Barbara Ames Hawkins

Barbara Ames Hawkins
Year Elected ALS Fellow: 
Highest Degree: 
Re.D., Indiana University Bloomington, 1979
Current Position: 
Professor, Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Studies, Indiana University

Barbara received her Re.D. in 1979 with a major in leisure behavior/recreation and park administration and a minor in measurement/evaluation from Indiana University. Upon receiving her doctorate, she joined the faculty at the University of Maine. She then moved back to Indiana and began her research career working at the Indiana University Institute for the Study of Developmental Disabilities. While at Indiana University, Barb has held various appointments including founder and director of the Program on Aging and Developmental Disabilities at the Institute for the Study of DD as well as director and associate director of the Center on Aging and the Aged. In 1987 she joined the faculty of the Department of Recreation and Park Administration on a full-time tenure track appointment; in 2000 she was promoted to Full Professor. She was founding member of the RRTC on Aging and Developmental Disabilities (US DOE funded collaborative center involving 6 mid-western universities), founder of the Global Aging Initiative (involving 15 countries), and a member/chair of many university committees including the Bloomington Faculty Council and University Faculty Council.
Dr. Hawkins' research and teaching focus on health, daily life activities, and the well-being of older adults. She is nationally and internationally recognized for her research on aging-related change in adults with mental retardation, and most particularly age change in adults with Down syndrome. In 1985, she initiated a specialized research and training program on aging and developmental disabilities at the Indiana University Institute for the Study of Developmental Disabilities. In 1998, Dr. Hawkins with colleague Dr. Susan Eklund completed a 10 year longitudinal study of aging-related change in two panels of adults with mental retardation. Throughout her career, Hawkins and Eklund worked collaboratively on many other projects involving older adults.
Since 1993, Dr. Hawkins has broadened her inquiry to examine how individual behavior coupled with environmental design impact the health, daily life activities, social support, mental well-being, and material security of aging adults in the general population. More recently, she initiated and led a collaboration of scholars from more than 15 countries world-wide in a Global Ageing Initiative (aka Global Ageing Research Network). Current research includes: (1) conceptual development and empirical testing of a model for daily life activity, (2) development of an index for assessing individual aging well, and (3) development of a system and instrument for evaluating environmental design including training protocols for Qualified Assessors (DEAL – Designing Environments for Active Living). She has a long career leading multidisciplinary teams and initiating innovative projects that address the needs and interests of older adults and persons with disabilities.
Barbara has served as Editor, Co-Editor, and Associate Editor of the Therapeutic Recreation Journal. She has reviewed extensively for more than 15 research journals. Dr. Hawkins is lead author of Therapeutic activity intervention with the elderly: Foundations and practices (1996), and author of Active living in older adulthood: Principles and practices of activity programs (2009), both of which are published by Venture Publishers. She is co-author of Older adults with developmental disabilities: Optimizing choice and change (1993) published by Paul H. Brookes. She edited Historical perspectives on the development of the National Recreation and Park Association/Association for Leisure and Recreation Council on Accreditation (1998) published by the National Recreation and Park Association. Hawkins with her colleagues Eklund and Martz published the results of their 10-year longitudinal investigation as a research monograph in 1991, Detection of decline in aging adults with developmental disabilities - Final Report, Cincinnati, OH: Rehabilitation Research and Training Center Consortium on Aging and Developmental Disabilities. She has published more than 90 research and professional articles; 50 book chapters, monographs, and technical reports; 7 video productions; and 4 research and assessment instruments. Her research and scholarship has garnered more than $2 million dollars in funding support.
Barbara is a Fellow of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education. She is the recipient of a SPRE Presidential Citation for Leadership Service (2007). At Indiana University she received the HPER Outstanding Researcher Award in 2005 and was selected in 2001 as a Fellow of the Big 10 Committee on Institutional Cooperation, Academic Leadership Program. She has received several awards and recognitions for her leadership from the National Therapeutic Recreation Society and American Association on Mental Retardation. In 1999, she received the Innovations in Aging Award from the Leisure and Aging Section, National Recreation and Park Association.
Barbara has served the Society of Park and Recreation Educators as President (1993-94) and member of Board of Directors (1988-91) as well as on many committees. During her Presidency of SPRE, she commissioned the first NRPA Research Roundtable wherein researchers and practitioners assembled to address key research needs of the field. This roundtable created a forum for moving research into practice for the profession. She also was elected President of the Recreation Division (American Association on Mental Retardation - AAMR), Member of the Board of Directors of AAMR, and as Speaker Pro Tem of the Conference of Divisions (AAMR). While serving AAMR, Barbara led efforts to include leisure time use as one of the nine areas designated as criteria for diagnosis of functional impairment in persons with mental retardation published in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM – IV). Barbara also has served as member of the Board of Directors for the International Federation on Ageing.
Dr. Hawkins has served on numerous national (NIH and CDCP) and international grant review committees related to her research on aging-related change in adults with mental retardation and her recent research on the development of an empirical index for aging well. In addition, she has been an invited consultant to national and international policy and research forums. For example, Barbara and her colleagues were invited to make a presentation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2005), the International Federation on Aging (IFA) 6th Global Conference, and the 17th Congress of the International Association of Gerontology (IAG) regarding her work on developing and testing a model for aging well. A capstone of this work is the recent publication of a sub-model for Daily Life Activity, which represents an original conceptual contribution with measurement model in the field of gerontology (Conceptual and measurement model for Daily Life Activity, International Journal on Disability and Human Development). Barbara was an invited consultant to the Consultation Conference of SAARC Countries on Aging that was sponsored by the International Federation on Aging held in Pune, India, in advance of the United Nations Second World Assembly on Aging. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an organization dedicated to economic, technological, social, and cultural development in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan.
In 2013, Barb is planning to retire from Indiana University and begin her encore career working in the area of active living, aging well, and environmental design. She plans to continue her research and writing while adding a measured dose of consulting.