Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA): 2012 Annual Report

M. Lynne Cooper, PhD, Co-Chair and Kenneth J. Sher, PhD, Co-Chair

The Board of Scientific Affairs held two meetings in 2012, on March 30-April 1 and Nov. 2-4. The following report summarizes the major issues that were of concern to the board over the past year.

Science Leadership Conference (SciLC)

BSA worked with Science Directorate staff in planning the eighth annual Science Leadership Conference that took place September 2012. The goal of the annual conference is to bring together key leaders to develop a common agenda that will advance psychological science and help secure its future. The theme of this year’s conference was Act Locally: Promoting Psychological Science in Our Academic Institutions and Local Communities. Participants were involved in a discussion with academic leaders on how to advance psychological science within colleges and universities and in their surrounding communities. Participants heard from Dr. Nancy Cantor, Chancellor of Syracuse University. Breakout groups met and participants developed recommendations on how to convey psychological science to broader audiences. For 2013, it was decided that SciLC resources would be used to develop web-based advocacy training materials for scientists and to conduct science advocacy events in the home districts of key members of Congress involved in federal research funding.

Culture of Service Awards

BSA established these awards to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to psychological science through their commitment to a culture of service and recognize departments of psychology who instill a culture of service in their training of students and mentoring of faculty. The Departmental Award for Culture of Service in the Psychological Sciences was presented to Bates College, Department of Psychology and the University of California, Santa Cruz, Department of Psychology. The individual Award for Distinguished Service to Psychological Science was presented to Jacquelynne Eccles who is at the University of Michigan.

Advanced Training Institute (ATI)

ATIs provide training in cutting-edge methods and technologies to psychological scientists. Four ATIs took place in 2012.

  • Structural Equation Modeling in Longitudinal Research, at the University of California, Davis, from May 29-June 2, 2012. John McArdle, a University of Southern California faculty member, and Kevin Grimm, a University of California, Davis, faculty member, led this course, which featured a series of lectures and hands-on computer workshops on longitudinal methods, modeling, and measurement in contemporary psychological research using SEM.

  • Exploratory Data Mining in Behavioral Research, at the University of California, Davis, from June 4-8, 2012. John McArdle led this course, which provided an overview of recent methodological advances in this topic. The ATI covered the conceptual bases and strategies of exploratory data mining, and reviewed current techniques and software. Participants gained hands-on experience with the techniques and were invited to bring their own data and research problems to work on in consultation with the course instructors.

  • Research Methods with Diverse Racial & Ethnic Groups, at Michigan State University from June 11-15, 2012. Frederick Leong led this ATI, which included sessions on methods for investigating treatment outcomes in diverse populations, quantitative and qualitative methods, measurement equivalence and invariance across diverse groups, and methods for work in areas ranging from genomics to aging research to social network research.

  • Non-Linear Methods for Psychological Science, at the University of Cincinnati, from June 18-22, 2012. Organized by John Holden, this ATI provided a thorough introduction to a variety of non-linear and dynamical methods. Such methods are becoming increasingly prominent within psychology and related disciplines. Specific topics included time series analysis, recurrence quantification analysis, fractal analysis, and dispersion analysis.

Meritorious Research Service Commendation

BSA developed the Meritorious Research Service Commendation to recognize outstanding psychologists in the federal government and nonprofit organizations who help foster psychological science through their work in planning, promoting, and managing funding programs for research and research training. 2012 is the 11th year in which the citation was given. BSA selected Mariela C. Shirley, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and Molly V. Wagster, National Institute on Aging to each receive a commendation for 2012.

Summer Science Fellowship

The Summer Science Fellowship is a modification of the Summer Science Institute. Twelve upper-level undergraduates were selected to take part in this 6-week intensive research experience. Faculty members from George Mason University agreed to mentor the SSF students over the summer. In some cases, the students were able to propose research studies, have it approved by the university IRB, and complete the study in the summer. Others were able to make substantive contributions to ongoing research projects in the labs. The SSF students also spent a number of days at the APA headquarters building, learning about careers in psychological science, the importance of science advocacy, and how to gain entrance to graduate school.

Science at the APA Convention

The 2012 convention was organized into plenary sessions, substantive division programming, an opening session, topical track programming, board/committee programs, and awards addresses. The science programs sponsored by BSA included the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award addresses, the Neal Miller Lecture, the Master Lectures, and BSA, CPTA, CARE, CHR, and Science Student Council programs.

Lecture Programs

Master Lecture Program: BSA selected the following speakers to participate in the 2013 Master Lecture Program at the 2013 convention: Wayne Cascio (University of Colorado, Denver) in the applied psychology area, Dorothy Hatsukami (University of Minnesota) in the biopsychology area, Alex Martin (NIH) in the cognition and perception area, Robert M. Kaplan (NIH, OBSSR and UCLA) in the health and behavioral medicine area, and Phil Shaver (UC Davis) in the personality and individual differences area.

Distinguished Scientist Lecturer Program: BSA selected the following speakers to deliver Distinguished Lectures at regional psychology conferences: Lera Boroditsky (Stanford University) and Patricia Greenfield (UCLA).

Neal Miller Lecture: BSA selected Donald Stein (Emory University) as the Neal Miller Lecturer at the 2013 APA convention.

BSA Committees

The work of the committees constitutes a large part of science governance as summarized below:
  • The Committee on Scientific Awards continues to recognize important scientific achievement in psychology through prestigious national awards. The Committee also serves as a resource for APA nominations for other scientific awards not conferred by APA for which members may be eligible.

  • The Committee on Animal Research and Ethics worked on projects that focused on educating the public about the nature of nonhuman animal research, in general, and in psychology in particular.

  • The Committee on Human Research developed a plan for disseminating information on current issues in the responsible conduct of research, including human research participant protections.

  • The Committee on Psychological Tests and Assessment began work on the revision of the Guidelines for Test User Qualifications. The committee continues to participate in the revision of the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing.

  • The Science Student Council advises BSA and the Science Directorate on student-related issues, including awards and programming at the APA convention.

BSA members elected Dr. Jalie Tucker as Chair for 2013.

The 2012 membership of BSA included eight white/Caucasian members and one Asian member. There were five women and four men. BSA solicited nominations from the ethnic minority psychological associations to enhance the ethnic diversity of the candidate pool for 2013. BSA did not have board specific diversity training during 2012.

2012 BSA members: M. Lynne Cooper, PhD (Co-Chair), Kenneth J. Sher, PhD (Co-Chair), Phillip L. Ackerman,PhD, Robyn Fivush, PhD, Kathleen Y. Haaland, PhD, Martin Y. Iguchi, PhD, Leah L. Light, PhD, Jalie A. Tucker, PhD, and Sheldon Zedeck, PhD.