August 2014 APA Council Report
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Posted by: Nancy A. McGarrah, PhD, APA Council Representativ
The Council met two days during APA Convention in Washington, DC.
At its August meeting, APA’s Council of Representatives approved several proposals recommended by the Good Governance Project (GGP) Implementation Work Group (IWG). The result is to hopefully streamline the association’s governance system and make it more inclusive. IWG was tasked with developing the implementation plans for the governance changes that Council adopted at its August 2013 meeting.
“This was a challenging but important Council meeting,” APA President Nadine J. Kaslow, PhD says. “Challenging because updating the APA governance system, as the Good Governance Project is designed to do, is not a simple task.” After much discussion, both in small and large groups, several proposals were approved regarding the governance system.
The GGP model, proposed after a thorough assessment with input from governance groups, seeks primarily to increase member engagement and give members a more direct voice in the decision-making process. It also seeks to enable APA governance to respond more nimbly to issues of the day and to ensure strategic alignment across the organization. The GGP was an outgrowth of the APA Strategic Plan focused on optimizing organizational effectiveness.
The following motions have been approved by Council:
A three-year trial delegation of duties to the Board of Directors in four areas: financial and budgetary matters; the oversight of APA’s chief executive officer; the alignment of the budget with APA’s Strategic Plan; and internally focused policy development. These changes free up Council to focus on strategic and emerging issues affecting psychology and to engage in higher level dialogues that inform the development of policy and strategic directions.
A change in the composition of APA’s Board of Directors, in which the board would have six member-at-large seats open to election from and by the general membership. In addition, the board would have a public member, as well as student and early career psychologist representation. Two seats would also be reserved for members of a newly created Council Leadership Team (CLT), in order to ensure a bridge between the APA board and Council. The CLT will manage the work of Council, determine the process for Council to select topics for discussions and provide recommendations on agenda items that Council would consider. The CLT will have 12 members, all of whom would be current or past Council members.
The changes to the board’s composition require a Bylaw change and therefore need approval by the APA membership; the Bylaw amendment ballot is expected to be sent to members next year.
Not yet determined by Council is its optimal size and structure. The questions still remaining -- and that will be considered at the February 2015 Council meeting -- include:
The overall size of the Council, including whether the allocation of Council seats should be made on an apportionment basis, as they are currently allocated, based on size of a division or state/provincial/territorial association or based on one seat per constituency.
Whether to adopt an IWG proposal recommending that nine at-large Council seats be added and determined by the Needs Assessment Slating and Campaigns Committee based on an annual needs assessment.
The Council received reports from the IWG on making better use of technology, on the delineation of financial oversight responsibilities within the new governance structure, a plan for developing a leadership pipeline and development program after gathering additional input from Council, and a plan for how professional and disciplinary issues would be introduced to and triaged by the new governance system.
In addition, the Council approved a change in the oversight functions of the Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice (CAPP). The committee will now be wholly a committee of the APA Practice Organization (APAPO) and will continue to be responsible for the day to day oversight of APAPO in advocating for the c-6 professional and marketplace interests of practitioners in legislative, legal and regulatory arenas. CAPP will now report directly to the APAPO Board of Directors. This change will also add a voting member from the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students to CAPP, which already has a designated early career psychologist member. The Board of Professional Affairs will continue to oversee the work of the Practice Directorate, including policy formulation; the development of both professional practice and clinical practice guidelines; public education and disaster response; and advocacy for access to quality mental health services.
In other action the Council:
Approved a change to the Association Rules to now require that all boards and committees have at least one member who is an early career psychologist. Exceptions were allowed when membership criteria for a particular board or committee made a slate solely comprised of early career members impossible.
Adopted a resolution aimed at stemming false confessions and wrongful convictions, including a recommendation that all interrogations of domestic criminal felony suspects be videotaped in their entirety and from a “neutral” angle. The measure, which relies heavily on psychological research, states that law enforcement officers often close their investigations after a criminal suspect confesses, even in cases where the confession is inconsistent, contradicted by evidence or coerced. Many adults with mental disabilities and younger suspects don’t fully understand their right to remain silent and to have a lawyer present, and are more likely to waive their rights, the resolution says. In addition, jurors often have difficulty distinguishing true confessions from false, in part because even false confessions sometimes contain vivid and accurate details and facts that had not been previously reported.
Adopted as APA policy a resolution on gender and sexual orientation diversity in children and adolescents in schools that encourages education, training and ongoing professional development about the needs of gender and sexual orientation diverse students for educators and other school personnel.
Adopted as APA policy a resolution in support of the UN Convention on the Rights and Dignity of Person with Disabilities.
Adopted as APA policy Guidelines for Clinical Supervision in Health Service Psychology. These guidelines delineate optimal performance expectations for psychologists who supervise trainees in health-service delivery settings (see www.apa.org/about/policies/guidelines-supervision.pdf).
Approved the creation of a Div. 42 (Psychologists in Independent Practice) journal titled Practice Innovation.
Approved the creation of a APA Committee on Associate and Baccalaureate Education. This committee will subsume the work of the current Psychology Teachers at Community College Committee.
Adopted new policy that supports the inclusion on all governance boards and committee members who have not previously served in governance. Such members running for governance will be given the option to have the fact that they are new to governance service noted by an asterisk on the election ballot.
Elected a class of 111 new APA Fellows.