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President's Column 

 

 

Mort McPhail

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Summer in Houston started wet and is ending wet, with hot in between—sorta typical, though it seems wetter and hotter than usual. But the long hot summer hasn’t stopped the work that our SIOP colleagues have been doing, and a lot has been going on this summer.

In the interim since my last column, APA held its 124th Annual Convention in Denver. SIOP’s (as Division 14) contribution to the program included 13 sessions, on topics ranging from decent work to gender in the workplace and points in between, and two different poster sessions sponsored by SIOP. Many thanks go to Tara Behrend for her and her committee’s diligent work and success in assembling such an accomplished set of presenters and top level presentations to share with our colleagues at APA. Additionally, members of SIOP presented at other poster sessions and appeared on the program outside of our particular block. Prior to the convention and at its close, our representatives to the Council of Representatives (Deidre Knapp, Georgia Chao, Lori Foster, and our newest representative Steve Stark, who stepped in for our other representative, Gary Latham, who was attending the International Congress of Psychology in Japan) met and dealt with a range of issues including finances, ethics, and governance. One issue of importance was a change that was made to the APA Ethics Code. In Standard 3.04 which deals with avoiding harm, Council voted to add a section that explicitly forbids psychologists from participating in torture, which is also defined. This action was taken partially in response to the controversies that have arisen (a long, complex, and difficult period in APA’s history) regarding the involvement of some psychologists in the interrogations at Guantanamo following 9/11. The details of the events leading to this change are still being debated, and I can’t get into them here, but the change itself, although not exactly the wording that our representatives might have preferred, was acceptable to us. APA has plans later this year to begin a formal review of the entire Ethics Code, and we will be working diligently to ensure that our voice is clearly heard in those discussions and debates. In other APA business, the Council received a report on the search for a new CEO for the Association; the search committee is cochaired by Rodney Lowman, so we can be sure that appropriate and valid selection procedures are being used. For more information about the work that our representatives do for us at APA, take a look at Deidre Knapp’s article in this issue of TIP.

In early July, Past-President Steve Kozlowski, President-Elect Fred Oswald, Government Relations Advocacy Team Chair Jill Bradley-Geist, Research and Science Officer Mikki Hebl, and I met with our advocacy consultants in Washington to review our past year’s efforts and to plan for the future. We are looking ahead to the implications of transition in the administration after elections this fall and will be preparing documents and strategy for us to consider and use in maintaining our efforts to achieve greater recognition and influence regardless of the election outcome. In addition, the Policing Initiative Working Group has continued its efforts. Ann Marie Ryan met with the Deputy Director for Community Policing Advancement of the Community Oriented Policing Services Office, which is part of the Department of Justice. The Deputy Director was very receptive to the contact, and we are working on ways to follow-up that will utilize I-O expertise and research. The Working Group expanded its membership to include Cal Hoffman (Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department), Enrica Ruggs (University of North Carolina, Charlotte), and Amy Grubb (FBI); Amy has agreed to serve as facilitator for the group. Given the tragedies and unrest that have continued to occur this summer, the need for SIOP to be able to provide evidence-based approaches to impact policing has never been greater. One of my goals for this year was to continue the work we are doing in this arena; the future of I-O psychology depends in part on the extent to which we can show the relevance and impact of our science and practice to issues that matter at a national level. The SIOP Policing Initiative provides one clear avenue where our expertise is highly relevant, we have a great deal of practical experience, and the scientific knowledge we have accumulated can be important in addressing what has rapidly become a national crisis.

In July I had an opportunity to attend a National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine workshop on personnel selection in forensic science. The workshop was chaired by Fred Oswald and attended by several I-O experts: Winfred Arthur, Wendy Becker, Scott Highhouse, Andy Imada, Liberty Munson, Dan Putka, Ann Marie Ryan, and Nancy Tippins. I had the decidedly fun and easy task of introducing I-O psychology to a group of people who really wanted to learn about what we have to offer and then got to participate in the discussions and interact with a group of interesting and smart people. It was a great workshop, and work is underway to leverage it into action to assist the community of forensic science professionals.

I mentioned above that this has been a summer of tragedies across our country. On June 12th one of the worst mass killings in our history took place in Orlando. In an act of astonishing and horrifying violence an attack predicated on hatred at many levels—gender identity, race/ethnicity, and religious—took place at a gay night club, during a salsa celebration. As psychologists, we are pledged to the principle of Respect for People’s Rights and Dignity, and we affirm that “Psychologists are aware of and respect cultural, individual, and role differences, including those based on age, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, and socioeconomic status” (APA, 2003, Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, from Principle E, p. 4). We share the grief and pain of our LGBTQ and racial/ethnic minority colleagues created by this senseless act of violence. The LGBT Committee, chaired by Katina Sawyer, and the Committee on Ethnic and Minority Affairs, chaired by Kisha Jones, have been working on appropriate ways for SIOP to acknowledge our concern at the 2017 Conference to be held in Orlando, almost a year after this tragic event. Until then, I want all of our friends and colleagues affected by intolerance and violence to know that we stand with and support you.

There are a couple of things I want to remind you about that are happening even as I’m writing this column. First, the nomination period for Fellows has opened. If you know someone who deserves to be honored in this way by our Society, please consider submitting a nomination for her or him. If you have questions about the requirements for consideration for Fellowship, there is extensive information on the website; you can also contact Kenneth De Meuse, chair of the Fellowship Committee. Second, for those of you who are licensed practitioners, the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) is conducting a job analysis that will form the basis for content validating updates to the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). If you receive the job analysis survey, please take time to complete it (if you are licensed and would like to participate, please contact Mark Nagy who is chair of the Licensing, Certification, and Credentialing Committee). Although we are small in numbers relative to health care providers, our input is needed to ensure that I-O content is appropriately represented on the examination.

This fall bodes to be as busy as the summer has been. In September, your Executive Board will meet in Chicago to carry out SIOP’s business, and as usual, we have a full agenda. Then on October 21–22, the Leading Edge Consortium will be held in Atlanta. The topic is “Talent Analytics: Data Science to Drive People Decisions and Business Impact," and Alexis Fink and her team have put together a program packed with some of the most accomplished experts in this area. You still have time to register, and this is not an event you will want to miss. When I talk about the future of I-O psychology, this is one of the topics that continues to arise, and this year’s LEC is right on target for helping us prepare for it.

It is easy to become swept up in the swirl of the everyday business of SIOP. Our members are constantly busy expanding our scientific knowledge and finding ways to apply it to real-world problems, and many of them are also finding time to plan our conferences, serve on and chair our committees, interface with our colleagues internationally and in other professional associations, build our budgets, manage our finances (thanks Scott Tannenbaum), staff our positions, and care for our members. Even so, I think we need to continue to focus on the future ahead of our profession. Our efforts in advocacy are part of this focus as are our participation here and abroad with the larger community of psychologists, but we are also looking at ways to become aware more effectively of the changes ahead in order to be able to proactively shape our own future. Looks like we’re going to be even busier, and that’s a good thing.