3 Reflections from the Doctoral Colloquium at AHRD 2016

February 21, 2016

Last week, I attended the Doctoral Colloquium at the Association for Human Resource Development (AHRD) 2016 conference in the Americas in Jacksonville, FL. I will post more about the conference as a whole but first I wanted to spend a few minutes reflecting on the Doctoral Colloquium. The Doctoral Colloquium was a day and a half workshop for doctoral students in HRD or related fields to share our research ideas, explore our individual scholarly identities, and think about ways to chart a path for our academic careers. It was an interactive day and a half led by University of Maryland professor Toby Egan. Here are three reflections:

1. I was taken aback by the sheer warmth, care for relationship-building, connection, and compassion I experienced by the university faculty members present as well as by my fellow doctoral students. We spent a significant portion of time sharing and listening to one another in meaningful ways.

Toby Egan and Gary McLean

Toby Egan and Gary McLean

It was such a collaborative environment. Dr. Egan shared that the Doctoral Colloquium at AHRD has often been a place where longtime friendships have begun. This was exemplified in the fact that one of the faculty members assisting, Gary McLean, was once his teacher in the colloquium many years before. Two other faculty members in the room had gone through the colloquium together as well when they were students.

2. The faculty members were incredibly friendly and helpful throughout the colloquium. In addition to Gary McLean (a veritable giant in HRD), the faculty members who led the colloquium with Dr. Egan included Nisha Manikoth (GWU), Josh Collins (Minnesota), and Quincy Brown (University of Southern Mississippi). Then, in addition to those leaders, a group of other members came through at various times to contribute.

HRD Scholar Panel

HRD Scholar Panel

This included Jia Wang (Texas A&M) who led a workshop on writing, Jason Moats (Texas A&M) who talked about getting involved with Special Interest Groups (SIGs), and a panel that discussed developing a scholar identity, which included Jessica Li (University of Illinois Urbana Champagn), Seung Won Yoon (Texas A&M), and Jeff Allen (University of North Texas).

In addition to the panel, two journal editors came and talked about publishing and the importance of the peer-review process for generating high quality, original research. This included Julia Storberg Walker (GWU) who is the editor of Human Resource Development Review and Carole Elliot (Lancaster University), the editor of Human Resource Development International.

3. The third thing I would like to reflect on was the practical nature of the colloquium. Essentially, it was a day and a half of sitting down with a variety of impressive scholars in the field and learning skills and perspectives related to research, publishing, and meaningful life as an academic. For example, the research symposium allowed us to get into small groups with a faculty member and workshop our ideas.

Lunch in our small groups

Lunch in our small groups

There was a part where we each created a poster board to write out what we want to do in our careers, what steps we need to take to get there, what questions we have, and who can help us get there. Once we finished, the room flooded with other AHRD members who walked around our individual posters and gave us feedback. While many were helpful, Josh Collins–a young faculty member at Minnesota–was particularly supportive of me and offered some words of encouragement as I consider beginning my academic career.

Overall, the Doctoral Colloquium was an enjoyable time of focused, collaborative learning and relationship-building. I’m thankful to all those faculty members and fellow students who attended, and I look forward to seeing some of them at future colloquiums as faculty members.

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