Communication in IO Psychology Education




Dr. Steven Toaddy – IO Psychologist and Professor

Dr. Steven Toaddy is an Associate Professor of Social Sciences here at our very own Louisiana Tech University. He works for both Louisiana Tech and for a company partnered with Louisiana Tech called AROS (Applied Research for Organizational Solutions).  AROS is a consulting firm for people looking for organizational solutions.


Dr. Toaddy’s Credentials

Dr. Toaddy has received three degrees in his lifetime including a bachelors in psychology, a masters in IO Psychology, and a Doctorate in IO Pschology.  He also, as stated earlier, is referred to as the associate professor of social sciences at Louisiana Tech University. But the question that’s on most people minds is, what is IO psychology?  IO psychology stands for industrial/organizational psychology, which is a discipline of psychology that applies psychological theories and principles to organizations.


Communication in Education

Dr. Toaddy said that in an educational environment all forms communication are vital to succeed.  He stated that he tends to use oral and written communication in his teaching activities, which include lecturing,  facilitating classroom activities, and communicating with students about questions or concerns they may have.  He also provides in the form of written communication a syllabus at the beginning of every quarter, a course schedule, activity descriptions, grades, and assignments.  Graphic communication is also utilized, yet not as much as those mentioned previously.  When teaching how to graph certain functions needed in IO psychology, graphic communication is then utilized.


Workplace Communication

Within his workplace, AROS, Dr. Toaddy communicates with his colleagues and graduate students via email and face to face communication.  He said that his favorite form of communication by far was email, due to its simplicity, organization, and speed of communicating. “Graphic Communication seems to be utilized more in IO compared to other disciplines of psychology,” Toaddy said. He stated that with what our field requires of us we must communicate large amounts of information into digestible amounts so that it is practical and can be learned quickly and concisely.


Comparing Formality and Tone Between Students and Colleagues

When commenting on the formality of communicating between students and colleagues he said that there was no difference from a formality standpoint.  The only thing that changed in respect to communication between students and his colleagues was the tone of communication.  He said that when students come to see me I have the assumption they are there for my help and betterment of themselves or to gain understanding.  “So, I tend to have a sort of didactic approach when speaking to them,” he said. However, when communicating with his colleagues and coworkers he said they tend to know the same information as him so there is less of a didactic tone and is more based on efficiency.  It is important to note these differences because between students and colleagues the level of skill and understanding is drastically different, although his formality doesn’t change when communicating with them.   They both receive the same formality even though tone may change dependent on the situation.


Publications within IO Psychology

When asked about how often Dr. Toaddy published he explained that he published professionally on a quarterly basis.  He said that he rarely publishes scholastically and when he does the process is a lot more in depth and tenuous. He said that when publishing anything the first thing you come to find is there are many wrong ways to write an article or journal. Once you know those wrong ways, that leaves you with all the right ways to publish pieces.  If you operate within those parameters then the time it takes to publish is based on the editor and his or her staff.  I then asked him if he reads over his colleague’s publications and how he may utilize the information attained from them.  He said he tends to read their quarterly publications when they come out and focus primarily on things pertaining to his research and in his area of expertise.  He said he reads on those areas for about a week or so and then utilizes them where he sees necessary.


Advise for Up and Coming IO Psychologists

The last question I asked Dr. Toaddy what would you tell someone looking to pursue a career in IO psychology about communication? He said, “The thing I recommend, is intimacy and transparency across all media.  I am not so sold that formality and grammatical appearance is necessary.  I would say be less formal, more direct and more intimate, so don’t hold back uncertainties or let awkwardness get in the way of communication. If you have an objective go pursue it.”  This advice is in my opinion very useful in any career that uses communication in the workplace a lot.


Donovan Henry, Guest Blogger






The Role of Communication in Human Ecology




Dr. Katie Barrow in Carson Taylor Hall

Dr. Katie Barrow is an Assistant Professor of family and child studies at Louisiana Tech University. With a passion for the understanding of the complexities within society, Dr. Barrow holds a Ph. D. in human development, a M.S. in family and child studies, and a B.S. in psychology. Throughout her educational and professional career, Dr. Barrow has devoted countless hours to researching family diversity, sexuality and gender, and marriage and family relationships. Dr. Barrow enjoys teaching at the college university level, where she encourages students to explore sensitive issues, while challenging social and cultural norms.

As a Professional

While obtaining her graduate degrees, she wrote a 160-page dissertation on LGBT family relationships and a 60-page masters thesis on the lives of Jewish lesbian women. Her research and findings have landed her several publications in academic journals. Dr. Barrow has acquired the practice of writing in several different styles by composing manuscripts, reviewing textbooks, participating in research studies, writing grants, and creating workshops for organizations.

