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2014 Town Hall Forum

"Research to Practice: Learning from Other Applied Fields"

Description: This year's lively annual Town Hall Forum asks the questions: What is the relationship between research and practice in other applied fields, and what can we learn from their experience? A panel of distinguished researchers – representing economics, medicine, social work, and business – will critically analyze their own field in translating new knowledge into new practice. Is HRD the only applied field to perceive the disconnect between moving research to practice? We don't think so. But other fields may have traditions and circumstances from which we might learn from, and even find some aspects to apply as well. HRD scholars sincerely desire to have an impact – why else do we do our work? Audience participation will be encouraged to respond to the panelists and challenge where HRD should go as a scholarly community, even to challenge the premise of the Forum in the first place. All in the context of respectful, but critical, scholarly discourse of course. See you there!

  • Leanne Atwater, Professor, Department of Management, University of Houston
  • Robin Hardwicke, Associate Professor, Internal Medicine and Maternal Fetal Medicine/Reproductive Health, internal medicine, University of Texas Health Medical School
  • Patrick Leung, Professor, Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston
  • Steven Craig, Professor, Department of Economics, University of Houston

Leanne Atwater received her Ph.D. in social/organizational psychology from Claremont Graduate University. She is a currently a professor of management in the C. T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston. Prior to this, she worked at the Naval Personnel Research Center, taught leadership courses at the U.S. Naval Academy, and served on the faculty at Binghamton University and Arizona State University West.

Leanne is the author of over 50 refereed scholarly and practitioner publications and numerous book chapters on topics relating to leadership, gender, and feedback processes. She has co-authored two scholarly books "The Power of 360 Degree Feedback” and "Leadership, Feedback and the Open Communication Gap” withDavid Waldman. She teaches leadership development and organizational behavior at graduate and undergraduate levels. She also has been a principal investigator on external grants to study leadership (totaling nearly 1M) from agencies such as the Army Research Institute (ARI) and The Society for Human Resource Management Foundation. As President of Atwater Management Consulting, she engages in consulting activities for public and private organizations, largely in the areas of feedback, leadership and organizational change. As well as teaching leadership, Leanne also conducts leadership training on a vast number of topics (enhancing employee engagement, managing change, motivating employees, the 5 practices of exemplary leaders, dealing with difficult employees, gender issues and leadership, and values based leadership to name a few). She is currently the Editor of TheLeadership Quarterly, the premier outlet for scholarly articles on leadership topics.

Dr. Patrick Leung, Professor and Director for the Office of International Social Work Education at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work (UH-GCSW), teaches program evaluation, research methodology, survey design and doctoral level multivariate statistics. He was the first Doctoral Program Director at UH-GCSW. He was the President of the Asian & Pacific Islander Social Work Educators Association and currently, he co-chairs the Texas Title IV-E Child Welfare Roundtable Evaluation Committee. His research areas include cultural sensitivity training, Asian mental health issues, children and families, immigrant issues, domestic violence and gerontology. He received his Ph.D., M.S.W., M.A. (Public Administration) and B.S.S.W from The Ohio State University. He has served as principal investigator and evaluator on numerous projects at the federal, state and local levels; has been a grant reviewer for ACYF (Administration for Children and Family, DDHS) and CSAP (Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, SAMSHA). He has published over 130 articles, book chapters and reports and has made numerous presentations at international, national and local conferences. He has served on many boards of directors, and was the President and a co-founders of the Asian American Family Services (AAFS) in Houston, Texas. He is co-author of two books entitled Child Protection Training and Evaluation; and Multicultural Practice and Evaluation: A Case Approach to Evidence-Based Application.

Robin Hardwicke PhD, FNP-C, AACRN is an Associate professor in both internal medicine and maternal fetal medicine/ reproductive health at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. As a college nursing graduate (BSN) from the University of Texas at Tyler in 1991, she quickly entered the field of critical care nursing where she provided care and participated in clinical nursing research at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, TX for eight years. During this time, she was steadily moving forward with her graduate degree (MSN) at The University of Texas Medical Branch- Galveston, TX and obtaining certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner (1998).


Dr. Hardwicke then spent time working clinically as an NP at Memorial Hermann Hospital’s level I trauma emergency center before finding her current role as an HIV/AIDS specialist. In 2004, she completed her PhD at Texas Woman’s University at Houston. She coupled her interest in emergency medicine with her concern of HIV and wrote her doctoral dissertation addressing the lack of HIV diagnosis in emergency departments that supported changes in the 2006 CDC National HIV testing recommendations. To date, Dr. Hardwicke has been the principal, sub, or advisor on countless clinical trials both industry and investigator driven in the field of HIV/AIDS. Aside from her daily clinical management of patients, she continues to teach medical students, nurse practitioner students and residents alike. She is currently managing 7 clinical studies and is a National speaker in the field of HIV/AIDS. Dr. Hardwicke is also serving in her eighth year as a Faith in Practice physician where she spends a week in Guatemala each year providing medical care to women and children in remote areas. She actively trains UT residents to serve with her in this role, and their experience is often one of the more transformational learning aspects of their residency program.

Steven Craig is a professor of economics at the University of Houston, specializing in state and local government economics. He received his economics Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania after doing his undergraduate work at Cornell. Prof Craig has been a long time observer of the Houston economy, and Houston has influenced both his academic research as well as his applied public policy work. His academic research focus is on state government policy design, and on how the local economic environment affects city government tax and expenditure behavior. Current research projects include how large cities compete with suburban cities, how the interplay of the three major recipient groups in Medicaid affects state government financial support for that program, and on the factors that influence the level of savings that state governments maintain to fund Unemployment Insurance benefits. His applied policy work has included developing economic impact analysis for key local institutions, including studies of the economic impact of the Medical Center, of the Houston Airport system, and of the potential to our area from the Olympics. Further, Prof. Craig has developed the Small Area Model-Houston, which develops long range population and employment forecasts by area of the city.

In addition to his academic research and applied policy work, Prof. Craig periodically appears in local media, including TV and radio, as well as the newspaper. Most of his appearances are brief spots on the news to interpret economic events, but he has also participated in panel discussions on public television. Among the issues he has recently addressed are the budding pension crisis within the City of Houston government, and the financial shortfalls within the Houston Sports Authority. Prof. Craig has also appeared in national media, including PBS radio, the New York Times, the Economist, and the Wall Street Journal. During a year spent in New York City, Prof. Craig wrote for the local policy journal, and one of his articles was part of the stump speech for the eventual mayor of New York.

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