Student Notebook

APSSC State of the Caucus

The 2008-09 APS Student Caucus (APSSC) Executive Board (APSSC) began their term in Chicago with two overarching goals for the coming year: (1) the revamping of the Campus Representatives and RiSE-UP programs and (2) modernizing membership communications. Then, in June, we received an amazing 1,023 responses to this year’s annual APSSC post-convention survey that helped us further modify programs in the best interest of the student members.  Like this year’s astonishing election season, the APSSC Executive Board’s October meeting in Washington, DC, showed that when the Caucus speaks, change will come.

There are currently 4,523 student members of APS. We represent 1,081 Universities in 45 countries. We are the largest student caucus since APS began. Currently, the highest membership levels are seen in the United States, Canada, China, Singapore, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Approximately 2,182 students became new members in 2008. The APSSC has historically had an influx of new members in the months prior to the convention. I am pleased to report that this year we have had over a 1,000 new members join since the convention. Thanks to our dedicated Campus Representatives and Membership and Volunteers Officer Amy Crook, an astonishing 215 new members joined during the now bi-annual Rally Week in November.

Campus Representatives

In the Rally Week program, Campus Representatives with highest number of new members from that week will be featured in an upcoming e-news and will be honored at the Annual Campus Representatives Meeting in May at the APS Convention in San Francisco. Denise Liu, National University of Singapore, is this year’s first place winner with an amazing 53 new members added during the week. In addition, we are developing a new Regional Representatives program to provide a more communal localized voice for the Campus Representatives and their members.


The RiSE-UP (Research on Socially and Economically Underrepresented Populations) program continues to grow. There are currently seven subcommittees: Aging, Individuals with Disabilities, Ethnic Minorities, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Individuals, Weight Issues, Women’s Issues, and Working Class Individuals. The committees in these areas have a combined membership of over 100 students. Under the leadership of RiSE-UP Coordinator Michele Oliver, each committee is developing a web-based handbook on the state of recent research in their particular area as well as available resources. The handbooks will be made available on the APSSC website. In addition, all APSSC RiSE-UP committee chairs and Regional and local Campus Representatives will now attend their respective annual meetings at the conference. This should encourage a greater feeling of community among the committees, representatives, and their members and also provide innovation forum between the APSSC Executive Board and the members.


Electronic Newsletter (E-news)

One of the first priorities of the new board was the revamping of the monthly E-news for student members. In addition to the new look created by Communications and Marketing Officer (CMO) Jeremy Houska, we added several new areas to the E-news: (1) The president’s section: a forum for the current APS president to showcase a particular area of interest. As I am interested in the history and teaching of psychology, this year’s columns have focused on a historical research article or person. (2) The Campus Representative and RiSE-UP Spotlight. This section highlights one campus rep or RiSE-Committee on a rotating basis including a write up from the focus of the article and a photo. (3) The Notebook Section was started last year and has continued. The Notebook Editor contributes a paragraph from the previous months Student Notebook Section in the Observer with a link to the article. The Champions of Psychology articles are also featured here when available. (4) Advice and tips section from the CMO. (5) Upcoming Funding Deadlines: The student survey consistently finds students wanting more information on funding opportunities. To address this issue, the 2007 APSSC board developed the Online Funding Database, with 700 resources for graduate, undergraduate, and post-doctoral students from multiple countries. The current Board decided to include upcoming due dates and links for funding opportunities listed in the database. To date, the member response to E-news revisions have been extremely positive.

APSSC Website

The APSSC Executive Board’s second largest task for the year has been the updating of information on the student section of the APS website. Throughout the summer we worked diligently to update information on the site and the updates were completed in September. New pages have also been added to include the Student Notebook writing tips and resources and an E-news archive for new members. We are currently working with APS to improve the design of the website for students. We hope to have this project completed by May 2009. The APSSC Executive Board has also launched a Facebookgroup for the student members.

Student Notebook / Undergraduate Update

The Student Notebook section of the Observer continues to improve as this year’s Editor, Peter Vernig, is able to spend more time assisting authors in the development of their work. The Student Notebook Editor also conducts the popular Champions of Psychology series. Peter recently interviewed Traci Mann as our now annual up-and-coming champion and has several other interviews in the works including our first international Champion. I am also excited to report that the second bi-annual issue of the online Undergraduate Update journal is now available. This journal was developed over the last few years to better address the needs of our undergraduate student members. Katie O’Neil, 2007 Undergraduate Advocate, and I launched the inaugural issue in the spring of 2008. The current fall and spring issue editors are Molly Petersen, 2008 Undergraduate Advocate, and Peter Vernig. We have been greatly encouraged by the feedback we have received on the journal. Students interested in submitting articles for the Spring 2009 or Fall 2010 editions should contact Molly Petersen at


The seven primary student events continue to be successful. Attendance in Chicago was at an all time high with over 267 students attending one event alone. We continue to try to develop conference events to best serve the changing needs of the caucus. For the 2009 convention this coming May, we have added an event called Students Teaching Students that includes three professionals active in preparing future faculty training and three advanced graduate students. The APSSC is also cosponsoring the annual Archives of the History of American Psychology history panel. This year’s panel will focus on the History of Women in Psychological Science.The current APSSC Executive Board has accomplished much in the first half of our term, but we know there is much yet to be done. As this is written, Past-President Lisa Hasel is working to develop a series of web chats between members and well-known authors. In addition, Graduate Advocate DeLeon Gray is working diligently to modify the award reviewer system to provide a mentorship service to novice reviewers. We continue to listen to the wisdom of the Caucus and strive to find new and innovative ways to serve you. Visit the new Facebook site to tell us what we can do for you, or email an APSSC Executive Officer to see how you can become more involved with the Caucus. Change can come but not without your voice! It really is that simple.

See you in at the 2009 Convention in San Francisco!

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