President-elect’s column

At the midyear meeting, we started the process of looking to the future and defining the direction of the division

By Trent A. Petrie, PhD

In the months since my first column I have been busy. During this time I have attended our division’s midyear meeting, participated in APA’s Division Leadership Conference, and engaged in numerous conference calls with the executive committee. I have learned a tremendous amount concerning the inner workings of APA and how we can move our division forward.

I am fortunate to serve with a group of presidents — current (Dr. Balague) and past (Dr. Carter) — who are committed to working together to define the mission of the division and set our goals and priorities for the next five to ten years. Although each of us have had (or will have) a specific focus for our presidency, we are in agreement that to best serve the division and advance the field, our efforts need to be coordinated and consistent over time. Many of the projects we are considering will take five to ten years (or more) to complete, so maintaining a united vision over time becomes paramount.

At the midyear meeting, we started the process of looking to the future and defining the direction of the division, that is, what do we want the division to be. We discussed issues ranging from the role of social media in the division’s future, to defining the practice of sport psychology, to the role we want the division to take in the broader field of sport psychology, to the division’s mission, to name a few. Through these discussions, we came to two important conclusions. First, to best serve you, the membership, we need your input. We now have an action plan to create a membership survey through which we can solicit your thoughts about different issues in the field of sport and exercise psychology and how you see us, as a division, being best able to serve you. Our intent is to launch the membership survey prior to the fall convention. Second, to function most effectively, we need to make improvements in the division’s infrastructure, that is, how we do our business. Although not earth shattering, such issues are key for an executive group to function effectively. So, we have made (or are working on) the following changes: student representative is now an elected position of two-year staggered terms; transparent policies for the nomination of professionals and students to run for positions on the executive committee; specific tasks for the committees so they have a direction and focus; establish a presence within the APA Communities* website to allow for more efficient communications among executive committee members and the membership; and new bylaws that will allow student members to vote and establish a past-president’s council so we have a formal mechanism through which past presidents may stay involved in the division and contribute their experience and wisdom.

We also want to continue to promote the division within APA and field broadly. Thus, we have been in contact with the editor of the APA Monitor about including articles about the division’s proficiency in sport psychology and about sport psychologists’ work in preparing athletes, coaches, and teams for the Olympics in London. As of now, the plan is for both articles to appear during summer 2012 and will include information provided by our division’s members.

Finally, we have launched an aggressive campaign to increase the membership of the division. The membership committee is working closely with APA’s Division Services office to put into place mechanisms that have been tried successfully by other divisions to increase membership. We are hopeful that these targeted efforts, the recent approval of our “professional affiliate” membership category, and our new presence on Facebook and Twitter, will help us increase our membership by the end of 2013 by 25 percent over our current levels.

Again, I welcome comments, feedback, and suggestions from you about any of the issues I have raised or any that you would like us to address within the division. I look forward to hearing from you.

*As of Sept. 15, 2015, APACommunities is no longer available.