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Richard Wiener


Thoughts about the Future

Richard L. Wiener, SPSSI Secretary/Treasurer, Bessy Professor of Psychology, University of Nebraska -Lincoln

As I enter my last year as SPSSI Secretary Treasurer, I find myself thinking not about the last 5 years during which I have served two terms in this role, but rather looking ahead to what is on the horizon for our organization. The two topics that I want to address are: (1) How can we secure the health and safety of our organization in these difficult times of pandemic and (2) Who will be the next Secretary Treasurer for our organization?  With regard to the health and safety of SPSSI, some challenges most certainly lie ahead for our leadership, central office staff, and our membership. While the Covid-19 epidemic has attacked people from all walks of life, all ages, and all social groups, it is undeniable that it has impacted older people (especially men) and people of color most severely. This is of course of great concern for SPSSI in part because our mission is to serve people who find themselves in these vulnerable groups. This is the time for us to be especially aware of SPSSI values and our dedication to improving the lives of those from diverse backgrounds. First of all, we should all reach out regularly to our colleagues, those who are most vulnerable and those who are less vulnerable, so that we can offer support possible to each other. Second, those of us who work in the research and advocacy area can make a contribution to the social science and policy that focuses on health and health disparity. SPSSI values demands no less of us than to use our science and our professional skills to shape our institutions at the local, state, and federal levels to act responsibly, armed with the knowledge that we as social scientists can bring to bear on these critical issues.   

Finally, we need to do all that we can to protect our organization in these difficult times.  While SPSSI is sound financially, the volatility in the financial markets have taken a toll and will continue to take a toll on our resources.  Now is the time for SPSSI leadership, staff, and membership to make sure that we spend every dollar wisely and refrain from expenditures that we don’t need to make or that can be made at a future date.  This is especially true as we watch changes in the journal industry that will undoubtedly cause us to change the way we do business. Furthermore, SPSSI members should be open to the possibility of changes in programming that lie ahead, not just in the nature of our conferences and professional meetings (i.e., more virtual meetings) but also in seeking out economies that might change the way we do business. Ultimately, there will be increased need for membership to come forward to assist Central Office staff to complete the tasks that they do on a regular basis to keep SPSSI going in these difficult budgetary and workload times.   

And certainly, the role of Secretary/Treasurer will be extremely important in the coming months and years in a time during which SPSSI may need to adapt to a challenging environment to stay healthy and fulfil its mission. Soon the SPSSI executive committee will be seeking nominations for a new Secretary/Treasurer and I want to encourage anyone who has an interest and the appropriate skills to contact me with any questions or comments about this position. In a nutshell, the Secretary/Treasurer oversees the SPSSI budget process, which means working closely with the Executive Director (Anila Balkissoon), attending Council Meetings as a voting member, serving on the Executive Committee, and chairing the Audit and Finance Committee. There is much more to the job and I’d be happy to answer any questions and/or discuss the experience. This is an important position for SPSSI and one that will be central to keeping our organization healthy in the upcoming years. If you have the interest and skills, please consider the position. Contact me at for questions or conversation. And above all stay safe and healthy.

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