Master of Arts in Psychology/Industrial Organizational Concentration Launched

In the fall semester of 2018, 13 students began taking classes in Meredith’s newest graduate offering, the Master of Arts in psychology: industrial/organizational (I/O) concentration. They will be working closely with Joseph Mazzola, the new program director and faculty member.

Professor of Psychology Cynthia Edwards, who guided the program through its development, approval, and launch, sees Mazzola as a perfect fit, both as program director and as a member of the Meredith community.

“I am excited we have found Joe Mazzola to lead our new master’s program in I/O psychology,” said Edwards. “Joe’s research on issues like work-life balance, occupational health, and employee engagement are a natural fit for Meredith’s emphasis on strengths; and his passion for individual student development is consistent with Meredith’s core values.”

In the brief interview below, Mazzola shares his background, some thoughts about I/O psychology, and why he’s excited be at Meredith.

What is an example of research you’ve conducted?

“I recently published a paper in Stress & Health on the barriers and facilitators to healthy nutrition and exercise behaviors in the workplace. We were able to identify common barriers that people experience to these healthy behaviors, namely factors like high workloads and lack of access to healthy options, as well as facilitators like proper planning and having a friend/spouse to exercise/eat with. Furthermore, we found that not only were these barriers and facilitators related to health behaviors overall, but the more barriers that occurred on a specific day led to less healthy behaviors on that same day. The hope is this will help companies removed barriers and create facilitators to health in their organizations.”

What has prepared you for your new role as director of the I/O psychology program?

“I’ve been studying and teaching in the field of I/O psychology for almost 15 years now. I have extensive knowledge of the field, stay up-to-date on current research and application trends, and maintain a network of those working in academia and practice settings in I/O. It has helped me to be able to teach students the important concepts, as well as advise them about the careers and tasks they will encounter in their future jobs. Further, having directed a program previously gives me specific knowledge about recruiting students, what they expect from a program and instructor while in it, and where they go after graduation.”

What are you most excited about as you begin your new position?

“My experiences have helped me to be confident in running an MA program in I/O psychology, but I am also excited about building and directing a program right from the beginning, and being so engaged in our students’ education from start to finish. I will be involved in their recruitment, orientation, career development and networking, as well as teach them several classes while they are here. This will allow me to truly connect with them personally and professionally. It will also open new avenues for future students and continue to grow the reputation of the I/O program. Further, I am excited to work with such a welcoming and close-knit community that I’ve witnessed in my short time here at Meredith.”

What is your professional background?

“I received my Ph.D. in I/O psychology from the University of South Florida in 2010. From there, I took two visiting positions teaching courses in I/O psychology, Research Methods, and Stats before moving to a permanent position as assistant professor at Roosevelt University. While there, I taught courses at the undergraduate, M.A., and Ph.D. level, and eventually became the director of the I/O psychology MA program, a position I held for the last three years.

I am also published in several I/O journals and books, and am the treasurer/secretary for the Society of Occupational Health Psychology.”

About the Program

A combination of psychological science and business application, industrial/organizational psychology is one of the fastest growing and most lucrative subspecialties within psychology. While general psychology concerns itself with the behavior of individuals, I/O psychology focuses on understanding employee behavior in work settings. I/O psychology practitioners learn to improve both the effectiveness of organizations and the work-life quality of employees.

Meredith’s two-year master’s degree program develops students as scientist-practitioners who graduate ready to enter the job market. They benefit from the strong reputation of Meredith’s undergraduate psychology program, expert faculty, including those within the AACSB-accredited business program, and the College’s well-established network with area industries. A full-time internship in the final semester prepares students to launch their careers upon graduation.

Melyssa Allen

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