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Letters to the Editor

To: TIP Editor
Subject: Silzer & Parson articles

Drs. Silzer and Parsons are clearly concerned with representation by academics and practitioners in SIOP governance. I support their argument that there should be a balance. On the other hand, I do not accept the so-called evidence they present to support their position that practitioners/consultants are underrepresented. They have decided that they will decide who is what, and that is inconsistent with objective use of data.

I am sure that I am always classified as an academic in their tables. While I retired as an academic, I spent more than half my career at LIMRA as a researcher/practitioner/consultant/trainer/manager/executive. Today, although retired, I am a consultant. But, I am a SCIENTIST–PRACTITIONER. And my career reflects that. Do not classify me in any other way. And I am sure that many who have been classified as academics or as consultants are as indignant as I am. We are not one or another. We are what our Society claims us to be: scientist–practitioners.

I suggest the subject authors write to each of those included in their data sets and ask them how they would classify themselves, allowing them the privilege of using more categories than they use. Try scientist–practitioner, as well as the simplistic categories they use. Then reanalyze the data.

Or, simply state that they think consultants/practitioners don’t seem to get as much a role in SIOP as they think they should. Then, instead of assuming that is the case because of the nature of SIOP, look for other sources of the alleged differences. For example, is it possible that the reward structure for, or the time demands on, consultants inhibit or fail to encourage active participation in SIOP? Are there differences between consultants and researchers related to joining groups like SIOP? I don’t know, but as a scientist-practitioner, I am inclined to search for all possible reasons for data differences not just a few. If such reasons are found, make proposals that move the issues forward. Just complaining about the pattern won’t solve anything.

Paul W. Thayer