I gave my first symposium presentation at the first SPSP meeting in Nashville in 2000 as a newly minted Ph.D. At the time, SPSP promised to be a new beginning for social and personality psychologists -- smaller and more focused compared to APS, and more inclusive and horizontal compared to SESP. Even though the 2000 conference was relatively small in size, the excitement and the eagerness with which everyone wanted to make SPSP their permanent home, and embrace the new identity it offered was written on every face. Fast forward to 2017, SPSP has matured into a pivotal institution not only for providing a platform for the exchange and communication of scholarship, but also for shaping the broader role that social and personality psychology plays in society. As such, it would be an honor for me to serve as a member on the SPSP Board.
As a Board Member, I would pursue two broad goals. SPSP has been and continues to be part of the ongoing discussion on “good science practices.” Although our field has come a long way, we are still in the early stages of a paradigm shift that needs to redefine the rules and norms for scientific conduct, incentive structures, and evaluations for tenure & promotion. To be able to develop new norms that will be widely adopted and endure the test of time, it is important for the ongoing discussion to more intentionally and actively seek out input from constituencies that represent different perspectives in our field as well as in academia more broadly. This would include, for example, representatives from different sub-disciplines within psychology (e.g., developmental psychology, clinical science, cognitive neuroscience), research traditions (e.g., experimental, longitudinal, correlational, archival data), demographics (e.g., women, ethnic minorities), topical areas (e.g., relationships research, intervention research) and institutions (e.g., university administrators, department chairs, journal editors). As a member, I’d be committed to helping SPSP lead the way in setting a new direction for how we conduct our science.
With the Trump administration’s proposed changes to the federal budget, the few federal funding opportunities that have been available for social-personality psychologists are likely to dry up further, making SPSP’s advocacy on behalf of our science in Capitol Hill all the more important. Part of this effort needs to involve communicating to the American public the relevance of psychology for solving urgent and current societal problems (e.g., poverty, inequality, outgroup bias, racism). Thus, as a Board member, I would be committed to helping SPSP continue and strengthen their work in this regard. In these times of threatened funding to science, I would also be interested in exploring, together with other members of the SPSP Board, out-of-the-box ideas for creating alternative models to provide large scale funding to social & personality research (e.g., fund raising, collaborations with private foundations). Finally, as a member, I would be committed to shoring up more resources to SPSP’s own small scale funding programs, so as to increase the value of membership for both existing members and as a way to lure potentially new members.