Several psychology organizations and APA divisions explored questions surrounding student recruitment and training relevance during their annual meetings in January and February, which included a diversity recruitment fair, innovations in graduate education awards and workshops on effective teaching methods. Here are some meeting highlights.
Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP)
CUDCP held a diversity recruitment fair during its Jan. 27-30 meeting in San Diego to help boost the number of minority students in psychology programs. At the event, about 50 Southern California minority undergraduate students who plan to apply to graduate school met one-on-one with directors of clinical training from various psychology programs. The students received information from directors about specific graduate psychology programs and tips on applying to doctoral programs. They also displayed and presented posters of their current research projects. CUDCP, APA's Education Directorate and the APA Minority Fellowship program sponsored the event.
Racial- and ethnic-minority students represent about 18 percent of first-year graduate psychology students, according to a 2000 report by APA's Research Office. Event organizers hope that more minority students will be drawn to psychology doctoral programs and that the diversity recruitment fair--which they hope will become an annual event--will help achieve that.
"My hope is that the event was successful in helping to ensure that every qualified student of color will have an opportunity to pursue graduate training in psychology," said event organizer Emilio Ulloa, PhD, the psychology department undergraduate coordinator at San Diego State University. The event was also organized by professors Elizabeth Klonoff, PhD, of San Diego State University, and Jaye Van Kirk of San Diego Mesa College.
Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology (COGDOP)
During COGDOP's Feb.11-13 meeting in Tucson, Ariz., several psychology graduate programs were recognized by the APA Board of Educational Affairs for their innovative teaching and cross-disciplinary training approaches.
First place winners were the University of Wisconsin-Madison--for involving students early in cross- disciplinary research--and a collaborative program of Canadian universities--the University of Calgary, Concordia, McMaster University and the University of Toronto--for education and training in communication and aging. The schools will split the $5,000 grand prize. The University of Hawaii at Manoa also received an honorable mention for combining community and cultural psychology into a single program. For profiles on the winners, see the March Monitor (Vol. 36, No. 3, pages 42-45). The Award for Innovative Practices in Graduate Education, created by APA's Board of Educational Affairs (BEA), includes BEA and COGDOP members on its awards committee.
National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP)
NCSPP's Jan. 19-22 meeting in San Diego centered on improving teacher quality and student academic outcomes.
NCSPP President Ray Crossman, PhD, said that the main purpose of the conference was to inspire great teaching by having teachers share stories of effective teaching strategies and how they incorporated creativity into their classrooms.
In keeping with that message, psychologist Charles Brewer, PhD, gave a keynote address on the joys of teaching, highlighting the responsibilities of teachers to their communities. His speech is available online at the NCSPP Web site--www.ncspp.info--as well as examples collected from the conference of effective teaching strategies. Also during the meeting, APA Past-president Diane F. Halpern, PhD, gave the opening keynote address on teaching students to think critically about clinical practice.
Council of Directors of School Psychology Programs (CDSPP)
During the CDSPP meeting, Jan. 28-29, in Deerfield Beach, Fla., school psychology directors celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1954 Thayer Conference--the landmark summit at which APA's Div. 16 (School) defined levels of training, credentialing and practice for school psychologists at all levels. Also at the conference, attendees received an overview from presenters of APA accreditation of school psychology programs.
In addition, psychologist Constance Patterson, PhD, of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, presented her research on the differences among the work ethic of different generations and how school psychologists can work more effectively across generations. For example, she found that traditionalists (born between 1925 and 1945) tend to be hardworking and dedicated to their jobs; baby boomers (1946 to 1960) are ambitious and driven to succeed; generation Xers (1961 to 1980) tend to be self-reliant and seek a balance between work and their personal lives; and millennials (1981 to present) often are dedicated to their jobs and strive to find work that is meaningful to them.
Child practice divisions
Five APA divisions with a stake in child practice held their meetings together Feb. 11-12 in Alexandria, Va., to discuss issues affecting child practitioners as well as ways to improve communication and collaboration with one another. The divisions were Divs. 16 (School), 37 (Child, Youth and Family Services), 43 (Family), 53 (Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology) and 54 (Society of Pediatric Psychology). Representatives of Div. 12 (Society of Clinical Psychology) also attended the meeting.
The groups discussed such issues as the importance of defining evidence-based practice and treatment as it relates to children, childhood psychopharmacological issues and encouraging more child practitioners to serve on APA governance boards and committees. The division presidents plan to meet again during APA's 2005 Annual Convention in Washington, D.C., Aug. 18-21.
Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs (CCPTP)
During CCPTP's Feb. 10-13 conference, presenters Nadya Fouad, PhD, CCPTP chair-elect, and David Blustein, PhD, of Boston College, emphasized the need for psychologists to better understand the role work plays in people's lives across social class levels as well as its impact on mental health. They also highlighted work initiatives of the Society for Vocational Psychology--a section of APA's Div. 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology)--such as efforts to develop practice guidelines for psychologists on clinical interventions for people struggling with work issues and striking work-family balance.
In other sessions, APA Education Directorate staff provided tips on becoming a grassroots advocate for advancing counseling psychology and garnering federal support via congressional visits. In particular, they used an example of CCPTP's help in advocating for the Campus Care and Counseling Act--which aimed to improve college student mental health services and passed Congress in 2004 under the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act--to show that advocacy can make a difference.