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Tonette S. Rocco

Tonette S. Rocco

Hall of Fame Class of 2016

Tonette S. Rocco began her connection to adult education and human resource development as a single mother returning to Ohio State University to finish her bachelor’s degree in 1989. She finished seven years later with four degrees including a doctorate in adult education and a focus in human resource development. She has made significant contributions as a social justice educator who critically reflects on career and workplace issues relevant to sexual, racial, and ethnic minorities. 
Rocco’s most notable contribution to the field is her interest in and ability to help emerging and international scholars with their writing and publishing. She has done this through publications, workshops, webcasts, and mentoring. Her interest in writing and publishing began in graduate school and developed into TheHandbookof Scholarly Writing and Publishing. She encourages her students to write and publish. Since 2005 when she became a doctoral advisor, she has mentored 22 doctoral students. Each of them has published work in journals and papers in conference proceedings and several have won awards. 

Rocco’s achievements as a scholar include many edited or co-authored books, monographs, 64 articles, 45 chapters, and more than 100 papers published in proceedings. She has received 22 awards for books, articles, chapters, and conference papers, and five awards for leadership, service, and mentoring. The Routledge Companion to HRD (with Poell and Roth) and the Handbook of Human Resource Development: The Discipline and the Field (with Chalofsky and Morris) both received the 2014 AHRD Forward Publishing Award for outstanding contributions to the field. Challenging the Professionalization of Adult Education: John Ohliger and Contradictions in Modern Practice (with Grace) was honored in 2009 with the University Professional Continuing Education Association Frandson Book Award. She serves on 11 editorial boards in adult education, human resource development, and mixed methods research. She is a Houle Scholar and recipient of the Laura Bierema Excellence in Critical HRD “for encouraging activism and scholarship that embraces core values and social justice.” She founded at Florida International University the College of Education Research Conference to provide a venue for students and faculty to present their research. This conference, in its 15th year, has grown to become the South Florida Education Research Conference, supported by 12 universities in South Florida.

In 2005, Rocco joined faculty colleagues at FIU and assumed publishing responsibility for NewHorizons in Adult Education from Nova University The journal’s mission exemplifies key principles of adult education such as inclusion, fostering adult development, and providing a space for provocative and nontraditional work. As editor-in-chief of the now-named NewHorizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development she has maintained the founding principle of the journal, to foster the development of new scholars. 

The editorial team takes a hands-on approach to helping authors improve their manuscripts after review. She instituted the Writer’s Forum section where scholars can share insights with readers on any aspect of the writing and publishing process. Unlike the rest of the journal, this section is open access, so the advice can reach anyone.