Agricultural Sciences professor recipient of intergenerational research award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Matthew Kaplan, professor of intergenerational programs and aging in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, is the co-recipient of the Brabazon Award for Evaluation Research, Generations United recently announced.

The Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group honored Kaplan and Alan Lai, of Beijing Normal University/Hong Kong Baptist University, for collaboratively developing an intergenerational, English as a second language (ESL) guidebook and curriculum that enlists older adult volunteers as instructors in college-based ESL classes.

"We are honored to present Dr. Kaplan and Dr. Lai with the Brabazon Award for Evaluation Research," said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United, which promotes programs and policies to connect people of different ages. "The curriculum they developed was implemented at the Institute of Active Aging at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University — taking advantage of the area's high number of highly educated older adults — and is a valuable addition to the intergenerational field."

The award honors a significant contribution in the utilization of evaluation research in documenting the processes and outcomes of a new or existing intergenerational program.

Kevin Brabazon, United Nations representative for Generations United and sponsor of the award, lauded Kaplan and Lai for their effective use of a mixed-methods approach.

"The qualitative component provided new discovery in the dynamics of intergenerational relationships, while the quantitative component offered the important ingredient of external validity," he said.

Kaplan, who develops intergenerational programs for Penn State Extension, served as the program's principal consultant and international collaborator. Lai, assistant professor in the Department of Applied Psychology at Beijing Normal University/Hong Kong Baptist University, is director of the intergenerational ESL program there.

Kaplan and Lai were recognized at an awards luncheon on July 23 during the Generations United conference in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Last Updated August 27, 2015