As my presidency draws to a close, I'm happy to say we've made meaningful progress on the three priorities I set for the year:
- The Psychology and Law in the Workplace initiative brought together two professions to address critical issues facing American workers, from disability and gender, to race and violence.
- The Miniconvention on Women and Technology fostered ways to create more opportunity for women in science and information technology.
- The drive to secure prescription privileges for psychologists gained more support and visibility.
Moving forward on these issues has been extremely satisfying. But probably the most rewarding aspect of my presidency has been my calls to members. Each week I called at least two of you with two goals in mind: putting a face on APA and, more importantly, getting to know you and your needs.
My discussions with you reminded me once again that we are all one family. From John Gardner, who from 1965 to 1968 served as U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare--the only psychologist to serve in a cabinet post--to Colleen Hacker, the sport psychologist who led the U.S. Women's Soccer team to victory, we are a family that cares deeply about society. That enthusiasm was particularly evident at convention, where I was honored to have Pete Seeger launch the meeting with his message of social change.
What I've learned from you
The feedback I got from you during my weekly phone calls was extremely valuable, and I sincerely appreciate the time you spent chatting with me. What are you most satisfied with when it comes to APA? Almost everyone I called pointed to the revamped Monitor as the most improved service over the past year. You like the new format because you can carry it with you, store it without it yellowing, copy it easily and open it on the subway without elbowing the commuter in the next seat. And I've recently learned that the move to a magazine has made good business sense. Over the course of the year, it costs only $12,000 more to print than the newspaper, due to higher paper prices. Meanwhile, the Monitor's new format has led to a dramatic increase in our advertising income--up more than $350,000 from this time last year.
My telephone calls also revealed that members are happy about our continued Public Education Campaign that touts the value of psychologists' services, the vast resources available on APA's Web site and the launch of the Decade of Behavior, aimed at showcasing how behavioral science can help solve society's greatest problems, from poverty and illiteracy to illness and death.
The note of discontent that I heard most often in my calls was the lack of diversity in the association. There's a perception out there that APA is still somewhat of an "old boys network." That view is outdated, but still holds a ring of truth: Data APA gathered in 1999, for example, show that the composition of the council is 60 percent men and 40 percent women. In addition, about 80 percent of governance members identified themselves as Caucasian/White.
In my discussions with members,I heard loud and clear that students, recent graduates, women and ethnic-minority members want stronger voices on APA's Council of Representatives, Board of Directors and various governance groups.
Goodbye for now
In that vein, after I serve as APA's Immediate Past President next year, I will slip away from association leadership, at least for a few years. I want to show you that I've been listening to what you've said your association needs: a little space for lesser-known members of psychology's family to partake in governance.
I urge my colleagues who have also spent many years in APA governance to do the same. And I strongly encourage the rest of you to become more active in your association. It would be particularly rewarding to see retired state psychological association leaders become more active in APA. These people have a wealth of experience that they could apply on the national level. APA is now seeking nominees for its boards and committees (see association news). The process is simple, the rewards great.
Once again, I thank you for your time. I also want to especially thank my daughter Kate: Even though I had to miss a couple of her soccer games due to my APA commitments, she has always supported me and that's made all the difference.