Maureen asked the Executive Committee members to introduce themselves and tell what they’ve been doing.
President Elect and Treasurer (Sara)
Leadership Conference is coming up next week. For Sara’s term, the themes Frank and Maureen have begun will be continued through “heroism in the non-heroic: unrecognized heroism in ordinary acts of kindness.” Sara wants to focus on communicating with new student members and to engage their help with Division functioning. Sara’s hope is to engage students in our Society and also engage our students in APAGS, which puts out the magazine Graduate Psychology. Lastly, in new contract negotiations with Taylor and Francis, Sara has discussed the continuity of documents with APA Council Jesse Rabin. APA will provide the service of putting into PDF and archiving all official Divisional documents. The division has had difficulty in the past maintaining accessibility to official documents through the turnover in Division governance. Such APA holding of our archives will help Society board members maintain continuity.
Sara had agreed to stay on as Treasurer through the accounting for our August psychotherapy conference and has been working with David Elkins, who was active until he had to give up the position. She will now transition the Treasury to Therese as soon as possible.
The treasury looks good. Currently, our membership dues are down $800, which is significant given our dependency on dues and the uncertainty of other sources of revenue such as conferences. Generally, conference attendance has been down since this past Fall, so it is not advisable for us to rely on this as a source of income in the near future. Interest and dividends are up, and this gain balances out the decrease in membership dues, though this increase also cannot necessarily be counted on in future years. CE credits have not yet generated a profit. Perhaps advertising our being a CE granting agency can generate funds from organizations that could offer CE in their already existing conferences, workshops and programs. It is easy to offer them our status as a CE granting agency make the arrangement so sponsor their events in order to increase our CE income.
2008 Budget. The current expense numbers are from November, and so some items not currently represented will come in later. The numbers look fine, the journal as usual being our largest expense ($22 per member). We are still living off the conference funds, which are currently in a restricted account. The Society has a very good cushion considering the conference funds and savings, which we have avoided dipping into. On a yearly basis, the board decides whether a Mid-Winter Meeting is affordable and may use the restricted conference funds, but if there remains the possibility of a conference call in place of a live meeting if a less costly alternative were needed.
2009 Budget. There is no new income budgeted for 2009. Royalties are anticipated as $1000, less than last year (a conservative estimate). No membership loss is predicted for 2009, but the board may want to rethink that. We will also need to talk about funding our 2nd Council Representative. Perhaps we need to reconsider what the Division will support for its officers with regard to expenses for the mid-winter meeting.
Awards. (Susan Gordon)This is the first year that CVs of the nominees for awards have been solicited. At the board’s request, Susan copied and distributed them for the inspection of board members. Susan also prepared synopses of each nominee for the board’s consideration.
Issues for discussion and procedural change.
Letters of congratulations went out to awardees with a request for their presentation titles and so on. Susan has been working with Keith Cooke, APA Divisions Services Manager, who will email the award results to all Division members at no cost. Keith has informed us that he will continue this service in the future in response to our award chair’s reminder and new copy. This year there have been many wonderful “heritage award” nominees--8 new and 2 re-nominees. There are no formal procedures for reactivating a past nomination, and this will need to be addressed later in the meeting.
The announcement call for nominations was posted on website, and a list of past recipients was disseminated to the board. Past recipients should be listed on the website in the future for the reference of members who may make nominations. Susan also suggested that the APA Monitor entry of the Society’s awards should include past recipients and also some biographical material of awardees in order to promote the visibility of humanistic psychologists in the larger APA..
The Early Career Awards Committee vets the qualifications of nominees and, on that basis, recommends nominees for consideration by the executive committee. The committee’s responsibility is to review the nominee’s achievements and then decide on the award.
We need procedures for the reactivation of a past nomination. Susan recommended that, for the heritage awards (Rogers, Maslow, Buhler, and May), the board’s options each year are to accept, reject or hold nominations from past years. Those on hold could be considered on an annual basis until they were accepted or rejected.
After a discussion, committee unanimously voted to bestow the Early Career Award on Dr. Jef Cornelius White.
