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Kristi S. Multhaup
Mark E. Faust
Univ. of North Carolina at Charlotte
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It is 4 pm and there are three students waiting outside my office who want to talk to me about class assignments and research projects; I am a week overdue on a chapter I promised to have completed for a book being edited by a good friend; My “revise and resubmit” folder has two manuscripts in it, and maybe it is only coincidental, but in both instances the reviewers disagreed about the merit of the manuscript I had submitted to different journals for publication. Both editors decided that they would reconsider the
manuscript if I could respond to all of the reviewers’ concerns. I guess that is a fairly standard response, but in both cases one reviewer wants a substantial reduction in the length of the manuscript and another reviewer wants me to add about 5 additional findings. Even the physics-challenged will see a problem with both shortening the paper and adding lots of new material. And, I had better not forget that my annual faculty activity report is due this week, a sort of “What I did over the last year” so that some secret cabal can decide my salary for next year. So, how would you suggest I reply when I get a phone call asking me to run for president of APA?
Although “hell no, are you crazy” may have been my first thought, as many readers probably know, I did run for APA president, and I begin my term in January 2004. When colleagues have asked about this decision, I have often joked that running for APA president is a DSMIV diagnosis, but the honor of serving one’s professional organization is not a joke. In fact, I am deeply appreciative of this chance to serve. It is essential that we have people in APA governance who are firmly dedicated to the scientific basis of psychology and who care deeply about all-psychology issues like mental health, quality psychotherapeutic practice, sound educational programs, social justice, protection of human and animal participants, and communicating about psychology to the general public and policy makers. I care deeply about representing the diverse scientific interests of members by promoting psychological science as a whole—including those who work at “pure laboratory” science and those who conduct the more applied studies that provide the empirical bases of psychotherapy, education, and a host of public policies ranging from integration, labor laws, and welfare reform. I know that Division 3 members also care about a wide range of psychology-related issues and want to ensure that psychology is built on a firm foundation of high quality data. I urge all Division 3 members to take a leap of faith and get active in APA governance.
Some Division 3 members responded to my decision to run for APA president with amazement because they “knew” that APA was clinician-dominated and did little for research and academic psychologists. If that is your excuse for not getting involved, let me seriously disabuse you (whatever that means—am I starting to sound like a politician?). First, APA does a great deal for research and academic scientists—more than any of the specialized societies to which many of us belong. The list of pro-science activities that APA supports is too long to name. One of my favorites is the academic enhancement program that provides advanced training in new methods such as brain imagining and new statistical procedures for those of us who missed these topics when we were still in graduate school. APA also provides master workshops, lobbies for scientific psychologists on the hill, works with other organizations such as the National Institutes of Occupational Health and Safety to provide start-up funds in emerging areas of psychology, and much, much more. Still not convinced, then log on to http://www.apa.org/science/alpha-index.html for a more comprehensive listing. Sure, there have been turf wars that have divided APA, but it is time to get beyond the petty squabbles have been detrimental to all of us and have kept us from making progress on important issues. As president of APA in 2004, I see the process of governance from the inside and, most of the time, psychologists in governance act on behalf of all psychologists and not just those in their own subdiscipline. It is important that we continue this tradition because it really does create a win-win situation. And, this is where I get to you.
Like your Uncle Sam, I want you—I want you to participate actively in APA. When you are at the convention, stop in for the Division 3 Business and Social Hours and offer to take on some job, like membership recruitment, newsletter editor, or whatever fits your own talents and interests. Run for an office in APA, become a member of the Council of Representatives, the Board of Directors, or any of the many boards and committees that do the business of APA, and for the presidency. It is important to make a contribution to your discipline, to help chart the direction for the largest organization of psychologists in the world, to pay back what you have gained from psychology, and to be rewarded with new types of experiences and new friends. The future of psychology depends on the active participation of members with strong commitments to the scientific basis of our discipline. And, that means you.
For those of you who are still hesitant because your department does not value service to the discipline, I suggest that you meet with your chair, dean, or supervisor and explain the critical importance of working for your national association. You really will be a better teacher because of the broad range of psychology-related topics you will encounter, a better researcher because you will make new contacts and learn about new advances in psychology and new funding opportunities, and a better person because of your service to the discipline. I look forward to seeing you at the Annual Convention in Hawaii from July 28th to August 1st 2004. I promise many high quality science programs, new friends, and a great time.
By the way, APA is now interviewing for a new Science Director. Kurt Salzinger has done a fabulous job and is now returning to New York for personal reasons. If you are interested, or can nominate someone you believe would be great for the job, please contact Norman Anderson, APA CEO at firstname.lastname@example.org or Michael Honaker, APA Deputy CEO at email@example.com.