2010 receive a complimentary AHRD membership and conference admission for the year the award will be presented at the conference.

  • Only one award can be made each year, to be given at the annual AHRD Americas Research Conference.
  • Nomination committee recommends individuals to the AHRD Board by a 4/5-majority vote.
  • AHRD Board must approve nominees by a 2/3 majority vote.

Chair: Laura Bierema

Submission Due Date: Wednesday, November 11 at 5:00pm Central time. There will be no extensions on the submission deadline this year.

Award Decisions to the Office: All awards winners are due back to by Monday – January 13, 2021 at 5:00pm Central time.

Award Criteria

Recipient must have a continuing record of scholarly productivity as normally evidenced through refereed research publications.

  1. Recipient must have contributed in an enduring way to the AHRD mission of leading the profession through research. Two forms of evidence include:
    • Scholarly publications that contributed to the fundamental theory and practice of HRD;
    • Establishment of enduring scholarly organizations, scholarly systems, or scholarly products that contributed to the fundamental theory and practice of HRD.
  2. At least fifty years must have passed since the person’s birth.
  3. Recipient may be alive or deceased at the time of award.
  4. Recipient must have received the AHRD Outstanding Scholar Award.

Nomination Process

  • Submit your nomination to the AHRD Office.
  • Identify yourself along with a complete mailing address including e-mail, phone, and fax.
  • Identify the person you are nominating along with your nominee’s last known professional position and address.
  • Given the criteria for the award, bullet list the top (1-5) exemplary accomplishments that distinguish this person in your judgment as a worthy recipient of this highest award of the Academy.
  • Submit a carefully written statement of approximately 500 words that directly addresses the award criteria stated above.

Award Winners


  • Ronald L. Jacobs


  • None awarded


  • Victoria J. Marsick, Teachers College, Columbia University


  • Darlene Russ-Eft, Oregon State University

    Darlene Russ-Eft is considered one of the founders of the field of human resource development (HRD). Specifically, her books and articles have emphasized and highlighted the role of program evaluation within HRD. Recent book collaborations include Building Evaluation Capacity(Preskill & Russ-Eft, 2015), Evaluator Competency Fieldbook (Russ-Eft, Bober, Koszalka, & Sleezer, 2014), A Practical Guide to Needs Assessment (Sleezer, Russ-Eft, & Gupta, 2014), and Evaluation in Organizations: A Systematic Approach to Enhancing Learning, Performance, and Change (Russ-Eft & Preskill, 2009). She was the sixth winner of the AHRD Outstanding Scholar Award, received in 1999. At the time of the award, Russ-Eft was the director of Research for AchieveGlobal, an international training provider. She served as associate editor and later editor of HRDQ. She also contributed to the development and adoption of the AHRD Standards on Ethics and Integrity (AHRD, 1999) and is currently co-chair of a taskforce working on revisions of those standards. She has served on the AHRD Board, as the vice president for research, and as president, 2010-2012.


  • Karen E. Watkins, The University of Georgia
    Creating a learning vision for human resource and organization development

    A founding member and second president of AHRD, Karen Watkins has spent a career conceptualizing and growing the academic discipline of HRD. She helped found and led two award-winning graduate programs in human resource and organization development-- at The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Georgia. She pioneered a learning and organization development lens in human resource development, defining HRD as the field responsible for fostering a long-term, work-related learning capacity at the individual, group, and organizational levels. Watkins and Marsick’s scholarship, and that of others building on their work, grew two deep areas of research in HRD—informal workplace learning and assessing the learning culture through the Dimensions of a Learning Organization Questionnaire [the DLOQ].


  • Gary N. McLean
    Internationalization of the HRD profession

    Gary N. McLean, more than any person, has internationalized the HRD profession. As graduate program coordinator at the University of Minnesota he recruited students from around the world with over half of the students coming from other nations. He has established formal cooperative working relationships with five universities outside the USA and created successful HRD certificate and master's programs in Saudi Arabia. In addition, much of McLean's scholarly work has been focused on international human resource development. He has made important contributions related to culturally sensitive training of human resources in other nations and in the conduct of organization development in various cultures.


  • Richard A. Swanson
    Visionary champion for research in the HRD profession

    Richard A. Swanson is the founding editor of the Human Resource Development Quarterly and one of the three founding architects of the Academy of Human Resource Development. His mantra of "leading the HRD profession through research" was adopted by the Academy and guided his personal professional life and his advisement of doctoral students at the University of Minnesota. Swanson was also the founding editor of Advances in Developing Human Resources and negotiated the original contracts for Human Resource Development International and Human Resource Development Review. As a prolific scholar, his research in the areas of HRD theory, performance improvement, and financial assessment have made fundamental contributions to the advancement of the HRD discipline.


  • John Clemans Flanagan
    Development of the Critical Incident Technique and the creation of the Aviation Psychology Program and the American Institutes for Research

    John C. Flanagan (1906-1996) is known for the development of the critical incident technique, which has been used in thousands of research studies in HRD and psychology. Indeed, the Annual Review of Psychology called it one of the "most important personnel selection milestones of the past 60 years." He was a pioneer in the field of Aviation Psychology. During World War II, he established the aviation psychology program for the Army Air Corps (later the U.S. Air Force) and became a pioneer in the field of aviation psychology. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his work. In 1946, he founded the American Institutes for Research (AIR), a not-for-profit behavioral and social science research organization. He is remembered today in several awards including the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology’s John C. Flanagan Award and the United States Air Force’s Annual John C. Flanagan Field Grade Officer Psychologist of the Year Award.


  • Leonard Nadler
    Foundations of HRD

    Leonard Nadler, professor emeritus George Washington University, is credited by many with coining the term, "Human Resource Development.” Through the 1970s and 1980s, Nadler tirelessly advocated the HRD profession. His greatest legacies are a cadre of doctoral graduates from GWU and his sponsorship of several HRD book series through multiple publishers. He authored and coauthored numerous books, including The Handbook of Human Resource Development 2nd Edition.


  • Gary S. Becker
    Human capital theory

    Gary S. Becker (b. 1930, d. 2014), Professor of Economics and Sociology at the University of Chicago, won the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economic Science in 1992. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1955. Becker is recognized for his expertise in human capital, economics of the family, and economic analysis of crime, discrimination, and population. He is the author of numerous books, including the 1964 seminal work Human Capital: A theoretical and empirical analysis with special reference to education- 3rd edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Additional information about Gary S. Becker may be found here.


  • Robert Gagne
    Conditions of learning

    Robert Gagne, American psychologist and educator, served as Professor at Princeton, UC Berkeley, and Florida State University. He is co-developer of the famous "instructional systems design" adopted by the US military and many major corporations as the core training process based on the assumption that instruction can be analyzed and broken down into component parts which can then be taught sequentially. He is author and co-author of numerous books including The Conditions of Learning and Principles of Instructional Design and many research journal articles.


  • Donald E. Super
    Career development theory

    Donald E. Super was professor emeritus of psychology and education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He received his Doctor of Science degree from Oxford University. His books include such titles as Appraising Vocational Fitness, The Psychology of Careers, Computer Assisted Counseling, Measuring Vocational Maturity, and Career development in Britain. He also authored widely used psychological tests for vocational counseling and personnel selection.


  • B. F. Skinner
    Teaching machines

    Burrhus F. Skinner studied at Harvard and taught there from1931-36 and from 1947-74 with the time between at the University of Minnesota. A leading behaviorist, he was a proponent of operant conditioning and programmed instruction. His main scientific works include The Behavior of Organisms (1938), and Verbal Behavior (1957). His social and political views reached a wider public through Walden Two and Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971).


  • Kurt Lewin
    Change theory

    Kurt Lewin was born in the Prussian province of Posen in 1890, and in 1916 his degree from the University of Berlin was conferred. Lewin immigrated to the United States in 1933, where he became a citizen in 1940. He pioneered the use of social change theory, using experimentation to test hypotheses. He placed significance on group dynamics and action research. Lewin authored over 80 articles and eight books on a wide range of issues.


  • Lillian M. Gilbreth
    Human aspects of management

    Lillian M. Gilbreth, born in 1878, achieved many firsts in her lifetime. She received her doctorate in psychology at Brown University in 1915. Together with her husband Frank, she pioneered industrial management techniques still in use today. While her husband was concerned with the technical aspects of worker efficiency, Gilbreth was concerned with the human aspects of management and performance. She was a prolific author, the recipient of many honorary degrees. In 1935, she joined the Purdue University faculty.


  • Malcolm S. Knowles
    Commonly known as "the father of adult learning” and had a fundamental impact on both the scholarship and practice of human resource development

    Malcolm S. Knowles (b. 1913 - d.1997) is commonly known as "the father of adult learning” and had a significant impact on both scholarship and practice of human resource development on a global basis. His espoused goal in life was to advance the cause of the individual and of American democracy in the university and in adult education, in business and industry, and in society generally. His writings, the development andragogy, and his establishment of adult-oriented educational programs throughout the world have made an enduring contribution to the human resource development profession. Knowles sought out and won a full-tuition scholarship to Harvard University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1934. While at Harvard, Knowles spent four active years involved in service and social work, youth groups, counseling with immigrant Italian families, and was even the water boy for the football team. His association with Harvard’s football coach led him to a position as director of related training, the study portion of a work-study program, at a new National Youth Administration, which was directed by the coach. This position began Knowles’ involvement in adult education.


  • Channing R. Dooley
    For his "watershed" nationwide contributions to the fundamental theory and practice of human resource development through the Training-within-Industry Project from 1940-1945 and other lifetime contributions to the profession.

    Channing R. Dooley (b. 1878, d. 1956) made profound contributions to the practice and professionalization of training and the fundamental expansion of the training field into the contemporary human resource development profession. Dooley's pioneering contributions, through the massive Training-within-Industry (TWI) Project for the USA during WWII established the core foci of contemporary human resource development practice. Dooley (1945) writes in a retrospective of the 1940-1945 effort that: "TWI is known for the results of its programs—Job Instruction, Job Methods, Job Relations, and Program Development—which have, we believe, permanently become part of American industrial operations as accepted tools of management." (p. xi) Nearly two million certifications of learning and expertise were awarded to supervisors, managers, and senior managers across 16,000 production plants. Given the cascade design of this nation-wide effort, one might speculate that at least several millions more actually benefited from the nationwide effort. Dooley, a graduate of Purdue University, received an honorary doctorate from Purdue in 1944. His publications were largely focused on the TWI effort.

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