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Jenny Baker
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Your SIOP Awards: Know the Opportunities

Cindy McCauley, SIOP Awards Strategy and Operations Subcommittee Chair

I have been involved in the SIOP Awards Committee in various capacities since 2016. As I reflect on my experience with the committee, I want to highlight four things that stand out to me—and then help you think about how to get more involved in the award nomination process.

  1. With the support of the SIOP Foundation, SIOP has an incredible awards program. The Awards Committee oversees 31 awards—a mixture of distinguished and career awards, best paper and achievement awards, research grants, and scholarships designed for SIOP members at a variety of career stages. In addition, SIOP recognizes conference best papers and posters.
  2. The review process is designed to be thorough and fair, and reviewers take their job seriously. Every award has its own subcommittee of reviewers, each with a chair who is invited to take the role because of outstanding service on the subcommittee in previous years or because of expertise related to the focus of the award and a stellar reputation. Each subcommittee has specific criteria for membership to ensure that people with relevant expertise and experience are reviewing nominations. We have a clear Conflict of Interest policy that delineates when members have to recuse themselves from the subcommittee because of their relationship with one of the nominees. Each award has a set of criteria on which subcommittee members independently rate the nominees. Average ratings and written comments are reviewed, and a decision about who to recommend for the award is made by the entire subcommittee. The Awards Chairs and Chairs-in-Training review each subcommittee’s report, raising questions and seeking more information when the subcommittee has not clearly documented their process or the rationale for their recommendation. An award will not be given if a subcommittee does not recommend any of the nominees as deserving of the award. Do subcommittees always totally agree on who they should recommend for an award? Of course not. But from my perspective, volunteers have worked hard to make recommendations that everyone feels they can support.
  3. The Awards Committee is committed to continuous improvement. In 2018, a special task force conducted a thorough review of the SIOP awards program and identified a number of areas for improvement, including marketing of awards, donor contracts, and strategic alignment with SIOP goals. With Executive Board approval, an additional subcommittee (the Awards Strategy and Operations Subcommittee) was created to implement the recommendations of the task force. One important aspect of the work of this new subcommittee was formal evaluations of each category of awards. Many thanks to the graduate students (and their advisors) at Middle Tennessee State and Northern Illinois University for their work in conducting these evaluations and identifying strengths and potential improvements in the awards program.
  4. Not enough members take advantage of the awards program. With the exception of the SIOP Small Grants Program and the SIOP Graduate Scholarships, it is rare for the number of nominees for an award to reach double digits. This year, 23 of the awards had five or fewer nominees, including zero nominees for two of the awards (even after nominations for these awards were open for an extra month).

Certainly, one factor in the low nomination numbers is lack of knowledge about what is available, so let me take you on an awards-program tour. You can find more detailed information about each award here on the SIOP website. The window for submitting a nomination is April through June.

Distinguished and Career Awards

These awards are announced at the opening session of the SIOP conference. They are a big deal. Five of the awards—Professional Contributions, Scientific Contributions, Service Contributions, Teaching Contributions, and the Cascio Scientist-Practitioner Award—are lifetime achievement awards. Two are Early Career Contributions awards. Another is for outstanding humanitarian contributions related to I-O psychology (SIOP Humanitarian Award). And every other year, the $50,000 Dunnette Prize is awarded to an individual whose work has significantly expanded knowledge of the causal significance of individual differences. 

  • Individuals rarely nominate themselves for these awards (we are a humble bunch), thus we rely heavily on SIOP members taking the initiative to nominate others. This is an opportunity for you to honor someone who has been influential in your own career, whose work you admire, or whom you want to hold up as a role model. What could be more satisfying than that? And my sense is that individuals nominated for these awards are honored just to have been nominated by their peers.
  • What has surprised me is that we receive the fewest nominations for the Service Contributions Award and the SIOP Humanitarian Award. Surely we do not see these awards as less important or that outstanding service to SIOP or humanitarian efforts are rare among our colleagues. If you are reading this and someone comes immediately to mind who would be deserving of one of these awards, commit right now to nominate him or her!
  • The work of putting together a nomination package for one of these awards involves writing a letter of nomination, getting a comprehensive CV from the nominee, and recruiting up to five others to write letters of support.
  • We want demographically diverse candidates for all of our awards; however, the group of nominees for the distinguished awards are often the least diverse. You have the power to change that!

Achievement Awards for Publications

These awards recognize outstanding written works. Two awards are for publications in a refereed journal: The William A. Owens Scholarly Achievement Award for the best publication in I-O psychology in the last calendar year, and the Schmidt-Hunter Meta-Analysis Award for the meta-analysis publication in the last 3 years that best advances I-O psychology. Two awards do not limit the publication to journal articles: The Joyce and Robert Hogan Award for Personality and Work Performance recognizes the best paper or chapter that demonstrates innovation in applied personality research. The Jeanneret Award for Excellence in the Study of Individual or Group Assessment recognizes a work (article, report, chapter, or paper) judged to have the highest potential to further the understanding of individual or group assessment, especially when such assessment supports a diverse workplace. The S. Rains Wallace Dissertation Award recognizes the best dissertation research in the I-O field. Keep in mind that the nomination package for this award requires a summary of the research. Reviewers are not expected to read the entire dissertations of multiple nominees.

