We’d like to highlight three distinguishing characteristics of the I/O program at The University of Akron that set us apart from others. First is our special ability and track record in training both scientists and practitioners. Students in our program receive great breadth in training focused on organizational psychology, industrial psychology, and measurement/statistics. Our program is particularly strong in having the resources to train students beyond the basics of these three areas and into the advanced issues within all three domains. It is this advanced training that sets our students apart from those graduating from other I/O programs. However, our students get the basics of I/O psychology as well the more cutting-edge material, much of which is knowledge generated right here on our campus by the leading scientists in these respective areas. Our rigorous and comprehensive curriculum prepares students well for their career path as scientist or practitioner and, as a result of our rigorous and broad curriculum, our students compete very favorably with those from other programs for desirable jobs.
A second strength of our I/O program is the faculty’s breadth of expertise, skills, and research interests. Having 8 full-time I/O faculty members is unique among I/O programs. Our faculty, all of whom have been trained at very strong I/O programs (see faculty vitae for educational backgrounds), consists of national experts in many different I/O areas such as leadership, legal issues in selection, performance appraisal, measurement and testing, organizational change, organizational socialization and motivation, compensation, and gender issues in organizations. This breadth of expertise allows us to offer more varied course work than our competitors.
The third distinguishing feature of our program is the emphasis on collaborative research between faculty and students. Consistent with our emphasis on broad, rigorous training to enable graduates to choose academics or industry as their career-path is our emphasis on research skills. Our belief is that a Ph.D. is largely a research degree even if that degree is in an applied field. Therefore, an understanding and appreciation of the research process remains at the forefront of our approach to training. Graduates must be involved in all phases of research throughout their education because it is only in understanding the research process and appreciating its subtle nuances that graduates can begin to consider the application of the research to practice.
A wealth of data exists to verify how integral this collaborative approach is to our program. Between 2001 and 2006, the I/O faculty presented 237 papers at national conferences, with over half (127) of these presentations representing collaborations with graduate student co-authors. Such annual conferences include the Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology (SIOP), the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Psychological Society (APS), and the Academy of Management. During the same period, the 8 I/O faculty published 128 articles and 6 books, 30% (39) of which were coauthored by students or former students of our program. Also during this five-year span, graduate students worked with faculty to complete 38 theses and 41 dissertations. Our faculty work hard and productively while making a high priority of involving students in our research. Again, this is consistent with our perspective that, at the doctoral level, research should be a top priority and is integral to providing students with the training they need. We are proud of our students and the varied contributions that they make as scientists who generate knowledge and as practitioners who apply the knowledge of I/O psychology to organizations around the world.