In this issue
Greetings from the president
By Joan C. Chrisler, PhD
It is a pleasure to assume the presidency of the Society for General Psychology, but I do so with some trepidation as well. I am following in the footsteps of some very famous psychologists and some colleagues whom I respect and admire. I hope to live up to the high standards they set.
Let us begin at the beginning - with the changing of the guard. On behalf of all members of Div. 1, I extend sincere thanks to the outgoing members of our leadership group. Janet Sigal was an energetic and dedicated president, and I enjoyed working closely with her over the past year. She devoted a lot of her time to rebuilding the Division's Executive Committee, which had a number of open positions, and she chose well when she made her appointments. Jan also successfully launched her presidential initiative — a mentoring program for Div. 1, which she placed in the capable hands of Dana Dunn and Nicole Hamilton. Thanks also to Gina Brelsford, our wonderful secretary (and prior to that our wonderful newsletter editor!), who has finished her term and plans to pursue other projects. But don't think you have seen the last of us, Gina; we will want you back some day. Thanks to Josephine Tan, Member-at-Large and Awards Coordinator. Her (usually) gentle prompts kept all of the award committee chairs on track, and her attention to detail means that Div. 1 has the most up-to-date website and handbook of any division. We appreciate all of her efforts. Thanks to Rosie Philips Bingham, our Council Rep, who has completed her term of office. Rosie is a leader on the floor of Council; when she goes to the microphone to speak, everyone listens. We are so lucky to have had someone of her stature as our representative. Thanks to our newsletter editor Marissa Harrison and our 2014 program chair Grant Rich for their work. Those are big jobs with tight deadlines, which they handled with aplomb. Thanks to Carrol Perrino and Avis Jackson for organizing and staffing our hospitality suite program and the successful events held there. Thanks also to Emilio Ulloa, who served as our treasurer this year. He resigned for personal reasons, but has been working graciously to ensure a smooth transition. Thanks to Eric Charles, who served as our ECP representative, a post he claims he has been trying to resign from for two years. We have relieved him of those duties, but we won't let him go away entirely. Finally, we will miss our past-past president, Dean Keith Simonton, who completed his presidential cycle by chairing the Staats Award Committee this year. I hope he will take my phone calls.
I welcome all of the new members of the executive committee, and I look forward to working with you all. Anita Wells is our new secretary, Deborah Johnson our new treasurer, Nancy Baker our president-elect, Mindy Erchull, our new member-at-large, Clare Porac our new council rep, Alicia Trotman our newsletter editor, Maria del Pilar Grazioso our 2015 program chair, Jocelyn Turner-Musa our awards coordinator, and Avis Jackson our webmaster. They are all on the job already (except for Clare, whose term begins in January), and all are off to a strong start. Just look at this newsletter for supporting evidence.
Thanks to our continuing members of the executive committee, who are all working hard on our behalf: Richard Velayo, Member-at-Large and Fellows Committee Chair; Mark Sciotto, Membership Committee Chair; Emily Dow, student representative; John Hogan, historian; Gerianne Alexander, editor of our journal, the Review of General Psychology ; Dana Dunn and Nicole Hamilton, coordinators of our mentoring program. All of us are at your service, and we welcome questions and suggestions about the division. We also welcome volunteers who would like to be active in the division; all committees need members, you know.
Now, let us look ahead. Although it may seem like only yesterday that we were in Washington for the 2014 APA convention, it is time to plan for the 2015 convention in Toronto. You have already received an email message from our program chair to remind you of the due dates and to encourage you to volunteer to review proposals. Our program theme for this year is “Unified in Our Diversity: Multiple Perspectives on Psychological Science and Practice.” Symposium proposals that address a topic from multiple perspectives are especially welcome, but any high-quality proposal of interest to general psychologists certainly will be acceptable.
As you may know, APA has been reducing the number of programming hours each division gets. So far, Div. 1 has not been unduly affected by the changes, but we do not yet know how many hours we will be allotted for 2015. Divisions have been encouraged to work together on collaborative and innovative programs, which are sponsored by one or more divisions and include speakers from several divisions. These are not counted against the divisions' hours. There is an earlier deadline for these proposals — October 15 — than for the regular proposals with which we are all familiar. Contact Maria del Pilar Grazioso if you have any questions or suggestions for collaborative programs. She is eager to hear from potential reviewers as well. By the way, I have heard from a colleague who is program chair for another division, that Maria del Pilar is considered a leader among the program chairs. She knows everyone, and everyone knows her. Since the program chairs' training in January, she has been in touch with many other chairs, actively pursuing collaborative program possibilities for us. Kudos to her.
One of the things we will do at the convention is celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Div. 1. Our anniversary theme is “Division 1: 70 Years of Bringing Psychology Together.” We will celebrate at our social hour and during some regular and suite program events. We would like to have some programs that concern the division's history and contributions, and we count on you to propose them. Please contact Maria del Pilar with program-related suggestions and me with social and other fun-related suggestions — and plan to come to Toronto to celebrate with us.
Div. 1 will have a (rare) midwinter meeting this year. Members of the executive committee will meet in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015, to do some strategic planning and brainstorm about possible new initiatives we might try. I would be very glad to hear from our members — especially long-time members and former division leaders — about items that should be on our agenda. Please write to me with your ideas. Thanks to the editors of our excellent journal (are you reading this, Doug Candland?), the division has more financial stability than ever before, and we now have the opportunity to try new things and find new ways to move the division forward. Members who live near D.C. (or can fund their own travel) who would like to join us on the 28th should let me know of their interest.
Last, but not least, my presidential initiative is a task force in collaboration with Div. 2 (Society for the Teaching of Psychology). At the suggestion of Sue Frantz, Div. 2's Vice President for Resources, we will form a group of teachers of general psychology whose goal is to produce a “white paper” to provide advice to textbook authors and publishers about what topics should be covered in general/introductory psychology textbooks at the college level. Sue has had conversations with editors at publishing houses who have spoken of the difficulties that arise when draft chapters of new and revised textbooks are sent to both instructors of general psychology and content experts for their review of particular chapters. Instructors tend to want historical and classic material to be covered, whereas experts want the focus to be on cutting-edge research and new findings. Can we provide some guidance? Susan Dutch, Eric Charles, and Josephine Tan have expressed interest in serving on the task force. We need more members, especially those among you who belong to both divisions. Let me know if you can make time for this important project.
Best wishes to all faculty and students for a productive and interesting fall semester and to everyone for a happy and healthy autumn and winter. I'll be back in touch with you in six months or so to update you on the division's progress. Meanwhile, you know where to find me. I hope to hear from you.