Improving internal APA governance structure to benefit members and the discipline

APA’s Council of Representatives approved six of the seven recommendations from Good Governance Project.

In its final report, APA’s Good Governance Project made seven recommendations that focus on increasing alignment, nimbleness and member engagement. In a strong statement of support, APA’s Council of Representatives adopted six of the proposals and will continue discussion of the seventh, related to the structure of the council, at its next meeting. APA is now well positioned to meet future needs of both the association and the discipline with the following:

  • Greater use of technology to increase members’ voices and participation, increase communication with members and make governance more efficient;
  • A leadership program to train members to become leaders within APA governance and their communities and to ensure that volunteers stay abreast of best practices in leadership;
  • A triage system to move items and information more efficiently through governance;
  • A shift in the council’s work so that it proactively sets disciplinary policy and has substantial dialogue about the larger issues facing the discipline;
  • Removal of duplicative efforts within governance by having the Board of Directors oversee operational policies and fiscal matters while the council handles policies related to the discipline, delegating its fiscal authority to the board on a three-year trial basis.
  • Expanded participation on the Board of Directors, with the president and members-at-large elected from and by the general membership. Members of the Council Leadership Team will form a bridge between the board and council, with public members adding special expertise as needed. Additionally, the next generation of psychologists will be represented with guaranteed seats for early career professionals and students. 

Governance changes to the Board of Directors and structure of the council will require the membership’s approval through a bylaws vote, expected in the fall of 2014. A council vote to make the delegation of fiscal authority permanent after the three-year trial would also require a bylaws vote. APA President Donald N. Bersoff, PhD, JD, appointed a work group to develop implementation plans for each recommendation and report back to the Council, beginning at its February 2014 meeting.