Report from APA Board of Scientific Affairs Meeting

March 19-20, 2010


Submitted by Tom Wallsten (University of Maryland)


APA Consolidated Meeting Plenary

Norman Anderson report:

APA ended 2008 with a $5M deficit; by early 2009, there was a net loss of assets. They had to take steps to correct the problem, e.g., hiring freeze, eliminate merit increases, be thrifty in many ways. Ended 2009 with a $6.6M surplus; beginning 2010 with a positive $1M margin.

Strategic plan is guiding much of what APA does these days.

BSA Meeting March 19, 2010

Science Directorate Update (Steve Breckler): Responsible for a large array of programs.

·         Advances training institutes

·         Summer science fellowships

·         Research ethics

·         Testing and assessment

·         Science government relations

·         Science leadership conference

·         Scientific awards

·         More…

Budget decreased from $8M+ in 2008 to $7M+ in 2010 (about $3M goes right back – rent, etc., so the $1M hit is a very big deal). Staff decreased from 40+ FTE to 30+ FTE. (These types of staff and budget reductions were proportional across directorates.)

Program reductions

·         No more grants for scientific conferences

·         No more office of applied psychological science

·         Reduced support for outside organizations and activities

·         Center for workforce studies reduced

·         APA libraries and archives reduced

·         Other reductions …

This year will celebrate five years of science leadership conferences.

Board and Council Actions

Treatment guidelines: Idea is for APA to develop treatment guidelines for practioners based on scientific evidence. This has been a rocky project. Began with a concern by CAPP (Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice) that practioners be reimbursed for services. But there needs to be a science base for their work, which means the science community therefore must be involved.  EDs of the Science, CAPP and Practice Directorates worked together to establish a steering committee to make this a reality for specific problems (e.g., depression). This project is just getting off the ground now.

·         How will BSA nominate members of steering committee? A call will go out for nominations – process not clear yet. In the end, there will be consensus among all three boards as to the configuration of people. Steering comm. Will pick the topics, provide guidance to panels of experts. They will do a systematic review of the literature, different from journal articles; start and end in different places.

Public education campaign: look for best way to implement the campaign and assess outcomes in a way consistent with APA strategic planning.

Model licensing act:

Dues discount: Starting 2012, the current discount of 25% in APA dues for members who also are members of other societies that belong to the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (FABBS)[1] or of APS will be changed to a discount of $25.

NIMH funding: Board of Directors has formed a working group to advise APA staff on possible actions it might take on this issue. APA has been working on this for about 5 years. Problem is very complex.

Psychology as a STEM discipline Task Force (Jennifer Manly)

James Bray, immediate past APA president, began this project – to assure that psychology is considered a STEM discipline. STEM designations influence federal funding – improve nation’s progress and welfare; keep competitive. Psychology is inconsistently seen as a STEM discipline. E.g., NSF calls psychology STEM on paper, but then excludes it in much practice. Why is this so? Public sees psychology as a helping profession, not a science. More traditional sciences are distancing themselves from psychology. The report is due out by May. There will be a session at the APA conference on this.

Science Student Council

Convention programming: mentoring, elevator speech practice, employment opportunities, funding possibilities, how to disseminate psychology research effectively. Early Grad Student Research Award increased in popularity – 159 submissions this year; improve web presence.

BSA Governance

Now co-chairs, Jennifer Manly and Leona Aiken. They want the BSA to become proactive, not reactive. There was discussion of many governance details.

There was a lot of discussion on how representatives to the Treatment Guidelines Task Force will be appointed. A discussion of the fact that the lit review will be a huge job and people will need to be paid to do it.

Propose big ideas for APA to act on, consistent with the strategic plan

·         Advocate for funding for psychology science

·         Facilitate psychology in multidisciplinary research

·         Increase participation of scientists in APA

·         Public education campaign re scientific advances in psychology

·         Applying psychology science to public policy

·         Lifespan education/training of psychology

March 20

Worked on input to APA strategic plan

[1] FABBS is the new name for the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences.