Karen E. Watkins

Karen E. Watkins

Hall of Fame Class of 2003

Dr. Karen E. Watkins is a distinguished scholar specializing in adult education and human resource development whose work is highly regarded in the scholarly communities throughout the world. She is the Director of the School of Leadership and Lifelong Learning at the University of Georgia and a professor in the Department of Adult Education. 

Her work in the area of organizational learning has had a fundamental impact on the theory and practice of adult learning in the workplace. Some areas of her scholarly expertise include learning organizations, action learning, workplace learning, reflective learning, informal learning, incidental learning, facilitating learning and learning at the core.

Dr. Watkins has published seven books on workplace learning: Sculpting the Learning Organization: Lessons in the Art and Science of Systematic Change (1993) and Informal and Incidental Learning in the Workplace: A New Challenge for Human Resource Developers (1990), both of which she co-authored with Victoria J. Marsick. She served as co-editor of In Action: Creating the Learning Organization (1996, with Marsick) and The Emerging Power of Action Inquiry Technologies (1994, with Ann Brooks). She has also written, co-written, edited, and co-edited numerous book chapters, monographs, journal articles, bulletins and reports. 

Watkins serves in various public service capacities to national organizations such as the Academy of Human Resource Development, where she acted as president, the American Society for Training and Development, the Human Resource Development Professors' Network, the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education, and the National Council for Staff, Program, and Organizational Development. Watkins often provides consultation and technical assistance to state and university organizations.

In 2001, Watkins was selected as a "Distinguished Graduate" by the University of Texas College of Education in recognition of her success in a number of major leadership roles and responsibilities. She was named the 1998 Outstanding Scholar of the Year by the Academy of Human Resource Development, which cited her for significant contributions to the field of human resource development, including her work on organizational and workplace learning. She was recognized for providing the field with a research-based set of theories and practices that have influenced how human resource development professionals think about and study learning in organizations.