From the Education Directorate

Congress approved a historic $6 million allocation for the Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) Program in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Big Win for Geropsychologists!

On February 12, 2003, Congress approved a historic $6 million allocation for the Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) Program in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This three-fold increase for psychology education and training in the Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr) was approved by Congress as part of its FY 2003 appropriations bill. Included in this allocation is $3 million in funding for geropsychology training.

The initiative has been a top legislative priority for APA’s Education Directorate, Public Policy Office, and Office on Aging, and represents the culmination of tremendous grassroots efforts by psychologists around the country.

It is especially noteworthy that the GPE program advances the recognition of psychology as an essential health profession of national significance within the BHPr, which is charged with “coordinating, evaluating, and supporting the development and utilization of the Nation’s health personnel.”

Congressmen Bill Young (R-FL), Chair of the full House Appropriations Committee and Ralph Regula (R-OH), Chair of the House Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS)-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, championed funding for the GPE initiative in the House of Representatives. In the Senate, the support of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chair of the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee was evident in the final Senate bill, which included specific instructions in the Committee Report to continue GPE with a separate geropsychology component in FY 2003.

Much of the credit for this big win goes to APA members across the nation, who provided the critically needed grassroots support. Members of APA ‘s Committee on Aging and Division 12, Section 2-Clinical Geropsychology, as well as APA grassroots networks, including the newly established Federal Education Advocacy Coordinators (FEDAC) network, played a vital role in participating in visits on Capitol Hill, sending letters and making calls to their members in Congress in support of the GPE program.

It is critical that interested geropsychologists apply in the upcoming cycle for GPE grant awards to demonstrate the need and interest for this important new federal program. Below is general information about the GPE program that was established in FY 2002. We will share additional information as it becomes available, including the 2003 timeline and guidance for applications.

GPE Program Overview

The Graduate Psychology Education (GPE) program provides funds to train health service psychologists to work with other health professionals in the provision of services to underserved populations (e.g., elderly, children, rural persons, chronically ill, and victims of abuse and trauma). Funding is provided through a competitive grant process to APA-accredited doctoral, internship (or postdoctoral residencies if allowed by the agency) programs for basic or advanced training. Allowable use of funds is likely to include trainee stipends, support for clinical teaching psychologists, faculty and curriculum development, model demonstration programs and technical assistance.

Last year, approximately 65 applications were received for 18 grants. One of the 18 grants went for geropsychology training. The request for proposals (RFP) was announced on April 2, 2002 in the Federal Register, and application materials were made available at the Bureau of Health Professions website with links from the APA website. Technical assistance was provided through a series of conference calls arranged following the Federal Register announcement. In addition, a Peer Review Panel made up of psychologists from around the country met in the summer to review the grant applications. Funds for FY 2002 were disbursed on September 30, 2002 (the last day of the fiscal year). A similar schedule is expected for the FY 2003 funding cycle.

Further information about the GPE grant program can be found at the BHPr website bhpr.hrsa.gov. In addition, Education Advocacy staff will send out announcements on various psychology training listservs, and provide updates and information about GPE funding on our Public Policy Office website.

APA at AACTE

APA was highly visible at the 2003 American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education convention. The event, held in January in New Orleans, included a small number of keynote addresses as well as major forums. APA President, Bob Sternberg, was the Saturday keynote speaker. The ballroom was filled to capacity as Dr. Sternberg told stories, used data from his studies and studies of other psychologists to focus on how schools should promote wisdom and the "other three R's," reasoning, resilience, and responsibility. At the end of his talk, Bob received a standing ovation.

Rena Subotnik, director of the Center for Psychology in Schools and Education organized a major forum entitled, "Prove It! Holding Professional Knowledge to the Standards of Science." The participants included psychologists David Francis, Director of the Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistics; Thomas Kratochwill, Chair of the Task Force on Evidence-Based Interventions in School Psychology; Herbert Walberg, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Stanford University Hoover Institution; Mary Brabeck, Dean and Professor of Psychology, Lynch School of Education, Boston College; Valerie Reyna, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Education, U.S. Department of Education; as well Joan Snowden, Director, Educational Issues Department, American Federation of Teachers.

