Professor switches schools, not fields

by Ken Eisinger

When departures created an opening for a professor in the psychology department this year, program recruiters did not need to search nationally for a qualified candidate. They simply looked across the Mississippi River.
Industrial relations professor Paul Sackett will teach psychology next fall, a transition taking him from the Carlson School of Management to the College of Liberal Arts. Although inter-college hires are unusual at the University, the psychology department has hired instructors from the Industrial Relations Center before, Sackett said.
CLA is in the process of recruiting professors for next fall. At this point, college officials plan to hire 26 new professors. However, they said Sackett is the only instructor recruited from within the University to teach CLA classes next fall.
The move benefits the psychology department and the University as a whole, because Sackett will stay at Minnesota and be able to continue his research, said Eugene Borgida, chairman of the psychology department. “He is someone whose dossier is dazzling.”
Sackett headed the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology and served on the National Academy of Sciences Board on Testing and Assessment.
He worked on the editorial board of the Journal of Applied Psychology and the board of Personnel Psychology in addition to publishing numerous articles and a textbook.
Sackett said he is eager to begin teaching in the psychology department, citing its ranking as one of the best in the country.
“My goal is to make it the best anywhere,” he said.
For the last 10 years, Sackett taught in the Industrial Relations Center in the Carlson School. He described it as a multifaceted center for the study of work.
“Our faculty are strong in the field of industrial relations as well as disciplines like economics or psychology,” said Avner Ben-Ner, chairman of the center.
In his transition, Sackett must navigate the differences between Carlson and CLA students. He will continue to teach and research personality testing and work placement.
Sackett said teaching at Carlson emphasized direct use of classroom material in the work force, but psychology in CLA might include more abstract material.
“I will continue to emphasize practical application, but I’ll be more flexible to look at issues from a theoretical angle,” he said.
In his current position, Sackett teaches only graduate students. When he moves to the psychology department, he will teach both graduate and undergraduate students.
This summer the Industrial Relations Center will conduct a search to fill Sackett’s vacancy,
“He will be missed,” Ben-Ner said. “He is a great scholar, a great colleague and a great teacher.”