Diversity Task Force Report: August 2010
The complexity of the concept of diversity was addressed primarily in the following pragmatic manner. There are two general goals we can set for the Division related to diversity and various groups fall more or less naturally under one of these two goals.
A. Increasing Numbers: There are certain constituencies that we need to increase if we are to remain alive (literally) as an organization. In other words, we need to increase the number and proportion of graduate students, early career professionals, institute candidates and early career academics in the Division. If we do not attract younger colleagues our organization will atrophy
B. Increasing Visibility: There are other constituencies that we need to increase if we are to remain vital as an organization. In other words we need to be open and inviting to colleagues from diverse racial, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds, and sexual identities.
Obviously there is considerable overlap between the two groups and the two goals but as a pragmatic issue, for example, we are only going to be in a position to measure the increased numbers and proportion of younger colleagues in the Division, for example, and our success in making the Division more accessible to other colleagues will have to rely upon less clear metrics. This division also has the merit of making clear the two broad strategies that the DTF will recommend. We conclude that the concrete goal of increasing the number of members, especially members from diverse backgrounds (specifically those groups represented by our committee structure) falls to an expanded vision of our Membership Committee and its need to take the lead in a variety of ways to increase diversity in our membership.
We recommend that the Membership Committee take the lead in developing improved strategies for attracting potential members, helping members find a “home” in the Division and retaining their interest and support. This effort will also need to involve the active support of the committees, especially the “constituency” committees: Multicultural Concerns, Sexualities and Gender Identities, Graduate Student, Early Career, and Candidates. Another important group that can assist are the Liaisons to APA Divisions.
The recommendations include:
A. Developing improved promotional materials to distribute and have a strategy for distributing these materials on a regular basis. Key members of the Division, for example, could regularly help promote Division membership by having brochures and other information available to distribute.
B. Keep clear records of membership renewals and develop a strategy for contacting those who do not renew. While much of this can be automated, especially as we get better information from APA, it will be important to follow-up through personal contact when indicated. This is where the other committees could collaborate by taking responsibility for “their” members. The yearly calls from board members might also include a “membership” component by thanking members for belonging and encouraging them to ask questions concerning the Division.
C. Contact new members personally to assess their interest and direct them to possible sources of interest and help in the Division. This is especially true for the constituencies described above, let’s call them the “young” and the “diverse.” If someone has identified that they belong to a particular constituency, a member of that committee could follow up and make contact to welcome the person to the Division.
There are three broad venues to consider in developing more focused outreach to new members:
A. “Cold Calls:” There are multiple ways that we can attract possible new members through members who talk at non-Division conferences, and so on. One of the most important, however, would be the redevelopment of the web site to make it more attractive and informative to potential members by having specific areas devoted to information about what the Division has to offer its members. Of course, regular notices to local chapter members, 2,000 of who are not Division members, should be a good source of recruits.
B. Spring Meeting: This is the most natural place to focus resources, e.g., by having a Membership Table in the registration area where new members can receive a ribbon identifying them, where committee members with ribbons that identify them as helping new members (actually all new attendees) can make a personal connection, where a “welcome packet” can be provided and so on. We could offer help with such issues as PEP-WEB sign up as well as general orientation to the Division. We could have early morning (or midday) coffee and cake to help new members/new attendees feel more comfortable at the meeting.
C. August Convention: This is where the Program and Steering Committees could help in developing programs that would appeal to nonmembers, especially graduate students, and we could “capture” interest and enthusiasm. Liaisons to APA Divisions could engage in outreach during the meetings. We also need to revive the idea that liaisons are part of a Division Committee and to better define and develop their role and activities. Joint receptions and award presentations that might have an appeal outside our membership would also be a way to attract new members.
1. Another related idea has to do with our members who belong to other Divisions. We might obtain lists of members who belong to various Divisions and engage them in helping us to engage these constituencies in helpful ways. For example, Division member who are also Division 44 members have been very helpful in developing a more positive image for psychoanalysis among their members. This could be done in a number of other Divisions as well.
While these ideas call for increased activity and resources for the Membership Committee, the DTF also recommends that all the “constituency” committees maintain a liaison relationship with the committee and be able to divide up the tasks needed to attract and support new members.