The goal of the session was to display an array of efforts underway to identify scientific principles behind effective practice. While a confluence of experts has been grappling with this question, policymakers have been pressing for the preparation of high quality teachers as prescribed by the No Child Left Behind act. Although all such policy makers would agree that well-prepared teachers should demonstrate subject mastery knowledge, a growing number of policymakers argue that teachers must also be well-versed in truly effective classroom strategies that are based on research using scientific standards.

Update on the Committee of Psychology Teachers at Community Colleges (PT@CC)

The Committee of Psychology Teachers at Community Colleges (PT@CC) is continuing efforts to develop programs and activities for psychology teachers and students at community college. In a committee meeting on January 31-February 2, 2003, PT@CC identified a number of priorities for the year including:

  • Developing new resources for faculty and communications via the web, mass mail mailings, and in publications, such as the Psychology Teacher Network and the APA Monitor.

  • Preparing PT@CC Operating Procedures and planning for the first committee elections in 2004

  • Developing the Allyn & Bacon “Electronic Project” contest for community college psychology students.

  • Analyzing results of the PT@CC Needs Assessment Survey

  • Planning for outreach efforts to encourage new Community College Teacher Affiliates and APA Members at community colleges to join PT@CC.

  • Coordinating special events and partnerships with Psi Beta at regional and national meetings
    Developing awards to recognize outstanding community college students and teachers of psychology

  • Discussing ways to make research databases and other APA resources more affordable to community colleges.

Committee on Accreditation’s Convention Open Forum

The Board of Education Affairs (BEA) allocated two hours to the Committee on Accreditation (CoA) to hold a public forum on accreditation issues at the 2003 APA Convention in Toronto, Canada. The session, entitled: Open Forum on Accreditation: Emerging Substantive Areas will include a 20-30 minute presentation by CoA representatives, after which comments and questions will be taken from the audience. Audience members are not required to register in advance to observe the forum, however, those wishing to comment or pose a question at the forum must sign up in advance. To do so, please send an email to APA Accreditation Office, indicating: (1) your name; (2) the group, if any, that you represent; and (3) your specific comment or question. Advance sign up will be made available until July 21, 2003.

In an effort to make the forum most efficient, a designated speaker at the forum will be responsible for reading those comments and questions submitted in advance and in the appropriate format. If time permits, additional comments and questions will be taken from audience members.

Further information on the forum will be posted online prior to convention. Please contact the Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation at (202) 336-5979 with any questions or concerns.

Petition for Review and Comment - Neuropsychology

The APA Commission for the Recognition of Specialties and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology (CRSPPP) has received a petition for recognition by APA of the renewal of a specialty in “Neuropsychology.” The petition is submitted by the APA Division of Clinical Neuropsychology (Division 40) and is available for viewing at the Commission for the Recognition of Specialties and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology (CRSPPP).

Prior to CRSPPP's consideration of the petition, a period of public notice and opportunity for comment is required. A period of public notice and opportunity for comment of 60 days is available beginning January 15, 2003. Comments may be submitted until March 15, 2003. Comments may be submitted via e-mail to Joan Freund. Written comments may also be submitted to Joan Freund, Office of Graduate Education and Training, Education Directorate at the APA address.

For more information, contact Joan Freund at (202) 336-5967.

Announcing the “Assessment Cyberguide”

The Board of Educational Affairs (BEA) endorsed the report on Undergraduate Psychology Major Learning Goals and Outcomes during its March 2002 meeting. Prepared by the BEA Task Force on Psychology Major Competencies, copies of the report were distributed to APA Divisions last fall for review and comment. Task Force members are considering the feedback at this time.

More recently, the Task Force completed work on a companion document, the "Assessment Cyberguide," which is now available online at www.apa.org/ed/guidehomepage.html. The “Assessment Cyberguide” was developed to assist departments with assessment planning. The “cyberguide” features a series of about 12 articles devoted to tips and information that can help departments make decisions about how to invest their time in assessment planning and maintenance. These include specific recommendations regarding how each of the ten learning goals recommended in the Task Force report could be targeted.

The Education Directorate invites the APA Divisions to view the report on Undergraduate Psychology Major Learning Goals and Outcomes and the “Assessment Cyberguide” on the Education Directorate Web site.