President’s column: It was a great convention

Board and business meetings, dues reduction, newsletter goes virtual and Group Psychologist of the Year

By Nina Brown, EdD

There were several new events initiated at the convention this year: the early career professional breakfast organized by Leann Terry and Joe Miles, a board reception for newly elected board members, use of media for the board meeting, and using the business meeting as an extension of the board meeting. New this year and very helpful was the availability of the board meeting agenda on the television set so that paper copies were eliminated, but all could see the material. This was helpful as the specific wording for action items was visible and could be read on the television, thus reducing misunderstandings and having to repeat information.

The time available for the convention board meeting is always very limited, so this year we tried having some of the reports presented at the business meeting, where more members are usually in attendance. Presented were reports from the treasurer, membership, specialty task force and fellows committees. Full committee reports are available on the website.

The business meeting was an opportunity to recognize exceptional individuals for their contributions to the Society and to the profession. Recognized were Dr. Melba Vasquez, who received the Society’s first Diversity Award; Dr. Zipora Schectman, who received the Presidential Award for Research; and Drs. Lee Gillis and Leann Terry, who received the Presidential Awards for Meritorious Service. Also recognized for previous board service were Drs. Maria Riva, Jean Keim and Lynn Rapin. Three student poster awards were presented: 1st place ($300) to D. Mark Kivlighan III, University of Wisconsin—Madison; 2nd place ($200) to Kacey Greening, Wright State University; and 3rd place ($100) to Brian Amos, University at Buffalo—State University of New York.

The Group Psychologist of the Year was Sally Barlow, and her address was on Saturday afternoon. The topic covered the constructive use of “The Cube” for teaching, research, and practice of group psychology and group psychotherapy rather than perceiving the structure as constraints. The presentation was informative, lively, and provided food for thought and inspiration.

Among the many proposals and recommendations acted on by the Board at the convention meeting on Saturday morning were the following.

  • Reduction of dues for member/associate/fellow from $49 to $35, and a slight increase in the life status publication fee from $18.50 to $21 to cover the cost of the journal. Student affiliate, professional affiliate and international affiliate member fees will remain at current figures.
  • The fall issue of the newsletter will be the last issue printed and mailed to members. After that issue, members will receive the newsletter via email and it will be published on the website.
  • The previously informal policy regarding use of the listserv for research was formally updated. It states that “Research requests on the listserv will be included in monthly updates/requests for postings.” We also adopted APA’s policies on the responsible use of social media.
  • In an effort to contain costs, several recommendations were made to the newsletter editor—that committee reports be summaries for the newsletter with full copy available on the website, that the editor set a word limit for articles, and that links to the website be provided to access forms for the Foundation and membership applications.

Much more took place at all of the meetings and events, and space does not permit reporting on all that occurred. However, there is one more event that I want to report, and that is the thanks extended to Kathy Ritter, whose term on the board expires in December. Not only has Kathy been an interested and participating board member, but she has also taken the lead in the past three years (maybe more) of organizing and doing most of the work for the socials. Her work, with John’s assistance, made the socials successful, fun and enjoyable. The other board member whose term ends in December is Lee Gillis, but Lee remains on as President-elect.

My last words are thanks to the many people who worked with me as President-elect and President. I will not try to name them as I am sure to omit someone, but I could not have done anything without your help. Special thanks are extended to all of you.