Chapter II. Elections, Awards, Membership, and Human Resources


1975: Policy to include a list of men, women and minority groups serving as editors in the Council of Editors’ annual report 

Council requested that the members of the Council of Editors include routinely in their annual reports a summary of the men, women, and minority groups serving as editors, associate editors, consulting editors, and reviewers. Further, Council requested that the numbers of men, women, and minority groups who leave any of these positions also be made available.

1980: Policy that Central Office conducts the ballot for electing SPTA Council Representatives

In order to ensure that the provisions of the Bylaws are met, Council voted that the balloting process for Council Representatives from state associations be conducted by APA Central Office as it now does for divisions. The state associations would be required to furnish the APA Central Office with a list of their members for checking the ballot.

1982: General principles dealing with the APA election process

Council rejects any requirement for a hiatus on one year in service on boards and committees. There should be no formal restriction on a person's sequential service on different boards and committees. Preference should be given to "new blood" rather than "old", if other factors are essentially equal, but the primary consideration in all elections or appointments should be, "Who can best serve the needs of APA in this particular assignment or office?"

No member of one standing board or committee or continuing committee shall serve simultaneously on any other continuing or standing board or committee of the Association unless formally authorized by a board or committee, and unless service is on a group that reports to that board or committee. This shall not preclude liaison assignments or consultant relationships, or task forces or commissions, or other ad hoc groupings, and shall not apply to divisions or officers of affiliated organizations.

Individuals serving in the APA Presidency cycle shall not hold offices within the Association other than ex officio positions that accompany the office. Operationally, (a) candidates for the presidency shall be restricted from running for any other elective office, such as division offices, within the Association while they are candidates for the presidency; and (b) a person elected to the APA presidency shall, during the term of president-elect, president, and past president, be restricted from holding any other office in the Association that is not an ex officio extension of the presidential office.

The Council rejects any requirement for providing information on past and current service of candidates for election to boards and committees, endorsing the concept in principle but not adopting it as a hard and fast rule of the Association.

The Council also adopted the following as general principles, but not hard and fast rules: (1) persons will normally be nominated for election to standing boards or committees only after they have served on an APA continuing committee, task force or commission, or on the Council; and (2) continuing committee assignments and those to other appointed groups are considered important avenues for introducing members without prior board or committee experience into APA governance activities, but continuing committees should not be restricted from drawing on experienced members as appropriate to the parent group.

1990: Policy reminding divisions and SPTAs to be active in alerting their memberships about the apportionment ballot

That divisions and state associations be encouraged to be more active in alerting their members to the importance of returning the apportionment ballot and that information on divisions and state associations be included with the ballot mailing.

1990: Policy regarding Council representatives seeking positions on APA boards and committees

That Council members be encouraged to seek nomination to boards and committees. The nomination process would be one of the topics covered at the Committee on Structure and Function of Council sponsored orientation for new Council members. Shortly after their election, Council representatives will be sent a letter encouraging them to participate in the nomination process for boards and committees along with information on the election process for boards and committees.

1996: Policy requiring an orientation meeting for new Council representatatives one day prior to the start of Council

On recommendation of the Board of Directors, Council voted to approve the establishment of a training program for new Council members to take place one day prior to the new members' first Council meeting.

1999: Policy that president-elect candidates who are not current members of Council will not be reimbursed for their participation in the plenary session of Council

That presidential candidates, who are not members of the current Council of Representatives, no longer be reimbursed for attending the plenary session of Council.

2000: Policy urging boards and committees to develop strategies to get new people involved in governance

Council voted to direct all directorates and governance groups to identify strategies specific to that directorate or governance group and implement appropriate mechanisms that will provide opportunities for newcomers (those who have not previously served on the Council of Representatives or a board or committee, with exception of APAGS) to participate in governance. One of these mechanisms might be to propose a slate comprised solely of members who haven’t previously served on the Council of Representatives or board or committee, with the exception of APAGS.

2004: A three-year trial (2005-2007) in which ethnic minority representatives will be reimbursed for their expenses associated with attending Council

Because it believes that racial and ethnic diversity in the membership of Council has not been and is not currently satisfactory, Council finds that a program to provide incentives to Divisions and State, Provincial and Territorial Associations to elect ethnic minorities as Council representatives is in the best interest of APA.

Accordingly APA will reimburse any Division or State/Provincial/Territorial Psychological Association for the expenses incurred by representatives to Council who are ethnic minorities and who are elected during the years 2005-2007, to attend Council meetings. Reimbursement will be provided to Divisions, State, Provincial and Territorial Psychological Associations for transportation, hotel and meal expenses for both the February and August meetings of Council. APA strongly encourages Divisions and State, Provincial and Territorial Associations to submit one or more slates of nominees comprised solely of ethnic minorities.

