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Johns Hopkins University
University of Iowa
Thomas R. Zentall
University of Kentucky
Wilfrid Laurier University
Members-At-Large of the
Gil Einstein (8/06-09)
Karen Hollis (8/06-09)
Mount Holyoke College
Mark A. McDaniel (8/05-08)
Washington University, St. Louis
Valerie F. Reyna (8/05-08)
Nelson Cowan (8/04-07)
University of Missouri
Ralph R. Miller (8/04-07)
Binghamton Univ., SUNY
Representative to APA Council
Lewis P. Lipsitt (8/04-07)
Emanuel E. Donchin (8/03-12/06)
University of South Florida
Thomas R. Zentall (1/07-09)
University of Kentucky
Graduate Student Representative
University of Kentucky
Irving Biederman (Awards)
University of Southern California
Linda Parker (Fellows)
University of Guelph
Ann Cleary (Program)
Colorado State University
Charles L. Brewer
The above named Council Representatives attended Council meetings in New Orleans on August 9 and 13, 2006 and have contributed to this report. Manny Donchin had to leave for other urgent business on the last day of Council meeting, and MaryLou Cheal, a Division 3 Fellow and former Council representative for Division 6, served in his place for part of Day 2.
With attendance at the New Orleans Convention exceeding 9,000, including family registrants and exhibitors, the decision to stay with the meeting site after the Katrina disaster was supported by the Divisions and by the membership. Attendance was good at many of the excellent sessions. Many comments were made about the high quality of the facilities in light of the devastation that occurred one year previously. At the same time, those who traveled to those parts of New Orleans and surrounding communities that have not yet been rebuilt were amazed at how like the desolate pictures of one year ago those areas remain. The general feeling of those attending these meetings was, we believe, that APA had helped lift the spirit of the community and its economy by staying with its plans rather than moving to another site.
The Program Committee arranged for entertainment variety. The opening ceremony featured “Dr. Phil” (Phillip C. McGraw, Ph.D.). President Gerald Koocher expressed appreciation on behalf of the APA to Dr. McGraw who, in accepting it, stated that he is the son of a psychologist who would be proud of this occasion.
Bill Cosby also performed, filling a large ballroom with psychologists and their families who paid a modest admission charge to benefit the school children of New Orleans. Some “buzz” occurred among the audience when it was realized that Dr. Cosby’s performance fee was much larger than the admissions income received, and he didn’t mention Katrina during his otherwise captivating performance. On another occasion, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band performed, with the proceeds benefiting Habitat for Humanity. Many psychologists contributed their personal labor to Habitat for Humanity while they were in the city.
A major issue for discussion and action at the Council meetings was the proper role of psychologists in national security interrogations. This matter has been of great concern and debate especially in connection with the post-9/11 involvement of mental health professionals. They are involved not only in the care of prisoners, but they also provide aid to interrogators who wish to exact critical security information from those prisoners. Use of interview techniques that involve severe discomfort, personalized or “psychologically loaded” questioning, and torture, has been raised as a special problem for psychologists who have been trained to respect the integrity of the individual and the confidentiality of relationships.
APA Pres. Gerald Koocher arranged for the US Army Surgeon General to address Council on the use and actions of psychologists at Guantanamo Bay. It was the Surgeon General’s contention that psychologists can participate in military inquiries without violating APA ethics mandates. Following this presentation, Steven Reisner, a psychologist on the faculty at Columbia University’s international trauma studies program, was invited to address Council, apparently at his own request. Speaking from his acquaintanceship with activities in which he believed psychologists were involved with the military, he urged passionately that APA take a strong stand on the issue and advised that psychologists should not be present in any capacity at Guantanamo and other similar prison environments. He asked Council to pay attention to “the slippery slope” of psychologist involvement in interrogation aid.
Council was then updated by Olivia Moorehead-Slaughter concerning ongoing work of the APA Ethics Committee on the ethics of psychologist involvement in national security investigations. Council thereupon adopted a resolution affirming (1)APA’s opposition to all forms of torture and abuse, (2)the duty of psychologists to intervene and attempt to stop acts of torture and abuse, (3)the obligation of psychologists to report instances of torture or other forms of cruel or degrading treatment, and (4)the centrality of UN human rights documents and conventions for APA policy. Council also requested Pres. Koocher to write, for Council, to all military psychologists and those working under other government auspices, commending them for their contributions and sacrifices.
A lengthy discussion occurred concerning a new business item in which Council was asked to change a part of the Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation to delete reference to Canadian institutions. Although the issue arose from a request from the Accreditation Panel of the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA), there was input from a number of Canadian scientific departments who felt it would be detrimental to their constituency to lose accreditation from APA. There was a fear that losing this joint accreditation would mean a loss of job opportunities for both US and Canadian psychologists. This item was referred back to governance.
Among matters of special concern to Division 3 members was the traditional report by the budget committee and by Jack McKay, the long-time and highly respected executive who heads the office responsible for the finances of the corporation. In this year’s report we learned that the annual APA budget now exceeds $100 million and is indeed “big business.” Among the further revelations was that there are fewer paper journal subscriptions with the increasing availability of electronic publications. The publications program of the association, including both paper and electronic journals, and books, continues to be the major source of the association’s annual revenue. The good budgetary news presented at this meeting included confirmation of the very profitable use of the association’s real estate. Nonetheless, the proposal was made, and supported, that there be a change in the membership fees for new members, with dues increasing yearly over an 8-year period before a new member will pay the full membership fee. Dues for 2007 will be $270 for full members and $50 for APAGS members. Members’ journal credit has been increased to $55.
The Council also endorsed, with one minor variation, the report of the Accreditation Summit that recommended substantial changes in the structure of the Committee on Accreditation, which henceforth will be called the Commission on Accreditation. The committee membership has been substantially increased in size and as a consequence the representation of the graduate training programs has been proportionately decreased. The Summit report may be seen at www.psyaccreditationsummit.org/finalproposal/index.html.
Other actions of Council of special relevance to Division 3 were:
(1)Adoption of guidelines for undergraduate psychology majors, created by an APA task force and addressing competencies required for entry into graduate or professional schools. These guidelines can be seen at www.apa.org/ed/resources.html and a related guide is found at www.apa.org/ed/guidehomepage.html.
(2)Adoption of a working group’s report on psychotropic medications for children and adolescents, citing serious gaps in the knowledge base for treatment of the young with psychological problems, and an urgent need for better access to evidence-based treatment. Full text of the report is available at www.apa.org/releases.
(3)Adoption of a task force report reviewing research on zero tolerance policies in schools, finding that these do not have the desired effect of reducing violence and disruption, and may actually increase such behavior and drop-out rates. A 3-page APA press release on this matter may be seen at www.apa.org/releases/zerotolerance.html.
(4)Adoption of a task force report on socio-economic status and establishing a continuing committee on the effects of poverty on psychological development and functioning.
Finally, Paul Nelson of the Education Directorate was honored with a going-away reception on his retirement after many years of service to Psychology in which he has championed the importance of scientific endeavors. Unfortunately, the gathering was held without him, as he fell and broke an arm the day before, and left the city. His thoughtful colleagues arranged for a videotaping of the occasion, with many attendees delivering on-camera personal best wishes to the honoree.
Your Division 3 Council Representatives welcome inquiries and comments. For the coming year, your two representatives’ e-mail addresses are: