2020 President

Deborah Lowe Vandell
School of Education
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697

President's Message

Deborah Lowe Vandell Dear Developmental Psychologists,   

Greetings to my developmental colleagues who are members of Div. 7 and those who are contemplating joining Div. 7. I hope this letter finds you well. Div. 7 is committed to advancing cutting-edge science in developmental psychology and to promoting the use of developmental science to improve the lives of children, adolescents and adults around the world. In these times — more than ever before — our scholarship is needed to provide evidence-based research to inform important questions. Div. 7 can help make a difference. 

One important function of our division is to highlight exemplary scientific contributions in developmental psychology. One way we do this is through our awards. To help us recognize this work, I hope that you will think about developmental psychologists at every career stage to nominate for awards presented by Div. 7. The Boyd McCandless Award for Distinguished Early Career Contributions recognizes scholars who have received their PhD within the last seven years. For mid-career scholars, we have the Mavis Hetherington Award for Excellence in Applied Developmental Science and the Mary Ainsworth Award for Excellence in Developmental Science. For senior scholars, we recognize their lifetime contributions with two awards: the G. Stanley Hall Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Developmental Psychology and the Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contribution to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society.

Div. 7 also recognizes noteworthy papers and books that were published during the previous year. Please consider nominating highly deserving candidates for the Dissertation Award, the Early Career Outstanding Paper Award and the Eleanor Maccoby Book Award in Developmental Psychology. This recognition is important for individuals’ careers but also for our field as a whole. Finally, you may have been the beneficiary of a wonderful mentor who deserves public recognition. I encourage you to consider joining others in nominating your mentor for the Mentor Award in Developmental Psychology. Details of eligibility criteria and application processes are provided on the awards page of this website. Your nominations are due in early March.

I also wanted to update you on efforts by Div. 7 and its members to communicate evidence-based developmental research to families, practitioners and policymakers. In one initiative, the division is partnering with the Jacobs Foundation and the University of Cambridge to fast track communication of child development science to the news media, parents and practitioners through a Child and Family Blog. In another initiative, Div. 7, along with Div. 37, has led a Joint Task Force on Physical Punishment of Children. This group, chaired by Div. 7 Fellow Elizabeth Gershoff, reviewed research on spanking and its effects. This work resulted in APA adopting a formal resolution that opposes the use of corporal punishment in schools, juvenile facilities, child care nurseries and all other institutions, public or private, where children are cared for or educated. Div. 7 is now working on an invited symposium for the 2020 APA annual meeting that focuses on child separations and trauma.
I conclude this greeting by encouraging you to reach out to your colleagues and students about becoming members of Div. 7. The cost is minimal: $6 for undergraduate and graduate student affiliates; $12 for members for the first year and $24 per year for continuing members after the first year. Membership in APA is not a requirement for joining Div. 7, although only Div. 7 members who are also members of APA are counted towards the division’s representation on the APA Council of Representatives.

Please let me know how Div. 7 can better support you and the work you do in our field. Your voice is important, and I hope you will become active in our division. I look forward to hearing from you.

Deborah Lowe Vandell
President, Div. 7


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