Criminal Justice column

The new chair discusses the 2011 APA Convention experience, and the 2012 section goals

By Femina P. Varghese, PhD

First, I would like to thank Dr. Dawn Cisewski as well as the previous Criminal Justice (CJ) Section chairs (Dr. Jennifer Boothby, Dr. Robert Morgan, Dr. Steve Norton, and others). They have served this section well through their vision and hard work. Their leadership has also been recognized by the division as some have also served as past presidents for Division 18. Building on their work, I am honored to be given the baton to do my part to continue the development of the CJ section. I also look forward to serving alongside my colleague, Jon Mandracchia, PhD, who is the section secretary/treasurer.

It is a joy to serve under our current Division 18 President Linda Bodie, who I was able to formally meet at the CJ section business meeting at APA in August. The business meeting was energetic and we were able to discuss ideas such as expanding the current student representative program, attracting early career professionals, and offering CE credits to members. The meeting’s discussion was consistent with my goals for the term, which include 1) increasing membership; 2) developing community within our section; 3) fostering leadership development of younger members; 4) expanding member recognition; and 5) building on past efforts in offering CE credits to members.

To meet some of these goals I would like to announce the following:

  1. I am looking for a student representative for this section. So if there are any students who would like to serve the section as well as work closely with the Division Student Representative (Chris Romani) in expanding student involvement throughout the Division, please email me your CV and a cover letter expressing your interest. Each section of Division 18 is asked to find a student representative, and I hope to find one for our section soon. Feel free to invite students to apply if they are interested in this leadership opportunity.

  2. I am in the process of forming an ad-hoc committee of early career members to work with me and Jon to generate and implement innovative ideas for the section’s benefit and growth. I believe such a team would foster professional development and find ways to reach early career psychologists, a group that we have had difficulty in attracting and recruiting. Therefore, those interested in serving in such a capacity, particularly early career colleagues, please send a CV and cover letter to me.

  3. Finally, in evoking our shared interest in the CJ section, I am initiating what I call the E1 initiative (short for “Each One Reach One”). Basically, I am asking each member of our section to ask at least one other person to consider joining the CJ section. Our section has much to offer in terms of networking, mentoring, recognition, and opportunities for service, not to mention other tangible benefits like our journal. However, there has been a decline in membership in the past few years, not just in our section, but in the Division as a whole. I hope that together we can turn that around.

Thank you for taking the time to read this report. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or interest in becoming involved with the CJ section. I am always looking for interested volunteers, including students and senior members. I look forward to working with each of you.