InsideODU: News for Faculty and Staff
Thursday, January 26, 2012

Debra Major Elected a Fellow of IO Psychology Society

Debra Major, professor of psychology at Old Dominion, has been elected a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). Fewer than 1 percent of the 8,000 members of the society have Fellow status.

Major's research and scholarship have focused on career barriers, especially for women, and effective strategies for overcoming them. During the past decade she has received more than $2 million in funding, mostly from the National Science Foundation, to study ways to open career paths in science and technology to more women and minorities. Her work has also shed light on how family distractions can affect parents' workplace performance.

In a note to Major, Carol Simpson, the ODU provost wrote: "This is a well deserved honor indeed and makes all of your colleagues at ODU proud! Well done!"

Chris Platsoucas, the dean of the College of Sciences, said, "Those of us who are familiar with the work of Dr. Major are not at all surprised by her election. This is an extraordinary honor for a very productive faculty member." Major received the College of Sciences Distinguished Research Award in 2010.

The chair of the Department of Psychology, Barbara Winstead, added that she was "pleased" by Major's election and called her "an outstanding scientist, teacher and mentor, a role model to her graduate students and younger faculty, and a highly valued colleague."

To be elected a Fellow, SIOP members or international affiliates must have made unusual and outstanding contributions to IO psychology through research, practice, teaching, administration and/or professional service. The contributions are evaluated in terms of the society's stated mission "... to enhance human well-being and performance in organizational and work settings by promoting the science, practice, and teaching of industrial and organizational psychology."

Major's election as Fellow was based on her productive and distinctive externally funded program of research; application of I/O psychology for real solutions in health and medicine; promotion of the science of I/O psychology; and dedication to educating, training and mentoring the next generation of I/O psychologists.

"It is an honor to be recognized by this distinguished group of industrial/organizational psychologists," Major said. "I appreciate the Fellowship Committee's confidence in me and am especially grateful to my nominators, which included two past presidents and the president-elect of SIOP."

She is the former editor of the journal The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist and currently an editorial board member of Career Development Quarterly; Journal of Applied Psychology; Journal of Organizational Behavior; Journal of Management; and Journal of Business and Psychology.

Major joined ODU as an assistant professor in 1992 soon after receiving a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology from Michigan State University. She became an associate professor in 1998 and a full professor in 2005. She also serves as an adjunct professor in Eastern Virginia Medical School's Department of Pediatrics and as the ODU psychology department's associate chair for research.

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