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Business Meeting Minutes

Business minutes from August 8, 2009 meeting in Toronto

Business Meeting Minutes
Society for Humanistic Psychology (APA Division 32)
Convention Center, Toronto
August 8, 2009

Board Members Present: Maureen O’Hara, Sara Bridges, Susan Gordon, Shawn Rubin, Louis Hoffman, Brent Robbins, Scott Churchill, David Rennie, Frank Farley, and Fred Wertz (Minutes).

President’s Introductory Remarks (Maureen O’Hara)
Maureen extended greetings to all in attendance and warmly welcomed the membership to the business meeting.  Maureen recounted the discussions of reports at the Executive Committee Meeting and announced that all reports will be listed on the website.  Paper copies of the Treasurer’s Report were distributed.  Scott Churchill was invited to report on the Program, Louis and Brent on the upcoming conference, and Shawn and Brent on the Society’s publications.  Maureen mentioned that there has been no activity on the Fellows committee this year and expressed hopes that next year will yield new fellows in the Society.  Maureen announced that the oil can will be passed to our incoming president, Sara Bridges, later in the meeting and that Sara will talk about her projects for the coming year.  Maureen expressed her sentiment that it has been a great honor to be president of the Society during the past year and that the experience has culminated in a successful convention program.  Every session at this APA convention reminded her why this division is her home in APA.  She commended the Society for its breadth, in contrast to such passing fads as “positive psychology.”  Maureen likened the members of Division 32 to the keepers of the Western tradition hiding out through the dark ages in monasteries and preserving its greatness during dark times.  She recognized the contributions from her fellow board members over the last year and expressed deep feeling for these individuals, who are always there to be counted on.  When things need to be done, there are people there to do them, and happily, the Society is even more bullish than ever.  Maureen said it has been a pleasure and a privilege to be part of this community.  Far from ending her presidential year jaded and bored, Maureen is energized and inspired: “My greatest thanks to you.”

Treasurer’s Report (Sara)
Thérèse Laferrière is new treasurer, but Sara delivered the report in her absence. There have been losses in the Society’s long term investments due to the crisis in the financial markets, but thanks to frugal budgeting  and conservative investments, they are in relatively good shape.   The Society’s conferences have generated good income, but it they cannot be counted on in the present or in future years.  Sara characterized Thérèse’s budget as realistic and sober.  If the Society’s conference generates money, the income will be used for such forward moving projects as funding student travel to our conferences.  That income may also be used to supplement the cost to board members of attending the midwinter meeting in January, 2010.  As finances currently stand, the decrease in membership due to the downturn in the economy has not been too damaging.  Maureen reminded the membership to think of the division in estate planning and to bring new members into the division, because a continuing uncompensated loss of membership in the future will be problematic. 
Program (Maureen)
It’s been a wonderful program--global, socially active, and methodologically challenging.  The presentations have struck just the right balance between sharing small projects on local problems and developing conversations on the huge issues.  Award recipients and speakers, for instance Ken Gergen, were outstanding.  Art Bohart will be speaking tomorrow on empirically validated therapies.  There was a wonderful panel on Dark Side of Humanism, with a packed room.  Deep, intimate conversations have been held.  Christine Farber has done exemplary work with the Hospitality Suite.  Scott Churchill, the program chair, reported that there were about 70 submissions to the division for this conference, reflecting great activity and interest in the division.  Everything submitted was squeezed into the program by utilizing poster sessions, which accommodated 40 presentations.

Journal (Scott Churchill)
Scott reported that the Journal has 2 issues in press for 2009.   More submissions are needed to increase the journal’s selectivity.  Scott emphasized especially the need for greater representation of constructivist psychology in the submissions, in order to maintain balance among the diverse interests of our membership.  Associate Editors have been added to the journal’s staff, as well as book reviews.  Scott also expressed interest in short stories, poetry, and creative works including photographs (such as the recent one of Mike Arons) that can be placed in odd pages.  Maureen reiterated Ken Gergen’s point, in his invited address, about the expanding media that are being incorporated into scholarship in psychology.  Scott mentioned ways to increase the impact factor of the journal.  Although the Society’s journal is on the radar, its impact factor, which is considered by submitting authors, could be improved.  Scott is working with the publisher (Lawrence Erlbaum) to increase the journal’s visibility and thereby increase the impact factor.  High profile authors also increase the impact factor, and Scott intends to place high impact articles in first issue of the year so that the citations they accumulate during an entire year will enter into the journal’s impact factor index, which is calculated for the calendar year.  Finally, Scott mentioned the importance of members urging their institutions to subscribe to the journal. 