  • Note that these awards vary in terms of type of publication, time period during which the publication appeared, and topical focus. Read the requirements carefully!
  • Some nominations for these awards come from authors and some from others. I encourage authors to not be shy about nominating their own work. At the same time, nominating someone else’s publication that you were amazed by is important, too. Many authors may be reluctant to nominate their own work or may not fully realize the positive impact of their work. I worry that if we rely on self-nominations, we might be missing papers deserving of these awards. A number of years ago, I nominated an article for the Owens Award of which I was totally in awe. I did not know the authors personally, but when the article won the award, it was satisfying to know that this publication was getting recognized and that I had a hand in it.
  • The nomination package for these awards are the easiest to assemble, typically involving just the publication itself and a letter of nomination.

Achievement Awards for Practice

These awards recognize outstanding applications of I-O psychology. The M. Scott Myers Award for Applied Research in the Workplace recognizes a project or product that represents an outstanding example of the practice of I-O psychology. The Human Resource Management Impact Award (HRMIA) recognizes effective evidence-based HR practices and initiatives in organizations. The Wiley Award for Excellence in Survey Research recognizes excellence and innovation in the design of survey research methods or techniques that improve organizational effectiveness. The Raymond A. Katzell Award in I-O Psychology recognizes a SIOP member who has shown the general public the importance of work done by I-O psychology for addressing social issues.

  • Nominations for the Wiley and Myers Awards are almost always self-nominations by project teams. Unlike publications, this work is often not widely known about in the field, thus these awards are an important way of making examples of best practices more visible.
  • Nominating your work for the Wiley or Myers Awards also has the potential benefit of making your work more visible within your own organization! Only one member of the project team has to be a SIOP member.
  • The Katzell Award is another one of those awards for which we regularly get few nominations. Like the distinguished awards, people don’t typically self-nominate for the award. If you know someone who has been successful at translating their work for the general public or using I-O based knowledge to impact society’s well-being, then please consider nominating them or helping them put together a nomination package.

Research Grants for SIOP Members

The SIOP Small Grant Program provides several grants to support I-O research in a wide variety of topic areas with an emphasis on those which represent a cooperative effort between academics and practitioners. Major donors to the SIOP Foundation have also designated funds for grants to support research in a particular domain. We only get a handful of proposals each year submitted for these grant monies!

  • The Douglas W. Bray and Ann Howard Research Grant ($10,000) supports research on assessment center methods and on the development of managers and leaders.
  • The Sidney A. Fine Grant for Research on Job Analysis ($7,500) supports research on analytic strategies to study jobs, especially as the nature of job content and organizational structures change.
  • The SIOP International Research and Collaboration (IRC) Small Grant ($3,500) supports global and cross-cultural research conducted by international research teams.
  • The Zedeck-Jacobs Adverse Impact Reduction Grant ($2,000) supports research that examines new approaches in the study of adverse impact and its reduction.

My one piece of advice is to pay close attention to the required content and format of grant proposals. In our efforts to be fair, we will not even review proposals that do not follow the guidelines (e.g., squeeze more into the page limits by not following formatting requirements).

Grants and Scholarships for Students

There are numerous funding opportunities specifically for SIOP student members.

  • Need some financial support for your thesis or dissertation research? The SIOP Graduate Student Scholarships (including the Lee Hakel Graduate Student Scholarship and the Mary L. Tenopyr Graduate Student Scholarship) recognize achievement in a graduate career and are intended to assist doctoral students with the cost of carrying out their dissertation work. If you plan to pursue thesis or dissertation research on reducing gender equity or on leadership and teams, then be sure to take a good look at the $3,000 grants available from the Hebl Grant for Reducing Inequities in the Workplace and the Graen Grant for Student Research on Leaders and/or Teams.
  • Do you qualify to apply for a fellowship or scholarship? The Leslie W. Joyce and Paul Thayer Graduate Fellowship provides $15,000 each to two doctoral student who (a) are specializing in talent management and (b) are committed to a practitioner career. The George C. Thornton, III Graduate Scholarship supports a doctoral student who epitomizes the scientist–practitioner model. The Irwin L. Goldstein & Benjamin Schneider Graduate Scholarships by the Macey Fund support a minority doctoral student in I-O psychology with a strong track record.
  • Applying for the scholarships and fellowship requires putting together quite a bit of materials, so be sure to start early.
  • Graduate faculty play a key role in supporting student applications for grants and scholarships. Do you have a process in place for deciding who to nominate if more than one of your program’s students wants to apply for a SIOP Graduate Scholarship? Are you available in the April to June timeframe to write letters of support for scholarship applicants and letters of endorsement for those applying for grants?

Be on the lookout for an announcement about the award nomination system opening in early April. But don’t wait until then to start imagining the possibilities!

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