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Collin College Leads To New Career Path In Industrial Psychology

Dr. Sydney Barcus

Dr. Sydney Barcus

The measure of success for any company–small or large–often comes down to the “bottom line” or amount of profit generated. This is why companies seeking to do business at an elite level call someone who can advise leaders on how to navigate change, improve processes, assess market conditions, interpret performance statistics, train and counsel employees, create job-application guidelines and give psychological tests.

As an industrial psychologist, former Collin College student Dr. Sydney Anne Barcus loves to perform the aforementioned duties with the goal of ensuring that organizations are reaching their full potential, from the “bottom line” to employee morale.

Despite her passion for the job, however, Barcus admits she has not always dreamed of a career in this profession.

In fact, she was one semester away from earning a bachelor of arts degree in fine art from the University of North Texas (UNT) before deciding to perform a U-turn and pursue a psychology degree. As the first in her family to earn a degree, she had a lot at stake.

Collin College fuels passion for psychology
Prior to this life-altering decision, the once self-employed artist, who was in her 30s when she enrolled at Collin College, had high hopes of enhancing her skills to further her art career.

It was not until taking a Collin College class taught by Dr. Chris Grooms, professor of English, that Barcus realized pursuing an arts degree was not her real dream.

“Dr. Grooms assigned everyone in his rhetoric class to research the field we were interested in,” Barcus said. “The assignment challenged me to consider how a career in this field would impact my life and helped me realize how I longed to make a difference in the business world.”

“I became passionate about psychology and completely focused on this field. I was enthralled by the scientific component, which is so much more concrete than my art experience,” Barcus said. “Ultimately, what made me want to be in this field is I wanted to enhance people’s experience in the workplace, by applying proven scientific methods to allow data to drive effective change initiatives. This is a win-win situation for both the individual, through increased job satisfaction, and organization, through enhanced profits.”

After transferring from Collin College to UNT, Barcus graduated number one in her class with a bachelor of science degree in psychology in 2004 before also earning her doctorate at UNT.

“There is no doubt that my academic success was built upon the strong foundation I acquired at Collin College,” Barcus explains. “One of the things that really stood out for me was the caliber of professors at Collin College. Many of my professors, even in the art department, had Ph.D.s and the classes were small and interactive. It was a very exciting time in my life. The feedback, guidance and input at Collin College were unsurpassed.”

“One of the things that really stood out for me
was the caliber of professors at Collin College.
Many of my professors,
even in the art department, had Ph.D.s...”

____________________________________Dr. Sydney Anne Barcus

Impact on the corporate world
Barcus’ primary duties as the global manager of organizational development at Pegasus Solutions, a world leader in hospitality IT outsourcing, cover performance appraisals such as ongoing one-on-one coaching with the CEO and all organizational leaders. She also designed and launched Pegasus’ corporate university.

“Industrial psychology is a very demanding field and requires a lot of dedication and meticulous work, but it is also really rewarding to have that kind of an impact on how the corporate world functions. The effort and enthusiasm I put in at Collin College is the same effort and enthusiasm that makes me successful as an industrial/organizational psychologist.”

Now that his wife has finished college and established her career as an industrial psychologist, Barcus’ husband is planning on taking communication and business classes at Collin College. “He hopes to have the same awakening experience I did,” Sydney Barcus said, “so Collin College was the obvious choice.”