BSA: Looking back and looking forward

Report from the Fall 2010 meeting of the Board of Scientific Affairs

By Robyn Fivush and M. Lynne Cooper

This is an exciting time for the American Psychological Association, as it implements its strategic plan.  The Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA)  is a lynchpin as APA moves forward on Strategic Plan Objective 3: the increased recognition of psychology as a science.  Multiple APA activities focus on this goal, and BSA has been a critical part of these initiatives, commenting on and disseminating the report of the Task Force on the Future of Psychology as a STEM Discipline, which was highlighted at the 2010 convention in San Diego.

Three related themes organized the Fall 2010 BSA meetings.

First, BSA continues its work on advocacy and dissemination of information about funding for psychological science.  We had a productive discussion with officials from the National Science Foundation and continued our conversations with Science Government Relations staff members, focusing on how new funding priorities will affect advocacy and availability of funding for psychological science.  We discussed a new resolution for the “Provision of Adequate Resources to Address the Advocacy Goals of the Strategic Plan Objective 3 and the STEM Task Force,” and a request for the formation of a new task force on “Educating and Training Psychologists to Participate in Multi-Disciplinary Team Science Involving Other STEM Disciplines.”  Both of these initiatives will go forward to the Council of Representatives for its consideration and approval. 

Second, BSA continues to be involved in education and dissemination.  We noted that, as we were meeting, psychology was playing a prominent role in the 2010 USA Science and Engineering Festival taking place on the National Mall, focusing on the role that psychological science plays in the challenges presented by global climate change.  BSA members were especially pleased to hear the report of the Science Student Council members about their successful programming at the APA convention, and BSA will increase its programming hours at the 2011 convention by partnering with other constituencies, including the Board of Professionial Affairs.

Third, BSA continues its involvement in the recognition of scientific contributions to psychology.  At the Fall meeting, we nominated many distinguished scientists for prestigious awards that recognize their commitment and contribution to psychological science.

And, of course, we remain centrally involved with advocating for psychology as a STEM discipline, the theme of the Science Leadership Conference in November.  BSA members will be central participants in this conference, and will continue to work for science advocacy as APA moves into the future.


Robyn Fivush (Emory University) and M. Lynne Cooper (University of Missouri, Columbia) are members of the Board of Scientific Affairs, the primary APA governance body concerned with the advancement of psychology as a science.