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Member Spotlight: Susan Stewart

Name
Dr. Susan Stewart                                                

Position/Employer
Professor of Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior, Western Illinois University

How long have you been a SIOP member?
28 years

What roles have you had within SIOP?
Within SIOP, I have mainly been involved in the Small Grants Subcommittee of the Awards Committee and as a reviewer for the Annual Conference (I hold positions in other professional associations as well).

Interest Area(s)
Counterproductive workplace behavior; personnel selection; diversity, equity, inclusion

What sparked your interest in I-O psychology?
My interest in I-O psychology began when I had a wonderful course and instructor in I-O psychology during my sophomore year in college. Because of this experience, I located an I-O psychologist and shadowed him during the summer after my sophomore year. I discovered that I particularly enjoyed testing and assessment, so I interned in the research and development department at London House while working on my master’s degree in I-O psychology. Then I earned my PhD in I-O psychology, and well, the rest is history. In short, my experience highlights the importance of taking college courses, meeting inspirational faculty and mentors, and obtaining applied experiences—all of these encounters sparked my interest and enhanced my dedication to the field of I-O psychology.

What role do you see I-O psychology playing in the future of work?
It will be important to understand how jobs evolve, grow, and decline as we use more artificial intelligence, robotics, and other technologies in the workplace. I-O psychologists will play a vital role in determining what skills sets are needed and necessary by “human” resources to interface with new technologies so organizations may maintain an effective workforce and boost innovation and productivity.

Which of the Top 10 Work Trends for 2022 do you most strongly relate to, and how can I-O psychology practitioners, educators, and students impact this trend?
Trend #1: Employee engagement and organizational commitment of remote workers—as we pull out of the pandemic, we need to design/redesign work and transform cultures to be able to satisfy the psychological needs and well-being of all employees, including those who prefer remote/hybrid work. I-O psychologists can contribute by crafting thoughtful and well-designed approaches for work arrangements that reflect an organization’s mission yet include flexibility in terms of where and how tasks are completed. Of course, future research on remote workers and jobs is needed as well.

What advice would you give to students or those early in their careers?
If you plan on becoming a practitioner, locate an internship or development program to determine which area(s) within I-O psychology are of most interest to you. If you plan on becoming an academician, dive into research projects and get involved in SIOP. No matter what path you take, partner with a good mentor to guide your career exploration and development. Remain involved in SIOP: There are many exciting opportunities in I-O psychology!

What is one of your favorite SIOP Annual Conference memories/highlights?
It's always wonderful to reunite with long-time friends and former classmates, professors, and students at the annual conference. Some of my favorite memories stem from the social hours and events I attend. These are instrumental in my ability to continue to build a professional network, meet scholars who I highly respect, and maintain established relationships. I also enjoy going through the vendor area at the annual conference to discover new books and tests/assessments.

Please share one non-I-O-related bit of information about yourself
I have travelled to 15 countries and enjoy exploring and learning about new places, peoples, and cultures. I have become very fond of Ireland—I have visited there seven times, which includes taking students with me as part of a study abroad course that I teach. Besides traveling, I enjoy boating, walking, gardening, and watching movies with my husband.

Is there anything you would like to add?
I was recently recognized by my College of Business and Technology with the 2022 Faculty Excellence Award for my research efforts. I am grateful for my colleagues, and to the friends and community that SIOP has provided to me over the years. I cannot imagine having a more fulfilling career. Thank you!

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