Division roles for APA-supported websites
In supporting division websites, APA wishes to provide the divisions with the most efficient process possible for ensuring that web updates are made promptly and smoothly. For this reason, APA’s divisions web content specialists partner with one individual within the division to maintain the division website, the division web liaison. APA’s divisions web content specialists also often work closely with the division newsletter editor, if the division has online newsletter. Both of these roles are essential for guaranteeing that the division’s website content is up-to-date and accurately reflects the division as a whole.
APA depends upon the division members who fulfill these roles because the division is ultimately the expert in its own area within psychology and so is the best judge of what content on its website is most up-to-date, what content should be updated and what content can be removed. Given the unique value that each division brings to APA and to the field of psychology, the leaders within each specific division know their division best and are best positioned to provide accurate and updated information about their division’s internal workings for the website. APA currently only has two staff members in its digital communications office, the divisions web content specialists, who work directly with 25 divisions to support their APA-hosted sites. While APA shares other staff and consultants with the division websites, their time and efforts must also be directed toward other APA web properties. For these reasons, the division is ultimately responsible for its website content and for noticing and communicating website updates to APA.
The role of the division web liaison
The division web liaison, sometimes also called the division website coordinator or webmaster, serves a pivotal role in ensuring that the division’s APA-supported website is updated in a timely manner. The division web liaison is responsible for notifying APA about changes within the division that must be reflected on the website. Updates to the website can also be made most efficiently when they are reviewed and submitted by one individual within the division, rather than the potential for conflicting or contradictory updates that can arise when multiple divisions members are submitting website updates.
Other duties of the division web liaison:
- Submit website updates to APA's divisions web content specialists at the email address firstname.lastname@example.org that comply with APA's website update request submission guide. Website update requests that do not follow the instructions in this guide, that do not contain complete information or that are not submitted to email@example.com will likely involve follow-up questions from APA's divisions web content specialists and will also likely require additional time to complete.
- Review APA's resources for division websites and the documents and additional pages linked to on that website, such as the content advice for division web liaisons, benefits of an APA-hosted website, information about APA offices that work with divisions and APA's policies for independent websites. Division web liaisons should also periodically review these pages for updates, though APA's staff will make their best effort to notify web liaisons via email when changes to these pages take place.
- Partner with APA's divisions web content specialists to communicate the division's needs and goals for their website. APA's divisions web content specialists will also direct questions to the web liaison about the division website when more information is required to complete website updates.
- Respond to communications from APA's divisions web content specialists about outdated content that they discover on the division website, such as whether outdated content should be removed or updated. The division web liaison may want to reach out to appropriate individuals within the division for more information about such content.
- Be familiar with the division's website and regularly review the website to note outdated content, gather content from appropriate individuals within the division and then submit the updates via email to APA's divisions web content specialists.
- Communicate with the division president and other key division leaders to get the most accurate and up-to-date information within the division that should be reflected on the website.
- Inform APA's divisions web content specialists via email if the web liaison role changes within the division and providing them with the contact information for the new individual occupying the role.
The division web liaison may choose to allow specific individuals within the division to submit updates to webpages relevant to their work within the division. For instance, division web liaisons may allow division award chairs to submit updates to the division's award pages or division newsletter editors may submit updates to the division's newsletter pages. However, these updates must still comply with APA's website request submission guide and any website update requests should copy the division web liaison. That way, the division web liaison is still aware of the update requests being made and can answer any questions about potentially contradictory updates. (An exception is usually made for division newsletter editors submitting the latest issue of the newsletter for posting.)
Advice for division web liaisons
To assist the division web liaison, some divisions will establish a website committee, sometimes also called a technology committee or communications committee. This committee remains in contact with other division groups, such as task forces or sections, and funnels updates from these groups to the division web liaison. However, even if the web liaison acts as part of a larger division committee, updates to the division's website should always be submitted through the web liaison as the main point of contact between APA and the division about the division's website.
Some division web liaisons, to keep up with events and activities in the division, will send out regular email reminders to key division members to ask them about any news that should be shared on the division website. Sending out these reminders monthly or quarterly can prompt division leaders to communicate with the division web liaison about changes that should be made to the website.
