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2016 SPSSI Policy Workshop

The 2016 SPSSI Policy Workshop—held in Minneapolis, Minnesota on June 23, 2016—was organized by the SPSSI Policy Committee in collaboration with SPSSI Policy Director Sarah Mancoll. It featured five sessions, including three panel discussions, one small discussion session over lunch, and one skill-building mini-workshop in the afternoon.

Workshop Materials

Policy Workshop agenda

Policy Workshop speaker and attendee biosketches

Materials for the mini-workshop hosted by Linda Silka and Jacklyn Biggs on “Developing community-research partnerships”

Materials for the mini-workshop hosted by Michele Wittig on “Building collaboration between grassroots groups and traditional civil rights groups to make local policy change”

Materials for the mini-workshop hosted by Sarah Mancoll on “Developing a policy brief”

Materials related to the mini-workshop hosted by David Aronson on “Writing an op-ed”

Other relevant resources and opportunities

Consider a policy-focused fellowship. SPSSI offers the pre-doctoral Dalmas A. Taylor Summer Minority Fellowship and the James Marshall Public Policy Postdoctoral Fellowship, which provides a one-year immersion in a congressional setting. APA, AAAS, and a number of other societies also offer congressional fellowships, in addition to executive branch fellowships.

Explore career opportunities in policy-relevant settings. The SPSSI Graduate Student Committee webpage has a number of resources on careers in government, not-for-profit, and private sector settings.

Write a post for the SPSSI blog. Our blog, Sound Science, Sound Policy, is hosted by Psychology Today and we reach a large audience through this and our social media networks.

Follow and weigh in on federal policy discussions. is a great tool for researching and following federal legislation as it moves through the legislative process. You can put alerts on bills that interest you, look up sponsoring and co-sponsoring lawmakers, and use the website to contact your lawmakers.  You can also join the Washington Update email list of the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA)—a social and behavioral science advocacy organization of which SPSSI is a member—to keep up-to-date on legislative and executive branch activities of interest, including opportunities to provide input. The blog Psychology Benefits Society, which is run by the APA Public Interest Directorate, also has a wealth of information on how to get involved in policy-relevant activities, including the Federal Advocacy Network and APA’s Guide to Advocacy.

Join policy-focused coalitions. A number of coalitions are open to welcoming the contributions of individual researchers, including the AAAS Science & Human Rights Coalition (of which SPSSI is an institutional member), the National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives (of which SPSSI is a member), the Coalition for Juvenile Justice, and the CDC Gun Research Coalition (which is run by Doctors for America). 

Forge connections with lawmakers and other policy stakeholders. If you are visiting Washington, SPSSI Policy Director Sarah Mancoll can set up meetings for you with the offices of your Representative and/or Senators. You can also set up meetings in their district/state offices for when they are not in Washington. SPSSI Policy Director Sarah Mancoll can also help connect you to federal agency leaders and staff. Also consider reaching out to your state and local lawmakers, your state and local agency leaders and staff, and the nonprofit and other policy stakeholders that operate at the international, national, state, and local levels. At the international level, for example, you might consider contributing to the work of the SPSSI UN/NGO Committee, which advises member states of the UN on a variety of social issues.

Interested in learning more about policy opportunities at SPSSI and beyond?

Please contact SPSSI Policy Director Sarah Mancoll