At its August meeting during APA's 2011 Annual Convention, the Council of Representatives set in motion the implementation of APA's new strategic plan by funding seven initiatives. In addition, the council approved plans to streamline programming during the annual meeting and ensure that APA reports and policy statements are grounded in the best available science.

The strategic initiatives plan sets aside $2.1 million for 2012 to fund seven initiatives designed to support and advance APA's three strategic goals: maximizing organizational effectiveness, expanding psychology's role in advancing health, and increasing the recognition of psychology as a science.

The seven initiatives are:

  • Improve APA business models, member communications and the convention to increase member engagement.
  • Analyze the psychology workforce to meet national needs.
  • Continue to develop and promulgate treatment guidelines to promote the translation of psychological science into health interventions.
  • Continue to expand the APA public education campaign to include the entire discipline of psychology.
  • Expand opportunities for graduate education and continued professional development for psychologists and psychology students in order to advance the discipline's participation in interdisciplinary health delivery and interdisciplinary science.
  • Increase support for research, training, public education and interventions that address and reduce health disparities among underserved populations.
  • Forge alliances with health-care organizations to increase the number of psychologists working in integrated health-care settings.

Each of the strategic plan initiatives is designed to be multiyear projects. Their progress will be evaluated and further funding provided on a year-by-year basis.

In other action that is expected to have a long-term impact on the public's understanding of psychology, the council adopted a process to ensure the "scientific merit" of all APA motions, resolutions and reports and approved new national standards for the teaching of high school psychology. The new National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula replace the previous standards produced in 2005. The 2011 standards include seven learning domains: scientific inquiry, biopsychology, development and learning, sociocultural context, cognition, individual variations and applications of psychological science. In addition, the number of standards areas within the document was increased from 15 to 20 and student performance indicators are no longer included in the curricula standards. Newly developed student performance indicators will be provided online to allow for a continually evolving assessment resource. The national standards and the performance indicators are available and the revision will be posted online soon. 

A work group composed of board and committee chairs and a member of the Board of Directors developed recommendations for procedural safeguards to ensure scientific merit of APA motions, resolutions and reports. Council approved amending the Association Rules and the Council New Business Item Form to more clearly specify review standards for APA reports and/or policy statements.  Reports themselves never constitute APA policy but any policy recommendation emanating from a report, and the reports themselves, must demonstrate a scientific foundation when being considered by the council. When indicated, all motions and/or reports coming before the council should reflect the most appropriate and relevant scientific data and literature available.

In other action, the council:

  • Approved the Guidelines for Forensic Psychology. These guidelines advise psychologists, those specializing in forensic work and others, on their roles and responsibilities when testifying in court or sharing psychological expertise before judicial, legislative and administrative bodies. The guidelines can be reviewed online.

  • Adopted a resolution directing the APA central office to increase and measure its advocacy of psychology as a science.

  • Approved changes in the way programming hours at the annual convention are allotted to create a meeting with more thematic and collaborative programming and fewer competing sessions.

  • Voted to change the eligibility requirements for the life status category of membership. Such a change will require amendments to the Association Bylaws and will therefore be put to a vote of the membership this fall.

  • Approved the 2011 class of 124 new APA fellows.

  • Reviewed the 2011 budget and a forecast for 2012. APA staff estimate that 2011 will end with an operating margin of approximately $2.8 million on an overall budget of approximately $112 million. For 2012, staff are anticipating no revenue growth and therefore budget controls have been put in place to ensure a balanced or better-than-balanced budget.