SCRA Community Psychology Practice Council
Learning More about Community Practice Work
Your Name: Mitchell Fleischer
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Name of workplace(s): Jacobs Technology Inc.
Title(s): Business Unit Leader
How would you prefer to be contacted? (Please mark all that apply)
[ X ] E-mail
[ ] Telephone
[ ] Snail Mail
[ ] Other
Please list any professional affiliations that relate to your community psychology practice.
In which of the following formats would you be interested in sharing your account? (Please mark all that apply) Any
Website Book Journal Article in "The Community Psychologist"
Would you be willing to participate in longer interview or answer more questions via e-mail or a longer questionnaire? (Please mark all that apply)
[ X ] Telephone Interview
[ ] Video Interview
[ ] Longer Questionnaire
[ ] No
Questions about Your Community Psychology Practice
Please describe the work you do, for pay, as a community psychologist, including the setting(s) where you work?
I work on complex organizational changes taking place in complex organizations. A complex organizational change is one that involves substantial changes in processes, roles and culture. A complex organization is one that involves multiple independent entities that must change together in order to remain aligned. Working in this type of arena usually involves acting in a consulting role to senior management, but in my case that's not so. Changes as large as I've described take place within their own complex setting. For example, right now I'm working on a project to introduce an massive ERP-driven change in logistics processes in the US Air Force. This will affect the jobs of about 250,000 people. The Change Leadership organization has about 100 people working on this, along with perhaps 1,000 working on technical issues. My current role is focused on leading the measurement efforts to assess user and leader readiness to accept the new system and processes. But, I've been involved in planning the overall change leadership activity, planning communications, conducting change related education, and evaluating training.
The setting for this work is a project-based commercial information technology (IT) services firm. We work as subcontractors to a large IT services firm which is under contract to deliver the systems integration for the ERP system to the AF. However, I have done similar types of work for a not-for-profit R&D organization, a not-for-profit consulting firm.
What training/education do you have in community psychology?
MA and PhD in Ecological Psychology from Michigan State University
Please describe how your training/education contributed to your work as a community psychologist. What do you view as the most important skills you learned in your training as a community psychologist.
My most important skill is as a "social problem" solver. I learned how to analyze and define solutions to social problems. And, I learned how to implement solutions - in my training we really focused on getting things done - finishing things. My technical skills (e.g., measurement, interviewing, etc.) have also been important.
What other experiences or training have contributed to or enhanced your ability to work as a community psychologist?
Prior work experience in the military and academia.
Are there other ways you use your community psychology background and training, either unpaid or in paid roles other than your primary work?
What advice might you give to students or people considering community psychology as a career?
Be prepared for a high level of uncertainty in your career - not so much in getting a job, but in the types of jobs you might get. While there are relatively few jobs for community psychologists per se, the skills acquired in the training seems widely applicable and highly valued.
Is there anything else you would like to say about your role as a community psychology practitioner?