APA Adopts a More Efficient Governance System

From the APA Governance Affairs Office

Over the past several years, the APA Council has been working on developing a more nimble, efficient and responsive governing system, as part of the APA Good Governance Project (GGP). This project was an outgrowth of the strategic plan focused on optimizing organizational effectiveness. APA’s existing governance system is a 1950’s model built for a world where twice annual meetings was sufficient for conducting the business of the association. The new model, proposed after a thorough assessment with input from many different groups, has 3 primary goals: nimbleness, strategic alignment across the organization and increased member engagement. Under this model, members will have a more direct voice in the decision-making process and more opportunities for service.

In February 2014, Council voted to begin a 3-year trial delegation of authority to the Board of Directors for: financial and budgetary matters; oversight of the CEO; alignment of the budget with the Strategic Plan; and internally focused policy development. The Board composition changes with 6 member–at-large seats now open to election from and by the general membership, the addition of a public member and the guarantee that both a student and early career psychologist voice will be present. Two seats are reserved for members of the Council Leadership Team, to ensure a bridge between the two bodies.

This change frees Council to focus on strategic and emerging issues affecting psychology, and will be engaged in higher level strategic dialogues that inform the development of policy and strategic directions. The work of Council will be managed by a newly created Council Leadership Team (CLT). Understanding member wants and needs related to the topics at hand will be an integral element of the deliberation process. In addition to this change in function, Council plans to consider a change in its structure this August. The current proposal retains a single seat for each division and state, province and territory, and adds a handful or member-at-large student and early career representatives. The attributes of the at-large seats will be determined based on an annual needs assessment to determine what would best help create a balanced Council.

These changes, coupled with a more efficient triage system, improved integration of technology, a formal leadership pipeline and development program and other enhancements, will allow APA to be more responsive to the needs of its members, to allocate resources more efficiently and to address emerging issues in a rapidly changing environment head on. Members will be have the opportunity to vote on new bylaws language this fall that will optimize APA’s governance system for the 21st century.

For additional information on the implementation of the Good Governance Project, please visit http://www.apa.org/about/governance/good-governance/index.aspx or contact Nancy Gordon Moore, PhD, MBA, Executive Director, Governance Affairs at nmoore@apa.org.

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