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Jenny Baker
/ Categories: TIP, 591

Foundation Spotlight: Working Smarter

Milton D. Hakel, SIOP Foundation President

In the past 2 years, the SIOP Foundation has distributed $250,000 to fund grants, scholarships, and awards. This funding comprises the yield from Foundation endowments and also proceeds from current contributions passed directly to grantees. That adds up to a suitable commemoration of the Foundation’s 25th anniversary. Not bad for a venture that the SIOP Executive Committee (EC) initially turned down when Bill Owens offered $25,000 contingent on its being tax deductible—the EC reconsidered that opportunity during the same meeting, and SIOP Foundation, Inc. has been creating history ever since.

Lately the trustees have been thinking about how to work smarter within the SIOP Foundation in particular and the world of SIOP and I-O praxis in general. Praxis is the key, and it is what makes I-O unique: We value theory and practice equally without giving greater status to either. Knowledge without action is inert, and thoughtless action is more apt to be damaging than beneficial.

Recent trends shout out the need for working smarter as I-Os. Social discord compounded by employment insecurity and hyperpartisanship poses a severe challenge. If that is not a sufficient challenge for us, now HBO Max and CNN Films have issued a documentary on personality tests (see SIOP’s recent statement). That individual differences matter is not news to I-Os. But the world of work is more complicated than bumper stickers and sound bites

“Praxis” is a fine description of what I-Os do. Implicit in the conjunction of theory and practice is continuing examination of outcomes: Does what we do actually work? What does evidence show about the extent to which intended outcomes are achieved? Are there additional and desired collateral outcomes? Are there unwanted side effects? What are the lessons of experience?

To date, the Foundation has been mostly content to trust the “smiles test,” but we have now embarked on a much more articulated evaluation. A student-led team at Middle Tennessee State University on April 20 briefed the Foundation Trustees via Zoom about their findings from a 10-week investigation of the impact of graduate student scholarships on both individual achievement and also the advancement of SIOP and I-O psychology.

Impact of Scholarships

Let us start with the smiles. Noted one scholarship winner, “The award meant a lot to me and my family. During that time, we just had a baby, and my wife was having medical problems, so this was a big impact on me and my family.”  Another said, “Getting the award allowed me to have research and practical experience, as this is something that the job market looks for, so it helped. Also having a strong SIOP affiliation helped the consulting position’s hiring team make their decision to hire me.”  Said another, “It gave me a confidence boost. This career path has a lot of rejection in it, so it is easy to get discouraged. I received the award at a pivotal point when I was getting ready for my dissertation and for the job market. Getting the award validated my confidence, how I felt about my work, and how confident I was on the job market.”  One more quote: “Receiving the award tied me to SIOP in a permanent way. I don’t take that amount of money lightly nor the principle of reciprocity. SIOP is a place I want to continue to be active and involved. Now I want to get even more involved in SIOP in the future.”

Altogether, 14 scholarship winners (of 29 invitees, a 48% response rate) talked with MTSU team members. Here is a glimpse of the overall results:


 

 

 

 

 

 

The discussion between Trustees and MTSU team members was lively and impactful. A special delight was to receive the full detailed written report of the team’s work immediately after the briefing.

The Trustees will continue and expand this work, both digging deeper into the impact of scholarships and also into the impact of grants and other awards.

Due to the excellence of the method and reporting of this initial evaluation project, the full MTSU report is posted on the Foundation website. Despite the fast pace and compressed timeline, the MTSU team also interviewed 9 (of 16, 60%) donors to scholarship funds. To read about their views as well as the team’s recommendations, browse to www.siop.org/Foundation/Bulletin

The SIOP Foundation Trustees welcome your comments and suggestions.  An immediate way to help would be to become a member of the next Visionary Circle cohort. Or talk with any of us about making gifts to the Fund for the Future. This is the time for creativity AND action.

Our mission: connect donors with I-O professionals to create smarter workplaces.  Let us get on with working smarter in these challenging times.

Milt Hakel, President, mhakel@bgsu.edu, 419 819 0936

Rich Klimoski, Vice-President

Nancy Tippins, Secretary

Leaetta Hough, Treasurer

Adrienne Colella, Communications Officer

Mirian Graddick-Weir, Trustee

Bill Macey, Trustee

John C. Scott, Trustee

The SIOP Foundation
440 E Poe Rd Ste 101
Bowling Green, OH 43402-1355
419-353-0032
Email: SIOPFoundation@siop.org

Website: SIOPFoundation.org

 

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