Committee on Structure and Function of Council (CSFC): 2008 Annual Report


Joseph F. Aponte, PhD, Chair; Kate F. Hays, PhD; Michael J. Murphy, PhD; Corann Okorodudu, EdD;
Lynn T. Pantano, PhD; and Erica H. Wise, PhD.

Meeting Dates

CSFC met on March 28 & 29 and October 24 & 25, 2008.

Election of 2009 Chair of CSFC   

CSFC elected Corann Okorodudu, EdD, as the 2009 Chair of CSFC.

Diversity Check-In

CSFC started and ended its March and November meetings with a diversity check-in.

New Council Member Orientation

At its March meeting, CSFC discussed possible changes to the February 19 & 20, 2009, orientation sessions. 

Suggestions for Session 1 included: 

  • L. Mike Honaker, PhD, will begin with an overview of Association and Nathalie Gilfoyle will follow with a discussion of legal responsibility of Council members. 

  • CSFC members will lead the remainder of session.  Discussion to include Hitchhiker’s Guide and duties of Council members.  

  • Consideration will be given to use of PowerPoint presentations.

Suggestions for Session 2 included: 

  • Conduct a debriefing of first day of Council meeting. 

  • Give opportunity for open discussion of new Council members. 

  • Consider using vignettes to generate discussion.

At its October meeting, CSFC discussed the February 2009 New Council Member Orientation and made the following recommendations: 

  • Ask Mike Honaker, PhD, Deputy CEO, to be the first to present at the Thursday session followed by Nathalie Gilfoyle, APA General Counsel.  Ask Dr. Honaker to give more focus to the effect of the Consolidated Meetings on agenda items and the discussions on the floor of Council (i.e. Council often feels it is simply rubber stamping items). 

  • Ask caucus chairs to stop by at 3:45 p.m. on Thursday to be introduced to new Council members. 

  • The 2009 Chair of CSFC will develop an outline and assign topics to CSFC members for the portion of the Thursday session to be led by CSFC. 

  • The Friday evening orientation session will be an interactive debriefing session.  Ask the 2009 Parliamentarian to come to the Friday evening orientation session to be available for questions. 
    Ask for a larger room for the Friday evening session and seating to be done in an open circle.

New Council Member Handbook

At its March meeting, CSFC discussed the New Council Member Handbook and decided to review it again at its October 2008 meeting.  CSFC suggested adding a section regarding what actions Council members can take following the Council meeting to communicate with their constituencies.  Drs. Aponte and Hays agreed to work on this section that will include a summary of comments received from the breakout groups that took place at the February 2008 Council meeting on “How to Better Communicate Directly with APA Members and One’s Constituency.”

At its October meeting, CSFC reviewed the Council of Representatives Handbook and made the following changes to be incorporated into the 2009 Council Handbook:  a new paragraph will be added to the Introduction page regarding fiduciary responsibility of Council members; a new appendix will be added on Tips for Communicating with Your Constituency; information regarding things that normally take place during a Council meeting that aren’t part of the Council agenda will be added to the Hitchhiker’s Guide.

CSFC requested that staff contact Ronald F. Levant, EdD, who wrote the Hitchhiker’s Guide, to make sure he is okay with CSFC making updates to the Guide as necessary each year.

CSFC Mentoring Program

CSFC discussed the mentoring program and recommended that a line be added on the new member and mentor request forms to give them the option to request a particular mentor or new member with which they would like to be matched.  CSFC also asked if mentors could be asked to stand at the Council meeting right after the new members are asked to stand and that this be added to the President’s script.

Caucuses of Council

At its March meeting, CSFC discussed possible changes to the format and scheduling of the plenary session and caucus meetings.

CSFC recommended and will implement the following for the August 2008 Council meeting:

Plenary Session

  • The plenary session will include presentations by Council members on Council agenda items instead of taking place in the caucus meetings.  Council members will be asked to contact caucus chairs if they wish to speak to an item at the plenary session.  The conference call of the President and caucus chairs that takes place prior to the Council meeting will include discussion of scheduling of agenda items to be presented in the plenary session.  Council members will still have opportunity at the plenary to discuss any agenda item or last minute business. 

