From the President
A message from Div. 6 President Allyson J. Bennett
By Allyson J. Bennett
Div. 6 (The Society for Behavioral Neuroscience and Cognitive Psychology) has worked hard over many years and with the efforts of many dedicated members to build connections and strength within the society. The Society for Behavioral Neuroscience and Comparative Psychology (SBNCP) provides members with opportunities to collabo-rate and share their work, voices, and concerns. There is a full range of topics and issues that members contribute to, including those about science and education, but also practices and public policy that affect scientists, students, and research.
In addition to reaching in – Div. 6 has also reached out – working to recruit and welcome new members, particularly students, whose membership is free and who are actively encouraged to take part in the society's committees and work. As one of the “single-digit” divisions of APA's 50 plus divisions, ours has a rich history that dates formally to 1944 and includes many founders in the areas of biological and comparative psychology. Continuing the division depends on maintaining our current membership while also continuing to grow in new members and a more diverse membership. I along with Membership Chair Cynthia Crawford urge you to encourage colleagues, students and others to consider joining our SBNCP community.
Another part of SBNCP's reaching out is found in its connection and collaboration with oth-er APA divisions, boards, journals, committees, and conferences — many of which are highlighted in this and previous newsletters. APA Convention is one of the places where members connect, share their findings, listen and learn from the broad array of psychologists represented at APA and provide the larger APA membership with a view of our science and perspectives. This year's program chair, Douglas Wallace, put together an excellent and exciting program for APA Convention including talks, posters and symposia that spanned topics in behavioral neuroscience and comparative psychology. SCNCP members greatly appreciated Doug's work, as well as those of 2016-17 Div. 6 President Mary Cain and Secretary Nicolle Carr and Treasurer Lisa Savage, among others, whose leadership and tireless efforts continue to be invaluable to the society's work. Highlights from convention include Cain's SBNCP presidential address and lectures by SBNCP award winners. The division appreciates the efforts of the 2017 Awards Committee, chaired by Wayne Pratt, in the difficult job of selecting outstanding scientists to honor with these awards.
Planning for next year's APA Convention is also well underway, led by 2018 program co-chairs Amanda Dettmer and Nancy Dess. The chairs have spearheaded several exciting collaborative proposals to provide SBNCP members with opportunities for interaction across areas of study and interest. We also anticipate increasing opportunities and participation by student and Early Career Psychologists (ECP). I encourage you to look at the call for abstracts and not only consider attending convention, but also share the call with your students and colleagues. The deadline for abstracts and more information about 2018 APA Convention can be found on the convention website.
APA Council of Representatives is another place where SBNCP voices are heard. As our council representative, Mark Krause's report in this issue demonstrates, APA Council remains a strong source of support for scientific research. The recent council resolution reaffirming APA's support for research with nonhuman animals provides one example. The Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA), many APA committees, including the long-standing Committee on Animal Research and Ethics (CARE), and others all provide our division and its members with a bridge to collaboration with a diverse community of psychologists. The APA boards and committees, along with dedicated and expert APA leadership and staff also provide SBNCP with additional avenues by which a relatively small society can advocate effectively on a range of issues and topics that affect our science, students, scientists, and society.
Over the next year, I hope that SBNCP can continue to provide its members with valuable opportunities to connect within the society and to reach out to build an even stronger and more diverse community that continues and builds effective collaborations within SBNCP, APA and beyond. The society depends upon continuing dedication by its current members and we welcome you to contact any member of the executive committee with ideas, concerns, or questions. The committee list is in this newsletter. We are excited to welcome (or welcome back) several new members to the executive committee, including: Graduate Student Representative Erin Aldersen, Early Career Psychologist Representative Jeremy Bailoo, Awards Chair George Michel, Program Co-chairs Amanda Dettmer and Nancy Dess, and President-Elect Michael Beran. We are fortunate that David Washburn will serve as historian, following Gary Greenberg's many years of outstanding service as SBNCP's historian and that Suzanne MacDonald will continue as fellows chair. Alan Daniel will continue as the newsletter chair. Over the year, the newsletter will feature the work of these committees and the many other members working to advance SBNCP objectives. If you are interested in joining any of these committees or proposing new efforts for SBNCP please contact us.
One final note to update members on SBNCP's efforts in support of diversity and inclusivity in science and society. SBNCP has written in support of APA Council's Diversity Working Group. In the face of recent events related to immigration policy in the US, we have also issued a statement that is included in this newsletter and that addresses on-going challenges. I realize that there are a range of views about the role of scientists and scientific organizations in efforts to ad-dress policy and larger societal issues. In fact, there can be questions about whether such issues are “matters within our field.” I and others believe, however, that scientists are matters within our field. That is, the lives and the well-being of individual scientists – persons who are affected by sexism, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, immigration policy, among other issues -- are a serious matter within our field. The richness of our science and our ability to identify and address a full range of questions of importance all depend upon diversity and inclusivity.
Further, the pipeline of future scientists depends on the extent to which our field and our community both values and acts to promote diversity and inclusivity. So yes, given that policies, practices and behaviors related to discrimination and prejudice affect individuals – some of them scientists — they are absolutely a matter for our field. APA and its divisions provide many resources to address, educate and cope with discrimination and threats to individuals and groups. Among them are those at these sites:
- APA's Public Interest Directorate
- APA's Help Center resources on discrimination
- APA's Public Interest resolutions
I encourage you to look at these and share them with others.
We encourage anyone with concerns on these topics to reach out to us and to other members for additional information, for support or for ways to join in continuing collaborative efforts to address these issues.