CEMRRAT2 Task Force Progress Report

APA/CEMRRAT Plan for Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention, and Training in Psychology

Executive Summary of Major Findings and Priority Recommendations
A Portrait of Success & Challenge Progress Report: 1997-2005

This material may be reproduced in whole or in part without fees or permission provided that acknowledgment is given to the American Psychological Association. This material may not be reprinted, translated, or distributed electronically without prior permission in writing from the publisher. For permission, contact:

Rights and Permissions
750 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242

Copyright © 2008 by the American Psychological Association

This report has been filed by Council but has not been adopted as a policy of APA and therefore does not commit APA to the opinions or activities described herein.


In 1997, the APA Commission on Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention, and Training in Psychology (CEMRR AT) prepared a strategic plan that was approved by the APA Council of Representatives. Subsequently, APA budgeted $75,000 to $100,000 a year for activities that are consistent with those recommended by the APA/CEMRRAT plan.

In 2005, the CEMRR AT2 Task Force initiated a comprehensive, empirically based assessment and evaluation of the extent to which the plan’s objectives and strategic goals had been addressed during the 1997– 2005 period.

The following provides a summary of the findings of that assessment, as well as related strategic goals for 2008–2012. The full report, A Portrait of Success and Challenge—The Progress Report: 1997–2005, is available for download (PDF, 1.07MB). That report also highlights some of the exemplary activities in support of ethnic minority recruitment, retention, and training that have been initiated since 1997.

Executive Summary of Major Findings and Priority Recommendations

The findings in this report reflect both the tremendous success that U.S. psychology has experienced in confronting and aggressively addressing barriers to improvements in ethnic minority recruitment, retention, training, and advancement in psychology, as well as the significant challenges that remain. The following is a summary of the report’s major findings.

  • Ethnic minority students are increasingly priming the APA student membership pipeline. Between 1998 and 2003, total student affiliate membership declined by 15.9%, whereas minority student affiliate membership increased by 28.7%.

  • From 1997 to 2004, 20.3% of the increase in APA’s membership was attributable to ethnic minorities.

  • Between 1997 and 2004, there was a 41.2% increase in ethnic minority participation in APA governance.

  • Since 1997, ethnic minority representation has increased at all levels of psychology’s education pipeline, but it continues to be constricted at higher levels of the pipeline.

  • Between 1996 and 2004, the representation of ethnic minority recipients of bachelor’s degrees in psychology increased by 36%.

  • Between 1996 and 2004, the number of ethnic minority recipients of master’s degrees in psychology increased by 90.8%; in 2004, 27.2% of such degrees were awarded to ethnic minorities.

  • Between 1996 and 2004, the number of ethnic minority doctoral recipients increased by only 16.6%; in 2004, ethnic minorities received 20.1% of EdD and PhD degrees in psychology; in 2003, ethnic minorities constituted 19.9% of the new enrollees in PsyD programs.

  • Summary data of the Association of Psychology Postdoctorate and Internship Centers (APPIC) suggest a trend toward a shrinking internship applicant pool and an increase in the proportion of unmatched internship applicants who are ethnic minorities.

  • Between 1997 and 2001, new ethnic minority doctoral recipients decreased their participation as postdoctoral fellows by 26.1%.

  • In 2005, ethnic minorities constituted only 12.4% of the nation’s full-time psychology faculty.

  • Members of the original CEMRRAT subsequently served in at least 24 APA governance positions, thus ensuring that the CEMRR AT vision was seeded throughout APA.

  • Since its inception in 1999 and through 2006, the CEMRRAT Implementation Fund awarded 134 grants totaling $478,000, which in turn leveraged no less than $370,000 in additional funds.

  • Three waves of CEMRRAT-authorized surveys to state, provincial, and territorial psychological associations (SPTPAs), divisions, and governance groups suggest that increased ethnic minority participation and infusion of diversity-related concerns involve a developmental process:

    1. The 2000 survey results suggest that responding entities focused their ethnic minority efforts on establishing the presence of ethnic minorities and ethnic minority issues at the core and in the leadership of these groups by developing minority slates or nominating ethnic minorities and by establishing committees on ethnic minorities (or similar groups).

    2. The 2002 survey responses suggest that priorities were shifting somewhat, with increased efforts to support (a) committees on ethnic minority issues, (b) the attendance of ethnic minorities at conferences and meetings, (c) the incorporation of ethnic minority content in publications, and (d) special events and programs on ethnic minority issues at conventions.

    3. The 2005 survey suggests a continuing increase in the scope of ethnic minority recruitment, retention, and training efforts, with 11 of 12 surveyed minority-focused activities reflecting increases in the percentage of divisions, SPTPAs, or board/committees engaged in such activities.

  • A summary analysis of the intensity of efforts since 1997 by the APA Central Office, divisions, SPTPAs, and governance groups in support of each of the APA/CEMRR AT Plan’s five objectives and 20 goals revealed that the greatest effort by far was devoted to the following goal:

    • Help psychology trainers, educators, and researchers become literate in multicultural issues and facilitate the inclusion of multicultural topics in classrooms and field experience through the conduct and sponsorship of workshops and convention presentations.

  • The following are among the goals for which the least effort was devoted:

    1. Develop procedures for responding to complaints and concerns related to diversity in academic and health institutions.

    2. Introduce and/or increase the enforceability of accreditation and licensing standards focused on services to/research with multicultural populations.

    3. Increase research and evaluation efforts related to ethnic minority recruitment, retention, education, graduation, and training.

