Executive Director's Column
APA Council of Representatives Moves Forward on Science Issues
By Steven Breckler
Most of the policies, actions, and programs of the APA are developed, approved, and supported by our system of governance - our Council, Boards, Committees, and Task Forces. For a short course on APA governance, see my recent columns in the June, 2006 and July/August 2006 issues of Psychological Science Agenda.
Earlier this month, the APA Council of Representatives held the first of its two meetings for 2007. Council is an extraordinarily important part of APA governance. It is APA's main legislative body. Very little happens at APA without the approval of Council, and many new initiatives and activities have their origin in Council.
Council took action on three agenda items that the Science Community should know about.
Reaffirming Support for Evolutionary Theory
Council passed a resolution, developed initially by the APA Committee on Animal Research and Ethics (CARE), rejecting intelligent design as scientific and reaffirming support for evolutionary theory. In adopting the resolution, APA reaffirmed its 1982 Resolution on Creationism, and joined a number of other science and education organizations which have taken similar positions, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology and the National Association of Biology Teachers.
A New Public Education Campaign
Council approved funding to begin the planning for a psychology public education campaign. The funded proposal represents a collaboration between the APA Science, Education, and Public & Member Communications Directorates. The objective of this public education campaign will be to enhance the image and influence of psychology as a science. The foundational message will be that psychologists are scientific problem solvers whose work improves our daily lives. The new public education effort will complement APA’s existing public education campaign in support of psychological practice as a health care profession. See APA Practice for more information.
Scientific Programming at Convention
Council approved funding for a new task force to look at how the APA Convention can be better organized to attract scientists. This effort represents a collaboration between the Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA) and the Board of Convention Affairs (BCA), and was developed in response to concerns being expressed by many of the APA Divisions about the structure and functioning of the annual convention. The task force will examine the current model for programming, and make recommendations for improving the process.
Keeping You Informed
As professional associations go, APA is very large. We have a large membership, supported by a large and complex governance and staff infrastructure. It can be a challenge to stay informed of every developing initiative, policy, and program. Our goal in the APA Science Directorate is to keep you informed. Over the next several months, Psychological Science Agenda will begin introducing regular governance updates to help the science community keep better track of the issues being addressed by our governance groups.