Frank C. Worrell, PhD: Nominee for Council Representative 1

Meet and learn about the candidate Frank C. Worrell, running for Division 16 Council Representative 1

Frank C. Worrell, PhD: Nominee for Council Representative 1I am writing to ask for your support and vote to serve as a member of the Council of Representatives representing Division 16. Members of the Council can be elected for two consecutive terms, and I am in the final year of my first term. During my time in Council, I have tried to be an active voice and positive presence for school psychology issues, and Beth Doll and I (with able assistance from Tammy Hughes) succeeded in convincing the APA Council to support the continued use of the title, school psychologist, by non-doctoral practitioners who have been granted a credential with that title by their states in the 2010 Model Licensure Act.

However, I have been actively involved in service to school psychology and to Division 16 for the past 12 years. I have served as the Chair of Division 16’s Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs and Vice President for Education, Training, and Scientific Affairs; I was the Division’s President in 2007 and am currently completing my first term representing the Division on the APA Council of Representative as mentioned previously. I have also represented the Division at meetings of APA’s Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs, Board of Scientific Affairs, and Board of Educational Affairs. Additionally, I have served on APA’s Committee on Division-APA Relations, Committee on Psychological Tests and Assessment, and Board of Educational Affairs, and I am currently a member on a Presidential Task Force on Educational Disparities and a member of the Joint Committee tasked with revising the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing as well as one of APA’s liaisons to the Standards committee. Although these latter appointments were not made by Division 16 , my service allows me to bring the unique perspective of Division 16 and school psychology to the deliberations of these groups.

Position Statement

As I have argued in many venues, school psychology is an important constituency within APA for several reasons. First, we are the only specialty that has the school as a major focus—whereas educational psychology is focused primarily on research, school psychology is focused on research, practice, and the interaction between the two in service of teaching and learning. School psychology is also unique because we stand at the nexus between psychology and education; we span the intersection of clinical and psycho-educational practice; we manage the paradox of dealing with and responding to psychopathology alongside promoting psychological well being, in keeping with the thrust of positive psychology. School psychologists understand that competence in reading, writing, and arithmetic are important to public health goals alongside behavioral, social, and emotional competence. Third, school psychologists must maintain their professional identity as psychologists in places where the primary power brokers are educators, many of whom have little knowledge of psychology. School psychologists must be able to function effectively in the complex interacting systems of classrooms, schools, and districts. We diagnose and intervene with academic, behavioral, social, and emotional concerns, consult with teachers and administrators and parents, provide counseling services and therapy, and work with students, teachers, parents, administrators, and outside agencies. We assess system functioning and provide inservices to teachers and interventions at the classroom and building level. In short, school psychologists have a unique knowledge base that no other psychology or education professionals possess.

In the current climate of increased pressures from accrediting bodies, increased calls for accountability by education agencies, and professional psychology’s increased focus on alignment with other health service professions, school psychology will benefit from an advocate who understand these intersections and APA and can help the Division successfully navigate the churning waters. We are the smallest and least visible group of professional psychologists, and it is important to have a representative who can communicate effectively with our peers in clinical, counseling, and industrial/organizational psychology, as well as our colleagues in the science divisions, all of whom command larger voting blocks that we do. It is important for school psychology to have a voice that is cordial and cooperative, but also clear about what school psychology is and is not. I have tried to be that voice over the course of my first term on Council, and receiving a Presidential Citation from Melba Vasquez who chaired the MLA task force suggests that I have had some success in this regard.

In APA’s 2009 Presidential Summit on the Future of Psychology Practice, there was a growing recognition in the other specialties that prevention—something that has long been an integral part of school psychology practice—is important, and that schools provide a unique opportunity for prevention and early intervention. I was able to join a group representing other specialties and training council and elaborate on school psychology’s unique and important traditions (see Eby et al. [2011] in Training and Education in Profession Psychology, 5, 57-68).

I have been privileged to serve Division 16 for several years, and am honored to be nominated as a Division candidate for a second term on the Council of Representatives. It is in this arena, where APA policy is decided that the broader constituency of APA gets to interact with Division 16 and see what the Division stands for. It is important to have council members who know the division and the APA structure, as knowledge of both of these constituencies is critical in advocating for children, youth, families, and more broadly, psychology in school settings. Division 16 and its members have made important contributions to psychology and to APA over the years, and I ask for the opportunity to assist the Division in continuing to do so by serving a second term on the Council of Representatives.

Additional Information

When I am not serving Division 16, I am Professor and Director of the School Psychology program at the University of California—Berkeley. My research interests focus on the psychosocial development of adolescents in several populations, including academically talented youth, African American youth, and at-risk youth. I am particularly interested in the relationship between psychosocial variables and academic achievement, and my research focuses on several constructs, including racial identity, ethnic identity, and time perspective. Thanks for your attention.