New Focus: Institute of Psychology

By M. Ellen Mitchell
Director, Institute of Psychology

Prior to President Lew Collens’ arrival in 1990, some people thought of the Psychology department as primarily supporting undergraduate course requirements, not knowing that it had a history of graduating more Ph.D.s than any other department
in the university.

That changed after the National Commission for IIT. The university community embraced the idea that IIT’s academic identity would be better served by organizing around its strengths in professional training rather than emphasizing the traditional undergraduate degrees.

In 1995, the Psychology department was elevated to an institute. Since then we have continued to graduate more Ph.D. students than any other department at IIT. More importantly, however, our Rehabilitation Counseling program achieved and is holding its spot in the Top 5 of the U.S. News & World Report ranking. Ten years ago we were No. 13 in the country, and before then, not even in the Top 15. Similarly, our Industrial Organizational program attained national ranking as No. 13 in the country by the Gourman Report of the Princeton Review.

We have retained and hired high-quality faculty members, and both our students and faculty are sought after as presenters and lecturers. With Lew’s encouragement in 1998, we officially opened the Center for Research and Service, which consults to industry on human-resource measurement, selection, and career counseling, with multiple opportunities to employ students on projects.

Once the strength of our graduate program was recognized and we received the opportunity to explore its potential for growth, the institute has been able to truly flourish. Today, the institute’s fundraising figures are dramatically higher than any time in its history. For this we are grateful to Lew.