“Writing is a craft; it’s not only being smart enough, but it’s also oversimplifying concepts, like intersectionality, to my audience who may comprehend at a high school or even middle school level.” -Dr. Barrow.

When asked about her day-to-day tasks, Dr. Barrow says that she always has a paper or manuscript in progress and is always looking for possible conferences to submit her writings to. Her frequent use of written communication has taught her the discipline of efficiently structuring her writing for her targeted audience.

As an Educator

Dr. Barrow admits to preferring oral communication over written in classroom settings. Although she incorporates powerpoints in her lectures, she finds the use of models, visual aids, and videos to be more effective. She favors in-depth discussions with her students because she believes that nothing can truly substitute the interaction of talking. As a professor, she makes sure to educate her students both visually and orally, including students with communication disabilities. Dr. Barrow builds her students’ oral communication skills, while getting them into the practice of talking about sensitive issues. Her students’ coursework often includes creating brochures and writing research papers. She also requires her students to submit daily exit slips, teaching students the art of being succinct in their writing. For her courses, Dr. Barrow spends about 2-3 hours creating each lesson plan. She forms her lessons around the textbook, current events, academic journals, research studies, and even social media. She routinely updates her lesson plans because her field, like society and culture, is constantly changing.

As a Communicator

Dr. Barrow frequently emails her students addressing any questions or concerns they may have. She tries to respond to students as quickly as she can. When asked on negative forms of technical communication, she states that sometimes students lack formality in their emails to her. Dr. Barrow also exchanges emails with editors of journals regularly. She admits that the process of collecting her writings and getting published can sometimes become intense. It often entails submitting a cover letter, uploading a cohesive manuscript, receiving feedback, and sending revisions. From her recurrent practice, Dr. Barrow has learned to communicate with editors punctually considering this process will last weeks at a time. In addition, she often exchanges memos and emails with faculty members, however her colleagues are often more understanding of her busy schedule.


Communication not only turned Dr. Barrow into an educator, but it also made her into the accomplished, motivating woman she is today. On a daily basis, she influences the lives of her students, whilst shedding light on important cultural and societal issues through her writings and publications. She has effectively used communication in her career to share important matters on a professional and academic level. My interview with Dr. Barrow was extremely inspiring and gave me a lot of valuable insight on what becoming an educator in this field will be like.

Stephanie Daigle, Guest Blogger.

Communication is the Only Way for Copes


Psychology is such a wide subject choosing just one specification can be very difficult. As a Psychology major, I know the struggle all too well. For my research, I decided to interview someone in my career path whom I have gotten to know very well over the years: Mrs. Joanna F. Copes.1442645669488-jpg_w185

I attended the school at which she was and still is the guidance counselor. With me being very involved in the school activities and academics we met quite a few times during my junior and senior year of high school. The dedication she has to her students, their educations, and to their future was inspiring. The dedication I received from her in an effort to help me further reach and meet all my goals throughout high school helped motivate me even more, to follow in her footsteps in the Psychology field.

Mrs. Joanna Copes is the Junior and senior counselor at Bossier High School. Mrs.  Copes has attended school at LSUS, BPCC, and she even attended here at Louisiana Tech. During her time at these various universities she majored in Undergraduate: Elementary and Special Education, Graduate: Guidance and Counseling. Mrs. Copes chose this career path because she loved working with students and she also had friends who were in Special Education growing up and she wanted to know how to best help them. Her love of children didn’t stop there because she then went on to become a counselor. She became a counselor so that she could work with students to help them plan out their future and meet their goals which led to her being at Bossier High today.

When asked about how communication is incorporated in her place of work she said, “Every hour there is some form of written communication in my job. From email and letters as well as text messaging and actual note taking, I use written communication all the time.” Communication is a large part of her workplace and would make the job nearly impossible to do without. Communication is important because it is the core of her job. As a counselor, she must use communication to help students succeed, make plans for their future, talk with parents so that they can help students improve their academics or even be warned when things are happening. Communication through many means is important especially now. Email, text, and actual phone conversations are used daily. Working in a school Intercom communication is also used. In this career path, a lack of communication can cause lots of problems.

Psychology while being a wide subject includes technical communication in every specification and aspect of Psychology. Whether it be Guidance and Counseling, Clinical Psychology, Forensic Psychology, or Educational and Developmental Psychology, etc. they all use communication as a key part in their daily careers. Verbal communication is used in patient advisor dialogue and in the different colleague to colleague dialogues. Verbal communication is the main form of communication used by Psychologist. However, written communication is also a very important factor in this career field. Mrs. Copes working as the junior and senior counselor is required to use written communication in order to contact the students and help them with preparations for graduation, college, and careers of their own. She also uses written communication in staff meetings, conferences, and various other school meetings.

