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Making Connections



Tammy Allen: SIOP’s New President Outlines Priorities and Objectives

In assuming the presidency of SIOP at the Houston conference, Tammy Allen didn’t waste any time laying out an agenda for the coming year.

Addressing SIOP members during the closing plenary, she listed five goals and initiatives designed to increase the visibility and advance the understanding and impact of I-O.

Building on a theme of connections, Allen noted SIOP conferences offer opportunities for connections, both old and new, and “it is these connections that help each of us grow as professionals, expand the boundaries of our research, and find new opportunities to practice and apply our science.”

Her vision for SIOP is to become more interconnected both internally and externally, and thus become more influential.

Based upon that vision, she offered five priorities and objectives:

Strengthening the connection between SIOP and local I-O groups

While acknowledging that great strides have been made in developing global alliances in recent years, SIOP will be looking into ways to develop and maintain a network for local I-O groups. Bill Farmer, a personnel research psychologist with the U.S. Navy, is directing that effort. Citing the need for more communication between SIOP and local groups, she said, “We need to know how we can help them and how they can help SIOP.”

Increase the presence of I-O psychology in general psychology courses and texts

It’s an effort that has been on SIOP’s agenda for several years, and it’s one that needs to be continued. It is alarming how many undergraduate psychology students do not know about I-O. Over the next several months, Whitney Botsford of the University of Houston and Scott Tonidandel of Davidson College, both members of the Education and Training Committee, will be documenting and reviewing previous activities and making recommendations for future steps that will help meet this goal.

Consider new products for communicating our science and practice that reach a broad audience

One idea under consideration is to create a practice-oriented journal that will translate the science of I-O, make its research more accessible, create a new revenue stream, and provide another opportunity for members to publish their work.

Allen said this initiative would begin with a needs analysis to determine the interest and potential commitment for the concept. Allan Church of Pepsico, SIOP’s Publications Portfolio Officer, will head the project.

Continue to build SIOP’s internal and external infrastructure for science advocacy

Acknowledging that SIOP has been slow to promote advocacy as a strategic objective, she said that is about to change. SIOP will soon contract with a firm to provide external advocacy expertise. In addition, a recently formed Internal Advocacy Committee will work with the external firm to develop an advocacy agenda.

Allen also remarked on the importance of continuing to develop tools that increase our internal capabilities for science funding.

Mapping the science of I-O

Noting that psychology is considered a hub science closely positioned to nursing, public health, and education among other disciplines, Allen introduced the final objective by showing a map of science and asking a series of questions. What if I-O psychology were examined as its own entity? Would it fall closer to management? How are we connecting to the rest of psychology? What if we are not connecting and that is why we aren’t included in introductory psychology courses? How about fields outside of psychology? Are there other areas of science we should be connecting to that we are not? What does it say about our identity?

She said, “We need to look closely at ourselves and with a better understanding of how our science is connected to others we can identify gaps, threats, and opportunities that can inform and advance our strategic objectives.”