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Report From the APA Council of Representatives, August 2012 Meeting

John C. Scott
APTMetrics, Inc.

SIOP representatives Debra Major, David Peterson, Paul Thayer, and John Scott attended the August, 2012 APA council meeting in Orlando, which was held in conjunction with the APA Convention.

The APA council addressed a number of important issues and took several noteworthy actions during this meeting.

Council Votes to Make Significant Changes to APA’s Governance Structure

APA’s Good Governance Project Team (GGP) was tasked with ensuring that APA’s governance structure is appropriate for the challenges psychology faces in the 21st century. Under the current system, APA’s council is the only governance body with the authority to determine policy, yet it only meets twice a year. The system is often criticized for being slow, cumbersome, and unable to respond to rapidly changing circumstances, such as new legislation in Congress.

With input from members and governance groups, the GGP team has developed several options to create a nimbler, simpler, and more flexible governance system that would allow for more direct member input and be more strategically focused. At the August meeting, the GGP team asked the council to consider the degree of change needed to meet those goals, whether through incremental change, moderate change, or a “clean-slate” approach.

In a show of overwhelming support for a new system, the council voted 135 to 22 for bolder change, moving toward the moderate change and clean-slate end of the continuum.

The option for moderate governance transfers responsibility for budgeting, oversight of corporate responsibilities, and internal policies to a newly created Board of Trustees, while a Communities of Interest Assembly would concentrate on strategically driven issues of interest to psychology and the public. The clean-slate option calls for a single governing body whose members are selected based on specific competencies. This body would be responsible for gathering broad input on a variety of issues through ad hoc advisory groups, expert summits, member surveys, and more.

The GGP team will next work on how these changes would be implemented, considering, for example, how members of the new governance groups could be selected. The GGP team will solicit further council input at its next meeting in February and throughout the spring. Final approval for the new governance plan is expected next August.

Go to www.apa.org/about/governance/good-governance for a copy of the GGP report to council, the approved motion, and the chart outlining the three scenarios.

Council Allocates $3 Million to Increase the Number of Accredited Internship Slots

Recognizing the growing imbalance between the number of psychology graduate students who need a clinical internship to complete their degree requirements and the availability of those internships, APA’s Council of Representatives voted to fund a $3 million internship stimulus program to increase the number of accredited internship positions. The funding is expected to help as many as 150 programs move from non-APA accredited to accredited status and create 520 new accredited internship positions over the next 3 years.

The council’s decision commits APA to fund up to $1 million a year for 3 years to internship programs seeking APA accreditation. The money will help offset program expenses in such areas as application and site visit fees, program consultation fees, and intern stipends and benefits. The typical maximum grant to an individual program will not exceed $20,000.

In addition, the Council:

  • Adopted a resolution designed to increase the public and allied health professionals’ awareness of psychotherapy’s effectiveness in reducing people’s need for other health services and in improving long-term health.
  • Received the report of the Presidential Task Force on Educational Disparities, which focuses on the growing gap between minority and non-minority student achievement and the role psychology can play in addressing the impact of educational disparities on poor and racial- and ethnic-minority students.
  • Approved the creation of APA’s first open methods, open-data, open-access journal—Archives of Scientific Psychology. The publication will be APA’s first fee-based journal.
  • Approved the 2012 class of APA Fellows. A total of 109 members were elected to Fellow status in recognition of their contributions to psychology.
  • Approved funding for representatives of the four ethnic-minority psychological associations (EMPAs) to continue to attend APA council meetings as delegates/observers. In a related action, the council approved a bylaws amendment to create official council seats for the four EMPAs. Because the proposed change requires a bylaws amendment, it will be forwarded to the full APA membership for a vote this fall. The EMPAs are the Asian American Psychological Association, the Association of Black Psychologists, the National Latina/o Psychological Association, and the Society of Indian Psychologists.
  • Approved funding for an APA task force that will study the trafficking of women and girls.
  • Approved the 2013 budget revenue forecast of $108 million. Licensing revenue from APA’s databases continues to be the largest component of APA revenue budget.

Meeting With the APA Practice Directorate

During the APA convention, Doug Reynolds, Tammy Allen, and Joan Brannick joined the four SIOP council members in a meeting with representatives of the APA Practice Directorate. The purpose of this meeting was to explore opportunities for strengthening SIOP’s relationship with APA and to identify possibilities for further collaboration. Among the topics discussed were licensure and APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program.