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SIOP Fellowship Committee, 2001

Jeanette N. Cleveland
The Pennsylvania State University
Description of the Fellowship Process

Periodically, it is useful to describe and clarify the nomination process of the SIOP Fellowship Committee, the importance of the roles of the nominator and the endorsers and what the Fellowship committee does with the nomination packet. This years nomination deadline is November 1, 2001.

Nomination Process

The process begins when a SIOP member or Fellow contacts a potential candidate who he or she believes is deserving of Fellow status. The following are key initial considerations:

The Prospective Candidate/Nominee

  • Is a Society member for no less than 2 years at the time of election.
  • Preferably completed PhD more than 10 years before.

Self-nominations are not permitted within SIOP. Once an individual agrees to be nominated, he or she sends a vita or resume to the nominator. In addition, the candidate should include a summary identifying unique and outstanding contributions to the field with supporting evidence of impact.

Nominator Role

At this point, the nominator role becomes critical. The nominator has an extremely important role and coordinates the full nomination process until the completed nomination packet is submitted to the Fellowship Committee chair.

The nominator is the person who contacts the Fellowship Committee chair to request application materials, contacts endorsers (individuals who write additional letters of support), insures that the application meets SIOP and/or APA/APS requirements, and submits the materials to the SIOP Fellowship Committee chair by the due date.

All conversations and materials regarding the nominee should take place between the nominator and the endorsers. There is little reason to expect that endorsers would be contacted by or converse directly with the candidate/nominee.

  • The nominator must be either a Member or Fellow of SIOP.
  • The nominator is responsible for insuring that 3 endorsers (minimum) are APA members in good standing and are Fellows of the Division (14). If the candidates would like APS Fellow status, one of the endorsers must be an APS member in good standing.
  • The nominator is responsible for contacting all endorsers directly. Nominees at no time directly contact individuals who will write letters of support (endorsers).
  • The nominator completes (typed preferably) the APA Fellowship Application Form, provides a nominating letter, and completes the APA worksheet and evaluation form.

Endorser Role

The endorsers write letters supporting the nomination of an individual for Fellow. They are responsible for sending their letters (and APA worksheet) to the nominator at the required time. Letters of recommendation are not sent directly to the SIOP Fellowship Committee chair or a committee member; rather they are collected by the nominator to be copied and mailed along with other application materials.

What Makes a Strong Fellowship Nomination?

(Adapted from the APA Fellowship Status Manual, 1994.) Authors note: in the following paragraphs the term sponsor encompasses both nominator and endorser. 

  • At least one letter should be from an individual with whom the nominee has never had a continuing personal association, for example, as a former student, former professor, co-faculty or agency member, or collaborator. Fellows in the division sponsoring the nomination often are effective sponsors.
  • Several letters that independently address several of the same points about the nominees impact are generally more convincing than letters which refer to different contributions.
  • A set of sponsors, all of whom are from the nominees immediate department or agency, or who are colleagues with whom the nominee has worked closely, is NOT convincing and suggests limited impact. Indeed, a majority of letters from persons who work closely with the nominee should be discouraged. A more diverse set of sponsors is likely to be more impressive.
  • An example of an endorsement which would require additional elaboration is Dr. X is obviously qualified; should have been a Fellow years ago. Such endorsements are sometime signed by eminent Fellows, but they do not help the nominee or the committee.
  • Some endorsers state that the nominee has had impact without presenting meaningful evidence for the statement. This assertion is an ineffective statement without evidence.

Criteria (Adapted from the SIOP Administrative Manual)

Detailed evidence from sponsors as to the exact nature of the candidates contributions is critical. It is not enough to know that the candidate was instrumental in establishing the X Center for Excellence in an Area in Y city. To assess accurately the unusual and outstanding aspects of such a contribution, one should also know how (the nominee) was instrumental and what was significant to the field of psychology.

The nature of ones contribution(s) is examined in terms of scholarship and influence on the field of psychology/advancement of psychology. The nature of ones contribution(s) has impact that can be characterized as (a) unusual, positive, having long-term effects; (b) influential on person, organization or society at large and (c) broad if not deep (i.e., some impact on a large number or extensive impact on one).

An I-O psychologist cannot influence the field of psychology if he or she does not publish or communicate about it. Further, the evidence must be in the public domain. This would, of course, include symposia, workshops, invited addresses and so forth.

  • Beyond knowledge of a candidates contribution that is found in the public domain, Fellowship Committee members ultimately must rely on the source otherwise most readily available, and presumably the most knowledgeable: testimonials of those who support the candidates nomination.
  • By evaluating a testimonial in terms of its informative value and credibility, it is very likely one of the best sources of evidence the Fellowship committee will have to consider and use for decision-making. (When publications and other sources of information are limited, there should be a larger, more diverse set of testimonials to document the outstanding contribution of the candidatehowever, testimonials cannot fully substitute for works in the public domain).
  • Additional benchmarks for or indices that are used to evaluate the qualification of a candidate for Fellow status in the Society can be found in the July, 2000 TIP and are provided in the nomination packet sent to nominators.

SIOP Fellowship Committee Process: Inside the Black Box

The ten Fellowship committee members are required to be Fellows themselves. The composition of the committee reflects academia, consulting and practice within organizations. Committee members receive one copy of each nomination packet and a set of forms on which to record their comments and assessments of contribution. The Fellowship Committee chair compiles this information and forwards it onto the SIOP Executive Committee which meets in January of each year. The Executive Committee also reviews the information provided by the Fellowship Committee and votes on whether or not to support recommendations.

After the January Executive Committee meeting, the Fellowship chair contacts individuals supported for Fellowship status. At this time, the individual is asked whether they want their materials submitted for consideration for APA and/or APS Fellow. APA materials must be submitted by mid-February and APS materials by early April.

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