In This Issue

Presidential plans and initiatives for 2017-18

Enhancement of infrastructure and increasing support for students and Early Career Psychologists are two of my primary goals.

By Linda Richardson, PhD

Linda Richardson, PhDGreetings! Thank you for entrusting the leadership of the division to me for the coming year. I am honored to be your president and I am committed to working hard to meet the needs of the division and its membership. We have an outstanding group of leaders on our Executive Committee (EC) who are also working for you. Please let us know how we can help.

My two goals for the year are to enhance our infrastructure through job descriptions for all the positions in our division and to establish a permanent fund to provide support for students and early career psychologists.

At this time, we have rough drafts of the job descriptions for all division positions. During the coming year, I will be working with the presidential trio to standardize the format and make sure that the detail is sufficient for someone unfamiliar with the positions to have a clear understanding of their job duties and the time involved.

For some time there has been interest among division leaders in looking at ways to provide funding to students and ECPs for professional activities such as research and conference attendance. Since the division has a healthy bank balance, in large part due to the income from our journal, there have been discussions about establishing a permanent fund for this purpose. Such a fund would ensure ongoing support and would provide a legacy for the division. One option is to establish such a fund through American Psychological Foundation as several divisions have done. We have consulted with most of these divisions and obtained their feedback. Alternatively, a fund could be set up at a financial institution such as a bank or investment company, though such an arrangement would require considerable oversight from the division. Money to establish a fund would likely come from the division and from fundraising. While there seems to be general agreement on setting up such a fund, the details have yet to be worked out. This issue remains on the agenda for upcoming EC meetings. My hope is to reach agreement regarding how to proceed with establishing a fund by APA 2018. More to come.

Just before the EC meeting, Abigail Tucker, PsyD, our Continuing Education (CE) chair, was notified that our application to be an APA CE sponsor was approved for five years. Many thanks to the folks who put in long hours on the application and the required revisions to make this happen.

On Oct. 7, the EC group met via conference call for the first time since the 2017 APA convention. Highlights of the meeting were: 

  • Planning for a vote on two proposed bylaw changes: separating the roles of secretary and treasurer, and adding an ECP member to the EC team.
  • Finalizing our mission statement to encompass the diversity of interests in our membership.
  • Investigating cloud storage options for archiving division documents because we have had no means of archiving most documents to date.
  • Exploring the hiring of paid staff for specific division tasks, such as managing the website.

Recruiting and retaining members continues to be a vital concern of the EC team. Two recruitment strategies were discussed: offering a free division membership for one year to new graduates and a graduated dues structure for ECPs. Both strategies have been tried by other divisions. We hope to obtain feedback from these divisions regarding the success of these strategies in retaining members before voting on them. Section chairs, cluster chairs, committee chairs and our APA council reps provided reports on the recent activities in their areas. Each section, cluster and committee chair has identified two goals for the coming year. These goals will serve as a focus for the group’s activities. Dave Pilkey, our treasurer, reported that our division finances are strong. Due to this surplus in funds, division leadership has been thinking about the best ways to invest this money. Our annual budget will be reviewed and refined later this year. Lisa Kearney, a member of the journal’s editorial board, discussed upcoming special topic packages and solicited ideas for future packages. 

In summary, our division is flourishing. Our sections are active, more students and ECPs are involved in section and division activities, we are enhancing our educational opportunities through webinars which can offer continuing education credit, advocacy is a growing interest among members, and we continue to engage in long term planning for our division. We are always looking for members who want to get involved in our section and division activities. Just ask.

I welcome your feedback on what we are doing well and what we could do better.