Div. 20 Council of Representatives report

Council representatives report on the August 2017 meeting.

By Patricia A. Parmelee, PhD, and Susan Krauss Whitbourne, PhD

Facing the Div. 20 Council of Representatives (COR) at the August meeting were a number of executive actions as well as the approval of several guidelines and reports. A considerable amount of time was spent in small-group breakout sessions intended to provide a preliminary hearing on what APA might do regarding masters level training programs. Additionally, questions were raised late in the second meeting of council stemming from the work of the Diversity Task Force.

In executive session, Attorney Deanne Ottaviano gave an update on actions against APA regarding independent review. Further action was expected to depend on court rulings issued later in August. In other business, Ottaviano also counseled council on the limits of appropriate discussion of the issue of master’s level training in psychology, in terms of compliance with antitrust guidelines.

There was a report from the civility workgroup that was formed on the basis of prior interactions on the floor of council as well as on the listserv. Council voted to adopt proposals of the work group that included appointing civility representative to the listserv and that council leadership team and board designate civility ambassadors for board and council listservs. These ambassadors will send annual reminders about civility rules and provide constructive feedback to those who cross the line. The vote in favor of these motions passed by a large majority.

In-depth small-group and all-COR discussion addressed policy issues, guild issues and financial implications of master’s level training in psychology. The primary impetus for this appears to be efforts on the part of CACREP (Counsel on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs) to position itself as the key accrediting organization and to structure master’s level training programs to require instruction solely by graduates of CACREP-accredited programs. There was general agreement that it is time that APA take a formal stance on master’s level training, including implications for licensure. Recommendation that APA staff and governance take measures to identify and explore options for dealing with this issue passed resoundingly.

A series of motions regarded changes to bylaws, largely to move decision-making authority from membership (a notorious minority of whom actually vote on such ballots) to council. Items regarding decisions about divisional dues assessment (the two dollar reduction for division membership) and dues exemption for life-time membership status passed. This makes no immediate changes. Rather, membership will next vote on whether to accept these changes in bylaws. Div. 20 has a vested interest in the dues exemption for lifetime members. This is an issue we should monitor closely, should the proposed change to bylaws be passed by membership vote.

An item requiring divisions to consult with APA Central Office, starting with Division Services and moving through the organization at their discretion, before publishing policy and position statements was passed.

A presentation on transparency of APA governance reviewed issues of publicizing votes, ready availability of minutes and financial information and communication with constituents and the general public.

There was a brief but heated debate stimulated by the report of the Council Diversity Work Group, which had recommended policy and procedure shifts, changes in participation and representation and diversity training and cultural shifts within council and APA. The goal of these activities is to make greater strides in promoting the greater inclusion of diversity issues and the promotion of psychological health for racial and ethnic minority communities within the business of the council. The report will require greater review and analysis by the board and CLT, as implementation measures are considered.

Council also adopted as APA policy the following guidelines: 

  • Multicultural Guidelines: An Ecological Approach to Context, Identity and Intersectionality.
  • Guidelines for Education and Training in Consulting Psychology/Organizational Consulting Psychology.
  • The Guidelines for Education and Training in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

Council adopted as APA policy the following resolutions: 

  • Resolution Affirming Support for Research and Teaching with Nonhuman Animals.
  • Resolution on Palliative Care and End of Life Issues.
  • The Resolution on Assisted Dying. 

Notably, the renewal of geropsychology as a specialty in psychology was also unanimously approved.

In the coming months, ballots will be sent to council members for the upcoming board and committee elections. If you are on one of these ballots, please consider reaching out to us for help in completing the various caucus endorsement forms in which candidates can express their positions and request caucus endorsements. If you have any other thoughts on issues raised on council or in APA more generally, we encourage you to get in touch with us.