in this issue

Council of Representatives meeting summary

Council discussed technology, education and disseminating scholarship, obesity and interdisciplinary practice

By Karen D. Cogan, PhD

During the February 2012 Council of Representatives meeting, Council piloted a new method for discussing issues of strategic importance. This approach put into action the feedback gathered during the assessment phase of the Good Governance Project (GGP) that Council wanted to have more influence in addressing the major issues of the discipline. To this end, APA identified a “mega issue” for discussion, and Council spent over a half day in small groups, generating ideas and plans.

I was pleased to learn that the selected mega issue was “how technology will impact psychology and APA over the next decade” because of its high relevance for Division 47 members. The discussion centered on ideas such as using social media in public education, how to train psychology faculty in new technologies, delivering research findings through technology, the role of new technologies in data-sharing, and the creation of psychology apps. In addition, issues related to telepsychology, distance consulting and practicing inter jurisdictionally were discussed. Many of our Division members are involved in some type of distance consulting and travel, and we have few standards to guide that practice.

Although we are still in the beginning stages of developing standards, APA is aware of this concern for our as well as other divisions.

Psychology education and the dissemination of the discipline’s scholarship were at the forefront of many of the actions taken by the APA Council of Representatives at the meeting. Concerning education in psychology, the Council adopted two new guidelines and approved funding to update a third. The approved guidelines include a taxonomy for education and training in professional psychology, and a framework for the preparation of teachers of high school psychology. The approved funding will support a meeting of a Board of Educational Affairs task force charged with revising the APA Guidelines for the Undergraduate Major in Psychology.

APA President, Suzanne Bennett Johnson, updated the Council on her three presidential initiatives, which focus on the nation’s obesity crisis, how to attract more early career psychologists to APA and interdisciplinary practice and science. Dr. Johnson’s initiative on obesity targets its alarming rates in the United States and the role that psychologists, as experts in behavior, should play in addressing the crisis. The APA website contains more information about these presidential initiatives, including a link to Dr. Johnson’s Presidential Report to Council.

In other action, the Council:

  • Approved funding for the continuing work on the APA/Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards/APA Insurance Trust Task Force for the Development of Telepsychology Guidelines.

  • Adopted a revised Committee on Animal Research and Ethics Guidelines for Ethical Conduct in the Care and Use of Nonhuman Animals in Research.

  • Rejected a proposal to eliminate the dues discount for APA members who are also members of the Canadian Psychological Association.

  • Approved a proposal to eliminate the practice of invoicing APA members for unpaid backyear dues.

  • Approved two journals — a Div. 54 journal: Practices and Services Delivery in Pediatric Psychology, and an American Psychological Association of Graduate Students journal: Translational Issues in Psychological Science.

  • Approved a proposal to include an APA teacher affiliate member on the Board of Educational Affairs. The proposal requires a change in the Association’s bylaws. It will therefore be put before a vote of the full membership this fall.

  • Received the report of the 2011 Presidential Task Force on Immigration.

  • Received the report of the 2011 Presidential Task Force on Diversity and Discrimination.

  • Approved the 2012 APA budget of $105.2 million in revenues and $104.9 in expenses.

I greatly appreciated the new format of the meeting and the opportunity to address an issue of relevance to our division as well as the other business of APA. I expect APA to take the information we generated and move forward so that we can all have a clearer idea of how to use technology to advance psychology, and especially sport psychology!