Outgoing Board Meeting Minutes

The August 2008 Board meeting minutes from the outgoing Board

August 2008, Boston

Present:  Frank Farley(Chair), Maureen O’Hara, David Lukoff, Louis Hoffman, Connie Fischer, Kathleen Wall, Susan Gordon, Katherine Stimoulus, Student Rep, April Metzler, Erik Craig, Art Lyons, Krishna Kumar, Sara Bridges, Brent Robbins, David Elkins, Miraj Desai, Scott Churchill (8:30), Ilene Serlin (9:00), Fred Wertz (Minutes). 

Approval of Minutes

The Minutes from the Executive Board Meeting at the Midwinter Conference were approved unanimously. 

President’s Report (Frank Farley)

Frank reported that the state of Society is strong, including its finances.  The theme of “Humanizing an Inhumane World,” adopted with Division of Media Psychology (46), combined Media and Humanism.  Krishna Kumar collaborated with APA Division 46 to create a mini-convention.  The events were extremely well attended, including the packed house for Noam Chomsky.  Although Noam’s wife was extremely ill, he agreed to engage in the scheduled conversation with Frank on phone from home—his cottage on Cape Cod.  Unfortunately, the convention hotel room’s acoustics left much to be desired. However, those who stayed felt the session was fabulous.   In total, there were 35 sessions sponsored by the Society at the APA Convention.  Frank noted the implicit connection between the Society’s theme and its mother organization by pointing out that if one flips the APA logo upside down, it is a peace symbol.   Norm Anderson, the CPO of APA, characterized the Society’s program, which also included Aron Beck, Raymond Fowler, Daniel Goldman, and Robert Sternberg, as “awesome.”  Frank recommended the Mini-Convention format as a good way to give the Society visibility in APA on an ongoing basis in future conventions.

President Elect Report (Maureen)

Maureen stated that she is looking forward to the coming year. She mentioned that she needs a new Hospitality Suite Chair.  Maureen is collaborating with Psychologists for Social Responsibility to propose a program to CODOPAR for the APA Convention in Toronto.  Plans are in the works to visit and collaborate with socially proactive organizations in Toronto and to bring experiences back into the conference so we can learn from what local organizations are doing.  The Midwinter Conference will be held in January, 2009 at National University.  We can network in the mid-winter meeting with colleagues in socially active organizations in San Diego, as preparation for the following August APA Convention in San Diego.  At that convention, these colleagues can participate in our programs.  There has been a conversation about uncoupling the psychotherapy conference from the APA Convention.  The question is when the psychotherapy conference should take place—Winter (January) or Spring (April)?  The University of the Rockies has volunteered to host it.  Maureen suggested planning to hold the psychotherapy conference in 2009.  This would allow us time to plan, and a 2 year cycle for a mid-winter psychotherapy conference might draw better attendance than an annual one.  Maureen proposed to hold the psychotherapy conference in October, 2009 with the University of the Rockies as host. Sara suggested adding to the survey conducted at the psychotherapy conference questions about attendees’ preferred time of year and about the location of a psychotherapy conference uncoupled from the Annual APA Convention.  Brent agreed that having a 2 year window to plan is best. 

A motion to hold our next psychotherapy conference in October 2009 at University of Rockies was unanimously approved.      

Treasurer’s Report (Sara Bridges)

