Richard Slatcher: Statement
I became a member of SPSP in 2002 and have not missed an annual convention since. It has been wonderful to see the organization that is my professional home develop and flourish over the past two decades. I have had tremendous professional development opportunities, connected with other social and personality psychologists, and learned the latest scientific advances at our convention and through our journals. Since becoming increasingly active behind-the-scenes at SPSP, I have been gratified to be able to give back to an organization I respect and value so highly. I have been a Program Committee Co-Chair and am currently the Professional Development Committee Co-Chair. Being in these positions has allowed me to see the inner workings of both sides what SPSP does best (science and training).
I am honored to be considered for a Member-at-Large position on the SPSP board overseeing the educational and professional development activities for the organization. Professional development has played an increasingly prominent role at the convention over the past several years, growing from a pre-conference to a handful of early morning sessions during the convention to now sharing a fairly equal stage with the scientific program. Almost all of this growth has been in direct response to you (our members) and your increased demand for professional development opportunities from SPSP—not only at the convention, but throughout the year. My role on the board, if elected, would be to facilitate the communication of the ever-changing professional development needs and desires of our membership to the rest of the board, committees and staff.
My top priorities:
Expand Educational and Professional Development Opportunities for Members Throughout the Year
This election is happening in the midst of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. More than ever, it is critical that we find new ways to forge connections and professional development opportunities for our members around the world. As current Co-Chair (along with Alex Schoemann) of the Professional Development Committee, I am working with the SPSP board and staff to expand our webinars from an occasional to regular presence throughout the year. The webinars are geared toward teaching practical research skills (such as Amie Gordon’s great multilevel modeling webinar last year) as well as professional development guidance. This year, for example, we are working with board member Colette Eccleston to develop a webinar on finding industry jobs during this difficult time. On the education side, we plan to develop a webinar on online teaching. In addition, we are working with SPSP Resource Manager Jan Kang to tailor some of the monthly #SPSPchats on Twitter in response to the pandemic. It is critical that the board be flexible and responsive to changing needs of our membership.
Increase Professional Development Programming in Industry, Non-Profits, and Government
One of the clearest trends in social and personality psychology is that more of our Ph.D.’s are seeking jobs outside of colleges and universities. This is not simply a function of there being fewer faculty positions. Many are leaving tenured and tenure-track positions because they actively want to do something else with their skills. If elected, I plan to work to increase the variety of programming offered to those who are currently in industry jobs or are industry-curious. Many of our members in industry work for big tech companies, but social and personality psychologists play key roles in a wide array of organizations. It is important that those in other types of industry, government, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have a voice in our programming and education.
Foster Undergraduate Professional Development and Training
We had over 600 undergraduates attend the convention this year! Many of our members in faculty positions come from primarily undergraduate-focused colleges. Yet our programming has not always reflected this. If elected to the board, I plan to work closely with the Undergraduate Committee, Professional Development Committee and SPSP staff to increase and diversify our programming specifically tailored to undergraduates. Coming to a convention of more than 3,500 academics for the first time can be a daunting and intimidating experience. We need to continue to develop ways for SPSP to be a more welcoming and inclusive organization to our undergraduate members through both our messaging and programming.