Division 52 update

The Division of International Psychology: Blending tradition with innovation

By Neal S. Rubin, PhD, ABPP

International Psychology Division 52This year is the 15th anniversary of Division 52, and 2012 promises to be an exciting year. We will celebrate our anniversary by honoring those who have contributed so much to our success. At the same time, we will forge innovations intended to keep us a vibrant, cutting edge division. Our goal is to bring together those who have contributed to our founding and ongoing accomplishments with our dynamic students and early careerists who exhibit such exciting promise for the future of our division.

We value the dedication of those who originally brought international psychology to the APA. Ray Fowler, former CEO of APA, was one of the Division‘s founders. Since then, four former APA Presidents — Norman Abeles, Florence Denmark, Frank Farley and Charles Spielberger — have also served as presidents of Division 52. Led by our Long Range Planning Committee Chairs, Senel Poyrazli and Wade Pickren, we plan to invite all of our former presidents to our hospitality suite this summer where we will host a strategic planning meeting with them. Not only will our current leadership benefit from the wisdom of such an impressive group, but these former presidents will also serve as role models for our students, members and international affiliates.

Our Heritage Mentoring Project has similar aims. In this initiative senior division, members, students and early careerists work together to publish biographies of the luminaries in our field. These articles have begun to appear in the International Psychology Bulletin (IPB). Our concept is that the student or early careerist will serve as primary author, and the senior member will serve as a co-author and mentor in the research and publication process. We are optimistic that the experience will be mutually satisfying and will promote engagement and connections among our members. We also hope that the experience will provide momentum for the career trajectories of our members who are launching their careers. Of course, the intention is also to provide wider appreciation for the subjects of these biographies — international psychology scholars who have too often received scant intention in the USA. Chalmer Thompson is doing a fabulous job coordinating this project. Watch for this continuing series in the IPB.

Additional innovations intended to integrate members are reflected in recent structural changes in Division 52. Students and early careerists are now each represented by a voting member on our Board of Directors, and one of our ECP‘s, Ayse Ciftci, serves on our Executive Committee. We are currently reorganizing our committees with an expectation that students and early careerists will be represented on each committee. A particularly exciting development is that we will be giving our inaugural Outstanding International Psychology Early Career Award along with our yearly Student Research Awards in Orlando this summer. Overall, our more experienced members are creating new opportunities for our younger members to find meaningful engagement in the division.

We are also reaching out to new colleagues around the nation and the world. This year we will be launching our new division journal, International Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Practice, Consultation. The editor, Judith Gibbons, has assembled an impressive editorial board representing psychologists throughout the globe and welcomes submissions from international authors, including those whose work does not ordinarily appear in APA journals. Division 52 will be sponsoring and actively participating in international psychology programs at regional meetings of the Eastern Psychological Association (Pittsburgh, March 2012, coordinated by Harold Takooshian) and the Western Psychological Association (San Francisco, April 2012, coordinated by Lynette Bikos). Our midwinter board meeting will be held in Las Vegas (February 2012) in conjunction with the Society for Cross Cultural Research (SCCR), the Society for Anthropological Science (SASCI), the American Anthropological Association‘s Children and Childhood Interest Group (AAACIG), and APA Division 48 (Peace Psychology). Last, the Division will be well represented at the 30th International Congress of Psychology (ICP) in Cape Town, South Africa (July 2012). As you can see, Division 52 will be a fertile place for engagement and innovation in 2012 and will continue to bring vibrant international perspectives to the science of psychology.