Sara reported that the Society’s expenses are down, and income is up.  Consequently, significant improvement has transpired in the Society’s financial situation.  Prior to last year, the Society’s income was coming primarily from membership dues.  However, a substantial amount of income has been created through conferences and now the Society’s journal over the last year.  The additional conference funds were designated by the Board as restricted and were used to support the mid-winter conference.  Sara is still recommending to retain these funds in a “restricted” category because there is still no assurance whether, or how much of such funds can be counted on as regular annual income.  This year’s conference cost $18,000 for hotel and food expenses, and the proceeds of the conference covered these costs, bringing in a total of over $20,000.  The Continuing Education part of the conference brought in about $500.  The Society’s membership is down, and this is likely to diminish the income from dues, but final numbers, though still uncertain, are typically better than estimates in August.  For the purposes of a proposed budget, it was assumed that membership would hold constant.  The mid-winter executive board meeting is budgeted for $6,000.  The Society’s journal continues to be our largest expense.  Sara has been in contact with APA Council, Jesse Rabin, who at midwinter meeting agreed to help us with the renegotiation of the contract with the journal’s publisher, Taylor and Francis.  Jesse’s services are free from APA.  Jesse has delivered the promised help and the new contract with Taylor and Francis will be much improved over the previous one.  Taylor and Francis proposed an editor fee of $10,000 (which had been $1,000, reduced from $3,000).  Our guaranteed royalties went from $1,000 to $10,000.  The cost of living increase in journal subscription rates for the Society’s members was removed, and the contract was shortened to 7 years rather than 10.  The journal will have on-line review process, which costs $5000 but will be implemented free of charge.  APA Legal Council will keep all contract material in PDFs on file for the Society.  The Society got virtually everything that we have asked for.   

Sara deserves huge praise for spearheading the contract negotiations, collaborating with APA Council, and securing such a dramatically improved contract with our publisher.  Scott Churchill is also to be commended for his involvement in the negotiation process, and Jesse Rabin was invaluable.  The Society benefited Jesse’s placing our interests alongside half dozen other divisions who were working through contracts with Taylor and Francis as well as the publisher’s interest in building up its academic journal portfolio at this time.  Taylor and Francis, a huge publisher that has been trying to get APA journals, so it is a good time for us to have negotiated this contract.  We need to approve the contract, which begins in 2009.  Kathleen moved that the Society send a letter to Jesse, with a copy to APA President James Bray, thanking him for his responsiveness and excellent service.  

APA Accountants have been utilized in managing the Society’s finances.  They have been helping with investments, which are earning money for the Society.  Art Lyons reported that the $400 budgeted for the Leadership Conference will not be used.  April reported that the $600 cost for APA’s including the Hospitality Suite Program in the bags of all Annual Convention attendees was well worth it, judging from the attendance and response.  The Hospitality Suite is half the usual size and is twice the price, but better located than the Westin, which is far from the Convention.  Many divisions in the Westin have been unhappy with the accommodations.  April succeeded in soliciting contributions for the Hospitality Suite from academic institutions and publishers.  Sara suggested a projected budget line of $4000 (including the $600 for the printing and dissemination of the program) for the Hospitality Suite and affirmed the continuation of the Suite in future years. Sara has agreed to continue work in her position as treasurer through the APA conference before turning responsibilities over to David Elkins. 

The Treasurer’s Report and Proposed Budget were unanimously approved.

Psychotherapy Conference (Brent Robbins)

The psychotherapy conference spanned 3 days, attracted 85 attendees, often offered 4 simultaneous sessions, and included a well received buffet lunch.  Boston hotels consistently insisted on high food/drink minimums, and therefore the conference was expensive in comparison with last year’s.  The conference was held in Norwood, MA, and a shuttle was required.  David Cain negotiated a great fee for shuttle service.  The speakers were outstanding and diverse: experiential, research, and theoretical.  Brent suggested labeling each type of session in the program under these three rubrics in future.  Brent kept the reigns on extra spending in view of the $18,000 overhead.  Poster sessions were offered for students, and there were three.  This format brought in many students, who are comfortable with poster sessions.  In their evaluation of the conference, some conference attendees reported that the conference was so good that they will not attend APA in the future.  They particularly enjoyed the intensive 3 hour workshops and the opportunities to network and establish greater personal connections than us usually possible in a professional conference.  Attendees also reported that continuity over years, as would be afforded by annual conferences, is important to them.  Others reported that they continue to be committed to going to APA and do not anticipate attending both conferences every year. Board members felt that perhaps the psychotherapy conference could be decoupled from APA, offered at another time of year, and held at a university where there are abundant student volunteers.  Louis Hoffman spoke with well over half the conference attendees, and many favored a separate conference, though the academics seemed to want the conference paired with APA.  Even those who prefer the two conferences remaining together recognized that most would prefer it decoupled.  According to APA analyses, divisions that hold midwinter conferences are growing in numbers, so perhaps the psychotherapy conference could serve this function for the Society.  Many of the conference attendees were not Society members.  Brent, who did an amazing job, was congratulated and treated to a round of applause. 

