In This Issue

The APA Science Directorate

Your interests and your science are well-served by the APA Science Directorate.

By J. Bruce Overmier, PhD

Are you familiar with the Science Directorate at APA? Its work is relevant to all Div. 3 members and is a big reason to join, and stay a member.

The Science Directorate is composed of psychological scientists and others with the knowledge, experience and commitment to effectively facilitate and represent psychological science. They work hard in Washington on behalf of psychological scientists nationwide, and their work benefits APA members and non-members alike when it comes to promoting psychological science. Their work is unparalleled among psychology organizations. Among the work that they do is government relations, working with federal funding agencies, the administration and Congress to highlight the importance and rigor of psychological science.

For example, the directorate sponsored a number of standing-room-only Congressional briefings on the Hill this past year including presentations on autonomous systems and the role of the human, the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study, and funding priorities at the National Institute of Mental Health. The directorate also contributed to an exhibition on Capitol Hill in defense of federally funded research that had been attacked as “wasteful” and routinely takes APA members to the Hill to meet with their congressional representatives to discuss their research. They provided advocacy training webinars for other APA divisions, such as Div. 9, (Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues), and would be happy to do so for Div. 3 if there is interest. 

The Science Directorate at APA also recognizes excellence in psychological science. In fact, two members of Div. 3 (Dedre Gentner and Kent Berridge) were among those recognized at the 2016 APA Convention for their work with the prestigious Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award managed by the Science Directorate.

The directorate also hosts a number of governance groups within APA, including the Board of Scientific Affairs, currently chaired by Bonnie J. Spring, a Div. 3 fellow; and groups focused on the effective and ethical conduct of psychological science, such as the Committee on Psychological Testing and Assessment; Committee on Animal Research Ethics and Committee on Human Research.

The Science Directorate is led by Howard Kurtzman, also a Div. 3 fellow, who is the acting executive director. Prior to joining the directorate in 2007, Kurtzman served as a program director overseeing grant funding for research in cognition at the National Institute of Mental Health. He also was on the faculty at Cornell, where he founded its undergraduate cognitive studies program.

He was recently joined in the Science Directorate by Amber Story, the new associate executive director for scientific affairs. Story brings 13 years of experience at the National Science Foundation (NSF), first as the director for Social Psychology program and then as the deputy director for the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences.  Before NSF, Story was on the faculty at the George Washington University and the University of South Carolina – Aiken. 

Your interests and your science are well-served by the APA Science Directorate.  Find out more on Twitter at @APAScience and sign up for the Psychological Science Agenda, the directorate’s monthly newsletter.  We hope to bring you news and updates from the Science Directorate in each of our newsletters, so stay tuned to Div. 3 newsletters for updates.