Jeffry Simpson: Statement

Feature ImageI am honored to be nominated as a candidate for president of SPSP, an organization that is the core of my professional identity. My research lies at the intersection of social, personality, and developmental psychology, with a focus on interpersonal relationships and processes. This broad, integrative perspective has led me to appreciate the many ways in which different theories, models, ideas, and findings across various areas of psychology all contribute to a more complete understanding human behavior. SPSP embodies such diversity, which explains why this organization has played such a pivotal role in my professional identity and career.

As an organization, SPSP is operating very well, thanks in large part to the many talented people who have invested their time, effort, and leadership to it. In addition to implementing SPSP’s current strategic plan, I believe there are several specific issues that need to be pursued in a more focused, proactive fashion.  If elected, I would pay particular attention to the following issues and initiatives.

First, given the current political climate, SPSP needs to support and promote inclusiveness at multiple levels, even more proactively than it has done in the past. We need to reach out to people from different cultural, racial, and socio-economic backgrounds as well as those from various regions of the world and different types of academic and non-academic institutions to ensure they not only feel welcome in SPSP, but also have central roles in our organization’s structure and decision-making. This can be facilitated through their greater editorial involvement in our journals, their expanded involvement in our conference programs, and their broader representation on SPSP’s executive committee. We must show our support of inclusiveness and diversity by acting on it.

Second, as an organization, we need to build stronger professional ties with groups and organizations in non-academic sectors, especially those that appreciate the unique, valuable, and varied skills that graduate-level training in personality and social psychology provides. This can be achieved by leveraging SPSP’s current resources and ties with relevant government and business groups to help students obtain internships and establish the professional connections they need to be more competitive on the job market.  

Third, we must continue to elevate the external profile of our science by: (a) more effectively articulating how and why our research contributes to solving a wide array of pressing societal problems, and (b) showcasing how our growing adoption of open science practices is improving not only the replicability of our research, but also its quality. This can be accomplished by working more closely with public policymakers, media outlets, and various government agencies. 

Finally, we need to keep membership and conference registration costs down, especially for those who are the future of our field—undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdocs. In order to meet this goal, however, we need to identify new funding streams for our organization. For many years, SPSP has relied heavily on the funds from our very successful journals. In the future, we are likely to see a decline in journal-related revenues due to major changes occurring in the publication industry. I will work to identify and pursue new revenue streams to keep member and conference costs down and to ensure that SPSP remains stable financially.

Thank you.