Brent thanked Louis Hoffman for the students who helped.  Hearty thanks went to Brent’s spouse, April Robbins, who was a tremendous help.  Frank suggested that Brent take her to a great dinner on the Society.

Hospitality Suite (April Metzler)

April reported that the Suite’s revenue was $7,350, and there were about $3500 in donations.  The food expenditure was $1,000.  The book signing was well attended.  One way that the Society can increase support is though publisher sponsorship, which is generous ($500-1000 per).  We can solicit the help of authors by inviting them to request sponsorship from their publishers.  Louis reported that publishers are becoming more cautious because people buy books on-line so as not to have to travel with the extra weight. 

A motion to approve report was unanimously supported.

Jourard Student Paper Award (Scott Churchill)

Scott reported that there were fewer submissions this year than in previous ones. The award has been given for 14 years.  In early Fall, an announcement is sent to the executive committee, but there appears to be insufficient dissemination of word of this award among relevant professional colleagues.  Connie Fischer suggested that the various universities who support humanistic research should be notified.  ITP and Saybrook students submitted the most submissions, and Toledo and Fordham have some.  Connie reemphasized that the universities that have had prior winners should be notified.  Art suggested sending an announcement to APAGS. 

Journal (Scott Churchill)

Scott reported that special issues on Humanistic Psychotherapy (Erik Craig), Mindfulness (Belinda Khong & Chris Mruk), and Positive Psychology (Harris Freedman & Brent Dean Robbins) are forthcoming.  Submissions have been down and calls for papers from the first division conference have not yielded more than one or two submissions.  Chris Mruk has been added as a new Associate Editor.  New sections that have been added to the journal include Archives (to publish previously unpublished works by authors of interest), Book Reviews, and Memorials.  The University of Dallas has provided support ($2000) for an editorial assistant.  Scott is also successfully working the “epistemological diversity” handle with the Education Directorate, and has attended two of their Fall Education Leadership Conferences in Washington, which include visits to meet Congressmen on Capitol Hill.  While in Washington, Scott met with Science Directorate director Steve Breckler, who is open to qualitative research and has pledged that he will make our efforts more visible to APA.  Scott was invited to write something for the Science Directorate’s newsletter. Visibility within the APA directorates is crucial to Society’s APA presence and visibility. 

Convention Program (Krishna Kumar)

Krishna thanked Frank for being great to work with, commending his energy and vision.  The convention program is a line up of top quality presenters and symposia.  The program is good.  Krishna suggested that we increase our Continuing Education credit programs.  This year we submitted 4, and 2 were accepted. Brent suggested that applications, for instance, to clinical areas, are crucial for acceptance.  Frank congratulated Krishna and the group gave him a rousing round of applause. 

Council of Representatives (Art Lyons)

The World Health Organization came to APA and requested a full time psychologist to be involved in the revision of the International Classification of Disorders (ICD).  This was unanimously endorsed by APA’s Council. The diagnostic perspective utilized in the ICD focuses more on the social than does the DSM.  There is a paradox in ethical standards in that an ethics code may conflict with law, in which case APA has allowed members to bypass ethics code and follow law.  The ethics committee of the Council is concerned about the trumping of professional ethics by the law and will write a letter of protest to APA.  This initiative is in process.  APA is concerned that revenue from its licensing of journals for electronic distribution is jeopardized by granting agencies, which are requiring dissemination through other means.  Art presented the APA budget, which has a current deficit due to a shortfall in membership.  Some members refused to pay dues by way of a protest response to APA’s stance on torture.   

