Rogelberg Receives National Award for Humanitarian Focus

For humanitarian contributions to the field of Industrial-Organizational Psychology, UNC Charlotte professor Steven Rogelberg has been named the inaugural recipient of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology Humanitarian Award.

Rogelberg, who is director of the Organizational Science doctoral program in UNC Charlotte’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and Belk College of Business, received the award at the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology’s 2017 conference this spring. He also is a professor of psychology and professor of management.

“Steven has made tremendous contributions to industrial and organizational psychology,” said Steven Ott, dean of the Belk College of Business. “His leadership of the Organizational Science program has attracted high-quality students to UNC Charlotte and advanced the body of work about important management, well-being and health issues. His research has been published in leading journals and received attention from scholars, major media and the public. Dr. Rogelberg’s distinguished national, international and interdisciplinary contributions embody UNC Charlotte’s mission as an urban research university.”

Rogelberg has focused his research, mentoring and community engagement on helping people and organizations expand their abilities, knowledge and confidence, said Nancy Gutierrez, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

“Steven is a visionary leader whose work has had a profound impact,” Gutierrez said. “His work, which is grounded in innovative research and guided by an entrepreneurial mindset, has strengthened hundreds of nonprofits in the greater Charlotte region and throughout the country. He helps nonprofits to understand their strengths and to identify their issues. He is not content to simply give people the answers. He leverages his knowledge to help others gain the insights and tools that will sustain them and those they serve.”

In one of his most impactful initiatives, Rogelberg oversaw the creation of the Voluntary Assessment Program (VPA), an outreach initiative that has provided free volunteer management assessment services to over 200 nonprofit organizations, in partnership with The Humane Society of the United States. The effort has involved dozens of UNC Charlotte students and faculty and has expanded its reach by building a network with other universities.

“None of the outreach work I have done has ever been done entirely alone,” Rogelberg said. “I am surrounded by amazing people, with amazing values, who inspire me every day. I am very grateful to receive this recognition. But, it is absolutely not false modesty to say that this is a recognition of the collective efforts of the organizational science community as well as dear colleagues at the University of Nebraska Omaha, University of South Florida, Northern Illinois University, George Mason University, and Rice University.”

Nonprofit leaders who have used tools developed by Rogelberg and his colleagues speak of the deep and lasting impact on their lives and the lives of those they serve.

“These tools are now at the heart of a movement to improve how animal shelters operate by improving how employees and volunteers feel and operate,” a VPA collaborator wrote to the award review committee. “Groundbreaking in nature, they have become vital tools in saving the lives of more animals by systematically asking the people who do the work, “How can we do this better?” Dr. Rogelberg’s work has furthered the animal care field, helping tremendously to professionalize a field that has often been marginalized.”

Natalie DiGiacomo, Director of Community Outreach, for Bucks County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, wrote, “Steven helped me and countless members of my field understand that while we are dedicated to serving animals, people make an organization and we must invest in them to effectively and efficiently achieve our missions. He has led research and development of multiple tools that shelters and rescues can use to evaluate their practices and improve them. When I think of Steven I am full of gratitude – for my colleagues and peers who have a better chance of thriving and succeeding in a tough field, for the animals and people who are better served because of his work, and for myself because my life is richer for knowing him.”

Rogelberg also co-founded SeeDS, or the Shelter Employee Engagement & Development Survey, an assessment tool designed to help private and public animal shelters run better by surveying employees and making specific recommendations based on the results.

In another significant area of focus, Rogelberg co-founded the Organizational Science Summer Institute (OSSI), an inclusion-based initiative. This initiative seeks to diversify the field of organizational science through the professional development, specifically targeting historically underrepresented undergraduate students to participate in a research-driven institute for a week each summer at UNC Charlotte. Also benefitting are UNC Charlotte doctoral students in the Organizational Science program, as they mentor the undergraduates. Close to 100 undergraduates have participated in the program.

He also is founder of the Growth Mindset Initiative, an on-going intervention for schools in high poverty areas to promote elementary school student success. The multi-faceted annual intervention includes teacher training, interactive workshops for every fourth-grade class, and follow-up mentorships. He currently is working with Huntingtowne Farms School to see how the program can be scaled and leveraged for all Title One schools in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

“Students experience the importance of constructive thought patterns,” Rogelberg said. “We leverage the science of growth mindsets, self-leadership, and resilience. The approach is designed to help students view failures as simply setbacks, and obstacles as merely challenges. We help them learn to value the importance of effort and reflection as pathways to steady growth.”

Rogelberg has over 100 publications, addressing issues such as work meetings, team effectiveness, leadership, employee engagement, and organizational research methods. His research has been profiled on national television and radio stations and in national and regional newspapers and magazines. Other honors include the SIOP Distinguished Service Award, the Psi Chi Professor of the Year Award and the Master Teacher Award.  Rogelberg also is the inaugural Chancellor’s Professor at UNC Charlotte, in honor of his scholarship of international and national distinction and significant achievement within the university community. He is editor of the Journal of Business and Psychology and the Talent Management Essentials book series.

SIOP is an independent organization with its own governance and is also a division within the American Psychological Association and an organizational affiliate of the Association for Psychological Science.

Words and Image: Lynn Roberson. Pictured: Rogelberg with Organizational Science doctoral student Haley Woznyj.