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Abigail Stewart


From Our President

Abigail J. Stewart, President of SPSSI and Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Michigan

Last summer SPSSI sought out a wonderful group of collaborators from other divisions in response to a funding opportunity from APA’s Committee on APA/Division Relations (CODAPAR). We applied for, and received, a grant to support the development of webinars and teaching-related toolkits focused on “Fostering Policy-Related Psychological Research.” The grant will support a series of five webinars planned and presented by SPSSI members and collaborators from Divisions 8 (Personality and Social Psychology), 27 (Community Research and Action), 35 (Psychology of Women), 44 (Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity) and 45 (Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race). Representatives from all 6 divisions met during the summer to plan the proposal, and have begun meeting again to plan the webinars.  

The process of discussing the ideas for the webinars  has been exciting and generative, and has reminded us all of our common commitment not only to doing policy-related research, but to fostering graduate students’ and early career scholars’ capacity to prepare themselves to do it and to contribute to it. All six divisions have plans to use these webinars and toolkits within their own divisions, perhaps at divisional conferences, and on their websites. The process has been a powerful reminder of the pleasure and value of working collaboratively and collectively in pursuing our goals. 

We are not quite ready to announce the dates and titles of the webinars, but we hope to do that early in 2023, and hope you will find them helpful in your thinking, research and teaching.  

Partly energized by this experience, and by our renewed commitment to SPSSI’s strategic plan for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, we have also developed an internal collaborative grant proposal idea that, even if not funded, could give us a roadmap to achieving our diversity, equity and inclusion goals.  We have assembled a small group of individuals in SPSSI, who have experience with projects advancing diversity within their campuses, and expertise and interest in these issues.  They hope to study these issues within SPSSI and in collaboration with other divisions. Our goal will be to develop recommendations for practices that will improve diversity, equity and inclusion in these critical areas in our own community, as well as in any division of APA or indeed in other fields. 

In developing this proposal, we are able to draw on many ongoing efforts within SPSSI, including the project selected for funding among those that responded to the call for proposals for Analysis of Disparities Across SPSSI Journals by Race/Ethnicity and Gender. The successful proposal was a collaboration among Martinque Jones, Isis Settles, Petal Grower, NiCole Buchanan, and Kristie Dotson, and aims at Understanding Disparities in Psychological Research Through a Lens of Epistemic Exclusion. Equally, our Membership Committee (ably led by Leah Warner and Andrew Stewart) is working on a member survey that will help us all understand what SPSSI members have to say about where we most need to redouble our efforts at equitable and inclusive practices.  

Please let me know if you have something you’d like to contribute to any of these activities—or if there is a collaboration you’d like to initiate that might both strengthen our ties with each other, and beyond SPSSI, and enhance our impact! 

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