Clemente Diaz on Bridge Builders and the Advocacy Registry

Clemente Diaz is the Associate Director of College Now at Baruch College and an adjunct faculty member in I-O Psychology at the CUNY School of Professional Studies. Clemente is also a member of Bridge Builders, a SIOP sub-committee dedicated to helping make connections to students and the larger community.

In this episode, we talk about the Advocacy Registry, where SIOP members can sign up to give talks at schools, career centers, and other organizations.

Signing up for the Advocacy Registry is dead simple. Just watch this video.


This transcript is AI-generated and may not be completely accurate. Please do not quote myself or any of my guests based on this transcript.

Ben Butina, Ph.D.  00:00

And welcome everyone to the Department 12 Podcast where we talk about everything industrial and organizational psychology. My guest today is Clemente Diaz. Welcome Clemente.

Clemente Diaz  00:12


Ben Butina, Ph.D.  00:13

You’ve joined us today to talk about two efforts within SIOP. And I want to explain for the sake of those who might be new to industrial and organizational psychology what SIOP is. So SIOP is our professional organization in the United States, I would say, most of our professional identity is wrapped up in this organization. It’s a pretty big deal for us. So it’s the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. A lot of what we do as a field or as a profession revolves around this organization. It’s kind of the one place where we all come together. Clemente is here to talk about part of the efforts within SIOP to reach out to the broader community. But I wanted to start, Clemente, if you could just tell us a little bit about your background and what you do.

Clemente Diaz  00:58

Yeah, so currently, I’m the Associate Director of College Now at Baruch College in New York City. College Now is basically a dual enrollment program for high school students. So we allow New York City public high school students to enroll in college credit courses while they’re in high school. And the overarching goal is to basically expose them to the college going process and the rigor that’s involved in college level work. In addition to that, I’m also an adjunct faculty member in I-O Psychology at the CUNY School of Professional Studies. And I’ve been in higher ed kind of applying I-O psychology principles in higher ed for nearly a decade now.

Ben Butina, Ph.D.  01:38

What we’re trying to talk about today is bridge builders and the advocacy directory within SIOP. So let’s start with bridge builders, who or what are Bridge Builders?

Clemente Diaz  01:49

So Bridge Builders is a subcommittee of the Education and Training Committee of signup. And our goal is to expose students and non I-Os alike to the field of psychology. As we all know, I-O psychology has a branding issue, primarily because of the name. So our goal, again, is to get the word out. And that tends to be primarily by just informing students that we exist and what we do and also providing resources for educators who wish to incorporate IO psychology into their courses.

Ben Butina, Ph.D.  02:24

So if I’m brand new to how professional organizations work and I hear you talking about a committee, I might be wondering, what exactly is a committee? Is a committee just decision makers? Or are they the people that do stuff?

Clemente Diaz  02:39

So I would say it’s in part a little bit of both. So the committee is comprised of different individuals or different SIOP members. We get together every so often to discuss different strategies to expose students and educators to I-O psychology. We’re more of the doers. We do make certain decisions as to how we want to approach promoting I-O psychology. But like in anything, when you’re within an organization, you need to seek approval for certain things. So like, for example, right now, the committee is in the process of trying to get a Twitter account for the Bridge Builders.

Ben Butina, Ph.D.  03:12

So Bridge Builders is about reaching out to students and educators, helping them become aware about industrial and organizational psychology, which as you pointed out, has a bit of a branding problem. I think you and I probably agree that one of the contributing causes to that is this, you know, 14 syllable name, that’s unwieldy to drag around with us. And when we abbreviate it, it just makes it even more difficult for newcomers to understand. So it’s great that Bridge Builders is doing the work that you’re doing. Now, part of the Bridge Builders is this Advocacy Directory or communicating about the Advocacy Directory. So tell us about that. Who is it for? Who’s in the directory and who benefits from the directory?

Clemente Diaz  03:54

So the overarching goal of the Advocacy Registry is just similar to what Bridge Builders is doing, which is getting the word out on our end for Bridge Builders, where we’re promoting the Advocacy Registry again, to further inform educators more than anything. The Registry is composed of SIOP members who are interested or willing to give presentations to different organizations or different groups. So whether it be high schools, maybe career centers, we’re having career panels, and do informational, interviews, anything like that. So that’s who’s on the Registry in terms of promoting Bridge Builders has been focused on sharing that information with instructors. As of right now, it’s been a little bit more towards intro to psych instructors, since the vast majority of intro to psych courses don’t cover I-O psychology. But we’re planning to expand those efforts to educators in general. So it can be educators who teach, you know, business education or HR or organizational behavior, any field that would benefit from getting some sort of exposure to I-O, psychology, is our main target market. So it’s twofold again, recruiting more sign up members to join the Registry, and then targeting or promoting the Registry to individuals who we think would benefit from those guest lectures or presentations.