For purposes of this program, ethnic minority identity is determined by self-identification as a member of one of the following four U.S. ethnic minority groups: African American/Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic / Latino.

Council requests that the Board conduct a review of the effectiveness of this proposal and provide a recommendation to Council in August 2007 regarding funding its continuance beyond the 2007 election.


No active policies.


1989: Students' fees received between September and December are applied to the following year although they are immediately accepted as affiliates

All students applying to APA for the first time from September through December each year will receive free affiliation in APA in those months remaining in that calendar year. The Student Affiliate fee is still required; however this fee will be applied to the upcoming calendar year.

1991: A candidate for initial Fellow status should select one nominating division 

A person may be nominated for initial Fellow status by only one division. If additional division Fellow nominations are submitted at the same time as the initial nomination, Fellow status may take place for these additional divisions upon initial Fellowship election by the Council of Representatives. If the individual is nominated by more than one division, the nominee will select the division which best represents his/her work and contributions to psychology. The selected division will become the “nominating division.” The nominee will inform the nominating division of any other divisions which have also expressed interest in his/her nomination for Fellow.

1993: Required endorsements dropped from membership application process 

Council approved dropping the requirement for endorsements from Association members for applicants for associate member or member status and amended requirements for documentation on application forms and for procedures to ensure an applicant’s qualifications for membership in the Association.

1994: Required application fee dropped and expanded dues phase-in goes from 3 to 4 years

Council approved dropping the requirement that an application for membership be accompanied by an application fee and expanding the three-year phase-in of APA dues to a four-year phase in, as follows: first-year members dues set annually by the Membership Committee, usually between 25% to 30% of regular member dues; second-year member dues at 50% of regular member dues; third year members dues at 70% of regular member dues; and fourth-year members dues at 90% of regular member dues.

1994: Policy on journal costs for dues-exempt members

Council approved having dues-exempt members pay the same price for journals as dues-paying members. The journal credit applies only to dues-paying members.

1994: Required endorsement dropped from the student application process

Council approved dropping the requirement that student affiliate applications be endorsed by a member of the Association.

1996: Dual membership proposal

Dual Membership Proposal:

WHEREAS Council has received with concern data related to the declining rates of membership in the Association's science/academic constituency, and

WHEREAS Psychology can only survive through a recognition of the mutual interdependence of science and practice, and

WHEREAS Psychology's credibility with policy members as a health service profession would be significantly reduced by the weakening of its alliance with the science of psychology, and

WHEREAS APA is not the primary membership organization for many scientific psychologists, and

WHEREAS the dual membership dues proposal advanced by BSA and supported by the Board of Directors may be only one possible response to a growing problem, and

WHEREAS additional study and data are needed to determine how the proposed intervention needs to be implemented and what additional interventions may be required to achieved the desired result,


  1. Approves a special dues arrangement for APA members who also are members of the American Psychological Society (APS) or a member of any one of the organizations that are part of the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences. APA would limit this offer to one society for a scientist/academic APA member. Dual APA/APS or Federation members would have their APA dues reduced by 25%. Those organizations would be encouraged to give a reciprocal dues reduction.

  2. Will review the implementation of this action at its August meeting.

  3. Allocates $6,000 from its 1996 contingency fund to appoint a 6 person Task Force to review data already accumulated about the extent and causes of the problem to plan and to recommend possible additional interventions, and to report to Council implementation plans at its August meeting.

2010: Guidelines for divisions to follow with regard to Fellows nominations (originally approved in 1980)

Council voted to approve the following guidelines with regard to Fellow nominations by division:

That each division employs orderly procedures for ensuring the nominations of appropriate and deserving potential Fellows;

That divisions be encouraged (but not required) to ask nominees to provide a self-generated written statement setting forth their accomplishments that warrant nomination to Fellow status.

That evaluators at the division level submit to the Division Fellows Committee a narrative explanation of their decisions and, when the decision is supportive of the nomination, that all materials reviewed by the Division Committee be forwarded to the APA Membership Committee; and

That the Board of Directors continue to review the APA Fellows Committee’s recommendations, prior to making its recommendations to the Council, as specific in the current APA Bylaws.

2010: The Membership Board's charge was extended to include recruitment and retention activities (originally approved in 1992)

Council approved having the Membership Board oversee Association membership retention and recruitment activities and make annual reports on these activities to Council.