  • Board of Directors members and caucus chairs will not be introduced at the plenary session to allow more time for presentation and discussion of agenda items.

Caucus Meetings

  • Caucuses that normally meet an hour will be cut to 45 minutes.  This change provides: reduced overlap of caucus meetings (15 minutes instead of 30 minutes); shortened caucus meeting days (caucuses end earlier than usual on Tuesday evening and start later than usual on Wednesday morning).  

  • Caucus chairs are encouraged to not provide time on their agenda for presentation of agenda items as this will take place in the plenary session.

Council Meeting

Council meeting will start at 9:30 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. on Wednesday.

Lunch will be scheduled for an hour on Wednesday.

Note: the two changes to the Council meeting schedule were approved by President Alan E. Kazdin, PhD.

Dr. Aponte will send an email to caucus chairs and Council members informing them of the changes.  The Governance Office will send a questionnaire on behalf of CSFC asking for Council members’ feedback regarding the above changes.  Drs. Pantano and Wise will develop the survey to be sent to CSFC for review and feedback.  CSFC asked that, if possible, an online survey tool be used.

CSFC will also plan a meeting of the Caucus Council Work Group during lunch or following the Council meeting on Wednesday to get feedback on the above changes and discuss next steps.

At its October meeting, CSFC reviewed the responses to the survey sent to Council regarding the changes made at the August 2008 meeting with relation to the plenary session and caucus meetings as well as the later start for the first day of the Council meeting.

CSFC voted to implement the changes that took place at the August 2008 meeting for the February 2009 meeting as follows: caucuses will meet for 45 minutes; there will be no introductions of Board members or caucus chairs at the plenary session; Council members and staff will be encouraged to not do presentations on agenda items at the caucus meetings and instead to do any presentation on agenda items at the plenary session.

CSFC will also recommend to 2009 President James Bray that the Council meeting start at 9:30 a.m. on Friday instead of 9 a.m. and that formal meetings or presentations not take place during Council lunch sessions.  CSFC suggests that if such a meeting is necessary that it take place at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

At its November meeting, CSFC also discussed its relation to the caucuses of Council and asked that the CSFC Chair always be included in the conference calls that take place prior to the Council meetings with the President and caucus chairs.  CSFC also asked that the Chair of CSFC be invited to the caucus chairs meeting at Council if planned topics are relevant to CSFC’s mission.

CSFC discussed concerns of some members of Council regarding the fact that the Sunday morning meeting of the Women’s Caucus does not allow male attendance.  CSFC will send a letter to the Executive Committee of the Women’s Caucus encouraging them to consider allowing males to have full membership in the Women’s Caucus.

Role of CSFC in Diversity and Diversity Training

CSFC discussed its role in diversity and diversity training.  CSFC asked Dr. Aponte to review and comment on the outline for the February 2009 diversity training for Council members. 

CSFC requested that beginning in February 2009 an agenda item be included in the February Council agendas regarding the diversity training taking place at the meeting.  The item will include a brief history of diversity training on Council and a fact sheet on what actions Council has taken regarding the topic and the impact of such actions. 

CSFC also suggested that information be included in each board and committee and Board and Council agenda item as to what implications the item might have, if any, in the following diversity areas: aging, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status. The information could either be included in a new separate section or as part of the “issue” section of the agenda items.  This recommendation will be forwarded to the Board of Directors for consideration at its December 2008 meeting.  If the Board approves the recommendation, it may want to forward it to boards and committees for review and comment before implementing this recommended addition to agenda items.

Referral of Council New Business Items

At its March meeting, CSFC met with the Committee on Division/APA Relations (CODAPAR) to discuss the role of divisions with relation to Council new business items.  CODAPAR and CSFC agreed that it would be beneficial to provide divisions the opportunity to have input on the review of Council new business items when a division has relevant expertise.  CSFC encourages CODAPAR to develop a method for inviting input from divisions on Council new business items and noted it would be helpful to provide information regarding the lead board or committee to which each item is assigned, including the staff liaison’s contact information.  CSFC asked that if such an invitation to divisions is implemented that information on this be provided at the New Council Member Orientation and included in the Council Member Handbook.

