Dear Organizational Psychology MA Students,

I miss you! I miss seeing you in person, in class, chatting with you in my office, in Everett Café and in TC’s hallways. I am grieving with you the loss of our in-person graduation ceremonies. But I know we will find a new way to celebrate our graduates’ tremendous accomplishments in May and that we will also celebrate them even more so in person as soon as this health threat is behind us.

I loved seeing my students on Zoom in our classes this week, and I appreciated hearing how much you enjoyed seeing each other on-line and getting back to our shared work of teaching and learning. All our program faculty and staff are working non-stop to create and implement the best possible learning environments in our new world. I know things have not been perfect and there will continue to be bumps as we all adjust to our new way of working together. But we are committed to failing fast, learning quickly, and working constantly toward implementing best practices in our shared work.

Please know all of my faculty and staff colleagues and I are thinking of you and cheering you on as you navigate the constant turbulence of these days. Below are excerpted remarks from one of our program’s faculty members, Professor Debra Noumair, that I wanted to share with you. Professor Noumair wrote this to our students in the Executive MA program (XMA), the program we affectionately refer to as your “sister program.” Her words surely apply to us all in Social-Organizational Psychology. They lifted me up and I hope they might do the same for you.

“In your roles as change leaders in your organizations, as consultants to change leaders in your client organizations, as colleagues, as members of the military, as partners, as family members with children, parents, and siblings, as friends, and as community members, we hope that your XMA learning holds you in good stead.  As Lewinians, we each respond to the environment differently, informed by who we are as people and how we each perceive the various environments in which we are operating.  We encourage you to harness your learning from the academic and intellectual frameworks in XMA, as well as from your psychological and emotional learning from collaborating as a cohort, and as a learning community as a whole.  For example, following the science of the pandemic and employing evidence-based practices; modeling change leadership; building in time for reflective practice; creating a team charter for telecommuting; using GRPI and BART to launch virtual teams; intentionally focusing on what you can do to enhance psychological safety and intercultural competence; attending to diversity dynamics; encouraging a growth mindset; conducting AARs; leveraging networks virtually to connect personally as well as professionally -- through virtual coffee chats, lunches, happy hours, etc.; considering what you know about how to continuously lead change; managing conflict productively; promoting learning agility to inspire hope about the benefits of learning in a crisis; and so on, can all be helpful as we learn to live and work together in this new reality.”

Thank you for all you are doing to take care of yourselves, your loved ones and our community. I look forward to seeing you again in person as soon as we can, and I am very happy I will see many of you on Zoom again next week!

Warm regards,

Sarah Brazaitis, PhD
MA Program Director

 

Current Student Profile

Clifton Wallace is currently a second-year student in the Social-Organizational Psychology MA Program. After graduating from American University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Clifton joined Teach for America’s 2011 Corp in New York city, where he pursued a Master’s in Education teaching students with learning disabilities. He became a special education teacher and a founding special education administrator for an all-girls uncommon charter school in Brooklyn.

Clifton first became interested in organizational psychology during his final semester at American University and explored it further as a special education administrator. During his time as an educator, he became particularly interested in coaching and training, diversity and inclusion in education, and the impact of systems and processes on staff and student culture. After seven years as an educator he decided to pursue a degree in Organizational Psychology to learn how to help organizations align their systems and processes with their mission and vision.

For the last two years, Clifton has worked as Operations Specialist at Teachers Pay Teachers, an online marketplace where teachers buy and sell original educator-created materials. In this role he supports educators around the world who create rigorous and engaging resources for teachers and students to use globally. In addition, he organizes specialty tournaments at Gotham Volleyball, a volunteer run LGBTQA Volleyball organization in NYC, where he gets to use organizational psychology frameworks to improve member experience.

Clifton loves planning events that bring people together, learning about different cultures, traveling, cooking, and training and competing in volleyball tournaments. He believes one of the best things about the program has been connecting with and learning from really thoughtful classmates who care deeply about people and want to make a difference.

Feel free to reach out to Clifton via email or LinkedIn.

Alumni Profile

Juliane Corman graduated from the Social-Organizational Psychology MA program in 2017. While at TC, she developed a specific interest in coaching and group dynamics.  She is currently an independent coach and consultant, splitting her time as a one-on-one Leadership and Executive Coach and as a member of the Leadership Team for 6 Team Conditions, working with Ruth Wageman.

After spending some time developing and leading management trainings, Juliane received her coaching certification and started her own coaching company (Juliane Corman Coaching + Consulting).  She now contracts with companies to work with their leaders/managers and is currently a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the International Coaching Federation (ICF), working with clients ranging from founders to new managers. She has worked with clients in companies including Reddit, New York Times, Department of Education, and Taboola, among others.

In her other capacity, Juliane works with Ruth Wageman and Krister Lowe as a member of the Leadership Team, Trainer, and Facilitator at 6 Team Conditions. Juliane was first introduced to the 6 Conditions for Team Effectiveness at TC in the book Leading Teams, which Richard Hackman wrote with Ruth Wageman.  Using the 6 Conditions Framework and the Team Diagnostic Survey (TDS), Juliane supports the launch or re-launch of teams in organizations to set them up for success.  Juliane is also a facilitator of their TDS Advanced Practitioner Certification, training HR professionals and practitioners on how the TDS and framework can be used to set up great teams and brilliant collaborations.

Juliane credits TC for putting her on the path to doing work she loves and having the opportunity to work independently, especially as a mom.  When not working, Juliane spends time learning about the world from her 2-year-old son and now knows a lot about construction vehicles. She loves going to the theater, watching classic movies, and traveling whenever she has the opportunity.

Recommended Readings

 
As with all of these recommendations, feel free to let me know what you think and/or to offer your own suggestions for possible inclusion in upcoming newsletters. I welcome your input.