Join | Login

SPSSI Student Newsletter - June 2001

From the Editor: An Insiders View to Academic Interviews
By Steven M. Elias

Having recently completed a wave of academic interviews, I would like to share my experiences with those SPSSI Student Members who might be going on the academic job market in the near future.  Although I can only include a few of what are actually countless tips, the issues mentioned here are issues that were common across several of my own interviews.  Should anyone have questions, comments, or additional tips, please feel free to contact me at

Let me start by saying that 99% of the people you meet on an interview (administrator or faculty) will ask you the exact same question of, “What questions do you have for me?”  The worst answer you can provide to this question is “none.”  Having no questions means you know absolutely everything about the university/college and the position for which you are interviewing.  I would strongly recommend asking questions (even if you know the answers) that show you have researched the school. 

Another issue regarding questions is that interviewees should not be afraid to ask very specific questions.  For example, if you do not ask what “tenure-eligible” means as opposed to tenure-track, you may entertain an offer for a position that you do not fully understand.  Likewise, if you ask a question and the person responding is unsure of his or her response, politely ask someone else.  I cannot stress how important it is to be fully informed about all aspects of the position for which you are interviewing.

Be aware that the presentations you will be asked to do will differ depending upon whether the institute has teaching or research as its primary goal.  If you are interviewing at a school that stresses research, you will likely be asked to do a job talk based solely on your research.  Such a talk averages 45 minutes with 15 minutes for a Q & A session.  Schools that stress teaching will most likely have you teach a class.  In both situations, be prepared for questions! 

One bit of advice that I do not feel interviewees frequently receive revolves around the teaching of specific classes.  If a job posting mentions that you would be teaching a specific class, during your interview, expect to be asked questions about how you would teach that class.  You might even be asked specific questions about which textbook you would use.  Best-case scenario is that you have previously taught the class and you have a syllabus WITH YOU.  If you have not taught the class, you may want to put together a list of topics you would cover, if and when you do get to teach the course. 

Be prepared for LONG days.  For example, flying from Colorado to New England for an interview, my flight arrived at 4:40 pm.  I checked into my hotel at 6:00 pm and my first interview was over a 6:30 pm dinner that same evening.  The following two days were non-stop from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm.  Granted, not all interviews are this tiring, but do expect to spend at least one full day interviewing.

Another issue to keep in mind is that although a faculty is bringing you in so that they can interview you, you are interviewing the faculty as well.  Here is the easiest way to put this in perspective.  While interacting with the faculty, ask yourself if these are people you can comfortably work with for the next few decades.  A friend/department chair summed this issue up for me in a recent conversation.  As he put it, “It is one thing to find yourself in a department with bad dynamics and politics.  It is another thing to PUT yourself in a department with bad dynamics and politics.”

In summary, there is not one article or commentary that can entirely prepare you for an academic interview.  Read all that you can on the topic.  Talk to those who have recently gone through the process (e.g., new faculty in your department).  Most importantly, be prepared, be confident, know your stuff, and look sharp.

Best wishes in your search for a great job!


New Graduate Students on the Editorial Board of Journal of Social Issues
The Selection Committee for the Student Editorial position on JSI announces the 2001-2002 JSI Editorial Board Student Members.  With the approval and recommendation of Irene Hansen-Frieze (JSI Editor), the JSI Student Editor Selection Committee (Armando X. Estrada [Chair], Yesilernis Peña, Clarissa Silva and Beverly Araujo) selected 2 candidates: Melanie Morrison (U. of Ottawa) and Jameson K. Hirsh (U. of Wyoming). 

Melanie Morrison, a 3rd year Ph.D. student (Social Psychology) at U. of Ottawa has published and reviewed for various scholarly journals.  She has also served as a researcher at the Community Health Research Unit, The Center for Community Research at the University of Ottawa; and the Solicitor General of Canada.

Jameson K. Hirsh, a 3rd year student (Clinical Psychology) at U. of Wyoming, has published and reviewed for professional journals.  He also served as an intern, counselor and psychological examiner for various mental health organizations.

The board congratulates Melanie and Jameson on their accomplishment and looks forward to their contribution to the JSI publication process.  Happy reviewing!!


Meet Our New Student Web-Editor: Jennifer Harman
Hello SPSSI members!  My name is Jennifer Harman, I will be your new student WEB-page editor.  I am currently a Social Psychology student at the University of Connecticut and my research interests include social class perceptions, intimate relationship dynamics, and health behavior change.  My hope is to make the student web page an important resource for you, where you can obtain information, link to relevant sites, and even post information.  I ask for suggestions from all of you about what you would like to see on the student web site.  The site is there for you, and I want to be sure that we can make it as helpful as possible.  For any suggestions, or to contact me, please e-mail me at:  Hope to hear from you soon!


