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Mark E. Faust
Univ. of North Carolina at Charlotte
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David Washburn (08-11)
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University of Vermont
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Mount Holyoke College
Graduate Student Representative
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Representative to APA Council
Emanuel Donchin (08-10)
University of South Florida
Thomas R. Zentall (07-09)
University of Kentucky
Michael Beran (Awards)
Mike Young (Fellows)
Southern Illinois University
Emily Elliott (Program)
Charles L. Brewer
Early Career Psychologist
California State U. at Fullerton
APA Council Report
It was just about a month ago that the APA’s Council of Representatives (COR) met for its regular February session in Washington, DC. Division 3 was allocated only one seat at this meeting of the COR, an allotment that will remain through 2009. However, the most recent apportionment process restored our second Council seat as of 2010. Our share of the seats increased due to the gracious action of Division 6 members who allotted all of their votes to Division 3.
The following report borrows from a summary of COR actions prepared by Rhea K. Farberman, Executive Director, Public and Member Communications.
The meeting, as you will see, had a full plate. Yet, it was dominated by the sorry effects of the current economic crisis on the finances of the APA. Much time was devoted to detailed reports on the factors that forced a series of major budget cuts. The Chief Financial Officer, Archie Turner, told the council that "Like many organizations, APA's investment portfolio sustained serious losses in 2008, Those losses mean that we don't have the cushion we might have had in other years to cover a budget deficit. Consequently, we must have a balanced budget this year."
To assure that APA does not incur a deficit, the council adopted a budget with approximately $12 million in spending cuts (more than 10 million of which had previously been identified by the Executive Management team at APA). They include reductions in governance activities, such as some meetings, the elimination of the board and council discretionary funds, cuts in spending on public education programs and a staff hiring freeze. Council also directed APA staff to closely monitor spending and revenues as the year continues and to take steps as necessary to ensure a break even budget at year's end.
One of the budget-related items that received some discussion but was not resolved at this meeting was the fate of the special discount that APA provides to members of some Associations, such as APS and other members of the Federation of Behavioral, Cognitive and Psychological Societies. This discount was discussed within the context of three separate topics. The State Associations proposed to provide a similar discount to members who pay State Association dues. At the same time, the Divisions organized in CASAP (of which more below) proposed that members of the Society for Neuroscience will receive the discount. The Board of Directors, on the other hand, proposed that all the discounts be abolished, arguing that the financial crisis does not permit the luxury of these discounts. This issue was widely discussed, particularly in the different caucuses, but no action was taken. The matter was postponed for one year.
The issue of the participation of Psychologists in Interrogations, and in particular in interrogations in which torture is one of the interrogators’ tools, returned to the COR agenda. This time the matter was brought in the form of a petition drive that received the necessary support from the membership. I could do no better than quote in full Rhea Farberman’s report:
“….After years of grappling with the difficult issues related to the role of psychologists in national security detention settings, the council moved to make the results of last fall's membership vote in support of a petition resolution official APA policy. The petition resolution prohibits psychologists from working in settings where people are held outside of, or in violation of, either International Law or the U.S. Constitution. The only exceptions to this prohibition are in cases in which a psychologist is working directly for the person being detained, for an independent third party working to protect human rights or providing treatment to military personnel.
According to the association rules, action on a petition is not complete until the association's "next annual meeting" in August. However, the council voted to suspend that rule to complete action on the petition. The council also adopted a title for the petition, "Psychologists and Unlawful Detention Settings with a Focus on National Security" in an effort to clarify the scope of the petition. The petition resolution is not intended to be applied broadly to jails, all detention centers or psychiatric hospitals….”
The Coalition of Academic, Scientific, and Applied Research Psychologists (CASAP), which is one of the many Caucuses of COR, and of which Division 3 is a member, devoted much time to a consideration of an evolving document titled “Science Agenda” which articulates the goals for promoting Psychological Science as a Discipline and that outlines actions that will “promote APA as a Science Based Organization”. A draft of this document was circulated in early February 2009 to the Executive Committees of the Divisions participating in CASAP. The Caucus actually met for an extended session on the day before COR convened and conducted a detailed discussion of the Agenda as well as of proposed concrete actions that will help implement the Agenda. There was a general agreement with the thrust of the document that properly reflected the fact that the CASAP membership voted overwhelmingly to approve the Agenda. However, due to the press of business at the COR meetings, driven as we were by the budget crisis action on the Agenda will be delayed for the August meeting. Meanwhile, CASAP's Executive Committee will circulate to the divisions, for discussion and comments, drafts of the concrete actions CASAP will present at the August meeting of COR.
Finally let me note that the APA has undertaken the currently fashionable quest for a Strategic Plan, driven by a Vision. The process is driven by an organization that specializes in such plans and its Consultant assigned to the APA lead a number of sessions in which we commented and expressed priorities with respect to various aspects of the Vision Statement the final product is presented below as the coda for this report. Personally, I am not too thrilled with the competitive language used in stating our goals. My own preference is to state that we are striving to meet very demanding standards of excellence. To my mind, it is not enough to be better than everyone else as it is quite possible that everyone else sets too low a standard. But, these sentiments did not carry the day, and so the language following my signature was adopted. I will sign off here till the August Council…
Division 3 Representative to COR 2009
APA VISION STATEMENT
The American Psychological Association aspires to excel as a valuable, effective and influential organization advancing psychology as a science, serving as:
A uniting force for the discipline;
The major catalyst for the stimulation, growth and dissemination of psychological science and practice;
The primary resource for all psychologists;
The premier innovator in the education, development, and training of psychological scientists, practitioners and educators;
The leading advocate for psychological knowledge and practice informing policy makers and the public to improve public policy and daily living;
A principal leader and global partner promoting psychological knowledge and methods to facilitate the resolution of personal, societal and global challenges in diverse, multicultural and international contexts; and
An effective champion of the application of psychology to promote human rights, health, well being and dignity.