The Center for Leadership Research & Development, located within the School of Psychology Family and Community, is closely affiliated with the Department of Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Seattle Pacific University, and affixed with the community of people and organizations committed to developing the leadership potential in a generation.www.spu.edu/orgpsych
Dear prospective student,
I recall well the mix of excitement and trepidation as I went through the process of applying to various graduate schools 14 years ago. SIOP’s website presented me with descriptions of hundreds of I/O psychology Ph.D and Masters programs, located in every corner of the US. Most of them had excellent classes and professors. However, the following questions weighed heavily on my mind:
How do I know which one will give me skills I need to land the job I desire?
How do I know if I’ll like the area and feel a sense of belonging in the program?
Please allow me to build a case for why you should consider applying to Seattle Pacific University’s I/O Psychology Masters or Ph.D. program.
1. Academic rigor. In our courses, we will train you to think like a scientist and translate extant research findings into practices that will improve individuals’ welfare in organizations. No question about it, you will be stretched mentally and interpersonally in the process. When you graduate, you will possess a storehouse of knowledge, a broad, rich vocabulary, and a toolkit of practical strategies for changing the world of work.
2. Community. In the cohort model, you will enter our program and graduate with the same group of individuals. Personally, I have noticed that as cohort members partner in class projects and learn about one another’s families and interests, strong bonds form over time. Our Ph.D. students work closely with one another and their faculty sponsors in our Research Vertical Teams (RVTs). In that space, students and faculty not only collaborate to produce scholarly presentations and articles, but ties of friendship are developed in tandem with the work.
Often I will hear about student outings to the Bravehorse Tavern® (http://bravehorsetavern.com/) after class to hang out and indulge in some famously-delicious, soft pretzels. I host an annual Christmas party at my home for my RVT members and their families. Summers in our program are admittedly busy; however, many of us get together with friends for day hikes near Mt. Baker (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151102675939247&set=a.10151106024794247.463304.505884246&type=3&theater), a picnic in Discovery Park, overlooking the Puget Sound (http://i39.tinypic.com/20f6j3r.jpg), or a quick trip to Pike’s Place Market (http://pikeplacemarket.org/). In sum, we actually enjoy one another’s company outside of work.
3. Tools to land a position after graduation. Having lived in Orlando, Miami, and the Chicago area, and hearing from colleagues based in other metropolitan areas, I can honestly say that I have never experienced another city as open to the study and practice of I/O Psychology as Seattle business community. During your tenure as a student, you will be completing various consulting projects; so by the time you graduate, you will have experience in real companies making a significant difference in the areas of selection, performance appraisal/management organizational development, just to name a few. This makes our programs unique because at big state universities, students often never see a client.
As a result of this consulting experience and access to our growing network of alumni, over 95% * of our students are placed in full-time positions by the time they graduate. Our graduates work for Payless Shoes, Starbucks, Group Health, Boeing, Microsoft, and numerous, small consulting firms in the Seattle area.
4. Commitment to invest in one another. In the interest of full disclosure, the quarter system is difficult. Ten weeks for each course. If you become ill or have ‘life stuff’ come up, you can easily miss 1/3 of the course and fall significantly behind. This means that each week, you have to stay healthy and ‘on your game’.
As a professor, I am not exempt from feeling the pressure. Each week is precious in terms of time for productivity in my RVT and in my courses, requiring us to pull on inner strength that we didn’t know we possessed. As a result, we find ourselves constantly refining our skills in coping, patience, and persistence—often through trial and error.
As faculty, we are not only committed to your academic success, but to developing you personally. We often share with students our own challenges in balancing work and family, confronting professional ethical dilemmas, and maintaining our relationships with God and others. Likewise, we are dedicated to encouraging and providing feedback to students when we see them engaging in counterproductive behaviors or are hitting snags in adjusting to their professional roles. In our programs, we strive to model giving and receiving difficult feedback in appropriate ways and holding each other accountable to the high standards we have set in terms of (a) disseminating quality research and (b) cultivating a grace-filled community of support as we are pushed to the edge of our comfort zones.
In summary, I hope this provides you with a starting point to imagine what your future could look like with a degree in I/O Psychology from our program. If your life’s mission is to be an active agent for positive change in your workplace, community, church, and personal relationships; please consider applying to our program.
Dana Kendall, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of I/O Psychology and Director of Research
School of Psychology, Family, and Community
Seattle Pacific University