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SIOP in Washington: Advocating for I-O in Federal Public Policy

Jack Goodman, Lewis-Burke Associates LLC

Since July 2013, SIOP and Lewis-Burke Associates LLC have collaborated to make I-O science and research accessible to federal and congressional policy makers. SIOP has embedded a foundational government relations infrastructure within the organization, enabling SIOP to develop an authoritative voice as a stakeholder in science policy in Washington, DC and to promote SIOP as a vital resource for evidence-based decision making.

SIOP Launches New Advocacy Academy

SIOP is proud to launch the inaugural cohort of the SIOP Advocacy Academy, a year-long training program for I-O psychology researchers, practitioners, and students interested in engaging in SIOP advocacy. Cohort members will participate in a series of virtual trainings on science policy, the legislative and budget processes, advocacy and engagement with Congress, and more. To provide hands-on experience, the Advocacy Academy will culminate in cohort members scheduling and conducting meetings with congressional offices to advocate for SIOP priorities, including research funding, student support, workforce development, and inclusion of I-O in policymaking broadly. The time commitment required will be no more than 1 to 2 hours per month, with opportunities for additional involvement for those interested. Advocacy Academy graduates will be invited to continue participating in SIOP advocacy and act as mentors and ambassadors for the program to future generations of I-O psychologists. Although the Academy has already selected the first cohort, SIOP hopes to continue the program and will open registration for the second cohort next year.

Announcing a New Partnership Between SIOP and Department of Justice COPS Office

Since reviving SIOP’s Policing Initiative in 2020, the Society has had an active presence in the federal conversation around policing reform. SIOP’s initial engagements in this space were a series of productive meetings with key congressional offices overseeing policing reform discussions. When political negotiations in Congress reached an impasse, ownership over federal policing reform shifted to the White House and federal agencies, where the SIOP working group also directed their attention. In December and January, the policing working group had its first meetings with leadership from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office). The COPS Office is responsible for advancing the practice of community policing by state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies across the country through information and grant resources for activities, including hiring and training.

As a result of initial discussions focused on how the COPS Office can partner with SIOP to disseminate I-O-based practices through its programming, SIOP signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the COPS Office in July, formalizing the partnership. The MOU is the first the COPS Office has signed with a scientific society. During the term of the MOU, SIOP and the COPS Office will work together to increase the knowledge and application of I-O findings in law enforcement to help cultivate safer and more effective law enforcement workplaces. Anticipated activities between SIOP and the DOJ COPS Office include bringing in SIOP experts to speak with DOJ employees and law enforcement representatives, contributing to DOJ COPS Office podcasts and newsletter articles to spread awareness of I-O and practical applications, and positioning SIOP as a consultative resource to identify potential subject matter experts for future COPS Office projects in relevant I-O fields, including but not limited to recruitment, selection, onboarding, performance evaluation, and training. Look to future TIP articles for updates and our new policy newsletter about this exciting new partnership.

SIOP Continues Work With House Committee on Modernization of Congress

Following a series of successful engagements with the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress last year, SIOP has continued its advocacy to great effect. The committee, a bipartisan panel established in 2019 to make recommendations related to improving Congress as a workplace, institution, and organization, focuses on many areas covered by the expertise of I-Os, including recruiting and retaining a more diverse staff, professionalizing internships, overhauling the onboarding process for new members and aides, and encouraging civility and collaboration. Since the committee’s establishment, several I-O psychologists have provided invited testimony during committee hearings or spoken with staff on topics relevant to their expertise.

Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) who chairs the committee has been very receptive of I-O recommendations, resulting in continued engagement between SIOP and Chairman Kilmer. For example, Chairman Kilmer attended SIOP’s 2022 Annual Conference as a panelist focused on I-O’s role in improving the congressional workplace. Steven Rogelberg, immediate past president of SIOP, moderated the panel. The session included SIOP members Lilia Cortina, Jeff McHenry, and Scott Tannenbaum, and focused on the work of the House Select Committee and the way I-O research can inform its work.

In addition, Chairman Kilmer followed his panel attendance by inviting Dr. Rogelberg to testify before the committee during a hearing titled “Pathways to Congressional Service.” Dr. Rogelberg’s testimony focused on ways members of Congress can maintain a positive work environment for themselves and their staff. Dr. Rogelberg’s recommendations included having members of Congress redefine their definitions of success and embracing small wins, facilitating supportive and transparent environments for staff, and working together to address “pain points” that are making it difficult to legislate.

The chairman’s participation on the panel and Dr. Rogelberg’s testimony is the culmination of over a year of engagement between SIOP and the House Select Committee. SIOP hopes to continue this engagement to ensure I-O-backed, evidence-based practices are used in the halls of Congress and beyond.

New Policy Newsletter

Lewis-Burke and SIOP’s Government Relations Advocacy Team (GREAT) have partnered to launch the Washington InfO, a new monthly newsletter to provide SIOP members updates on pressing federal news of interest to the I-O community, including updates on emerging workforce/workplace policies and funding opportunities. For questions regarding SIOP advocacy or to subscribe to the newsletter, please feel free to contact SIOP’s GREAT Chair Kristin Saboe at kristin.saboe@gmail.com or Jack Goodman at jack@lewis-burke.com.

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