Conference (Brent Robbins)
Brent credited Louis Hoffman with an incredible job of reviewing conference presentation proposals--more than 70, with a wide range of perspectives.  The conference organizers reached out to females and minorities, and there will be an emphasis on diverse cultural perspectives at the conference.  There are three keynote speakers including Les Greenberg, Usha Tomalinara, and Tom Bruzinski.  Students will have a strong presence on the program and will be given a lot of attention, mentored, and taken around the town.  There are 28 posters that will be presented by students.  Conference organizers want to provide a place where students can really make a connection with the division, including its most seasoned and distinguished members.  Louis mentioned “The Futuring of Humanistic Psychology,” which will provide a venue for attendees to come together and engage in discussion about the future.  Shawn Rubin was commended for outstanding committee service.  Maureen emphasized the need to reach out to counseling psychologists and marriage as well as family therapists, because there are many who are searching for a humanistic community.  They often do not think of themselves as “psychologists” but as therapists and counselors.  Many are looking for educational and social opportunities that are in keeping with their own humanistic philosophy. 

Election Results (Frank Farley)
Louise Sundararajan was elected President-elect; Scott Churchill was elected Council Representative; and Christine Farber and Shawn Rubin were elected Members-at-Large.  We are very pleased to have Louise coming on board as president.  There was only one candidate on the slate because other nominees did not agree to run.  Having no runner up in the presidential election leaves one open slot on the board that board members agreed to offer to Frank Farley, who consented to stay on the board and also to be a co-chair of the division’s program at the APA Convention in San Diego next year.  Krishna Kumar agreed to co-chair the program committee, and that is welcome because he is a great and experienced conference organizer.

Recognition Certificates (Susan Gordon)
Scott Churchill was thanked for his work on the program, Christine Farber for the Hospitality Suite, Erik Craig for his service as Member at Large, Brent Robbins for his assumption of the membership chair, David Elkins for work as treasurer, and Louis Hoffman for his important work as Continuing Education Chair.  Susan gave Maureen a handsome plaque and commended her for her strong and inspiring leadership as president. James Bray communicated to Frank Farley that he is bestowing a Presidential Citation to George Howard, a member and past president of the Society.  This was to be given to George at this Toronto meeting, but George was not able to attend. 

Passing of the Oil Can
Maureen remarked on the historic engravings of great former division presidents’ names and commented on the honor of being among them as well as the pleasure of passing the oil can on, with gratitude, to the capable hands of Sara Bridges. 
New President (Sara)
Sara said she’s also honored, and herself grateful, for the opportunity to join such an impressive line of presidents.  After years of involvement in the Society, she is pleased to serve and to lead.  Sara stressed that, as we all know so well, “not just doing, but being is important,” and then she pledged to dedicate the coming year to be about doings.  This direction is in response to Maureen’s passionate call for doing in her presidential address.  Apart from keeping the division stable and strong, Sara intends to undertake an “Everyday Heroes Project” in order to showcase gratitude for the everyday heroes of humanity.  When we look at all that needs to be done, we can easily be overwhelmed, but if we consider at the small acts of humanism, and the everyday heroes of humanity that surround us but whose acts are all too seldom celebrated, we will be affirming doing in a way that bears an outcome next year.  She announced the development of a website that will showcase these acts of heroism in everyday life and a subsequent volume containing stories and photographs of such heroes.  Sara also stressed the importance of divisional communications and reviewed the enhanced communication services to members that will be forthcoming soon.  These will include discussion groups that will allow members to selectively engage in the exchange and sharing of ideas in a warm and welcoming environment.  We will also have a listserv in order to provide members with an announcement service intended to increase communication with those members who do not wish to participate actively in the discussion groups.  A Society Facebook account has been assembled by Shawn Rubin.  The board is committed to the continued improvement of its communications technologies and services for members.

Issues from Membership
Brent asked if we have a “director of public relations” or a “coordinator of communications.”  Maureen also emphasized the need for someone to fill that position, and Brent suggested that we all consider possible individuals to serve in that capacity.  The Society can do better at translating our message into various media outlets.  Sara added that we tend not to share our successes with the larger world and stressed the need to get the word out more effectively.   All agreed that a point person for this collective effort is needed.  In a final comment from the floor, Susan Gordon mentioned that she would be happy to prepare certificates of appreciation for all those who contribute to the Colorado conference. 

The meeting was adjourned and glad tidings were exchanged among those in attendance.