President's Column

What can your division do for you?

Announcements, information about the AP-LS conference, special recognitions and a call for suggestions on how to improve the Div. 41 membership experience.

By Patricia Zapf, PhD

It was a great pleasure for me, both personally and professionally, to become president of the American Psychology-Law Society this past August at APA in D.C. I “took the reins” from our now Past President Jennifer Skeem, PhD, who has been an excellent mentor over this past year. Jen's presidential address delivered the message of the importance of diversification and the broadening of our field to tackle bigger problems and to expand the impact that we can have as a field.

I'm looking forward to expanding on Jen's message at our March meeting in San Diego to speak about the importance of translating our research for various groups of consumers, including the general public. The work that we do, collectively as a division as well as individually in our roles as scholars, researchers and practitioners, generates important data. These data should then be translated into the most appropriate message for the various groups of information-consumers that we serve. This not only benefits the profession as a whole but also facilitates the consumption of high-quality information regarding the work we do in our field by the public. I plan to speak more about the ways in which we can be successful at this dissemination and to share examples of this during my address in San Diego. Please join us at the Westin in San Diego's Gaslamp District for our annual conference, March 19-21, 2015.

On the issue of disseminating information about our work, I'd like to take this opportunity to recognize the excellent work of our Minority Affairs Committee (MAC). We are fortunate to have an active and progressive leadership on this committee: A special thank you to Diane Sivasubramanian, PhD, and Antoinette Kavanaugh, PhD, who, along with their committee, developed a series of videos to highlight the work of AP-LS members. These videos provide a basic introduction to the field of psychology and law, information about applying for graduate school in psychology and law, information about career opportunities and examples of the real-world impact of our field. Please check out these videos and share them widely.

The MAC videos provide an excellent example of providing important and relevant information about our field to members of the public as well as other interested information-consumers. To increase the frequency and efficiency with which we disseminate information about our division and our field, I have made it my presidential initiative to develop a communications strategy for our division. I have assembled a group of talented members to assist in executing this initiative, and we will provide an initial report to the division's executive committee in March. In addition, I will be calling on others throughout the year to assist in this initiative so if this is something that speaks to you, please contact me and let me know you want to get involved.

One of the most important considerations in developing a communications strategy is to determine what it is that our members want and how we can best serve them.

That is, what do you want from Div. 41 and what can we do to improve your experience as a member of this division?

We are a community of approximately 3,000 members, with up to 1,000 members in attendance at our annual meeting on any given year. This means that we do not have the opportunity to interact with about two-thirds of our members and so we would like to hear from all members, those who attend our annual meeting and those who do not, about how we can improve your membership experience.

Please keep an eye on your inbox for our member survey, which is your opportunity to tell us how we can best serve you. The more information we can get from you about what you want, the easier it will be for us to provide it for you.

Thank you, in advance, for taking a minute to help improve the division.

I look forward to seeing you in San Diego.