As a nurturer of personality and social psychology, the challenge for SPSP is to facilitate our science’s ability to adapt and innovate while maintaining its strengths. We should be authentically forward-looking, open-minded, and willing to seriously contemplate new ideas—about theory, methods, application, and how the organization itself operates—while taking care not to throw out the clichéd baby with the bathwater.
Forward-looking means being integrative. Through its initiatives, SPSP should seek ways to facilitate the ability of interested personality and social scholars to find each other and collaborate, and to engage with other disciplines. My own research has long focused on social processes, personality and person factors, and their integration. It also frequently integrates insights from other disciplines.
Forward-looking means being innovative. SPSP programs and conferences should be open to challenges to conventional approaches and, more broadly, should encourage inclusivity in terms of backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, and theoretical approaches; from such diversity emerges creativity and innovation. Those who know my research know that I’ve long been willing to challenge convention and push boundaries.
Forward-looking means effectively nurturing our young—of finding ways to help our field more effectively mentor our students and junior faculty, and to enhance their opportunities to develop and showcase their talents and accomplishments. My greatest rewards as an editor and grant panelist came from helping young researchers hone ideas and presentations to reveal their insights and enhance their impact. I’m gratified by my teaching and mentoring awards, and I look forward each conference to catching up with former graduate students (and more than 20 former undergraduates) who are now professionals in our field.
And forward-looking means effectively extending empirically-supported insights to the students in our classrooms, to the lay public, to the industries and institutions that affect everyday lives, and to public policy. I’ve long had the ethic of doing and communicating research that not only reveals the fundamental workings of the social mind but that also has social relevance. However, I think most of us would recognize that, as a discipline, we can do much better—and need to.
I’m flattered and humbled by the prospect of becoming president of SPSP. I’ve long been committed both to our discipline and to SPSP. I’m one of about 40 people to have attended all 18 SPSP conferences and, as you’ll see in my biography, I’ve long contributed to SPSP and our other societies—from early in my career when I chaired the Education/Training Committee to my more recent service as chair of the Publication Committee. I am grateful for the richness that our science and community has added to my life. If elected, I will serve with vigor.