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Section IV Report - APRIL 2005 meeting
Barry Dauphin, Ph.D., MSPP Section IV Representative
The most recent meeting of Section IV of Division 39 took place in New York on April 15 & 16 at the 25th anniversary Division 39 Spring Meeting. The Senate and Open Meetings were well attended. 20 Chapters were represented at the Open meeting (out of 28 total chapters). There are a number of issues that I would like to bring to the attention of MSPP members. I would like to devote more space than usual to explain a procedural matter because I believe that it could significantly affect MSPP.
Division 39 will require that all sections use the APA accounting services by the end of 2005. That means Section IV will have to transfer its funds to the APA and work through the APA when collecting or disbursing funds. All of the funds remain funds of the chapter. At the present time APA will not charge for this service. It was explained in a memo from Division 39 President David Ramirez, Ph.D., that this is being implemented in order to improve APAís reporting requirements to the IRS. It was explained that the APA risks being fined for delinquencies and that Division 39ís tax exempt status could be at risk if there are further problems with presenting required information in a timely way. Division 39 transferred its accounting to APA a few years ago and reports that its concerns about loss of autonomy were not borne out. It is promised that this will be smoother and make book-keeping more accurate in the face of ever increasing regulation of nonprofit entities through the tax code.
Technically all of the local chapters, such as MSPP, are considered part of Section IV and thus Division 39 and APA. Although the Division has not made a move to bring local chapters into this arrangement, I believe that it is only a matter of time before it does. If that were to happen, all accounts of MSPP and its sections would be required to be transferred to APA and collections and disbursements would have to be managed through APA services. I believe that this raises a number of serious concerns that must be considered by the membership of MSPP and its sections.
Members should consider what it could mean to the society to have such a basic function co-managed by such a large organization as APA. In addition to losing degrees of control and depending upon a large organization to be timely, I have concerns about the uncertainties of the future. Although this service wouldnít be charged for at the present time, what could happen over time as the APA takes over this function for the over 60 Divisions and multiple sections. Can it stay free forever? We also donít know how consistent the private company that manages this will be. For example, what if it falls on hard times and needs to cut personnel; how smoothly would it run then? There has been no attempt to spell out any legal boundaries around this function. I do not know if there are any conditions under which these funds could be seen as the sole property of APA and a Section or local chapter lose all control over the money. Any attempt to control the funds of an organization invariably affects programming, activities and content. These are serious matters that MSPP members should give consideration to. I would like any members that have a question, concern or comment about this to get in touch with me: email@example.com.
The Division 39 President has two initiatives. First he seeks to increase diversity on committees and for topic areas. Second he wants to encourage young professionals to become Division 39 members, in part by allowing those early in their careers to have reduced membership dues and starting a task force on promoting interest in Division 39 by beginning practitioners. Given that Section IV is currently doing well financially, the Section will consider either adding another graduate student to the graduate student initiative or adding a slot for a 1st year professional. This will be discussed at the August meeting. The Division might take up the issue of voting rights for Allied Professionals. Although this bylaws change was not able to achieve the necessary two-thirds majority to be implemented, it received strong support. Now that the Division has had time to assess the addition of Allied Professionals to the Division, it is being suggested that this change be revisited. The initial fears of some that there would be a flood of Allied professionals into the Division thereby diluting psychology have not been borne out.
Although there was some discussion concerning feedback to the APA on the Evidence Based Therapy (EBT) position paper the task force recently drafted, many representatives were unaware of this. The Division will be giving feedback and requests that members who give feedback list their Division 39 affiliation. However, since this was announced just a couple of days before deadline while most people are not in a position to give feedback, it seems that there will be less feedback than optimal. The Division did not do a good job of informing the members of the draft position paper.
Division 39 has 3834 members. This represents an increase of about 200 members from last year. As of Saturday morning there were 786 registrants for the Division 39 conference. The conference is considered a financial success this year.
Section IV discussed the speakerís bureau. This has been underutilized although a couple of chapters did tap into it this past year. We discussed the possibility of archiving the brochures of local chapters in order to have a resource for all local chapters to tap into for speakers and formats for brochures. It was suggested that perhaps Dr. Pat Strassberg, Division 39 CE chair, could be helpful in this regard since she must routinely collect the brochures for all local chapters that offer CE credits. She wants to put this information onto the website of Division 39 at some point.
In listening to the reports of various local chapters, I was struck by a couple of trends. Chapters in states that require CE credits are very concerned about having speakers for ethics because this is often a requirement imposed by states for re-licensure. Also many chapters complain about the afternoon portions of all day workshops because they seem to drag. It is clear that most chapters would prefer to have a three hour program and feel that would best meet the educational needs and goals of members. However, members desire to obtain the needed amount of CE hours and ask for the longer program to get the certificate. The regulations are forcing chapters to alter the optimal programming and thus make some dead space in order for participants to obtain their mandated credits.
I asked for a straw poll concerning how many local chapters have problems recruiting members to serve on boards and committees. Nearly every local chapter is experiencing a significant number of problems in this area whether the chapter is functioning well in other ways or not. Many of the chapters indicate that it is always the same people that are participating in the running of the organization. One chapter that even has successful study groups seriously discussed the possibility of disbanding because of lack of member interest in working on boards and because long serving members have gotten tired of doing all the work.
Many of the local chapters have successful workshops and study groups. It appears that it can be difficult to get out of town speakers for just half a day because most want full day fees. Many speakers want a case presentation in the afternoon because they donít want to present twice. However, some local chapters have arranged programs that are briefer so that the entire day isnít consumed with the program.
The local chapters exchanged ideas for speakers and programming. The interaction among local chapters in the meeting was spontaneous and effective. We did not cover all of the agenda items to the degree planned, but the communication among the representatives was helpful. The graduate students provided feedback on their participation. They were very pleased with the Division 39 offerings and thankful to Section IV for the support in attending the meeting.