The simplest way to put it is that we would hope that every member of the Division would be able to find a “home” with us, to be able to walk into a meeting or reception and to find “someone who looks like them” in the room. The issue of inclusion and exclusion, of course, is not easily addressed. There can be no “welcome” without some reciprocation. And sometimes to be welcomed means that you have to put forth some interest. Our Division is going to remain overwhelmingly white and, shall we say, senior for a long time to come; and many of us white seniors had to spend our time on the margins of Division groups for a long time as well. We can do some things, however and the following suggestions will be addressed through three venues:
A. Publications: The editors of our publications (journal, review, newsletter and Internet) should make efforts to have diversity reflected in their editorial boards/ committees, contributors, and content of articles. The Internet services, in particular, would be an important way to develop interactive media, blogs, discussion forums, etc., that could include diversity issues as an important element of our services. Early career members would benefit from mentoring and advice for developing private practice, graduate students would benefit from having internship and postdoctoral training advice.
B. Spring Meeting: The Program and Steering Committees would benefit from having help and support from the constituency committees serving as liaisons in determining both content of programs as well as possible presenters to include issues of diversity. There could be a greater emphasis upon collegiality throughout the meetings, by abandoning the raised dais and having participants and presenters sit at the same level. There could be a greater commitment from our senior members to attend panels and contribute to discussion. The discussion section of the meetings could be much more emphasized and members who had a commitment to engage and include all participants in a comfortable atmosphere could lead those discussions. As noted earlier, having ribbons to identify new members, new attendees, and “Ask Me” to identify those who would help them negotiate the maze of the panels would build connections. Committee members, including Graduate Student Committee members would be the source of these “ambassadors” who would help guide and mentor new attendees. Receptions might be better structured to ensure that new members are introduced. Once again, it is important for the Division “stars” to see these venues as places to engage and respond to the interest and enthusiasm of new members rather than see the receptions as part of an “ingroup” experience.
C. August Meetings: The Program and Steering Committees should consider developing activities that would appeal to 1) graduate students, and 2) nonmembers. Also, our programs should emphasize research and perhaps engage other Division leaders in discussion and indeed debate about the nature of evidence and the definition of science. For better or worse, we have not been attracting our “regular” members, either as presenters or participants, and it might be best to use the meetings explicitly to build bridges to other constituents or components of APA. For example, we might set aside a full day of programming for joint programs with another Division and then hold a joint reception with that Division. As noted, we might develop awards that would appeal outside the Division. Although Divisions such as Division 45 (Ethnic Minority) would be important, others, such as Divisions 50 (Addictions) and 56 (Trauma) have members that have some affinity for psychoanalytic ideas and collaboration builds improved relationship with all of APA.
We discussed the issue of diversity of our board and committees and we have one suggestion that may be evident from the above, which is that we encourage all committees to develop liaison relationships with the other committees to bring issues of diversity to the table. We have the commitment to have graduate student representation on every committee; but this should be extended to all the “diversity’ committees.
Given the needs of the committees and the bylaws the restrict membership on committees, it is not possible or necessary to have every committee have someone from its constituency in every committee. There should instead be an active effort of all committee to seek information and support from other groups without the need to specific numbers. The current bylaws place a limit of six members for most committees. Although this limit makes sense in terms of keeping the work and communication lines clear in committees, the DTF recommends that exception be made to allow members to participate in committee work without becoming formal members, especially when they bring important perspectives to the work of the committees.
The president is charged with considering issues of diversity in appointing committee chairs and members.
We explored the issue of a “diversity seat” on the Division Board and came to the conclusion that this was not worth pursuing at this time.
To some extent we should be able to eventually develop clear idea of our level of success in attracting and retaining graduate student, and early career members. That is, we will be able to count the numbers. By tweaking the system, we will be able to add candidates and academics to the database. We may have a rough idea of our success by measuring increases in members who also belong to certain other Divisions but I do not anticipate or believe we should be counting membership by racial or sexual identity. What we need especially for these members, although this includes all members, is to work on making every member know they can find a place in this Division. This will not be easy to measure, although it may be something that could be considered in the future.
We do not propose the establishment of a Diversity Committee, but there may be a need for a review of this report and its implementation in two years. We suggest that the president of the Division maintain a dialogue with the chairs of the committees that contributed to this task force (that is, SGI, ECP, Candidates, Multicultural, and Graduate Student).
Tanya Brown, Early Career Professionals
Dennis Debiak, Division Secretary
Heather-Ayn Indelicato, Graduate Student
Tamara McClintock Greenberg, Board Member
Bill MacGillivray, President elect
Ken Maguire, Sexualities and Gender Identities
Sanjay Nath, Early Academic Task Force
Heather Pyle, Candidates
Usha Tummala-Narra, Multicultural Concerns
Kris Yi, Multicultural Concerns
Marilyn Charles, Early Career
Tanya Cotler, Graduate Student
Mary Beth Cresci, President
Devon King, Membership
Scott Pytluk, Sexualities and Gender Identities
Jonathan Slavin, Graduate Student