Div. 20 mentoring subcommittee report

Help us create your academic genealogy tree.

By David Chiriboga, PhD, and Yaritza Carmona

As many readers know, the Div. 20 family tree has been up and running for about a year now. We began by working with a 1992 document entitled "The Academic Lineage of Div. 20: An Intergenerational History." This work, presented at the centennial meeting of the APA, was authored by Elizabeth A. L. Stine, Jennifer Ruh and Jennifer Hindman. The presentation was based on a survey that asked Div. 20 members to list those who were influential in their career development. For each mentor, the authors traced who the listed mentor’s mentor was, etc., going back as far as possible.

This effortful endeavor resulted in an intriguing document that traces Div. 20 members’ heritage back to some eminent figures in the annals of psychology. People like Wilhelm Wundt, E.B. Titchner, William James and James Birren. Your mentoring subcommittee, however, has identified one problem with the compatibility with the current software program. That program asks for information that doesn’t necessarily relate one-to-one with the information presented in the 1992 document. Specifically, instead of just asking who was influential (who could be someone whose book you read, etc.), the current program asks for:

  • Who were your academic parents (mentors, plus university at which mentoring took place, dates and whether you were a graduate student at the time, research assistant, etc.)?
  • Who are your academic children (mentees, university at which mentoring took place, years, your role)?
  • Who are your collaborators (names, where they are or where located at the time, dates)?

The program also allows you to enter your work history, areas of interest and even grants if you wish.

In reviewing 1992 information and current information that has more recently been provided by Div. 20 members, we realize that at times the information does not match or is incomplete. Hence, we are urging everyone to check if information about you has already been added. The procedure for checking your name is relatively simple: go to the Academic Family tree website. You can enter your name in the search panel, on the right side under the site logo, as a means of determining whether you exist on the tree. If you do not or if there is an error or missing information, there are two ways in which the information could be added:

  • First, register (create an account) and enter your information yourself. 
  • Second, send the information noted above to Dave Chiriboga and the subcommittee. They can then enter the information themselves. This method might actually be the most efficient way of getting the data entered. If you do this, you might also note if there are any errors, if you are already listed and add any information you might have on mentors of mentors, as far back as possible.

As an update, currently there are over 500 members of the overall host, Neurotree, who list gerontology as an interest area and about 20 new members of the Div. 20 section have been added in the last six months. To give you an idea of how an entry might look, please take a look at this sample page from the website. Again, provision of that kind of information, on our academic grandparents, would be much appreciated.