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Incorporating I-O Into an Introductory Psychology Course: A New Set of Custom Modules by the Education and Training Committee

Joseph A. Allen
Creighton University

One concern that SIOP members often express at conferences and other gatherings of I-O psychologists is the general lack of visibility of I-O among the majority of the undergraduate students in psychology. Although interest in I-O psychology has grown among students, very few introductory psychology textbooks cover the topic. In an effort to address this concern, Mikki Hebl, the former Education and Training Committee Chair, invited a subcommittee composed of committee members and others who have expertise in undergraduate education to develop “shovel-ready” modules that introduce I-O topics to an introductory psychology audience. Those responsible for preparing the modules include Chris Cunningham, Carrie Bulger, Lisa Kath, Morrie Mullins, Mike Horvath, and Joseph Allen.

A rigorous process was used to develop the modules, which can be found on the SIOP website (http://www.siop.org/Instruct/incorporating_io.aspx). Each subcommittee member was asked to consider the major topics in an introductory psychology course (e.g. chapter topics) and select a couple for which they felt most confident that they could relate to research and theory from I-O psychology literature. The final set of topics include biopsychology in the workplace, consciousness in shiftwork, emotions, learning in the workplace, memory and performance evaluations at work, motivation in the workplace, personality in the workplace, sensation and perception in the workplace, social and I-O psychology, and stress and well-being in the workplace.

When the initial draft of the modules was complete, new Education and Training Committee Chair Scott Tonidandel believed that to really make the modules capable to be “cut and pasted” into introductory psychology lectures, the peer review process would be essential. As such, the modules were sent to a group of three reviewers who also have expertise in undergraduate education who provided comprehensive feedback on how to make them better. Maurya Boyd, John Kello, and Anton Villado provided their recommendations on how to improve the draft modules. Final versions of the modules were revised and placed on the SIOP website for use by both members and any interested instructors of psychology.

The final set of modules includes sample lecture notes in PowerPoint, an activity/discussion built into the lecture, and key references for the topic for further reading. The goal of each module is to address key themes/goals in I-O and how they correspond to major introductory psychology topics. The hope is that introductory psychology instructors will discuss I-O with their students in their introductory psychology or other courses. In addition, it is believed that the materials provided will make that discussion an easy, interesting, and informative one.