2001 APA Convention - Student Activities in the SPSSI Student Suite
The student committee is very pleased to offer a series of "fireside chats" with faculty and researchers in the official SPSSI student suite throughout the APA convention.  Below is a listing of the "chats" that will be offered.  Also, feel free to drop by the suite anytime during the conference to talk with your student representatives, find out about great funding and program opportunities offered by SPSSI, or just to rest weary feet and grab a snack.  Please look for the suite room number and a complete listing of the researchers that will be hosting the chats at the APA convention.

Growing Pains: Making the Transition from Graduate Student to Faculty
Saturday, August 25, 2-3pm
Hosts: TBA

Are you currently on the job market or simply wondering what life will be like after your dissertation?  If so, plan to attend this informal chat session in which you'll hear new PhDs talk about their transition from student to faculty.  Don't forget to bring your questions!

Concerning the Environment: Using Research to Affect Our Environment 
Saturday, August 25, 3-3:50pm
Hosts: TBA

Interested in using science to affect attitudes towards conservation, global warming, pollution, and other environmental issues.  Come and discuss how your research interests and ideas can have an impact on our environment.

Minorities in the Academy: Past, Present & Future
Sunday, August 26, 5-6:30pm
Hosts: TBA

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work in an environment where you were a member of the outgroup?  Perhaps you are currently conducting research on minority issues.  Come and discuss issues related to minorities working in the social sciences.

Where Research meets Policy: Changing the World through Social Science
Sunday, August 26, 4-5pm
Hostess: TBA

Wondering how you can use your research to affect social change?  Curious about opportunities awaiting you at non-academic institutions once you receive your PhD?  If so, come hear social scientists inside and outside of the academy discuss ways you can make a difference.  Opportunities offered by SPSSI will also be discussed.

Women in the Academy: Women Researching Women
Monday, August 27, 5:30-6:15pm
Hostesses: TBA

Self-objectification, feminism, stereotype threat, and gender bias in the workplace and classroom…need I say more?  If you are interested in research done for women and by women, this chat session is for you. Network and discuss ways in which social science research can be used to improve the lives of women with some of the top researchers in the field. Please bring your questions!  And yes, men are welcome!

Events of Student Interest at the APA Convention
Be sure to check the SPSSI Newsletter for a detailed listing of conference events being hosted by SPSSI.  The following lists a few of many panels that are being offered by APA that might be of interest to SPSSI students.  All sessions can be viewed at:

Session: Teaching About Diversity Issues in the Undergraduate Curriculum
Session Type: Symposium
Building--Room: San Francisco Hilton and Towers--Continental Parlor 2
Day/Time: Fri/2:00PM - 2:50PM

Session: Ageism---Current Theory and Research on Prejudice Against Older 
Session Type: Symposium
Building--Room: Moscone Center - South Building--Room 250
Day/Time: Fri/9:00AM - 10:50AM

Session: Cultural Models---Implicating Content in Psychological Process
Session Type: Symposium
 Building--Room: Moscone Center - South Building--Rooms 228 and 230
Day/Time: Fri/4:00PM - 5:50PM

 Session: Advocacy, Action, and Activism---Using Scholarship to Influence 
  LGB Policy
            Session Type: Symposium
            Building--Room: San Francisco Hilton & Towers--Union Square Rooms 23 & 24
            Day/Time: Fri/1:00PM - 2:50PM

 Session: Policies That Extend Our Scope of Social Justice and Activism
            Session Type: Symposium
            Building--Room: San Francisco Hilton and Towers--Continental Parlor 8
            Day/Time: Fri/10:00AM - 11:50AM

 Session: Men's Health---Exploring Research, Policy, and Practice
            Session Type: Symposium
            Building--Room: San Francisco Marriott Hotel--Golden Gate Salon A2
            Day/Time: Fri/1:00PM - 2:50PM

 Session: How Graduate Students Can Pursue Careers in Psychology and Business
            Session Type: Conversation Hour
Building--Room: Moscone Center - South Building--Room 220
            Day/Time: Fri/9:00AM - 9:50AM

 Session: Politics of Race, Ethnicity, and Class for Activist Intellectuals
            Session Type: Symposium
            Building--Room: San Francisco Hilton and Towers--Yosemite Room C
            Day/Time: Sun/10:00AM - 11:50AM


Congratulations to the Recipients of the 2001 SPSSI-APA Student Travel Grants
A total of 10 grants in the amount of $150 have been awarded to SPSSI Student Members who will be presenting their research at the next APA conference in San Francisco, California.  Grant selection committee members reviewed anonymous abstracts of projects that were either first-authored or coordinated by students.  The papers that were selected were those that reflected the goals of SPSSI, in that they combined psychology with an application to social issues.  Congratulations to those receiving grants, and thank you to the members of the selection committee.  Below, in no particular order, are the projects that are receiving funding.
  • A meta-analytic review of attributions to poverty.
  • Sexual assault history: Effects on ethnically diverse, low-income women.
  • Prejudiced but egalitarian?  Justifying heterosexist bias in personnel decisions making.
  • Perceptions about anti-gay hate crimes.
  • Young adults’ and parents’ perceptions of risk for school violence.
  • A linguistic analysis of collective trauma portrayed in student newspapers.
  • Prevalence and consequences of high school students’ exposure to firearms.
  • Cognitive distortions designed to justify expressions of prejudice among adolescents: Gender differences.
  • Women in academe.
  • No Title, Keywords: Diversity, Color-blind, Identity-safe.

