PROGRAMMING SUCCESS: Industrial and Organizational Psychology graduates building better workplaces, workforces
This is the sixth and final article in a six-part series highlighting academic programs at Louisiana Tech University that are having significant impacts on the region and whose graduates are contributing to the growth of the economies, communities and competitiveness of north Louisiana. RUSTON, La. – Good companies rely on good people working in good places. Graduates from Louisiana Tech University’s Industrial and Organizational (I/O) Psychology program are playing an important role in helping businesses and organizations throughout the state create work environments that can positively impact their productivity and profitability.“The incredible growth in I/O psychology over the last decade is a testament to its contribution to those organizations that have used our services,” said Dr. Tilman Sheets, associate professor of psychology and the director of the I/O doctoral program at Louisiana Tech. “I/O psychology provides organizations with the tools necessary to assess performance and culture and the methodologies for improvement.” The I/O Psychology program, offered through Louisiana Tech’s College of Education, prepares students to work in areas relating to applied behavioral science in organizations and business. Outside of class, students are expected to gain hands-on experience through involvement on various research and applied project teams with faculty supervision. Sheets says graduates of the I/O psychology master’s degree program often take positions in the areas of project management, human resources, and training. I/O psychology doctoral graduates primarily go into consulting roles with large companies such as Walmart and Frito-Lay, working on projects in performance, selection, leadership, and organizational change. The occupational outlook from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the demand for I/O psychology professionals is expected to grow by over 50 percent, over the next ten years – one of the fastest occupational growth rates in the nation. The outlook report says I/O psychologists with extensive training in quantitative research methods and computer science will likely have a competitive edge. “I/O psychology is going to be one of the fastest growing areas in the next decade,” said Dr. Frank Igou, assistant professor of psychology and coordinator of the I/O psychology master’s program. “Part of this may be due to organizations and jobs becoming increasingly dynamic. If nothing else, the integration of continuing changing technology in the workplace means jobs.” The opportunity for students to apply their knowledge and skill sets to addressing real-world situations is an essential component of the I/O psychology program. Doctoral students engage with business and organizations throughout the region through AROS (Applied Research for Organizational Solutions) Consulting. AROS Consulting is a firm located on the Louisiana Tech campus and managed by doctoral students and program faculty that offers assistance to organizations in the development of cost effective solutions. “AROS is a faculty supervised consulting firm where students take on the roles normally found in I/O consulting firms,” explains Sheets. “We take the approach that the best way to train students is by working with real-world issues. AROS has worked with a number of local area, national, and international companies. “The feedback from our graduates is that their AROS experience was a powerful selling point in their job search and that it clearly set them apart from their competition.” For more information on the I/O psychology programs, visit the Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences in Louisiana Tech’s College of Education at http://education.latech.edu/departments/psychology. For information on AROS Consulting, go to http://aros.latech.edu.