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2013 Div. 16 highlights

The division continues with initiatives related to membership, governance and our many stakeholders.

By Vincent C. Alfonso

It is almost inconceivable to me that 2013 is nearly over and that my year as president of the division will end as well. I suppose there is at least some truth to the cliché that time seems to move faster and faster as we age! In this, my last president's column, I want to thank the membership for their support during the year. Corresponding with various members via e-mail, in person, or on the phone has been very valuable and much appreciated. In addition, I want to recognize the Executive Committee (EC) members of the division for their tireless work in realizing our goals in 2013. Anyone who is an officer in a volunteer organization knows how much time, energy, and commitment is involved in serving. Please join me in recognizing and thanking the following individuals who served on the EC this past year: Amanda Clinton, Jim DiPerna, Beth Doll, Cathy Fiorello, Jessica Hoffman, Shane Jimerson, Stacy Overstreet, Linda Reddy, David Shriberg, Amanda Sullivan, Amanda VanderHayden, and Frank Worrell. I also recognize and thank Rosemary Flanagan and Greg Macheck, editor and associate editor of The School Psychologist (TSP), respectively for their tenacious efforts in maintaining TSP as one of the best newsletters in APA as well as Jennifer Cooper president of the Student Affiliates of School Psychology (SASP) for her hard work, dedication, and positive demeanor.

In the paragraphs that follow I provide a brief outcome of each goal that was set at the division mid-winter meeting that took place in Washington, DC on January 24-25, 2013 at APA headquarters. I hope that you find the outcomes informative and valuable.

Continue the strategic plan that was developed several years ago to advance science, practice, and policy for school psychology.

One of the major initiatives of the division with respect to advancing science, practice, and policy was the creation of working groups. There are four working groups, namely, Globalization of School Psychology, Social Justice and Child Rights, Translation of Science to Practice and Policy, and Mental Health in the Schools. At the 2013 APA convention, members of each group presented progress reports on their work as part of the president's symposium. I thank Sissy Hatzichristou, Stuart Hart, Susan Forman, Jim DiPerna and Stacy Overstreet for their leadership of these working groups.

Continue to become more integral participants in APA via elections to boards and committees (APA governance).

The EC reached out to the division membership requesting volunteers to be nominated for various APA boards and committees or to become active leaders in the division. This effort was led by president-elect Linda Reddy as chair of the division's Governance Committee. I am delighted to report that 12 members responded to Linda's outreach. Several individuals appeared on board and committee slates, attended consolidated meetings, and participated in other APA activities. In addition, the division will have a third council representative in 2013, namely Tammy Hughes, thanks to all the votes in support of the division! There is no better way to influence the governance of APA than having multiple council representatives and we will be fortunate to have three in 2014.

Increase membership.

In 2013 we engaged in a membership campaign under the leadership of Vice President for Membership, Jessica Hoffman, and Membership Chairperson of SASP, Cait Hynes. The division reached out to past members to encourage them to consider rejoining the division and taking advantage of all that the division has to offer. In addition, we continued to offer free membership for first-time members. As of May 2013, there were 2,148 members in the division representing a 40% increase since 2012. In addition, the division formed an Early Career Psychologists working group to assist in making the division relevant to new psychologists and to ensure that SASP affiliates become full members after they graduate.

Increase communication within the EC and within the division.

The mantra of the division in 2013 was communication! During the year, the Presidents' Committee comprised of the president, past-president, and president-elect engaged in regular conference calls to discuss issues, concerns, initiatives, and strategies. In addition, we began regular announce-only e-mail blasts to inform all division members of the good work that is happening in the division.

Continue to develop our excellent Web site and what we can offer members via the site.

The division Web site (http://www.apa.org/about/division/div16.aspx) is simply the best source of information about what is happening in the division. I strongly encourage you to take a look and learn. If you have feedback for us, please do not hesitate to contact us at your convenience.

Continue to involve and integrate students in the division via SASP.

SASP has become more involved in the division's activities and we have integrated students in the division more so than ever before as several students volunteered to become members of the division's working groups. I believe that we have one of the best student affiliate groups in APA thanks to the dedication, motivation, and competence of our student leaders. I expect SASP to be more involved in the division in the future.

Maintain presence on the School Psychology Leadership Roundtable (SPLR).

I attended meetings or participated in conference calls of the SPLR on a regular basis. As you may recall, this “roundtable” includes several other school psychology groups whose primary focus at this time is the Affordable Care Act. We continue to be eager to see and hear how this act will affect school psychologists and of course the children and adolescents we serve.

Communicate with future leaders of the division the strategic plan and initiatives that have been in place for the past five to seven years and plan for the future.

The EC made concerted efforts to ensure that future leaders are aware of the initiatives that have been in place for several years. The past presidents of the division have communicated the strategic plan with members via emails, the website, and TSP . Several current and former EC members ran for different elected positions in the division and in APA for continuity and consistency. Our Governance Committee communicated regularly with interested individuals about the direction of the division.

Additional Highlights
  • We invested division funds with Ameriprise so that we could increase our assets to realize future goals. As of this writing, our investment is paying off.
  • After two attempts, our specialty definition was approved by APA Council.

In closing, it has been an honor and pleasure to serve you as president this past year. I look forward to serving you as past-president in 2014 by supporting incoming president Linda Reddy and incoming president-elect Jim DiPerna. I hope to see many of you at the 2014 APA Annual Convention in Washington, D.C., and wish you all the best in your personal and professional endeavors.