    4. Improve the recruitment and retention of ethnic minority faculty.

CEMRRAT2 Priority Recommendations for 2008–2012

It is the intention of the CEMRR AT2 Task Force to continue to support and monitor activities related to the accomplishment of all objectives and goals of the 1997 APA/CEMRRAT Plan. However, findings of the current report suggest that some of those goals have either gained increased urgency or are distinguished by the lack of attention given to their accomplishment. Thus, priority recommendations represent those major areas of concern where, to date, little transformative effort has been made relative to the extant need. The identification of these priorities is based on data presented in the full report’s Analysis and Summary section. Rationales for recommended strategic actions are provided in the full report’s Conclusions and Recommendations section.

APA/CEMRRAT Plan Objective I

Promote and improve multicultural training in psychology

Recommendation 1: Increase ethnic minority student interest and talent in math, science, and scientific areas of psychology.

Recommended Strategic Action 1: It is recommended that APA and other organized entities in psychology monitor the number of persons ofcolor entering the scientific fields of psychology at the graduate and faculty levels, including the numbers of senior tenured faculty in experimental, cognitive, biological, developmental, personality, and social psychology.

Recommended Strategic Action 2: It is recommended that the numbers of ethnic minority participants in the APA Science Leadership Conference be increased and that racial and ethnic issues in scientific psychology be included in the agenda of future conferences.

Recommended Strategic Action 3: It is recommended that APA increase the recruitment of psychologists of color to participate in the APA Science Directorate’s Advanced Training Institutes (ATI s) and consider offering an ATI on Research Methods for Culturally Diverse Populations.

Recommended Strategic Action 4: It is recommended that once the BSA Task Force Report on Increasing the Number of Quantitative Psychologists is completed and/or received by the APA Council, APA will work to implement that report’s recommended strategies for increasing the number of persons of color in the field of quantitative psychology.

APA/CEMRRAT Plan Objective II

Increase ethnic minority faculty recruitment and retention in psychology

Recommendation 2: Increase faculty recruitment, retention, and training.

Recommended Strategic Action 5: It is recommended that APA develop an online network (for a nominal fee) available to universities and colleges (but free to departments of psychology) and research corporations/entities that provides a listing of ethnic minorities who are nearing the completion of their doctoral programs.

Recommended Strategic Action 6: It is recommended that APA promote, fund, and actively support initiatives among graduate schools across the country that prepare ethnic minority graduate students to pursue faculty positions by demystifying the teaching profession and providing professional development for students as a part of their graduate education.

Recommended Strategic Action 7: It is recommended that publications be developed for ethnic minority psychologists and research/education/health agencies and institutions that outline the process of accessing, and emphasize the benefits of engaging in, postdoctoral training opportunities. Publications that target agencies and institutions also should include information regarding the recruitment of ethnic minority doctoral degree recipients, provision of support to graduates of color, and models for encouragement of transition from training to academic and research careers. These publications should be linked to the Web sites of organized entities of psychology.

Recommended Strategic Action 8: It is recommended that an annual APA convention session/workshop be developed to orient ethnic minority doctoral degree candidates and recipients to the benefits of postdoctoral training.

APA/CEMRRAT Plan Objective III

Increase ethnic minority student recruitment, retention, and graduation in psychology

Recommendation 3: Increase ethnic minority student recruitment, retention, and graduation.

Recommended Strategic Action 9: It is recommended that APA emphasize, promote, and support academic programs at the undergraduate level that include a focus on preparation for graduate school—especially for doctoral study.

Recommended Strategic Action 10: It is recommended that APA seek to develop a joint venture with public and private funding sources, including private foundations whose missions include postsecondary education (e.g., American Psychological Foundation; Ford, Kellogg, and Kauffman foundations), to support initiatives among graduate schools across the country that focus on preparing ethnic minority graduate students for research and academic careers in psychology.

APA/CEMRRAT Plan Objective IV

Provide national leadership for diversity and multiculturalism in education, science, and human services

Recommendation 4: Increase the provision of national leadership for diversity and multiculturalism in education, science, and human services.

Recommended Strategic Action 11: It is recommended that APA develop and implement a national public education campaign on diversity in postsecondary education and the workplace.

Recommended Strategic Action 12: It is recommended that APA develop a comprehensive, coordinated strategic approach to guide APA’s advocacy of federal, state, and foundation funding of ethnic minority training throughout the educational pipeline in psychology.

APA/CEMRRAT Plan Objective V

Promote data collection, research, and evaluation on ethnic minority recruitment, retention, education, graduation, and training

Recommendation 5: Increase data collection and compilation.

Recommended Strategic Action 13: It is recommended that all organized entities in psychology (e.g., APA boards and committees, APA divisions, SPTPAs, APA Central Office) submit timely, annual, standardized reports to APA related to their activities in support of ethnic minority recruitment, retention, training and leadership development, and diversity in psychology. A related centralized data management system should be established to facilitate analysis of data, which will be interpreted and disseminated under the oversight of the CEMRR AT2 Task Force.

Recommended Strategic Action 14: It is recommended that APA develop a research agenda (based on a thorough review of related research literature) of critical information and data needed to better understand the developmental processes and institutional procedures associated with effective ethnic minority recruitment, retention, and training. This research agenda would be used for advocacy of research funding priorities at federal and private research funding agencies.

Recommendation 6: Continue CEMRRAT2 Task Force oversight; continue funding for the CEMRRAT Implementation Grants; consider incorporation of the above recommended strategic actions into the APA CEO's proposed Diversity Enhancement Plan.

Recommended Strategic Action 15: It is recommended that the APA Council of Representatives adopt the Resolution to Enhance Ethnic Minority Recruitment, Retention, and Training in Psychology.