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
As this busy year as SPSSI President comes to an end, it is mostly satisfying, and a little sobering, to reflect on the past year. As usual, the annual conference—this time in Denver—was a high point for learning about the important work SPSSI members are doing, for seeing old friends and meeting new people, and for spending time together talking about the issues that preoccupy us most. Other high points for me were working with many talented, dedicated, committed people—SPSSI staff, other elected leaders, and many members—on projects to decide on the publisher and editors of our journals, to support our committees in doing their work, and to make SPSSI a more inclusive and welcoming organization for everyone. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity.
There were painful discoveries too—that in fact some of our members had difficult and painful experiences at our own conference or on our committees. Fortunately, these are relatively few, but it is important and troubling to take the things we’ve learned seriously. The results of our member survey—thank you to those who completed it and to the Membership Committee that conducted it—gave us a lot to be proud of as an organization. But we want to do even better. As a community we aim for everyone to find a welcoming place where they belong in SPSSI, and to make the contribution they want to and can. Because that is an aim still not fully achieved, we have continued the process of adjusting policies and practices where we need to, making them more consistent and transparent in other cases, and developing entirely new ones. That process will continue, I believe, and will never be “finished.” It is a work in progress, but it has been a privilege to work on it, and to know that the continuing leadership of SPSSI is equally committed to these goals. I hope every member will continue to help us with this work, too—including in conference sessions and socializing spaces, as well as in committee activities.
I want to close by reminding us that what is important and wonderful about SPSSI is its members. A few of us are fortunate to be invited to participate in a leadership role at a point in our lives when we can; but most of the time we are all “just” members. I have always loved SPSSI, but after serving in this role I understand in a new way that what really matters about SPSSI is the community it is. And that community is created by the members. Your commitments, your values, and your accomplishments are the heart and soul of SPSSI; they are what matters most.