Bossier High students are lucky to have such a dedicated and hard-working person on campus. Mrs. Copes’ personal relationship with why she chose to be a counselor and her dedication to helping students are the key reasons why she is the best person for the job.bossier-high-school-630x504


Jessica Miller, Guest Blogger

Effective Communication With Dr. Toaddy



200A is Dr. Toaddy’s Office in Woodard Hall

Dr. Steven Toaddy’s collegiate journey started in Ohio at Ohio Wesleyan University with a psychology major and a philosophy minor. Once Toaddy graduated from Ohio Wesleyan, he traveled to North Carolina State University to pursue his master’s degree and PHD. He received these titles in Industrial-Organizational psychology. With these credentials he applied to a job being offered at Louisiana Tech University where he currently works as an assistant professor.

Dr. Toaddy felt that “psychology always spoke to [him] because of [the] interest [he] had in people.” His true passion for psychology is for the industrial and organizational field. Toaddy believes this specific field can create “small, understated, incremental improvements in many of thousands of peoples lives.” Where as, the clinical side of psychology can have large improvements on a person’s life. Both clinical and industrial fields of psychology are great tactics to help better people’s lives.

To better students lives here at Louisiana Tech Dr. Toaddy, “educates PHD, masters, and undergraduate students to conduct research alone and with those people to serve the university, [his] department and [his] profession.” With this being said Toaddy sees himself more as an educator then a teacher in his profession. Toaddy’s favorite part about his job is working with “the PHD students because they are so yoked towards this work, and to a small group of faculty, I get to see them and mentor them a bunch so watching those people grow is my favorite.”

In Toaddy’s every day life, he uses verbal communication to coordinate with students and fellow faculty. Instruction, consulting, research, administrative faculty and subcommittee meetings are all conducted verbally to make sure everyone working in the department and with the department is on the same page. Toaddy believes all of the meetings in person are “dwarfed 3:1 by the communication that occurs via written media.” Even with this believed ratio by Toaddy he still believes both types of communication are important for his field of work.

Benefits about written communication for Toaddy is that he can use it when people he is working with can not attend a meeting. For example, when information needs to be shared quickly, Toaddy can send an email to the person he was supposed to meet with to inform them of the details. The email can be sent at any time of the day so the person who is receiving the information can retrieve it on his or her own time. Email seems to be the leader of written communication in Toaddy’s every day life for most convenient way to communicate. Toaddy also uses written communication to keep student records, and produces inter-office communications in a sense memorandum form as a way to briefly answer people’s questions.

Dr. Toaddy asked himself if he lost either verbal or written communication would he be able to survive on the basis of the other. With this thought he believed that written communication would be more important to have. Toaddy said, “one cannot convey durably in spoken form, so if I’m trying to convey something that is adequately complicated, I must do that in written form to the best of my knowledge. I don’t believe people possess memory and [the ability] to convey and remember counter respectably those densities of information.” With this being said written communication can let people worry less about how they sound or how they pronounce certain words. It also helps a person explain difficult information easier because they can take time to write down their thoughts.

Now in regards to which communication is easier, Toaddy believes that verbal is easier to express. It is only easier because people are not explaining as complicated of topics as someone would while writing for written communication. Overall, both verbal and written communication help Dr. Toaddy be a successful assistant professor.

Laura LeFevour, Guest Blogger

Communication is Key for Counseling


Choosing a college and a major is a difficult and stressful process. Jacob Hilton followed in his brother’s footsteps and decided to come to Louisiana Tech University to be an architect major. This decision quickly changed during the first quarter of school once he saw his classmates sleeping over in the architect building to finish their projects. Jacob decided to try the field of sociology with a minor in psychology for his undergraduate degree and never turned back.

Hilton was always passionate about becoming a counselor. People were telling him that he would have to put in a lot of hours and receive little pay if he went through with his plan. Defying all the pressure and stereotypes Hilton had a couple of different internships and he now works in Louisiana Tech’s counseling center. His dream of being a counselor has come true and is now a guidance counselor with an emphasis in mental health. He is all of that plus a counseling coordinator of student relations and special projects.

