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  President's Column

  By Maureen O'Connor

I am pleased to be writing this column for the SPSSI newsletter as your President-Elect. I am honored and excited to be taking over the Presidency on September 1 from our wonderful current President, James Jackson.  James has set a positive and spirited tone for SPSSI during this past year and led us so well through our 75th Anniversary celebration in Washington earlier in August.  Many thanks to James, to our spectacular historian, Alex Rutherford, to Michelle Fine, the 75th Anniversary Chair and her amazing committee who put together a commemoration and celebration worthy of SPSSI’s storied past and promising future.

I have several major activities I will be focusing on over the next year, and I am eager and open for your feedback, your participation, your ideas, and your energy.  Substantial attention will go to SPSSI’s hosting of TWO conferences next summer – the 2012 SPSSI Biennial Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina; and, the SPSSI/Division 9 program at the American Psychological Association convention in Orlando, Florida.  Brief announcements about both of those programs are below.

I am also interested in working with our Teaching and Mentoring Committee and others to reimagine and expand SPSSI’s attention to pedagogy, particularly to the challenges we all face in integrating social justice concerns into our teaching.  This work also needs to focus on our recently expanded role in overseeing the James Marshall Fellowship program, which now brings a post-doctoral fellow to SPSSI Central Office for 1-2 years, to gain experience in and exposure to the policy-making world in D.C.

Finally, I plan to capitalize on SPSSI’s enhanced policy activities with our in-house, full-time Policy Coordinator, Alex Ingrams, and to work with Alex and the Policy Committee to think about next steps in the development of SPSSI’s policy program.

In the meanwhile, I look forward to working closely with Susan Dudley and our incredible Central Office staff, and to have as much contact as possible with SPSSI members. I have spoken to dozens of you recently in my efforts to identify program co-chairs and fill other committee openings, and have been so impressed with our members’ commitment to this organization.  I intend for the communication to continue throughout the year.  My email is:, so please reach out.

SPSSI 2012 Biennial Convention Co-Chairs:

Long-time SPSSI members Professors David Livert and Demis Glasford have agreed to Co-Chair the 2012 SPSSI Biennial Convention to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, so PLEASE HOLD THE DATE:  June 22-24, 2012

David Livert, a current member of SPSSI's governing Council and Executive Committee, is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Penn State University's Lehigh Valley campus.  He received his undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Vanderbilt University and his Ph.D. in social psychology from the City University of New York Graduate Center.  His research focuses on intergroup contexts, ranging from individual level (social contact) to the meso level (the effects of team diversity on performance).   David currently chairs SPSSI's web oversight committee and played a major role in the SPSSI interactive timeline that was launched by our historian, Alex Rutherford, at SPSSI’s 75th Anniversary Gala.  He also serves on the SPSSI membership committee.

Demis Glasford, a former SPSSI Dalmas Taylor Fellow, is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  His research interests are in the areas of intergroup relations, political behavior, and prejudice-reduction.  His work is interdisciplinary, such that he uses social psychology, political psychology, and government/public policy studies to inform the investigation of individual and group behavior. Demis serves currently on SPSSI’s membership committee.

I had an opportunity to visit the conference hotel (the Omni Charlotte) a few months ago.  It has just been renovated and is both lovely and perfectly situated in downtown Charlotte.  I also had tours of the downtown and the brilliant art and history museums that dot the downtown area, and I came away so excited about the location for the conference.  We are already working with a number of the local universities in the area, and are looking for community engagement projects as well.

In addition, since we are launching into SPSSI’s final quarter century of its first 100 years, we thought we would expand upon the traditional SPSSI focus on the three P’s (peace, prejudice, and poverty), to create some themed programming at the convention on the three E’s (Education, Environment, and Equity).  A number of dedicated SPSSI leaders have agreed to chair or co-chair these mini-themes within the larger conference, including Michelle Fine and Valerie Futch (Education Co-Chairs), Janet Swim and Susan Clayton (Environment Co-Chairs), and Yolanda Niemann (Equity Chair).

We will be sending more detailed information and the Call for Papers in the fall, but for now – PLEASE mark your calendars!

SPSSI/APA Division 9 Program Co-Chairs

APA’s Annual Convention will be in Orlando, Florida next summer, so PLEASE HOLD THE DATE:  August 2 - 5, 2012.   We are pleased to report that Drs. Sean Massey and Justin Hackett have agreed to Co-Chair the SPSSI/Division 9 program at the 2012 APA Convention. 

Sean Massey is a Research Associate Professor in Women's Studies at SUNY -Binghamton.  His academic background is in social personality psychology and psychometrics, and his research focuses on the study of sexuality and gender, with a special interest in the study of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lives.

Justin Hackett is as Assistant Professor of Psychology at  the University of Houston-Downtown, whose work focuses on personal values and behavioral decisions, civic engagement and social action, social identity, and political psychology.

They have exciting ideas for the SPSSI program at APA, so please take a look at the announcement elsewhere in the newsletter and be on the lookout for the Call for Papers, which should arrive soon.

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