In This Issue
APA Council updates
By Larry A. Alferink, PhD, and Kurt Salzinger, PhD
APA Council of Representatives met on Feb. 23-26, 2012 in Washington, D.C. Council has been the “Good Governance Project” to consider ways to help council work more effectively and to perhaps restructure council to make it more representative as 50 percent of APA members are not represented on council except through the APA President. To begin this process, council spent Thursday morning operating in smaller groups brainstorming on the future of technology in APA in relation to education, practice, public interest and science.
A number of items were approved on the consent agenda. Among these were the elimination of billing for back year dues for members, a new journal for Division 54 on practices and service delivery in pediatric psychology, revision of the APA Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in the Care and Use of Non-Human Animals in Research and the Guidelines for Preparing High School Psychology Teachers. Also approved was a request for funding for the revision of the Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major (PDF, 334KB) and a motion changing the structure of the board of educational affairs to allow the seating of a high school or community college teacher affiliate.
We also heard a report for the CEO, approved a budget for 2012 and a financial forecast for 2012-2014. Council also reviewed a report on employee contracts and staff compensation. APA is in good financial shape at the present time, with budget surpluses for the last three years. The Building at 10G is 100 percent leased and APA renegotiated the debt on that building at a very favorable rate.
There were also several items that proved somewhat controversial and drew considerable discussion. A proposal to restrict the ability of former APA Presidents to run again for office was approved. The specific proposal would have required that a period of at least ten years must elapse between the end of their terms as Past-President and their ability to again appear on the Presidential Ballot. An amendment to ban former Presidents from ever appearing on the ballot failed and discussion focused on the fact that only two individuals have every served a second terms as APA President and both cases occurred early in the history of APA when the Association was very small. These individuals argued that the election of someone to a second term is one that we are unlikely to face. Some former Presidents noted that the Office is very demanding and they couldn’t imagine very many people that would be willing to run again. Likewise, some argued that the motion was fundamentally undemocratic and that if the membership for some reason wanted to vote for someone to serve a second term, they should be allowed to do so. Ultimately, motion was approved and will be submitted to the members for a vote as it would be an amendment to the Bylaws. Curiously, Council agreed to include pro and con statements, even though the history is that doing this is correlated by an amendment being defeated!
There also was a motion to eliminate the dual membership discount for CPA members, a motion in line with recent council action to eliminate the dual discount for APA members that belong to other organizations in behavioral science (e. g., ABAI or APS). CPA members would have the option of regular APA membership or becoming International Affiliates, a class that would in fact have even lower dues, but fewer benefits. Members of some provincial organizations noted how critical APA membership was for the survival of their associations and others noted the long history of this cooperative relationship with CPA. This motion was also defeated.
Finally, APAGS had proposed a new Journal on Translational Issues in Psychological Science, co-sponsored with APA, to be published under the Educational Publishing Foundation program. There was strong support from many members of Council for the APAGS proposal. However, others questioned whether having graduate students serving as the Associate Editors of the journal was a wise use of their time and argued that students would be better served by spending their time in other ways. While many thought an APA journal on translational research was a good idea and complimented the students for bringing this idea forward, concerns were expressed about whether any of the topics the students suggested actually met the NIH definition of translational research. The students agreed to add several senior faculties as editors in addition to the senior person that would serve as editor-in-chief. Ultimately, the journal was approved.
Council voted to restructure dues payments, including changing the age at which members, who were members for at least 29 years (instead of 25 years) to become dues-exempt at age 69 years of age instead of 65. As you all know by this time, that change needed to be approved by the entire membership but was defeated by the recent membership vote.
Council approved the requirement that resolutions to be voted on include scientific findings or other forms of data related to them.
The APA Annual Convention has been studied extensively and its structure modified to reduce the overall size (thus reducing the number of competing presentations) while increasing cross-cutting themes. Because psychologists of many different kinds constitute the APA, this provides us all with an opportunity to work together with psychologists with whom we might not otherwise work. These changes will be implemented slowly over three years beginning in the 2014 APA Convention.
Council voted to adopt as APA policy a resolution on advocacy for psychology as a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) discipline, and instructed the CEO to develop a plan of action with budgetary implications to support it. This came in reaction to the fact that psychology has in the past too often been excluded from funding and participation that it might otherwise have received as a recognized science. This is a very important development in APA’s work in the area of science of psychology and should be followed up by our representative.
Council adopted a budget including operational revenues of $106,160,000, of operational expenses of $106,104,000, yielding an operational margin of $56,000.
This past meeting has been my last council meeting as representative of Division 25. I want to thank the division for the privilege of having served in this position. My best wishes to my successor.