APA's Good Governance Project (GGP) Team is 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 a plan to create a nimbler, simpler and more flexible governance system that would allow for more direct member input and be more strategically focused. At its 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.

Next, the GGP team will 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 of the new governance plan is expected next August. 

For a copy of the GGP report to the council, the approved motion and the chart outlining the three scenarios, go to Good Governance. If you have questions or ideas, contact APA Executive Director of Governance Affairs Nancy Gordon Moore, PhD, MBA.