Susan suggested that the Society develop procedures for new awards--the Mike Arons and Mark Sterns Award for Outstanding Lifetime Service to the Society for Humanistic Psychology. It was noted that this award need not be given each year. Scott and Susan volunteered to work on and come up with procedures.
Expenses of copying information for the board have exceeded the Awards budget. Therefore, an increase of $100 to cover plaques, shipping, and copying will be needed. A budget of $600 was suggested with the proviso that CVs need not be copied for the executive meeting.
There was a discussion of the number of awards the board is able to give each year. The Division Bylaws are silent, but the Handbook states that no more than 2 awards are to be given in a single year. The issue was debated. Frank Farley suggested that a new mechanism of Presidential Citations be included among the Society’s awards. Frank Farley motioned to allow an unlimited number of awards, of any kind (one per category), in any given year. In the discussion, it was clarified that if the motion were accepted, it would be implemented next year and that the revision of the Handbook would follow. It was also suggested that the Awards Committee would review this discussion and propose revisions of our procedures next year.
Vote: 9 for, 1 against, 0 abstentions.
The board decided on the following awards for 2010 (San Diego Convention):
Charlotte Buhler Award: University of Strathclyde, Glasglow, UK (David Mearns)
Carl Rogers Award: Leslie Greenberg
Lifetime Achievement Award: Clark Moustakas
Council of Representatives (Art Lyons)
It is important that for the 2nd Council Representative seat, we elect someone with a very strong commitment in order to assure consistent participation and continuity. It is also of less cost to elect a minority member, given APA’s coverage all of the considerable cost of attendance. Also, our representative meets with those of the Divisions of Social Justice. Art will serve as Council Representative through 2010, and so the new Council Representative will begin during Art’s last year, providing a fortuitous overlap. One proposed change in the Bylaws was to give voting rights to the Minority Observer. This motion was voted down by Council (2/3 required), as it has been in the past. They will continue to be invited to Council meetings as observers with their costs covered by APA, and James Bray is exploring further options regarding this issue. APA’s Board of Directors has taken steps in the next budget (cut by $11.8 million) in response to the recent budget crisis. For instance, hiring in APA’s central office is frozen, and there will be no merit salary increases in the coming year. In addition, there will be a delay of the completion of the new website, and even the annual picnic will be suspended. There has been a downturn in membership, some due to APA’s stance on psychologists working in situations involving torture.
Program (Scott Churchill) For the 2009 convention, 50 papers including the submission of 17 manuscripts for the Jourard Award, 9 symposia and 8 discussions/workshops/conversation hours, for a total of 75 hours of proposed programming. The Society has a total of 21 hours--14 substantive hours in the convention center and 7 non-substantive (business meetings, presidential address) in hotels. This year, all Divisions are experiencing a crunch and other program chairs are resistant to co-sponsoring. 2-hour sessions are being avoided, and only 2-hour sessions can be co-sponsored. Consequently, the coooperation amongst Divisions for co-sponsorship of programs is decreasing, leaving only the option to “co-list” slected programs.
Eleven hours are already accounted for as follows: presidential address, business meeting, the Jourard session, fellows addresses, and early career awards address, major awardee addresses (2 hours), 3 presidential invitees, 1 hours donated to APA President’s program, and 1 to the Social Justice Divisions. That leaves 10 hours for programming from submissions. All one-hour Discussion proposals will be sent to the hospitality suite. Many of the symposia and workshop submissions would be appropriate for the Division conference. The committee suggests reducing the current 4 2-hour sessions to 1-hour sessions, individual papers will be combined into 1-hour and 2-hour “paper sessions.” This year, the program in Toronto will be strong with several co-listings enhancing our offerings. The electronic submission process has streamlined the committee’s work tremendously.