Welcome New International Members!
For several months now, the SPSSI student committee has invited international students to become members of SPSSI at no cost.  We hoped that waiving the $10 application fee would make it easier for our colleagues outside of North America to become SPSSI members.  We received over 350 applications from countries such as: Nigeria, Turkey, China, and Peru, to name a few, and will be accepting 150 of those applicants.
Applicants accepted will be contacted in the coming weeks, while those not accepted will be placed into our student adoption pool, with the hopes that SPSSI members in North America will be willing to usurp the costs of these students.  Check the SPSSI website for future information on this program.

Applicants accepted will receive a 1-YEAR membership, which provides free editions of the Journal of Social Issues and access to our new electronic journal, the Analyses of Social Science and Policy.  In addition, students will be eligible for the many funding opportunities offered through SPSSI. (These can be viewed at

Lastly, we look forward to sharing research ideas and questions with you over the SPSSI Listserv and hope to see you at our SPSSI sponsored events at the American Psychological Association Conference 2001 in San Francisco and at the SPSSI conference in 2002 in Toronto, Canada.  Please see the SPSSI website for conference information. Again, welcome to SPSSI!


Call for Submissions: Journal of Analysis of Social Issues and Public Policy (ASAP)
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy (ASAP) is a new electronic journal sponsored by SPSSI that began publishing in 2001.  The journal is an outlet for timely and innovative psychological and related social science scholarship with explicit implications for social action and policy.  Currently, ASAP is seeking submissions in any content area related to the goals of SPSSI.  The following formats are appropriate:
  • Reports of research relevant to social issues and public policy.
  • Discussions of approaches to and methods of evaluating public policy. 
  • Theoretical articles. 
  • Reviews of the literature in current areas of concern. 
  • Book reviews. 
  • Reviews of web sites (including links to sites). 
  • Point/counterpoint discussions on controversial social issues. 
  • Invited articles from public policy experts detailing what they need from researchers.
ASAP will be available on the web free to all SPSSI members and institutional subscribers to the Journal of Social Issues. Summaries of each article will be available to the general public via any search engine.  SPSSI also plans to send relevant articles to the media and policy makers.  At the end of each year, a print version will be made available to all institutions that subscribe to the Journal of Social Issues.

To learn more about the journal, see ASAP.  Please note that, although the peer review process does occur, ASAP differs from JSI in that ASAP is not a thematic journal.  However, given the review process, articles published on ASAP are classified as peer-reviewed publications.

In case you have any questions or submissions for ASAP, please contact the ASAP editor Rhoda Unger, Ph.D.,


The Society for Personality and Social Psychology Student Committee
The members of the SPSSI Student Committee extend well wishes to the newly formed SPSP Student Committee.  Good luck in your endeavors to serve as an advocate for the interests, concerns, and ideas of the SPSP graduate student contingency.


  • STUDENT CHAIR:  Mischa Thompson, University of Michigan, Department of Psychology, 525 E. University, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-1109; (734) 763-3933;
  • STUDENT CHAIR-ELECT:  Beverly Araujo, South Quad/Thronson 8319, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 48104; (734) 764-1764;
  • STUDENT NEWSLETTER EDITOR:  Steven M. Elias, Colorado State University, Department of Psychology, Fort Collins, CO 80523; (970) 491-1320;
  • MEMBERS-AT-LARGE:  Rob Foels, 404 W. Cortland St., Groton, NY 13073; (315) 443-3667;  Larissa Myaskovsky, University of Pittsburgh, 434B Langley Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15260; (412) 624-4143;
  • SPSSI Central Office, P.O. Box 1248, Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248; Phone: (734) 662-9130; Fax: (734) 662-5607; e-mail:;

SPSSI’s electronic discussion list is a great way to get research information, find out about current opportunities, or to talk to some of the finest social scientists.  To subscribe to the list, write to with the command <<SUBSCRIBE SPSSI-LIST “your e-mail address”>> (don’t include brackets or quotation marks) in the body of your message.  If you include a signature file, or any other text, you will get back an error message, though you will still be subscribed.  To avoid this, turn off signature files and include only the subscribe command in your e-mail.


Part of SPSSI's mission is to take applied research and bring it to our society's policy-makers. Students in SPSSI believe they can gain a lot as they work towards these goals by interacting more with students from other psychological organizations, and also from students in other disciplines.  If you are interested in participating in the Student Network, please click here and provide the necessary information to become involved.