From the Editor
Tara S. Behrend
I’ve been thinking about change lately, prompted by an exciting email I received in January. Shelly Zedeck was wondering if I had any interest in his collection of old TIP issues. At first, I hesitated. I was only in California temporarily, so a logistics challenge presented itself. How would I transport these treasures from the West Coast to the East Coast? How many could I fit in my carry-on before resorting to shoving them in pockets or under my hat? After only a few minutes of deliberation, though, I decided the airline acrobatics were worth it. I couldn’t pass up the chance to get my hands on this archive of SIOP history. In case you are wondering, by the way, I can fit exactly 12 issues of TIP into my laptop case. Only three can fit under a hat.
In reading through the archive, the first thing I learned is that SIOP history is heavy. And I mean physically heavy. I assume that all the collected wisdom adds pounds.
The second thing I learned is how very much TIP has changed since Issue 1. Each editor has a put a personal touch on the publication, most immediately evident in their choice of cover design (see below). I confess that I was jealous that TIP no longer has a physical cover, and thus I have no outlet to inflict my terrible taste on all of you.
In these pages, I found deliberations about whether to change the name of the Society; reports of changes in US laws that affect our practice; celebrations of our best scientific minds; and throughout, a culture of respect and collaboration despite clear differences in opinions. Some things never change.
This issue of TIP is one I’m very excited about, and one I hope future readers will refer back to with interest. In the summer of 2016 when I took on this editor role, one of my goals was to launch an open, preregistered, and transparent project to generate rankings of I-O psychology graduate programs. Whether you love rankings or hate them, people use them, and so it’s worth doing them in the best way possible. To me, that meant identifying measures of quality that previous rankings projects may have overlooked. A team, led by Nick Salter, put out a call for proposals, and five teams submitted proposed methodologies. A committee of experts reviewed the proposals, and data collection began in early 2017. I am delighted that the final reports from those teams are now available. You can find them in a special section of this issue. Each team used different indicators so it’s not surprising that they came to different conclusions about the final rankings. The truth about graduate education is that different programs do different things well.
I want to thank the entire team who agreed to work on this project: Allie Gabriel, Joe Allen, Dave Sowinski, Loren Naidoo, and especially Nick Salter, who has led the entire project with enthusiasm and great insight. I encourage you, as readers, to reflect on whether you agree with these rating criteria or whether you could generate a different list. It is useful to remember that rankings of any kind make assumptions about what kind of work is valuable. Rankings also involve many “researcher degrees of freedom”—decisions by the rankers that may not be explicit in the final product. For example, if a faculty member switches programs, when should her publications be counted for program A versus Program B? No ranking list will be perfect, but this project gives us some different ways of thinking about excellence.
This issue also has lots of other terrific resources and information for being your best self as an I-O psychologist. For example: In their final installment of Lost in Translation, Andrew Collmus and Mike Litano offer an in-depth and extremely valuable look at how to communicate visually with data. I’m sad the series is ending (for now), but I’m very proud to be able to publish their terrific work, and I’m sure it will have long-lasting utility for the field.
This issue also bids farewell to the special series on the intersection between I-O and the field of Learning & Development, expertly led by Amy DuVernet and Tom Whelan. I encourage you all to spend some time with their column and think about what we can all learn about learning.
April marks a time of change for the SIOP Executive Board and committee chairs, too, which means you will see other new faces in upcoming TIP issues as the reins are passed. Please thank these folks when you see them at the conference—it is a lot of work, done for very little reward, just out of genuine care for the field of I-O psychology.