Ben Butina, Ph.D.  05:17

So if I’m a member of SIOP and I want to make myself available through the Advocacy Registry, to give talks or presentations in my kind of on my own, once I’ve done that, like, I’m putting my name out there, so instructors can find me. And I might, especially if I’m a practitioner, without a lot of academic experience, I might be a little intimidated by it. Okay, well, here’s 30 minutes to talk about is like, are there any other resources or help that we’re offering folks to help them prepare or support that kind of activity? Yeah, so

Clemente Diaz  05:49

The Bridge Builders committee has developed two different PowerPoint presentations that can be used in conjunction with the Registry. One is in a general overview of I-O psychology, and the other is a bit more focused on psychology as a career path. Right now, we’re in the process of trying to identify where’s the best place on the signup website to post that information, or just the best way to disseminate it to the registry. So that’s kind of a little bit more TBD.

Ben Butina, Ph.D.  06:18

Is it a difficult thing to sign up for the Advocacy Registry?

Clemente Diaz  06:21

I wouldn’t say it’s difficult, there are definitely multiple steps. The good thing is once you go to the main link on the signup website, it gives you very specific steps to follow. Because it’s under the membership account that you have to click that option that you want to be in the Registry. It’s not difficult, it’s just more than one step.

Ben Butina, Ph.D.  06:38

I will commit to this now on the air so that I actually do it and follow up. I’m going to sign up for the Advocacy directory. And when I do, I’m going to take a screen recording of myself doing it. I’m going to post that on YouTube, I’m going to include that link in the show notes as well. So if you have any concerns at all about how do I sign up for the advocacy registry, I’m going to make it super simple for you. I’m going to show you exactly how I did it. And you can just copy me and sign up for the advocacy registry.

Clemente Diaz  07:01

I want to say maybe two years ago, I had surveyed intro to psych professors just to kind of get a sense as to why they weren’t including I-O psychology in their courses. And the three general themes that arose were one, it’s not in the textbook or the curriculum, which I think is not a shocker, as I-O psychology tends to not be included in the textbooks. The second one was they didn’t have enough time to incorporate it. And the third one was lack of knowledge, or they felt they weren’t knowledgeable enough to talk about the field. So I think that advocacy registry does a great job at least targeting the third theme, which is if the instructors don’t feel confident in talking to students about IO psychology, that’s where we can come in and talk about our expertise and get students motivated, engaged about the subject matter whether they decide to pursue IO psychology or not. It’s the psychology of work, regardless of what a student pursues, they’re most likely going to be entering the workforce at some point or another. So I think that’s the real value of our field as well.

Ben Butina, Ph.D.  08:03

Yeah, I think so. And I think having the guest speaker also solves the problem that we sometimes run into with, there’s really no good elevator pitch. Ultimately, it’s not the kind of field that’s going to have a good elevator pitch, because you’re either going to focus on some kind of conceptual broad overview that gives you an academic definition, and leaves the person saying, “Okay, I guess I kind of get that,” but I still don’t know what they do. Or you’re going to say, “Hey, here’s what I do. Here’s the specific thing that I do. You know, I’ve developed tests for law enforcement officer selection,” which is great for giving you a concrete example, but doesn’t give you a sense of what the whole field does. But when you have someone actually coming, giving a talk, you get more time than the elevator pitch, and you’re not trying to cram some kind of definition into 30 seconds. And you can give people an overview, not only broadly of what I-O psychology is all about, but you can also speak to, hey, here’s what I do. I think that leaves a stronger impression with students, when they’ve talked to somebody who actually does the job. They can talk about, you know, what’s good about it, what’s bad about it, why they got interested in it to begin with, that becomes a lot more of a real career possibility than something that’s just a definition crammed into a textbook. So I think this is great. I think the the Advocacy Registry is a great step in the right direction. And thank you again for joining us.

Clemente Diaz  09:22

Thank you for the opportunity.