Membership (Brent Robbins)The 2008 membership is about 700, down from 771. On average, each APA Division loses 150 members per year and picks up more or less the same number of new members. This year, most of the attrition (82% of all attrition) was due to students not renewing membership, totaling an 8% drop in student membership. Interviews indicate that the attrition may be due to economic hardship, given increases in gas and food prices. We must also acknowledge the perception that the Division does not offer enough to students. Brent emphasized that in order to engage and retain students, we should concentrate on services linked to the internet, for instance social network platforms, such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and online resources such as Wikipedia. Students want to meet like-minded peers and the division can provide such a service. Students are also more difficult to retain because they are increasingly using internet resources and it is not yet possible to join APA online, though this capability will be part of the new APA website. The membership committee has been active in maintaining old and implementing new initiatives. The membership committee will focus on student recruitment and retention and hopes to enlist students in this effort. Brent spoke of his multiple roles in the Division (member at large, conference organizer) and suggested that the board consider appointing a new Membership Chair. Brent was thanked profusely for his outstanding work as Membership Chair.
Student Representative (Miraj Desai)
Miraj reported that there is a student representative listserv sponsored by APAGS, and Miraj is planning to attempt to access it. He has been collaborating with the Division 24 Student Representative. He is exploring such internet means as of communication as Facebook, which would allow students to network and address issues of global importance. It would also be possible to provide a list of internships that are humanistic-friendly as well as mentors for APIC internships who are humanistic. Students have been very interested in the torture issue as well as minority and international issues. It may be worth making a supplemental handout of the Division’s program at APA for students to hand out to each other. Students among smaller Divisions with common interests, such as 32, 24, 26, SPISSI may be able to network through the Division. Miraj noted that students are much more humanistic than ever before, and gained a new sense of their potential to change the world.
Transpersonal Interest Group (Kathleen)
There was a meeting of the Transpersonal group at the San Francisco APA Convention. Interest perks up at the convention and then dies down in between meetings. Harris Friedman and Rosemarie Anderson have been co-chairs of the TI interest group, and Rosemarie has stepped aside leaving Harris as a stalwart leader of this group. Kathleen invited the Executive Committee to suggest ideas that might galvanize the group, possibly using the internet. It is particularly important to reach out to members who may not identify themselves primarily with the humanistic movement, or even the transpersonal movement. Such members may resonate with such topics as joy and gratitude.
Poitive Psychology Interest Group (Brent)
The group has been active. It has spearheaded two special issues of the journal. Last convention included a very successful symposium on “materialism and psychological well being.” This symposium linked our division with APA’s consumer psychology division, which has also produced some of the most critical research on materialism. Conclusions suggest that materialists are less happy, less insightful into themselves, less psychological healthy, less socially engaged, and so on. In this symposium, Brent joined with the Consumer division in his quantitative research along with Alan Pope, who spoke on Buddhism. Brent is also co-editing a book, with Harris Friedman and Kirk Schneider, on humanistic psychology and positive psychology and is still seeking chapters. The upcoming conference will also include a panel on humanistic and positive psychology. Frank suggested creating a Handbook of Humanistic and Positive Psychology to create a definitive forum for this link.
Proposal: The Confluence Undergraduate Humanistic Psychology Alliance. Brent announced a proposal submitted by Bob McInerney at Point Park College for a new interest group. Bob started a new organization for undergraduates in his college that has evoked a huge involvement, over 50% of all students with students attending 7:00 meetings on Friday evening. Bob attributed the extraordinary success of this organization to giving a large number of members a title and a job, so each student feels they are playing a responsible part in the organization. They are starting a journal, are socially active, have a website, hold consciousness raising groups about the influence of pharmaceuticals, and so on. Brent suggested following Bob’s model in the Division as a way of getting more students engaged. Kathleen suggested including graduate students, and Susan pointed to the value of mentoring by older students. Maureen suggested that perhaps focusing on undergraduates students would provide them with a sense of “not being 4 layers down.” Brent agreed that undergraduates need to feel special, and a group of their own would allow them to make their own contributions. Brent suggested that they could participate in conventions and conferences, and Maureen added that there is value to local organizations and networks with a faculty champion able to tap local resources. She asked if Bob would lead the new interest group. Fred suggested that the group could have a national, online journal and organization with local chapters at particular universities that have their own events, mentored by faculty members who are members of the Division. The journal could be run and peer reviewed by the students themselves with faculty mentoring. Some suggested that there could be a better name than “confluence.” Kathleen motioned that we form a new undergraduate interest group now and ask Bob McInerney to prepare a more elaborate proposal including a reconsideration of the name. Maureen suggested publicizing this in the APA’s Division Spotlight. Vote: 9 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstaining.