Frank Farley explained the unrepresentative nature of Council, which fails to represent members who do not also belong to divisions and state associations (over 51% of total APA membership).  Art remarked that his efforts to question the structure of Council have fallen on deaf ears. The initiative for a new Qualitative Inquiry division got 50% but needs 2/3 of council to pass.  It is unlikely to pass. Negotiation between the Qualitative group and APA Division 5 (Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation) is ongoing.  The measurement division proposes a more generic name, like “Methods,” but this does not reflect the interest of petitioners in the inclusion of philosophy of science and anti-positivist research methodologies.  James Bray has an initiative soliciting divisions’ donation of program hours (96 total) to a presidential mini-convention.  He would have a committee to decide the theme, with some mechanism for representation from divisions that donate hours.  Frank suggested that one hour might not be too much to donate.  Frank reported that James already has 50 hours and is pretty far from the 96 needed  for a mini-convention..   

Awards  (Kathleen)

Susan Gordon is the new Awards Chair.  Nominations are all due November 1: Buhler, Rogers, Maslow, and May Awards.  For 2008, the Maslow award goes to Franz Epting; the Rogers Award goes to Robert Elliot; Harari to Brent Dean Robbins and Mark Koltko-Rivera, Lifetime achievement awards (Mark Stern and Mike Arons.    For 2009, the Harari award will go to Alan Pope; May to Larry Leitner; Rogers to Peter Schmid; Buhler to York University (David Rennie).  Nominations for the awards are due by November 1, 2008.  For the lifetime achievement awards, the Society needs to specify procedures.  Frank suggested, based on a new fellow’s feedback, that we need better means of recognizing new fellows, e.g., in the Newsletter, online, and on the listserv.

Membership (Brent)

Brent reported that the Society is down in membership, but recruitment efforts were stepped up in June.  Since June we dropped the decrease from 13% to 8-9%.  In May and June, Brent worked hard to gain new members and as a consequence, some additional membership is expected.  Brent is using the preconvention psychotherapy conference as a good vehicle for recruiting new members.  The board discussed the strategy of offering free membership automatically with preconvention registration.  Ilene Serlin mentioned that APA is doing good data analysis of membership trends and is offering useful information and new procedures for prospective members wishing to join the Society.  This is related to new APA website technology initiative.  Brent suggested also that we make our website more attractive.  Tony Habash from APA is available for Society feedback on the Association’s website.  The Society looses about 150 students every year, as happens across all divisions of APA, because students graduate, or can’t afford APA membership.  Students are short term members, but it is important to find ways for them to continue as regular members.

Newsletter (Erik Craig)

Shawn Rubin, of the Michigan School of Professional Psychology, has agreed to become the newsletter editor.  Erik nominated Shawn Rubin for the position and Kevin Keenan for the position of managing editor.    

The board unanimously approved Shawn Rubin as the new newsletter editor and agreed that the editor would have the responsibility for assembling the staff, including the managing editor. 

The board recognized the need for a person to oversee the regular updating of the Society’s website in order to make sure it is current.   

Special Interest in Psychotherapy (Ilene Serlin)

David Elkin reported attendance of a psychotherapy workshop today at the Convention that was very impressive.  An international group of psychologists from Lesley University offered an excellent presentation. Leslie has graduate programs and conferences and is a good candidate to become a regular supporter and sponsor of the Society.  

Continuing Education (Louis Hoffman)

Louis reported that the Society has been approved to offer distance learning CE programs.  Financial risk and intensive administrative requirements are downsides.  Louis discussed alternative options for offering CE programs, including private organizations who provide the on-line forum.  This approach saves administrative resources but does incur significant costs, e.g., $600.  Such CE programs remain online for over a year.  One CE program is targeted to be ready in January, 2009.  Maureen suggested that we need a careful analysis of the costs and benefits of the various alternatives.  We need to be assured that the effort put into CE by our Society, including the presenters, is sufficiently compensated by the revenue.  The Society’s CE programs are a source of income and a service, so it is important to have understanding of alternatives.  Sara agreed that it is best not to rush into it and to make sure that the realization of this objective is successful.