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In Memoriam

Sheldon Zedeck and Wayne Cascio

James L Outtz 1947-2016


Dr. James L. Outtz was born on December 14, 1947 in Monroe, Louisiana and passed away at his home in Lanham, Maryland, on March 26, 2016 surrounded by his daughter, wife, and dog after a 4-year battle with kidney cancer.  Dr. Outtz lived a full and productive life.  During his last 4 years he enjoyed major achievements, including the birth of his first granddaughter and being elected president of the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology (SIOP), where he also established the annual James L. Outtz Grant for Student Research on Diversity.  This grant is awarded to a graduate student who has successfully defended, but not yet conducted, a diversity-related research proposal. 

Within SIOP his service included Instructional and Educational Officer; chair of the M. Scott Meyers Award Committee; the Distinguished Professional Contributions Award Committee; Ad Hoc Committee on Revision of the SIOP Principles; Program Committee; External Affairs Committee; the Diversity Committee; and the Task Force on Contemporary Selection Practice Recommendations to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  Most recently, he served as a member of the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) Certification Commission, along with Sheldon Zedeck and Commission Chair Wayne Cascio.  He rejoined the Executive Board in 2015, the same year he became president-elect.  He was scheduled to become SIOP’s president in April 2016 at the annual conference in Anaheim.  At this conference, President Steve Kozlowski announced that the Executive Committee was awarding Dr. Outtz the honorary title of president and that furthermore, in the coming months, the Executive Board will propose a bylaws amendment to provide that any president-elect who passes away before becoming president or who is unable to serve due to medical reasons will be recognized as president in SIOP’s historical records.

For more than 40 years, Dr. Outtz was a leading researcher, practitioner, and consultant in the area of employment hiring and promotion, employment discrimination, employment-test design and implementation, and legal issues pertaining to employment.  The organization that he founded, Outtz and Associates, developed employment-selection systems focusing on helping employers identify best applicants and also enhancing opportunities for workforce diversity through greater inclusion of minorities and women.  Professionally, he focused his career, conducted research, and wrote about minimizing adverse impact through alternative approaches and strategies to selection and promotion.  His work has significantly influenced best practices in reducing unnecessary obstacles to equal employment opportunity.  His expertise in selection-system design and employment discrimination issues made him a highly sought-after legal-compliance consultant and testifying expert.  He represented plaintiffs as well as defendants in cases that involved some of the most prominent corporations in America and some of the most visible public-sector jurisdictions.  He was often retained to work on consent decrees with experts and lawyers from all sides of an issue, as well as to advise courts.

Dr. Outtz was a Fellow of SIOP, the American Psychological Association (APA), and the American Educational Research Association.  He also worked closely with the APA on behalf of SIOP.  He served on APA’s Committee on Psychological Tests and Assessment, and he presented a master tutorial at the APA Annual Conference.  He served as a mentor to both undergraduate and graduate students, in part by his participation in the SIOP Annual Conference, which includes master tutorials, preconference workshops, panel discussions, symposia and debates.  Of special note, and related to his efforts to enhance the practice of employment selection and advancement, is his editorship of the SIOP Frontiers volume, Adverse Impact, Implications for Organizational Staffing and High Stakes Selection (2010).  This volume combined scientific research in personnel selection with professional practice issues and situations, consistent with a scientist–practitioner approach to the study of those issues; Dr. Outtz was a strong advocate of the scientist–practitioner model in his own work as well as in his mentoring of others.  He also served as consulting editor of the Journal of Applied Psychology.  His service to the field of psychology was international in scope.  As an example, he delivered the keynote address at the Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology South Africa in 2007 and again in 2015.

Dr. Outtz graduated from Little Flower Academy in Monroe, LA, and the University of Louisiana at Monroe, earning both his undergraduate and master's degrees.  After serving as a first lieutenant in the United States Army, he went on to earn his PhD from the University of Maryland at College Park in Industrial and Organizational Psychology (1976).  Dr. Outtz also served as a mentor to many young men and women who were friends of his children.  Dr. Outtz leaves his wife of 43 years, Janice Hamilton Outtz; daughter, Dr. Hasina Outtz Reed (Justin); granddaughter, Elle Hamilton Outtz Reed; sister, Zerita Greer; and sisters-in-law, Augustine Outtz and Alice Williams.  James Outtz leaves a legacy that will be fondly remembered by his many colleagues and friends for his outstanding contributions to I-O psychology, to SIOP, and to social justice.

Dr Outtz is remembered in the American Psychologist: Zedeck, S., & Cascio, W. (2016). James L. Outtz (1947–2016). American Psychologist, 71(6), 510.

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