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Don Bersoff

I am pleased to respond to the questions posed by SIOP. Despite the fact that Division 14 has 4 members on the Council of Representatives, I/O psychologists should have more influence on the policies of APA. Thus, it is good to see the Division taking an active role in assessing the candidates for the APA presidency.
My Initiatives—In my 1000 word candidate’s statement I have outlined 3 initiatives, two of which are of import to Division 14 members. As I point out, the diversity of those with whom I/O psychologists will work in the future is increasing. The population of the United States is becoming multicultural. Our profession as a whole, and I/O psychologists in particular, may be ill-prepared to serve clients from Hispanic, Middle Eastern, and Asian cultures. To begin to serve them, as a presidential priority, I will convene a group of diverse psychologists, including representatives from SIOP, whose goal is to develop plans to attract and train ethnically and culturally sophisticated practitioners and promulgate appropriate training curricula.
With regard to the second relevant initiative, I note that APA’s mission is to advance the creation, communication, and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives. The successful achievement of that goal depends on the stimulation, production, and dissemination of science. Thus, I pledge to do whatever is necessary to attract and retain academicians and scientists as members. SIOP members reflect the best of the Boulder model of the science-practitioner. But I am concerned that APA is becoming a fractionated association. Thus, APA must make genuine efforts to support academicians and researchers who produce the science that undergirds valid practice. We must make genuine efforts toward that goal and I plan to do just that.
Reflecting I/O’s Point of View—I have made the point in several of my talks to Council members that I am not a niche candidate. I firmly believe that the president should represent all of psychology.  Nevertheless, I have attempted to support the work of I/O psychologists and other non-healthcare providers who have been given short shrift. When I served as APA’s first general counsel, I drafted an amicus brief on behalf of APA in Watson v. Fort Worth Bank, where I argued that unstructured interviews to assess hiring and promotion should be subjected to validation, citing among other work, Division 14 Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures.  I have consulted with testing companies about legal developments affecting I/O practice. And, in my textbook, Ethical Conflicts in Psychology I include an excerpt from and a discussion of Detroit Edison v. NLRB, an important case for I/O psychologists. But, the president is going to hear from lots of interest groups. Division 14 must also take the initiative in informing the president what it wants to put on the presidential plate. I am open to hearing from SIOP and supporting its vision of being recognized as a premier professional group committed to advancing the science and practice of the psychology of work.

For more information, visit www.donbersoff.com.