Graduate Student Leadership Roles Expanding at SPSP
This past year marked the first time that graduate student members were allowed to vote in elections for new SPSP Board members. This was a long-overdue change to SPSP bylaws that recognized the importance of graduate student members to the present and future of our organization. Graduate students make up nearly 40 percent of the membership of SPSP, and we were happy that our non-student members enthusiastically supported the by-laws change that finally gave the right to vote to this constituency.
At the 2022 summer Board meeting, we approved a further broadening of graduate students' roles in leadership and decision-making: Graduate students will now have a formal voice (and vote) on the Board of Directors, and will be represented on most SPSP committees, beyond the Student Committee.
The full Board meets formally twice a year (immediately after the convention and during the summer), and votes on issues ranging from new program proposals, editorial staffing, award winners, governance procedures, and the overall budget. The current Board includes the Presidential trio, the Secretary/Treasurer, seven Members at Large, and an APA Division 8 representative. The new student position on the Board of Directors will be held by the Past Chair of the Student Committee, for a one-year term. For 2023, the position will be held by Stylianos Syropoulos, a fifth-year graduate student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and incoming postdoctoral research fellow at Boston College.
Most SPSP committees will also now formally include a graduate student representative who will serve a one-year term. This will allow graduate student input on all aspects of SPSP's mission and work, from the convention, to publications, to awards, to diversity and climate, to government relations, to professional development, and more. These student committee representatives will be drawn from the existing Student Committee, which has its own structured roles, many of which map onto the broader SPSP committees. Student members interested in these positions may apply to join the Student Committee and as an extension to serve in these additional committees when applications open later this year. More details on these changes will be posted on the SPSP website.
SPSP has an excellent professional staff, but our committee and Board volunteers are essential to the success of the organization. We recognize that by adding students to SPSP governance, we are also asking them to do more work! But we hope the enhanced involvement aids the professional development of our graduate students and allows them to fundamentally shape the future of SPSP.