Monday, April 10, 2017
Posted by: Jill Zarestky
I recently attended the Academy of Human Resource Development’s (AHRD) International Research Conference in the Americas, held in San Antonio, Texas, March 2-4, 2017. I had already planned to participate, but my attendance as AAACE Secretary was also, in part, a result of the recent partnership agreement between AAACE and AHRD, announced at the AAACE 2016 annual conference. The purpose of such affiliations is to build support and collegiality among like-minded organizations; I found many like-minded peers at the AHRD conference and hope the connections will encourage future collaboration amongst adult educators and human resource development professionals.
Approximately 300 people came together to enjoy connecting with colleagues, intellectual conversation, and the Riverwalk. Participants were a mix of scholars, scholar-practitioners, and graduate students from around the country and world. I particularly appreciated AHRD President Wendy Ruona’s discussion of the theme “Rigor and Relationship,” both of which were visible in the balance of social and scholarly events in the conference schedule.
I believe a number of topics presented at AHRD would be of interest to the adult education community. Human resource development (HRD) shares adult education’s concern for quality learning and training, although generally situated in the workplace environment, as opposed to the breadth and diversity of adult education contexts. Topics such as mentoring, emotion, culture, diversity, problem-based learning, technology, learning transfer, and many others, were prevalent at this conference, just as they are at our own. The keynote speaker on Friday was Jennifer Brown, of Jennifer Brown Consulting. Her talk, entitled “How Diversity and Inclusion Will Drive Next Generation Workplaces” was a great overview of the ongoing challenge and opportunity to engage with diversity of all kinds in the workplace, and with many possible connections to adult education’s varied educational contexts.
Should you find your work or interests moving toward workplace or organizational contexts, I highly recommend the AHRD conference as an opportunity to explore and grow. http://www.ahrd.org/ We also hope to connect our AAACE with AHRD members in future collaborative opportunities – let us know if you are interested!