2010: Collection of information about the representation of women, ethnic minorities, gay men, lesbians and bisexuals, transgender individuals, and individuals with disabilities in APA Governance (originally approved in 1998)

Collection of Information about the Representation of Women, Ethnic Minorities, Gay Men, Lesbians and Bisexuals, Transgender Individuals and Individuals with Disabilities in APA Governance: That staff is directed to 1) annually collect and disseminate information on the number of women, ethnic minorities, gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender individuals and individuals with disabilities serving on Council and boards and committees; 2) at least every five years, collect and disseminate information on the number of women, ethnic minorities, gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender individuals and individuals with disabilities who have been nominated to boards and committees and/or put on a board/committee election slate and to nominees on the Council of Representatives election ballot. The information will be collected by mailing a survey requesting voluntary self disclosure regarding gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and disability status from board/committee members and Council members (annually) and board/committee nominees and members running for Council (at least every five years). The results of the survey will be disseminated to APA governance groups and will be used in determining whether further action to increase diversity is warranted based on the results and, if so, at what point in the nomination/election process diversity issues may need to be most vigorously addressed.

Council requested that the APA Research Office be involved in the development of the survey and analyzation of the data.

Human Resources

1993: Reporting requirements on APA Affirmative Action

Council approved a motion that provides for a verbal summary of the APA Affirmative Action Report to be presented at each plenary session of Council; that Council receive a written report of actions taken to remedy concerns raised in the February 1993 report; and that such an update be presented at every August meeting of Council.

1994: Procedures for governance-staff APA interactions

That the Board of Directors approve the following written procedures for adjudicating complaints against members regarding sexual or other harassment or discriminatory behaviors directed toward APA staff to be included in the American Psychological Association's Policies and Procedures Manual:

  • Complaints about sexual (or other prohibited) harassment or discrimination directed toward APA staff by APA members who are not also staff members should be presented to the Director of Human Resources, the Affirmative Action Officer or the Manager, Human Resources Operations. Employees who need guidance or assistance should contact one of these individuals immediately. Once a complaint is registered with any of the above individuals, the Director of Human Resources will concurrently notify the CEO or his/her designee and the APA's General Counsel of the complaint. The General Counsel, in collaboration with the Director of Human Resources, will determine whether an investigation is warranted. If so, an investigation will be conducted by the Director of Human Resources, under the supervision of the General Counsel, to gather all facts pertinent to the allegations of the complaint. The investigation will be conducted promptly and objectively. It will include interviews with the complainant(s), person(s) accused, and others as necessary.

  • The APA General Counsel has the authority to make a good faith effort to resolve the complaint through informal processes at any stage of the investigation. If these efforts fail, the General Counsel will have the following options:

1. If the General Counsel concludes on the basis of the investigation that insufficient evidence of harassment exists to warrant any action, he or she may, with the approval of the CEO, close the investigation and so notify the complainant.

2. If the General Counsel, with the concurrence of the Director of Human Resources, Affirmative Action Officer and the CEO, concludes on the basis of the investigation that prohibited harassment has occurred, he or she will report his or her findings and recommendations to the Chair of the Personnel Committee of the Board of Directors. The recommendations may include written warning to the person(s) accused, actions to prevent the person(s) from serving in any governance capacity, including but not limited to: boards and committees, task forces, Board of Directors or Council in order to preclude further interaction with staff, or in the most serious cases, referral to the Ethics Committee. The Personnel Committee shall review such findings and recommendations and make a recommendation to the Board of Directors for resolution.

  • A member who believes his or her rights were violated as a result of the investigation has the right to request consideration by the Committee on Constitutional Issues.

  • Every effort will be made to maintain confidentiality throughout the process, but total confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. APA will protect the privacy of both the complainant and persons accused in every way it can during the processing of the complaint and thereafter.

  • APA prohibits any form of retaliation against any employee for filing a bona fide complaint under this policy or for assisting in an investigation under this policy. Such retaliation will itself be considered the basis for disciplinary action. However, if after investigating a complaint, APA determines that the complaint is not bona fide or that an employee has knowingly provided false information regarding the complaint, disciplinary action may be taken against the individual who filed the complaint or who gave false information. Any retaliatory action of any kind taken against an individual who has made a complaint under this procedure is prohibited and will be the basis for a separate complaint and subject to disciplinary action.

Further, that the Board of Directors direct staff to hold formal discussions at the consolidated committee meetings and November consolidated meetings in fall 1994 about appropriate governance-staff interactions from which written guidelines for appropriate governance-staff interactions can be developed and disseminated.

1995: Action response to Affirmative Action Report by CEO put in place

Council approved a motion providing that at the February meetings of Council, the APA chief executive officer will submit a written follow-up report and make an oral presentation as an "action response" to the recommendations of the Affirmative Action Report of the previous August. In so doing, Council will be better informed about the resolution of affirmative action issues within the Central Office and will be better able to make recommendations to expedite the resolution of such issues.

