APA Members have approved three changes to the association's bylaws. Ballots for the proposed amendments were mailed on Nov. 1, 2002, and voting closed on Dec. 16.
96.76 percent of voting Members approved the addition of the word "education" to APA's Mission Statement.
"Having education in the APA mission statement makes a clear statement to our members and to the public about the central role of education in psychology and psychology in education," says Cynthia Belar, PhD, executive director of APA's Education Directorate, of the change.
The mission statement now reads:
"The objects of the American Psychological Association shall be to advance psychology as a science and profession and as a means of promoting health, education, and human welfare by the encouragement of psychology in all its branches in the broadest and most liberal manner; by the promotion of research in psychology and the improvement of research methods and conditions; by the improvement of the qualifications and usefulness of psychologists through high standards of ethics, conduct, education, and achievement; by the establishment and maintenance of the highest standards of professional ethics and conduct of the members of the Association; by the increase and diffusion of psychological knowledge through meetings, professional contacts, reports, papers, discussions, and publications; thereby to advance scientific interests and inquiry, and the application of research findings to the promotion of health, education, and the public welfare."
87.64 percent approved altering the bylaws to allow more faculty to become two-year college teacher affiliates. The following language was deleted from the definition of a newly created APA membership category for two-year college faculty:
"2-Year College Teacher Affiliate status is limited to individuals who are not otherwise eligible for APA membership, although any APA member who teaches in a 2-year college is welcome to participate in 2-Year College Teacher Affiliate activities."
The language inadvertently excluded a large portion of faculty at community colleges from joining APA under this membership option, which was created to attract more two-year faculty to APA.
"Historically, relatively few psychologists who serve as full-time faculty at community colleges have been APA Members or otherwise active in APA activities," explains Paul Nelson, PhD, deputy executive director of APA's Education Directorate. But considering that close to half of all students who earn a bachelor's degree begin their undergraduate education in a community college, it's important for APA to involve community college psychology teachers, he says.
86 percent approved adding an American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS) voting representative to APA's Council of Representatives and a nonvoting representative to APA's Board of Directors. The APAGS chair--elected by student members--will serve as the representative to both council and the Board of Directors from January to December. The current chair, Christopher Loftis, has already begun serving.
"The APAGS voting seat on council and nonvoting seat on the Board of Directors will significantly strengthen the voice of students within APA and allow students to have more formal, far-reaching and substantial input," says Carol Williams-Nickelson, PsyD, APAGS associate executive director.
"Prior to this change, students often heard about important discussions secondhand or through different filters," explains Loftis.