In further discussion, the committee suggested developing a proposal of a similar organization for graduate students. The graduate group could eventually be integrated with the undergraduate group. Miraj accepted responsibility for developing the proposal and mentioned activities at Fordham such as an annual Qualitative Research Conference that could easily be brought into concert with such an organization.
Human Science Interest Group (Scott Churchill)
Scott has been working with the directorates, Educational and Science. He has written a letter to GradPsych about qualitative research methods which was published in the November“letters to the editor,” creating a free advertisement for both the Division and the journal.
Listserv (Maureen, Erik)Maureen reported being ready to suggest that we discontinue the Listserv, noting that it is not doing the Society justice and is in fact doing us a disservice. Frank suggested that it could be converted into an “announcement only listserv.” Brent suggested that a discussion board will a better format because readers would be able to select whose postings they turn to, whereas listserv messages go automatically to everyone’s email, including all postings. Blogs, another alternative, usually have someone spearheading the site and include comments by other voluntary participants. David Cain spoke on behalf of those members who enjoy the Listserv. Those who participate in it are very invested in it, and there have been improvements since Erik’s committee’s work. Sara suggested that the Listserv may be discouraging new members who join it. Discussion boards offer the advantage that they can be edited, whereas listserv messages go out to everyone’s email. Erik said that in APA there are successful listservs, such as that of Division 39 (Psychoanalytic), without ever a troublesome posting and that serve many valuable professional functions. Erik suggested that if we continue to have a listserv, we would need a committee to monitor it in addition to Erik himself and Sheena, who are currently serving. Mark Stern also continues to be involved and is making valuable contributions to the civility of the Listserv. Erik reported that some Listserv communication involves the promotion of programs for profit. Other messages, though not outside the rules, are so extremely negative that they have been alienating participants and leading others to withdraw, some even to give up their membership in the Society. Erik recommended, as an alternative, some controllable form of communication such as a blog or discussion board. Kathleen suggested that we might distinguish the Society’s public, official, professional face from particular activities that may be of interest to smaller groups of members. The current Listserv should not be taken for the official face of the Society. It was suggested that we have an “announcements and resources only Listserv” without responses disseminated to all. Current Listserv members and other members of the Society who seek to participate and comment could get such discussion going in the form of their own blogs. Fred suggested that the newsletter could be a place where we could make available a list of individual members’ blogs, with descriptions of invited topics. The Society’s members would be free to visit, explore, and participate in these blogs selectively, deciding for themselves which are of interest and worthwhile. Jesse Rabin could give us some language for our website notifying viewers that the listed blogs do not necessarily represent the views of the Society, phrased in a manner to eliminate liability and to make clear to members that these blogs are not the official voice of the Society. The Board asked the publications committee to meet as a break-out group at lunch, take this discussion into consideration, and come forward with a proposal.
Scott will train in the new electronic review system this Fall. Journal revenues have increased, and Taylor and Francis is happy with the journal. New editorial board members have been added to the masthead. “Existential depth psychology” and “positive psychology” have been foci of special issues including an excellent article by Erik Craig. A second “positive psychology” special issue is forthcoming, as well as a guest edited issue on Mindfulness. Scott continues to be committed to the inclusion of transpersonal and constructivist works in the Society’s journal. Chris Mruk has agreed to be an Associate Editor to help with special issues and to consult on book reviews, with a vision for good, critical scholarly reviews rather than promotional reviews. Memorials are invited. Archival pieces are also invited, including old manuscripts that were never published (or could have been published) but would be of contemporary value. Fred suggested that a New Books sub-section could include both announcements of new books that would list titles and contents to complement the Book Review sub-section that contains critical scholarly reviews. The new books list would accommodate the interests of any author-members who want to get out word of their new books. In contrast, the formal book reviews would involve impartial scholarly criticism. Erik noted that the 2008 double issue on existential psychology contains extraordinary pieces from leading humanists such as Irving Yalom, who agreed to the publication of some of his very personal reflections on his own death contained in his new book, Staring at the Sun.