Five-Year Review of Structure and Function of Council

At its March meeting, CSFC discussed the item “Five-Year Review of Structure and Function of Council” and noted that it does ongoing reviews each year.  Dr. Hays provided CSFC with a summary of feedback provided from off-going Council members over the past five years.  CSFC will review the summary at its October 2008 meeting.  A suggestion was made for CSFC to consider developing a virtual suggestion box for Council members.

CSFC’s Mission

At its March meeting, CSFC discussed its mission statement and decided to review it again at its October 2008 meeting to determine if changes are needed.  CSFC will also consider ways in which CSFC can be a more proactive committee and the visibility of CSFC at its October 2008 meeting. 

CSFC discussed its role in relation to diversity training.  CSFC members were provided a copy of the CSFC Report on Multicultural/ Diversity Capabilities that CSFC developed and forwarded to the Board of Directors in December 2006.  CSFC was informed that the Board of Directors will make recommendations at its June 2008 meeting regarding diversity training for Council and board and committee members in 2009 that will be forwarded to Council for consideration at its August 2008 meeting.   CSFC will send a memo to the Board of Directors for inclusion in the Board’s June 2008 agenda informing the Board that CSFC began discussions regarding clarifying CSFC’s role in diversity training and will continue its discussion at its October 2008 meeting.  The memo will also request that the Board take into account that several Council members who participate in the diversity training at the Council meeting are also present at the plenary session of the Consolidated Meetings where the same diversity training session is conducted.  CSFC suggests either acknowledging the redundancy of the training in the two meetings and legitimizing Council members not participating in Spring Consolidated Meeting diversity training or providing a separate session for Council members at the Consolidated Meetings that would perhaps be a more in-depth experience compared to Council’s diversity training session.  

At its October meeting, CSFC discussed CSFC’s mission and voted to postpone the item to its October 2009 meeting.  CSFC will also consider if it should recommend to Council that Association Rule 60-1.2 be deleted.  The rule states that CSFC shall conduct a five-year review of the structure and function of Council and CSFC doesn’t usually conduct a five-year review since it does such a review during the regular course of business at its meetings.

Electronic Voting at Council Meetings

At its November meeting, CSFC voted to support the use of electronic voting at Council meetings under the following conditions: that the 2009 Council be surveyed prior to the February 2009 Council meeting to get their opinion regarding the use of electronic voting, including (a) whether or not they are in favor of using it, (b) if they would prefer to use it for all votes or only for straw votes and opinion polls (e.g. strategic planning) and (c) whether or not Council members’ names should be linked to their voting clicker, and if so, (d) whether or not the names should be shown with the votes on the screens.  CSFC believes it is important that Council members have the ultimate say regarding the use of technology for voting at meetings.

Targeted Nomination Statement for CSFC

At its October meeting, CSFC voted to approve the following 2009 Targeted Nomination Statement for CSFC:

Nominees must be members of the Council of Representatives serving in the first or second year of their terms. CSFC is seeking nominees with the following background:  Informed perspectives about strengths and weaknesses of governance and/or Council procedures, ability to appreciate organizational constraints and the needs of various constituencies, plus ability to provide leadership in facilitating the functioning of APA Council.  Nominees should complement and balance the experience and background of its continuing members.  CSFC encourages participation of newer Council members and members from underrepresented and diverse groups.

CSFC seeks candidates with leadership experience in both states and divisions and expertise in strategic planning.

Number of Ethnic Minorities on Council

CSFC requested that an item be placed on the Fall 2009 CSFC agenda to provide information on the numbers of ethnic minorities on Council from 2002-2010, the number of terms each ethnic minority has served on Council in recent years and the number of ethnic minorities who have served on a board or committee during or after a term on Council.

Follow-Up to Sexual Orientation and Diversity Training

CSFC participated in a follow-up exercise to the diversity training on sexual orientation that took place at the March 2009 Consolidated Meetings.