Speaking of Education

I am pleased to announce that the focus for the 2003 Education Leadership Conference (ELC) will be accountability, assessment and advocacy related to education in psychology and psychology in education. More than 20 psychology education and training organizations as well as APA divisions and governance boards have been invited to send representatives to this conference, which is sponsored by the APA Board of Educational Affairs (BEA) and the Education Directorate.

This year's conference is the first meeting subsequent to the inaugural ELC 2001 ("Rethinking education in psychology and psychology in education"), a conference that was very successful in convening 23 national organizations of psychology educators from high school through postdoctoral levels, 25 APA divisions, national credentialing organizations in psychology and members representing APA governance. (See the ELC Web site at www.apa.org/ed/elc/home.html).

These education leadership conferences have been planned as an annual event to build collaborations and coherence in our discipline related to education and training in psychology as well as psychology in education. No other such forum exists. The long-term goals of the ELC are to:

  • Provide a forum for the multiple psychology education and training organizations external to APA and the multiple APA groups with interests across all levels of education and training to address issues of mutual concern.

  • Promote a shared disciplinary identity among education and training leaders in psychology.

  • Impact public policy regarding education in psychology and psychology in education.

Keeping these broad goals in mind, the 2003 ELC will address issues of accountability, assessment and advocacy, each of which was identified as a key to our future by ELC 2001 participants. The upcoming conference will have workshops on the assessment of learning outcomes in psychology; the assessment of outcomes of graduate education; the assessment of professional competencies in health-care services; and issues for psychology given the increased focus on accountability and assessment in K-12 educational systems. Although tailored to the interests of the invited groups, these workshops will be open--on a space available basis--to all APA members who are interested.

ELC participants will also receive training in advocacy, thus laying the groundwork for increasing psychology's input into public policy on matters of interest to educators. The conference will culminate in Capitol Hill visits in support of specific issues related to the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and our Graduate Psychology Education program.

In addition to workshops and training, smaller groups will address selected issues relevant to ongoing efforts of BEA and the Education Directorate. For example, there will be an opportunity for formal input from individuals and constituency groups to the newly formed BEA Advisory Council on Accreditation, which will also be meeting during this time period. This council has been charged with reviewing the composition of the APA Committee on Accreditation (CoA) and making recommendations to BEA regarding whether that structure may require change given the current state of education and training in psychology (see page 89). Working groups will also address the disconnects between high school, community college and the four-year college curriculum in psychology, as well as how independent organizations with similar goals might collaborate to address important issues.

It has been a real pleasure working with Education Directorate staff and the BEA Advisory Group (Linda Forrest, Charles Spielberger and BEA chair Jonathan Sandoval) in planning this conference. Over the past year I have not been to one national meeting, either disciplinary or multidisciplinary, that did not feature attention to the important theme of accountability, both within the discipline and to society. Appropriate assessment is fundamental to accountability, and both are required if we are to advocate with integrity. I am looking forward to this meeting of our leaders in education and training....Stay tuned for an assessment of my learning outcome.

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What: "ELC 2003: Creating a voice for education in psychology: accountability, assessment and advocacy"

When: Sept. 5-8

Where: Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, Washington D.C.

Workshops open to APA members: Saturday, Sept. 6

Contact: Robert Walsh at rwalsh@apa.org; www.apa.org/ed/elc/home.html