Speaking of Education
My decision to retire in June was difficult because I have not yet lost my passion for psychology or my commitment to our mission. In fact, I am a prime example of living by the Ziegarnik Effect — always thinking about goals not yet achieved. Still, for me personally, it is time to step aside and as I do, I am reflecting on our accomplishments over the past 14 years — and I mean "our," as none would have been possible without an outstanding staff and the support of our governance groups.
Initiating programs. One of our earliest initiatives was the establishment of APA's annual Education Leadership Conference as a forum for psychology's multiple education organizations to discuss issues of mutual concern. It remains the only such forum in American psychology and since 2001 has become a major advocacy event for psychology education thanks to participants' visits to Capitol Hill on behalf of our initiatives. I am also gratified by our success in initiating the Graduate Psychology Education program, which is the sole federal program dedicated to preparing health service psychologists. Since 2002, Congress has appropriated $34.4 million, which has funded 72 grants for doctoral and internship programs in 32 states. Other successful advocacy efforts were the establishment of the Center for Deployment Psychology, which has trained more than 2,500 health professionals, and APA's Campus Care and Counseling Act, which was incorporated into the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act and supports mental health services on campuses. Our development of the Federal Education Advocacy Coordinators and grassroots network was essential in these efforts.
Promoting quality. The Education Directorate has consistently worked to improve quality in education. For example, considerable efforts have gone into the development of guidelines for the teaching of high school psychology, undergraduate education, and the psychology major and continuing education. These policies have guided educators and program developers — even textbook publishers. We have advanced a culture of competence in professional education and training, and supported standard setting, interprofessionalism and preparation for expanded roles in primary care. We have worked closely with the multiple training councils to forge common ground on issues such as the internship imbalance — a serious problem for the integrity of our discipline.
Ensuring quality. The Education Directorate has also supported quality assurance through programs that have grown considerably over the years. For example, the number of programs accredited by the APA Commission on Accreditation has grown from 799 in 2000 to 952 in 2014. The increase in APA-approved sponsors of continuing education has been from 650 to 803 sponsors.
Providing resources. To promote quality in education, we have also focused on developing resources. We now have 19 unit lesson plans for high school teachers and provide numerous other resources for educators. To promote research training in precollege and undergraduate education, we created the OnLine Psychology Laboratory, which receives 650,000 page views a year. To promote the application of psychological science in education, we created resources for K–12 teachers and promoted psychology in teacher education. And we have grown our continuing-education program from primarily a convention endeavor to a year-round resource with 279 programs in the APA Online Academy and a monthly Clinician's Corner broadcast from APA. Most recently, we launched the MedEdPORTAL project, which promotes the scholarship of teaching and learning, as well as the role of psychological science in the preparation of other health professions.
Collaborating with others. We have also worked closely with other organizations and agencies to advance psychology. As examples, we serve on the executive committee of the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative, co-sponsor the Institute of Medicine Global Forum on Innovations in Health Professional Education, participate in the Interprofessional Professionalism Collaborative and engage in initiatives with the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
It has been a privilege to work with our staff and governance groups on these and other initiatives too numerous to mention. Next year is the 25th anniversary of APA's Education Directorate — and there is much yet to come.
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