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Increasing Diversity at SIOP:  The Future is Now

Miguel A. Quiones
University of Arizona and Chair of CEMA

Winfred Arthur
Texas A&M University

A critical issue for SIOPs Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) is helping our society become more diverse and inclusive. Those of us who have been attending the SIOP conference for many years get the sense that diversity is indeed increasing. However, during the CEMA business meeting at the SIOP conference, a number of minority students shared the fact that they are often the only minority student in their program, and their faculty do not have any minority representation. There are others who point out that diversity at SIOP is still fairly low and major efforts are necessary to increase diversity in our field. However, to date there has been little to no data concerning minority representation at SIOP.

Perhaps a first and important step in addressing this issue is to get a snapshot of where we are so we can have a basis from which to gauge our progress as we move forward. Toward this end, this column focuses on documenting minority representation in our field by examining four specific stakeholder groups. These groups include (1) SIOP members, (2) SIOP student affiliates, (3) faculty in PhD I-O programs, and (4) students enrolled in PhD I-O programs. Although there is some overlap between Groups 1 and 3 and 2 and 4, not every faculty or student is a member of SIOP (a separate, yet important issue).

The data reported here are limited to programs in the U.S. that offer a PhD degree in I-O, organizational, or social/organizational psychology. In addition, minority status refers to individuals identified as African American and Hispanic. The source of the data includes information from SIOPs membership records as well as the graduate programs in the I-O database. A few caveats about the data are worth noting. First, SIOP members and student affiliates are not required to identify their ethnic identity. In fact, a significant number (13.3% of members and 80.1% of student affiliates) leave this information blank when registering their membership information. Second, the I-O graduate program database is voluntarily submitted and updated by program directors (or their designates). Therefore, it is possible (in fact likely) that data from some programs are more accurate and up-to-date than others. It is because of these issues that we chose to include data from various sources in order to get a comprehensive view of the current state of minority representation in I-O graduate programs and SIOP.

Table 1 presents the total number of faculty and students from the 65 U.S. PhD programs in the graduate program database as well as the number of SIOP members and student affiliates in the membership database. Of the 337 faculty members in doctoral I-O programs, 6.8% of them were identified as minorities in the graduate program database. If you consider the 3,687 total full SIOP Members (composed of faculty and practitioners), 4% were self-identified as minorities. In terms of students, the graduate program database reports that of the 1,349 students enrolled in doctoral programs, 22.5% of them were identified as minorities. Interestingly, only 3% of SIOP student affiliates were self-identified as minorities. Given the fact that race data were available for only 20% of the student affiliates, the discrepancy between the graduate program database and membership percentages could be due to fewer minorities choosing to report their racial identity. On the other hand, it could also indicate that fewer minority graduate students choose to become SIOP student affiliates. More data is needed before any definitive conclusion can be reached.

Table 1 

Group Composition Based on SIOP Membership Data and the Graduate Program Database

              Group                                          Total                         # Minorities                   % Minority 

I-O Faculty 337  23  6.8
Enrolled Students  1349  304  22.5
SIOP Members 3687  149  4.0 
SIOP Student Affiliates 2857  86  3.0 


The graduate program database suggests a substantial gap between the percentages of minority faculty relative to those of minority students. These data seem to validate the experiences reported by minority graduate students concerning the relative lack of minority faculty in their programs. In fact, a study conducted by the APA in 2000 found that 11% of faculty members in doctoral-level departments of psychology were members of an ethnic minority group (2000 Graduate Study in Psychology, APA Research Office). This suggests that not only are I-O minority faculty numbers low relative to those of minority graduate students, but they seem to be low relative to psychology faculty in general.

The SIOP membership numbers can be compared to APA membership data to get sense of where our society stands. In 2000, 3.8% of APA members (including Associates, Members, and Fellows) were identified as African American or Hispanic (2000 APA Directory Survey, APA Research Office). Thus, the percentage of minority SIOP members is very comparable to those belonging to APA. It should be noted that 17.3% of APA members did not identify their race (a number comparable to the 13.3% of SIOP members).

The purpose of this column was to present some data regarding minority representation among I-O faculty, students, and SIOP. Our intent is to provide some context to the issue of minority representation in our field. We understand that diversity and inclusiveness are more than just numbers. However, the data presented here suggest that we have some distance to cover in terms of minority representation in our field. 

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