"This is not your grandpa's APA convention," one participant said about the 2011 APA Convention. More than 13,000 registered attendees experienced a variety of new and different exhibits and events in Washington, D.C., this year. This issue of the Monitor offers reports on just a fraction of the hundreds of convention events held this year. Here are some of the interesting facts that struck me about this year's convention:
- The number of participants who took advantage of unlimited continuing-education credits for one price increased by 400 percent, and nearly 300 convention sessions were designated as CE sessions this year.
- APA offered a number of half-day and full-day CE workshops before and during the convention, including some APA presidential workshop series and several distinguished workshop series.
- A technology exhibit, sponsored by Hewlett-Packard and Pearson, allowed experts 15-minute demonstrations and hands-on opportunities with relevant topics for psychologists, such as how digital tools can increase your services and productivity.
- APA also provided its own set of tech tools, including mobile tools that allowed convention-goers to track their schedules and a social networking tool that connected participants with like-minded attendees.
- We unveiled a new Science Showcase and award, and presented findings through a combination of live demonstrations and video presentations. Dr. Michael Proulx won the $3,000 award for demonstration of a system that enables the blind to "see" with audio signals (see Live Science on the showroom floor).
- The convention offered a family room with comfortable seating for parents and an entertainment and play area for children, open every day of the convention. A special family social hour featured a wine tasting and hors d'oeuvres for parents in one area of the room and entertainment and snacks for the kids just a few steps away.
APA also hosted several special events, such as the opening session, where Drs. Florence Denmark and James M. Jones each received distinguished life achievement awards (see page 83 and 84) and where keynote speaker Dr. Claude Steele presented his powerful research findings on stereotype threat, in keeping with the convention theme of social justice (see page 26). The session also acknowledged the upcoming retirement and numerous contributions of Dr. Pat DeLeon, former APA president and chief of staff to Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D–Hawaii).
We also celebrated several significant APA anniversaries, including the 20th anniversary of the Disaster Response Network, the 75th anniversary of Div. 9 (Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues) and the 25th anniversary of Div. 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues).
APA's Evening at the Newseum was particularly successful, especially since the Newseum featured displays from a variety of traumatic events, such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. The APA presidential programs, the plenary topics and speakers and the more than 1,000 sessions represented the broad spectrum of psychology, with something for every member. The convention also offered many "how to" sessions, including how to publish, how to review a manuscript and how to use APA's new publishing platform to advance your career.
The presidential theme of social justice was a key thread throughout the convention (see articles beginning on page 28). Our social psychological research and our APA mission, values and goals reflect the increase in the value of social justice in psychology. Although there is a painful history of injustices in APA and psychology, today's APA is committed to investigating, understanding and offering solutions to societal challenges such as race relations, the impact of all forms of discrimination, the effects of national disasters, terrorism and the importance of a sustainable environment.
APA's Annual Convention has always been and will continue to be an exciting, inspiring and transformational event for many of us, and I hope to see you at APA's next convention in Orlando, Aug. 2–5.