The Conference (Maureen)
Maureen raised the question of goals regarding the conference. Reflection on goals is particularly important if the conference is to be a continual offering. We have had conferences 3 years in row now, and it is time for a reconsideration of the appropriate frequency and format for continuation. Given that the board has limited energy, we must weigh the value of the conference against the benefits of other potential initiatives. Maureen called for discussion of the implications of continuing the conference annually and expressed concern about all the great suggestions of new initiatives fearing that this ambition involves an unrealistic optimism that we can do more than is feasible. The conference is time consuming for not only the organizer but for the president, the treasurer (though originally the conference was to be implemented independently of the Society’s treasurer), and the board. David Cain said that APA serves members’ needs, as shown by vitality of APA’s annual conference. Our Division too needs to provide members with something special, as we do through the journal and as we have done through the conference, which served vital functions of intellectual stimulation, practice rejuvenation and social networking. In order to organize, David suggested an independent committee, with the Division president as an ex-officio member who would not be responsible for implementation. He suggested a chair and chair-elect as 2 members of the committee, along with other members. Perhaps the board’s members-at-large could be assigned to this committee by the president. David reiterated that the revenues are also significant. The Society has no other means to generate such a level of income and membership service, the only downside being the organization, which can be well established through a committee. Brent also argued for an independent organizational structure in order to assure sustainability, which is worth while given the model (an academic institution base, no minimum in hotel, costs not to exceed $3000, a total budget of $7000-$8000 including keynotes) of the upcoming conference, which will be successful even with a small attendance. David, Brent, and Louis will stay involved and committed. David Lukoff acknowledged the positive value of the conference and also noted the general drop in conference attendance, in one case from 3000 in the past to 300 this year. People may be pulling back. David suggested the possibility of a virtual conference, which might alternate with a live one. Sara also stressed the value of this service to members and cautioned about an annually repeating format tapping human energy resources that could be used for other services. It can be a struggle to find people to a organize conference every year and to recruit board members to positions responsible for implementation. There were 250 attendees the first year ($30,000), and 93 the second year ($2000). Erik echoed concern about an annual commitment. Sara suggested that if a particular place enables us to keep our costs down, as the University of the Rockies in Colorado Springs will do, perhaps we could have the conference there regularly with sponsorship from that institution. Eric motioned to continue our commitment to offering conferences regularly as a first step, to be followed by determining the frequency and organizational structure. Scott suggested a friendly amendment to the motion: commitment to an implementation phase for the development of periodic conferences. Maureen suggested that the conference should not be limited to psychotherapy, which is not in her view the cutting edge of humanism today. The conference should also involve social action, education, and other areas of humanistic psychology. A broadening of the upcoming conference was discussed, using words like “psychology and psychotherapy”. David Lukoff suggested a theme like “saving the planet”. Maureen stressed the goal of the conference as “taking something out to the world” rather than the usual format of attendees receiving something from presenters. Miraj made the point that the humanistic Society is the only Division that offers a comprehensive world view to address all contemporary problems including the environment, religious violence, displacement, poverty, disaster, materialism, spirituality, women’s issues, and psychopathology. Brent suggested another friendly amendment of a timeline for setting up the committee, and Erik did not accept it. Eric revised his motion: to commit the Society to an implementation phase for developing periodic conferences. Vote: Unanimously in favor.
Brent suggested that some specific timeline be adopted for the establishment of the conference’s organizational structure, an ad hoc conference committee (appointed by the President). This committee could also determine the format of these conferences. The committee should have a Host, Program Chair, Student Leader, and Finance Officer (to work with the Society’s treasurer), as well as Society’s Treasurer and President participating ex-officio.
Break Out Sessions (during lunch): Membership, Program, Publications, Awards.
