Jenny Baker
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Report From SIOP’s New Diversifying I-O Psychology Program Committee

Larry Martinez, Chair

The Diversifying I-O Psychology Program is a new and completely unique diversity pipeline initiative approved by the SIOP Executive Board in April 2021. This report summarizes the purpose of the program, reports the activities of the first year of this program, and describes the current plans to strengthen the program in its second year.

The mission of this program is to address the issue of racial and ethnic minority underrepresentation in funded I-O psychology doctoral programs. The pipeline initiative seeks to increase awareness of I-O and strengthen the applications of racial and ethnic minority students. This program is aligned with SIOP’s strategic goal to “build a diverse, inclusive, and agile SIOP that maximizes our impact through effective people, process, technology, and data infrastructure.” The 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. The vision is to see a significantly larger talent pipeline of Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, and Native American I-O graduate students and ultimately SIOP members.

The program consists of three specific phases that unfold over the course of the academic year. Each phase addresses a critical aspect of successful entry and career progression in I-O psychology:

Phase 1 was a virtual conference in which interested students learned about (a) I-O psychology as a career, (b) how to prepare to pursue higher education in I-O psychology, and (c) what to expect as a graduate student. The panelists represented a cross-section of I-O psychology with diverse racial representation, including academic and applied professionals, researchers and consultants, and representation from current graduate students to advanced professionals. The virtual conference addressed the need to educate undergraduate students, particularly those at institutions that did not have strong representation of I-O psychology among the faculty and/or in the curriculum.

Attendees of the virtual conference were encouraged to apply for Phase 2, an intensive mentorship experience. Student scholars selected for this experience were paired with a mentor to gain research and professional development experience for a 10-week period. The mentoring program addresses the need for successful applicants to have research experience in I-O psychology and career advice from a dedicated mentor who is an I-O psychologist.

Following this experience, student scholars received the opportunity to attend the annual SIOP conference, which is Phase 3. There were structured professional development and networking opportunities available for them during the conference. In addition, student scholars presented the results of their research experience at the conference during a networking poster session. Attendance at the conference addresses the need for aspiring students to meet others in the field, including potential advisors, mentors, peers, and collaborators, increasing their visibility within the discipline.

In the first pilot year of the program, more than 500 individuals registered for the virtual conference, 93% of whom were racial minorities. Twelve scholars were included in the mentorship experience, and eight scholars were able to attend the SIOP conference in Seattle. Short- and long-term assessments are currently underway, but at least two scholars had publications accepted in Industrial-Organizational Psychology: Perspectives in Science in Practice during the mentorship experience, and many have maintained ongoing relationships with their mentors.

The committee has several goals to improve the functioning of the program in its second year, including adopting the “chair trio” model, developing subcommittees and associated chairs for each of the three phases of operation, coordinating better with the other diversity-related SIOP committees to help coordinate our respective efforts, and assessing the impact and effectiveness of the program, both short and long term.

We will continue to communicate the activities of this important program to SIOP membership in future TIP articles and appreciate the support of SIOP membership and leadership in the success of this program. 

Editor’s note: For more information about the initiative and activities, please visit


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