Transcending Time Zones: A Global Approach to Learning
Huda Masood earned her online M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Adler University in 2014. At the time she applied, she was living in Toronto, traveling frequently to Pakistan, and the mother of a 6-month-old girl. We spoke with Masood about her experience with online learning through Adler and how her I/O psychology degree is opening new doors in her career. Our interview has been edited for clarity and space.
Why Did You Choose the Online I/O Psychology Program at Adler University?
There are several reasons. I first heard about Adler through my professors [at York University] in my undergraduate program, and because of its reputation in the field of psychology, I chose to pursue my education through the online route.
I had also worked with Dr. Michelle Dennis, the I/O Psychology Program Director, as a research assistant, and she’s an incredible person—very flexible, very supportive.
Also, the flexibility of the program structure worked really well for me. I was in Pakistan, and I thought I wouldn’t be able to get accepted by the admission committee, but they made an effort to reach me for an interview. In general, I found that most of my instructors were very accessible—they were very flexible as well and very helpful.
What Type of Work Have You Been Doing Since You Graduated?
I moved to the Washington, D.C., metro area a few months ago, and I’ve been working with the public schools. My role as a research assistant is to assess the overall quality of the education in public schools. I’m also an on-call employee at ICF International, working on a project that’s being conducted at Stanford University and the University of Texas at Austin. I’m part of the research team, and my role is to make sure we’re conducting and selecting unbiased data.
What Did You Like Best About the I/O Psychology Online Program?
The asynchronous mode of delivery of this program worked very well for me. I traveled a lot, so I was in completely different time zones—I was on different continents at times. It was just not feasible for me to be a part of a live class every day. Because the mode of learning was asynchronous, I was able to keep up with it and complete the program in two years.
What Surprised You Most About Online Learning?
For me, asynchronous learning redefines possibilities, and I personally feel that’s good for a lot of students on the global level. Online learning has made education accessible in so many ways.
What Were Some of Your Biggest Learnings from the I/O Psychology Program?
I read in one of the articles that was assigned to me that people live their lives at work, so [I/O psychologists attempt to] understand what can make their lives better.
One of the main approaches to this goal is through recruitment and selection, which overlaps with HR. I/O psychologists are more interested in understanding the organization and prospective employee person to find the best job fit. It’s important to make the right placement, not just fill the vacancy but to bring in the right person so you don’t have to rehire the following year. Reducing turnover and giving your employees a more meaningful experience is what I/O psychology offers.
How Long Did It Take You to Complete Your Degree?
A little less than two years: from August 2012 to June 2014. It was intense, and it was consecutive. I mean, I didn’t take any breaks, so that took me less than two years.
What Was the Social Justice Problem You Addressed in Your Action Plan?
I’m Canadian so I chose to focus on gender disparity and the achievement gap between immigrants and their Canadian-born counterparts. And in my current job, I’ve been working with underprivileged students and trying to make them more employment-ready.