Amber Stark

50-Year Members Honored With Gold Star Status: Part 2

Not only has SIOP changed in the last 50 years, but so has the entire field of I-O psychology.

Over the next few months, we’re going to share conversations with a few of our 34 Gold Star (50-year) members as they reminisce about SIOP and I-O psychology. The first article in the series can be found here.

In this second installment in the series, we talk with Dr. Ed Levine and Dr. Joel Lefkowitz.

What kind of positions did you hold or employers did you work for?

Dr. Ed Levine
Joined in 1970, working in I-O psychology for 54 years.
In graduate school I was a research assistant at IBM and General Foods. Upon completion of my degree in 1970 I assumed the position of associate research scientist on a grant from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, as HHS was then known. We studied human resource issues, in particular worker job mobility (initial entry, transfers, turnover, promotion) in the social welfare and rehabilitation space. In 1972 I took the position of chief of the Selection Resource Center with the State of Arizona. After five years there I left in 1977 for the position of associate professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa, where I remained until retirement from USF in 2010. During my tenure as professor at USF I held the roles of director of the I-O Doctoral Program, Associate Department Chair and Department chairperson. I also had a consulting practice through which I worked with public and private organizations in a variety of I-O related areas, including job analysis, selection, performance appraisal, team building and others. I also served as an expert witness in cases associated with equal employment opportunity. The practice continued after my retirement from USF.

Dr. Joel Lefkowitz
Joined in 1963, working in I-O psychology for 56 years.
I only had one fulltime job my entire career, at Baruch College for 44 years. Most of this time was spent as the head of the I-O psychology department from the time it was established. I also did some consulting during that time.

What are some of your interest areas in the field?
Dr. Levine:
I am probably most identified with job analysis, but I have done work in many mainstream areas of I-O and most recently, I have done research in emotion and affect in the workplace. 

Dr. Lefkowitz: My interest areas were employee selection/testing/EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) issues. Now, my focus is on professional and ethical issues in I-O.

What has been your favorite part of being a SIOP member?
Dr. Levine:
My favorite part has been the opportunity to volunteer to get involved in important SIOP functions, including, for example, serving as program chair for Division 14's program at the APA Convention.

Dr. Lefkowitz: Early on, it was meeting people personally at conferences whom I’d only heard about or read their work. More recently, meeting students who’ve read my work and are interested in ethical/humanistic/employee-centered issues.

What was your favorite conference?
Dr. Levine:
I don't have a favorite. I have enjoyed them all. Maybe what was most memorable for me was when I led a Division 14 pre-conference workshop at the APA convention (before SIOP was a stand-alone organization with the conference as we now know it) that was held at the Marriott on Times Square in New York City. One of my colleagues dummied up a "Tony" award and presented it to me for my performance on Broadway. It had the classical Comedy/Tragedy profiles on it. I kept it on my desk at work. (Sadly, someone stole it.) 

Dr. Lefkowitz: My two favorite SIOP Annual Conferences were both a long, long time ago. The first was in Dallas where a bunch of wannabe urban cowboys went to their first rodeo and had a great time (me, Abe Korman, Dov Eden, Simmi Ronen, and others whom I don’t remember.) The second was in Washington, DC, where there was a SIOP 10K race (perhaps the first one, ever)—and I mean “race”, not a “fun run.” I was a runner back then, as was Frank Landy. I remember dueling him the last mile or so. My recollection is that he beat me and that we both broke 40 minutes.

How has I-O psychology changed over the years?
Dr. Levine:
The field has changed in many ways. Scientifically, such developments as meta analysis and one variant—validity generalization, reversals of prevailing views on the usefulness of interviews, and personality, increasing sophistication of psychometric and statistical methods, and important advances in knowledge regarding teams, all have contributed to the fund of knowledge that may be used to inform practice, advance equal employment opportunity, and make for better workplaces and more engaged and satisfied employees. Demographically increasing numbers of women entering the field has been welcome. Politically, I-O has played a larger role in contributing to policy in the public sector.

Dr. Lefkowitz: The biggest change demographically – the enormous increase in women to the field, and younger people/students joining SIOP and being active. Substantively – the blossoming of interest in ethical issues, fairness issues (beyond simply “unbiased testing”), humanitarian I-O, Corporate Social Responsibility, etc.

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