Membership (Miraj). There is an opportunity at the moment of the registration of new members, particular students, to evoke a strong commitment to the Society. An official letter from the president could ask new members to join one of several ongoing mentoring programs: 1) Research, grants, and publications; 2) Initiating an independent practice; 3) Social action projects. In addition or related to these programs, new members could be invited to enroll in courses for focused learning, such as on the Person Centered approach with Maureen O’Hara. Such courses could be internet based and could include archived tapes of humanistic pioneers as well as real time discussions with contemporaries. This would be a medium for the Division to share its heritage and contemporary vision and teachings. Kathleen emphasized that new student members, and new members generally, want to be provided with access to a rich array of resources immediately upon joining. Even our own members have not been introduced to our resources and many remain isolated, especially if they are not fortunate enough to have a local network.
Publications Committee. The publications group met to review and revise the current strategy. Three recommendation of the following upgrades formed the basis of Erik’s three part motion: 1) Transform the listserv into announcements and resources only; 2) Use the Newsletter on the Society’s website as a portal to expanded and interactive fora including, for example, blogs and discussion boards; 3) the committee will present a proposal for approval at the August convention. Sara suggested the importance of having the new system fully functional when the current Listserv is discontinued. The board expressed an overall positive evaluation of the suggested upgrades of intra-division communications by means offering numerous fora among our website information media for member participation. Sheena has requested that she be relieved of her responsibilities as a monitor of the Listserv if it continues in the current format. Frank suggested the importance of consulting with APA’s legal council in the process of implementing the new information and communications services. The APA will manage the “announcements only listserv” for $18 monthly fee. We would need someone to monitor the discussion board. Vote: Unanimously in favor.
Awards. Sara motioned that we vote on a back-up for our awards, a third party who would be offered an award should one of the previously determined awardees decline. Vote: 9 in favor, 1 opposed.
An alternate awardee (TBA if necessary) was selected by a vote of the board and will be offered the Abraham Maslow Award should one of the two above awardees not be available for a convention address. We also discussed the board’s interest in the development of two new awards: A graduate student dissertation award and a scholarly book award.
Program. Scott presented his draft of the convention program and schedule. In order to accommodate a maximum of the worthy submissions from the large number of proposals, 2-hour symposia have been reduced to 1 hour each, and 1-hour symposia involving a single person have been referred to the Hospitality Suite and the Conference for consideration. Some paper submitters have been offered to present their work as posters (for a total of 22 posters). All four days of the conference will be utilized, and presentations start at 10:00, though Scott will request 8:00 hours in order to extend some of the symposia to the proposed two hours if possible [note: this has been subsequently declined by the Convention Office due to more limited time and space in Toronto]. Maureen suggested scheduling the board meeting on Friday evening. [Note: This is now changed to Thursday evening to accommodate our Social Hour on Friday evening.]Sara raised the question of whether we wish to use $1000 of the restricted funds for the Hospitality Suite, and Maureen answered in the affirmative with the support of the board. Sara raised the possibility of having the hospitality suite program placed in the programs bag of all attendees, at a price at $350. The committee expressed enthusiasm about this as a way of spreading word of the Division to the wider APA membership. The board empowered Scott and the Hospitality Suite Chair, Christine Farber, to make an effort to get a large suite and to have programs disseminated in the APA convention bags. Scott was given a rousing round of applause for his Herculean effort on the program.
Nominations (Frank Farley)
There has been a notice in the Newsletter about nominations for division offices, but none were received. Elections will be needed for President-Elect, 2 Members at Large, and our new (2nd) Council Representative. The board unanimously agreed on four possible candidates for President-Elect, whom Frank will contact in order. A total of 6 candidates for Member-at-Large were unanimously accepted for the board and all will be invited to run. Three Division members were identified for consideration as nominees for the new (2nd) Council Representative position and will remain under consideration in addition to those nominated by the membership. The call for nominations for this new position will be posted in the Newsletter and given to Keith Cooke of APA for further dissemination as required. The board will vote on the slate after the membership has had an opportunity for nomination. Nominations are due to Garnett Coad by February 16, and Garnett may accept one a little later if necessary.
At Fred Massarik’s suggestion, Maureen will be approaching all board members for donations to the Society. Maureen also asked the Board to participate in development by soliciting gifts from those with means who are committed to humanistic psychology. She also stressed the importance of considering the Society in estate planning. She volunteered to contact potential donors and to solicit gifts if suggestions to her are made.