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Amber Stark

Introducing the SIOP Diversifying I-O Psychology Program

SIOP is thrilled to announce its new and exciting pipeline initiative, the Diversifying I-O Psychology Program (the DIP), which was unanimously approved by the Executive Board at its April meeting.

The DIP’s mission is to increase diversity within the field of I-O psychology, and ultimately SIOP, by increasing the diversity of students who are applying to and accepted into funded I-O doctoral programs. This initiative is strongly aligned with SIOP’s strategic goal to build a diverse, inclusive, and agile SIOP. Enrica Ruggs led the DIP Task Force that investigated the state of diversity in the I-O profession and developed this initiative to help address the issue of underrepresentation.

“Words cannot express the joy I feel seeing this program become a reality,” said Ruggs, DIP Task Force Chair. “The DIP will provide a resource for SIOP to continue to diversify our field with talented and amazing racial and ethnic minority students who, to date, are underrepresented in our doctoral programs. The program will also provide a community of support for racial and ethnic minority members, which I believe will ultimately enrich their experiences not only within SIOP, but within the field as a whole. I’m happy to see SIOP continuing to express our commitment to diversity through action that has the potential to really help move the needle on increasing both diversity and inclusion in the field.”  

SIOP Diversity and Inclusion Officer Derek Avery recently joined SIOP President Steven Rogelberg on a Better Together Tuesday video to talk about the need for this program. He shared that Survey of Earned Doctorates (SED) data collected via the National Science Foundation show that in 2019, 183 respondents reported earning a doctorate in I-O psychology. Of these respondents, approximately 10% were Black, 10% Hispanic, and less than 1% American Indian or Alaska Native1. Each of these percentages is less than their respective percentages in the U.S. population.

He continued, “Additionally, and this is key, across doctoral recipients in psychology and social sciences broadly, approximately twice, twice, as many white students receive funding for doctoral education in comparison to Black and Hispanic students. Taken together, we have lower representation of racial and ethnic minorities in I-O doctoral programs in general, and these disparities are even more pronounced when considering funded doctoral programs in particular.”

The DIP will address the problem of racial minority underrepresentation in funded I-O doctoral programs by focusing on Black, Latinx/Hispanic, and Native American undergraduate students. Specifically, the program will:

  1. Raise awareness of I-O psychology more broadly and provide the opportunity to learn more about graduate studies in I-O psychology.
  2. Help undergraduates gain the experience and qualifications needed to be more competitive to apply for funded I-O psychology doctoral programs.
  3. Guide students in identifying their focal interests through direct experience and exposure to the many areas of research in I-O psychology.
  4. Help build social capital among attendees thus promoting opportunities and long-term success.

Plans are already underway for several steps of the DIP rollout, including a new virtual conference for undergraduate students. The two-day conference will include workshops, talks, panel discussions, skill-building, and networking opportunities this fall, and is expected to host 50-100 participants.

Step two will focus on research experience, a critical qualification that doctoral admissions committees look for when screening applicants for admissions. All virtual conference attendees will be invited to apply for this virtual research opportunity, which will last 10 weeks. A smaller subset of students will be matched with mentors. This experience will be useful for students as they establish and cultivate relationships with faculty, practitioners, and graduate students in I-O psychology.

Step three will provide funding for a small cohort of participants to attend the 2022 SIOP Annual Conference, which will allow them to expand their networks, meet faculty, and present their research, in turn strengthening their CVs.

As inaugural director, Larry Martinez is leading the DIP committee as it implements this program, evaluates progress, tracks key metrics, and creates a long-term sustainability plan to ensure this initiative is available for years to come.

“I could not be more excited and honored to be leading this initiative through its inaugural year,” Martinez said “The foundation that we lay now will be essential for the continued success of this program and, more importantly, the continued diversification and representation of our field. Having a diversity of voices, experiences, and perspectives will lead to a more comprehensive and inclusive understanding of organizational science for all types of employees.”

While the current initiative is focused on areas of the largest underrepresentation, pipeline issues in funded doctoral programs, the committee will explore other ways for SIOP to increase diversity and value for members in master’s programs. Additional areas of expansion include broadening the scope to examine issues that other traditionally marginalized groups—such as LGBTQA+ members and members with disabilities—may face.

Learn more about the DIP, and stay up to date on the program’s progress, by visiting the DIP webpage.

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