1995: Governance-staff interactions principles and guidance


APA has established several principles throughout its history regarding the roles and responsibilities of governance members and staff, some of which are listed below. The most recent principle was established in August 1994 by the Council of Representatives. Council passed a resolution to establish specific procedures for adjudicating complaints against APA members (who are not also APA staff members) regarding sexual or other harassment or discriminatory behaviors. These procedures have become part of APA's Policies and Procedures Manual.

Council further directed staff to hold formal discussions with board and committee members and to develop written guidelines for appropriate governance-staff interactions. This document reflects review and comment by APA staff and by board and committee members. It is intended to provide broad parameters about expected behaviors and to develop a shared understanding and appreciation of the differences in the roles of staff and governance members.

Association Rule 200-4
Relation of Staff to Committees and Boards

200-4.1 The chief staff officer shall assign staff to serve as liaisons to boards and committees. These staff shall inform themselves about the work of the board or committee and shall support the board or committee in the conduct of its business. The committee shall keep Central Office informed of its activities through staff assigned to serve as liaisons unless, in the opinion of the committee's chair, the matter is privileged.

APA Policies and Procedures Manual

Equal Employment Opportunity

B.1.01 The American Psychological Association (APA) provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, marital status, number of dependent children or the ages of the children, physical or mental disability (visible or nonvisible), or any other basis on which discrimination is prohibited by federal, state, or local law. This policy applies to recruiting, hiring, training, promotion, and all terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

Sexual Harassment

B 8.01 APA in its effort to maintain a safe, fair, humane, and respectful working environment for all employees sets forth its policy regarding sexual harassment. The principles and practices described in this policy apply equally to harassment due to race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or any of the other characteristics enumerated in B1.01. APA deplores such conduct and will not tolerate any acts that violate this policy. APA employees, agents, and supervisory staff are prohibited from harassing other APA employees on the basis of the enumerated characteristics.

General Principle I

Staff and members are professionals; all interactions should be on a professional-to-professional basis.


  1. Harassment or intimidation of any nature is not tolerated. Civility, courtesy and mutual respect in all interactions are expected.

  2. Relationships among professionals require equality. Requests made of one party should stand the test of reciprocity.

  3. Over time relationships can often become more personal. It is important that mutual respect continue to be part of the ongoing relationship.

General Principle II

Staff's primary responsibility is to facilitate the work of the group; requests from board or committee members should relate to the goals of the group.


  1. Staff are responsible for providing support for the board or committee. This includes, but is not limited to, making meeting arrangements, developing agenda items, working with chairs to facilitate meetings, acting as resources at the meeting, and carrying out and managing complex and extensive activities subsequent to the meetings.

  2. Requests from members from staff that go beyond staff responsibility such as personal favors (i.e., picking member up at airport, making reservations for personal activities, etc.) are not appropriate, and generally will not be honored.

  3. A member with a disability may request special assistance or a specific accommodation that may initially appear personal in nature, i.e., holding a door for a person in a wheelchair, carrying meeting materials for a person with a disability, or reading written material for a person who is blind or visually impaired. Such accommodations may allow the member with a disability to carry out functions or tasks consistent with the purpose of the meeting and may aid in that person's interaction or participating in the meeting.

There are some requests that are personal in nature, i.e. a member asking for staff to pick up dry cleaning or arrange for tours of a popular local museum. Staff should always be at a personal level of comfort when providing a requested service or accommodation. Requests may be denied if determined personally inappropriate or clarified as inappropriate by senior staff. It is not the responsibility of the staff person to anticipate any personal accommodations or requests.

General Principle III

In meetings after regular working hours and in social situations, staff are still performing work-related duties.


  1. Social functions and/or meetings outside regular working hours or outside regular meeting locations are characterized by more informal and sometimes personal interactions. It is important to remember that in these situations, staff and members are expected to remain professional and courteous.

  2. Staff and members can view social situations differently. Members may find these settings a time to relax and to enjoy the company of others. For staff, these events are part of their professional obligations. It is important to recognize that individuals may experience these situations in different ways.

General Principle IV

All staff ultimately report to the CEO of APA and receive work instructions from their supervisor.


  1. Members should recognize that work priorities for staff are set by the staff's supervisor. It is not appropriate for members to give work direction to staff, except in cases in which the chair directs implementation of decisions made by the board or committee. If members make an unusual and unreasonable request of staff, it is appropriate for the staff to notify their supervisor of the request.

  2. If a project requires unusual resources from a specific staff person, the chair may contact the Executive Director to request that priorities be re-assigned, if possible.

  3. Some staff may be asked to leave during executive sessions of the board or committee, however all staff may not be excluded without prior approval of the CEO or his/her designee, and without a member of the Board of Directors (which includes the CEO or his/her designee) being present during the executive session.