In November, three psychology professors, Dr. Paul Silvia, Dr. Peter Delaney and Dr. Stuart Marcovitch saw the publication of “What Psychology Majors Could (and Should) Be Doing, Second Edition: A Guide to Research Experience, Professional Skills, and Your Options After College,” which is a revised and expanded version of their 2009 book, published by the American Psychological Association.
It’s a book that, while focused specifically on work in psychology, displays a campus-wide intention: UNCG professors aim to train students for success, not only in the classroom, but for after the classes end.
The first edition of the book was written with UNCG students in mind, taking students from their freshman year to graduation, guiding them toward getting involved in professional activities, including attending conferences and presenting research. The new book can also suit the needs of students at other universities, and some chapters are more focused on helping students advance into the job market or enter graduate school. The new edition also reflects the collective growth and experience of the three authors, and how they have responded to the changes in the professional world.
Delaney explained some of the alterations in the book by saying, “The first edition was written during a time of what we saw as unwarranted optimism among students. We thought some of them needed to be shaken out of complacency and do more to build their careers.” With the tougher job market, however, he says the tone of the book has changed slightly, to inspire students to prepare and to persist.
Silvia added, “The need for ‘outside the classroom’ professional skills has never been greater, especially as competition for jobs and grad school slots heats up.”
At UNCG, all psychology majors take the Careers in Psychology Course, which was conceptualized by Silvia. Marcovitch describes this class as the lecture component to the book, or vice-versa. He said, “Students who go on to work in UNCG laboratories, attend conferences, find related employment and continue to graduate school in psychology often cite the course or the book as what prompted them to engage in the research world.”
Although the book is for psychology majors, Delaney believes that the chapter on succeeding in classes would benefit any beginning college student, especially those already looking toward finding an ideal job or continuing their studies in a graduate program.
Delaney explained, “Many of us relied on chance to make faculty connections. If we want to democratize the process of getting ahead, we need to help students realize the need for good mentorship and to plan for a career, not just for a semester of classes.”
“The sooner students can explore their options at the end of the college, the more prepared they will be,” agreed Silvia.
By Susan Kirby-Smith