Executive Director's Column

All that we do for Science

Many things contribute to our ability to accomplish so much, but the bottom line is that the members of APA make it all possible.

By Steven Breckler, PhD

Spring is always a busy time in Washington, especially for those of us involved in science policy and advocacy. Almost every week of April and May this year featured an APA-sponsored congressional briefing or delivery of appropriations testimony on behalf of psychological science. This frenzy of activity culminated during the week of May 23, which included five major events described by Pat Kobor in this issue of Psychological Science Agenda. APA also represented psychology that week when the Jefferson Science Fellows were announced at the State Department, and when the National Science Board bestowed its highest honors at its annual awards ceremony.

Spring is also a busy time outside of Washington. It is the season of most regional psychological association meetings - MPA, EPA, SWPA, WPA, and RMPA. APA was represented at every one, sponsoring talks and hosting workshops. APA works hard to support and promote the regional psychological association meetings. And as spring turns to summer, we turn our attention to the summer science institute and the flury of activity surrounding APA's annual convention.

When I tell people about all of these efforts, the typical response is, "I didn't know that APA does all that!" On reflection, it is quite remarkable. How is APA able to be in so many places at the same time? How is it possible for APA to devote so many resources in support of psychological science? Many things contribute to our ability to accomplish so much, but the bottom line is that the members of APA make it all possible.

I'm not just talking about monetary support here. Sure, the dues paid by APA members helps to finance much of what we do. But that is only a fraction of what it takes to do all that we do. Members of APA contribute their expertise, their wisdom, and their time to promote the science agenda, and that's the support that really counts. When APA organizes a congressional briefing, it is the work of APA members that make them succeed. When APA sponsors a workshop or a sponsored talk at a regional association meeting, the members of APA provide the real energy to make them happen.

APA is a very large association. We have more members, more staff, and more money than any other professional association devoted to the interests of psychology. That's what allows us to be in so many places so much of the time. It is a very powerful thing, and psychological science is finally learning how to harness the incredible strength it provides. APA's new PSY21 initiative provides a framework for growth, and the launching of an annual Science Leadership Conference will help mobilize the community of psychological scientists to move forward.

The future is bright for psychological science at APA. We already support an incredible array of programs and activities, and we are determined to do even more. Yet it will require more than money and staff. It will require members, and an increasing engagement of those members in the business of the association.

The Science Directorate is committed to serving the members of APA, and we encourage others to join us. Visit the APA membership page,where you can learn more about how APA promotes the science of psychology. You may find yourself remarking, "I didn't know that APA does all that!" We sure do! And as a member of APA, you can proudly claim ownership of all that we do.