Regular website reviews
Other division web liaisons will regularly review frequently-visited division webpages, such as the awards pages, news and events pages and the leadership pages, to ensure that all of the information, such as deadlines and leadership terms, is up-to-date. These reviews can be done monthly or quarterly and can be a method of catching easy to update inaccuracies on the division website.
Communicate with APA's divisions web content specialists
APA's divisions web content specialists also send out monthly email communications to the division web liaisons about best practices for web content and updates, as well as reminders about upcoming events such as APA's convention. Keep an eye on your inbox for these tips.
Review tips for creating strong web content
APA also provides an introduction to creating strong web content, which many divisions web liaisons have found useful.
If you have any methods that you have used as a division web liaison that you feel have been particularly effective in keeping your division website up-to-date, please send them to APA's divisions web content specialists to share with other division web liaisons.
The role of the newsletter editor
Many divisions maintain at least one newsletter to keep their members apprised of news and events relevant to the division as well as to share opinions, comment on current events, respond to new research and highlight accomplishments of division members, among other purposes. To compile and disseminate this content, many of the divisions appoint or elect a newsletter editor.
At this time, APA can only support division newsletters that are published no more frequently than once per quarter.
About APA's newsletter template
Because many divisions wish to post their newsletter content on their APA-supported website in some form, newsletter editors may submit division newsletter content to APA’s divisions web content specialists in accordance with APA’s newsletter submission guidelines. If the division wishes to maintain an online newsletter, then the content of the newsletter must be submitted in the format of APA’s Word template (DOC, 883KB). The template must be sent to APA's divisions web content specialists within 10 or more business days from the date that the division may wish to have the newsletter available online. Examples of an online division newsletter can be found on Div. 18’s website, Div. 28’s website and Div. 49’s website, among others. During particularly busy periods for APA’s web team, such as the period before convention or the lead-up to winter holidays, APA may request that newsletter templates be submitted by a particular date that is more than 10 business days from when the newsletter may be published. However, such instances are rare and will be communicated via email to the division web liaisons and newsletter editors in advance of the deadlines.
About PDF newsletters
If the division wishes to post its newsletter on the website in an alternate form from the online newsletter, then the newsletter editor should contact APA's division web content specialists at to determine how best to present the newsletter on the website. For example, the division may submit its newsletter as a PDF document to be posted on the website. An example of PDF newsletter postings can be found on Div. 35’s website. Some divisions will submit a PDF newsletter as well as the Word template to post both a PDF newsletter and an online newsletter. However, it is not the responsibility of the division web content specialists to extract the content from the PDF and format it in the APA newsletter Word template. PDF newsletter submissions that are sent as PDFs without the accompanying Word template will be posted only as PDFs. The division is also responsible for the design and layout of PDF newsletters.
About submitting articles on a rolling basis
The division may also wish to submit newsletter articles one-by-one on a rolling basis and have the articles posted throughout the division website, rather than grouped together within the newsletter section, and then periodically compiled together in a newsletter table of contents that constitutes the newsletter issue. If the division is interested in presenting its newsletter in this way, the newsletter editor should contact APA's divisions web content specialists for more information about this process.
Additional advice for newsletter editors
- Division newsletter editors working with APA's Word document template have sometimes found the process cumbersome. For assistance in working with the template, please email APA's divisions web content specialists.
- The Word document template is often easiest to work with when the division newsletter editor also reviews and edits submissions from division members in Word and then copies and pastes them into the template before formatting and designing the newsletter content in Adobe or similar programs.
- Division newsletter editors looking for ideas for useful topics for newsletter content may find APA's advice for division web liaisons to be helpful.
- If you have any methods that you have used as a newsletter editor that you feel have been particularly effective in compiling the newsletter, please send them to APA's divisions web content specialists to share with other division newsletter editors.
A note about APA's divisions web content specialist shared inbox
All website update requests for APA-hosted division websites must be submitted to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, which directs to a shared inbox that is checked by both of APA’s divisions web content specialists. Other members of APA’s web team also have access to this shared inbox. Submitting requests to this email address ensures that requests can be addressed promptly, even if the division’s main point of contact on APA’s web team is unavailable.
Website update requests and questions about the division website should not be submitted to the division web content specialist’s individual email address and should not be submitted to other offices within APA.
Website update requests that are not submitted to email@example.com cannot be guaranteed a timely response and APA is not responsible for division website update requests that are submitted to alternate email addresses that do not receive a response.