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Ralph G. Brockett

Ralph G. Brockett

Hall of Fame Class of 2005

Ralph G. Brockett has made many significant contributions to the field of adult education through his guidance of the University of Tennessee’s adult education graduate program, where he is a professor and program coordinator. He is known as a skilled professor, research advisor, and mentor to many students.

Dr. Brockett received his bachelor of arts degree in psychology and master's in education in guidance and counseling from the University of Toledo, and a doctorate degree in adult education from Syracuse University. Previously, he held faculty positions at Montana State University (1984-88) and Syracuse University (1982-84) and worked in continuing education program development for health and human services professionals.

Dr. Brockett has served the adult and continuing education field in several professional leadership roles. He is a former chair of the Commission of Professors of Adult Education and has served on the board of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education. 

Dr. Brockett has held positions on the editorial boards of three adult education journals, and was co-editor of Adult Learning (2001-2004). From 1988 to 1997, he served as editor-in-chief of the influential Jossey-Bass quarterly resource, New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education. Through these editorial activities, he has contributed significantly to the field’s knowledge base.

Dr. Brockett is the co-author or editor of nine books, including Toward Ethical Practice (2004), The Profession and Practice of Adult Education (1997, winner of the Cyril O. Houle Award for Literature in Adult Education), The Power and Potential of Collaborative Partnerships (1998), Overcoming Resistance to Self-Direction in Adult Learning (1994), Self-Direction in Adult Learning: Perspectives on Theory, Research, and Practice (1991), Professional Development for Educators of Adults (1991), Ethical Issues in Adult Education (1988), Adult and Continuing Education (1988) and Continuing Education in the Year 2000(1987). His major scholarly interests are in the areas of professional ethics in adult education, self-direction in adult learning, and the study of the adult education field.

Dr. Brockett has authored or co-authored more than twenty-five publications in the area of self-directed learning. In 1998, he established a self-directed learning research group, whose members have contributed a number of conference papers, presentations, and doctoral dissertations. In 2004, he was awarded the Malcolm Knowles Memorial Self-Directed Learning Award at the annual meeting of the International Self-Directed Learning Symposium.

Dr. Brockett is an exemplary lifelong learner and leader whose contributions in the area of ethics and self-directed learning in adult and continuing education are leaving a lasting influence on his students and colleagues in the various institutions and professional organizations he has served.