Hilton says his job consists of “60-70% counseling and the remainder is making all the signs, PR and brochures.” Verbal communication is very important between Hilton’s clients and himself. He uses “talk therapy [which is] to be able to meet a client at their level and to talk to them at their level.” He also uses analogies to get complex points across to his clients. To accomplish this he uses simpler terms in verbal communication in his sessions with a client. Hilton describes his profession “as one where you constantly have to learn.” With this constant learning process the staff and the other counselors have to all talk to be on the same page with one another to make the counseling center run correctly. The counseling part of Hilton’s job is his favorite but he emphasizes on how important written communication is as well.

He believes written communication is extremely important. As stated before Hilton is in charge of creating brochures for the counseling center. This job needs to be taken seriously because if someone can’t read it for certain reasons or if the grammar is wrong then the result will be confusing instead of good advertising. When Hilton is making signs he wants to make sure people can take one look at it and get all the information they need about the topic. He also believes that graphics have an important role by helping get the point across. All of these projects help advertise the counseling center in a positive light.

Louisiana Tech’s counseling center is a true mental health facility, which means all of their clients have a file. This is the most important paperwork Hilton has to do. He needs to maintain a log of every client so he can follow up with every person. The notes Hilton makes in these files have to be extremely precise to where if someone doesn’t come for a year then randomly shows up again he needs to be able to look at his notes and know exactly where they left off. Most importantly, these files can be used in court. So if someone needed his help to get out of trouble his notes need to be solid and accurate. Through these files he creates a treatment plan for all of his clients in hope for a positive outcome.

Hilton believes that both verbal and written communication is equally important in his specific job. Written is more difficult because “it has to evoke imagery and [not] offend anybody which has been the ultimate pain because [the counseling center] talks about a lot of sensitive issues, so they have to get their point across and yet make it interesting enough where people will want to show up.”

Louisiana Tech students are lucky to have such convenient counseling services for free on campus. Hilton plus many more great counselors are there at multiple hours of the day for anyone interested in counseling services. This center is located in Keeny Hall on Louisiana Tech’s campus.

IMG_5272Keeny Hall

Laura LeFevour, Guest Blogger


Blog 1- Written Communication from the Perspective of a Psychology Professor


woodard hall

Photographer: Billy Hathorn

The field of psychology has many different paths that one may take such as teaching, counseling, research, and much more.  Specifically in the branch of collegiate teaching, communication plays a very important role in the everyday workplace.  Communication between the professor and the students and colleagues helps to keep the job running smoothly.

Dr. Jerome Tobacyk, a psychology professor at Louisiana Tech, has a bachelors and masters in Psychology, as well as a PhD in Personality Psychology.  He teaches a class called Fields of Psychology, as well as Personality, both of which I have taken.  Dr. Tobacyk serves many purposes besides teaching that also include conducting research for the university, as well as for himself; publishing findings; and acting as an advisor for students.  None of these things could be accomplished easily or efficiently without written communication.

Dr. Tobacyk, from the very beginning, made it clear that written communication is “the most important process associated with success in any workplace.”  He does not simply go to the front of the class and spout information from the top of his head or simply hand out tests to be taken.  There is much more work that goes into being an effective professor, such as lesson planning and explaining material to confused students.  He has to be able to effectively communicate the information in a way that is easy for students to understand so that they may meet the standards set by himself and the university.  Dr. Tobacyk says that the most common method of written communication between himself and his students is email both to answer questions students may have and to grade dissertations or any other written assignment.  It is extremely important that he be able to clearly communicate with students about such documents otherwise their grades may suffer tremendously.

Besides acting as a professor, Dr. Tobacyk also conducts research on his own time.  He believes that written communication between himself and others helps him as a teacher because it is “the best medium for the exchange of ideas and the best way to examine ideas critically.”  In a field where information is constantly changing and growing and improving, written communication is essential to be able to keep up with the times and ensure that the details he is imparting onto students is accurate and up to date.  Dr. Tobacyk believes that psychology, as a science, improves and grows through the exchange of these improvements.

During the interview, I drifted away from questions about the present, and instead inquired about his years as a student in the 70s.  In school, Dr. Tobacyk was not required to take a professional writing class such as Technical Writing.  He said that an unpleasant introductory speech class was the closest he came to learning how to communicate effectively.  While he was a student, he was expected to learn how to communicate effectively through experience in other classes and was not taught how to do so.  But, had he been offered such an opportunity, Dr. Tobacyk said that it would have been very beneficial to his “competency and self-confidence in the class setting.”  He also believes that it would have helped tremendously in graduate school because the publication of important research through journals was extremely important.

Dr. Tobacyk plays a very important role in the community that makes up the psychology department at Louisiana Tech.  Without written communication between himself, students, colleagues at Louisiana Tech, and colleagues in his field, he would be unable to do his job properly or effectively.

Amanda Allday, guest blogger