APA's Board of Directors voted to add a student representative to its ranks for a two-year trial period, a move that significantly increases the voice of the 59,000 members of the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS). The APAGS representative will serve as a nonvoting member and will attend the open sessions of the four business meetings of the board.
The appointment begins with this month's board meeting. Mitch Prinstein, PhD, the APAGS executive committee consultant and a former APAGS chair, will serve as the first APAGS representative.
"By including student representation on the Board of Directors," says Prinstein, "APA has sent a powerful message to students: Your concerns are important; your voice will be heard; and you are the future of psychology."
APAGS has floated the idea of appointing a student representative to the board for several years.
"The board has been overwhelmingly supportive from the beginning, and we were so grateful for their encouragement and support on this," Prinstein says.
The board approved the idea at its December meeting. In other action, the board:
- Recommended that APA's Council of Representatives support the recommendations of an APA task force charged with looking at what APA can do to support and expand professional psychology. The aim of the Task Force on Envisioning, Identifying and Accessing New Professional Roles is to identify new opportunities for psychology practice and to recommend policies and strategies that promote access to these opportunities. The group met in October and made 14 recommendations, ranging from supporting innovation in graduate training to increasing the promotion of psychology's benefits to society. The board approved, in principle, the recommendations and asked that the council approve the report in principle and direct APA staff to determine the feasibility and potential implementation of the recommendations.
- Approved the distribution to all divisions and council members a petition to establish an APA Division on Pharmacotherapy and to discuss the item during the council's February meeting. According to the petition, the purpose of the division would be to "advance treatment of mental and physical conditions using pharmacotherapy as they relate to prescriptive authority for the practice of psychology, clinical psychopharmacology training and supervision and research of efficacy and effectiveness of pharmacotherapy relative to psychologists who collaborate in or select and manage pharmacological interventions as a component of comprehensive behavioral health management."
- Recommended that the council allocate $10,000 of APA's annual budget in 2000-02 to support interdivisional grants. These grants fund collaboration among APA's divisions.
- Approved $35,000 from the APA president's contingency fund to support Pat DeLeon's three presidential initiatives: Women in Science and Technology; Law and Psychology in the Workplace; and Prescription Privileges.
- Revised terminology regarding membership status in APA bylaws: "Dues-exempt" members are now known as "life members" and "inactive" status is now "reduced dues" status.
APA's Council of Representatives meets Feb. 25-27.