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An Open Letter from SPSP's 2015 President


An Open Letter to Members of the Society for Personality and Social Psychologists


Mark Leary HeadshotAs my term as president of SPSP is drawing to a close, I wanted to update you on some of the many things that the society has accomplished during 2015.  Social and personality psychology—and SPSP itself—have faced some unprecedented challenges over the past few years, but SPSP is thriving.



Some of the important initiatives that the society implemented this year include:

  • new SPSP website with community forums and special interest groups to promote communication among members;
  • improvements to the convention, including managing the convention and preconferences through the Central Office(for savings of money and efficiency) and ongoing changes to the format of the convention itself;
  • restructuring the election process to be more open and transparent;
  • several new initiatives for members who work at teaching-intensive institutions, with more on the way;  
  • a new small grants program, to be launched early in 2016, to help members who need financial support for their research;
  • an SPSP Summer Program for Undergraduate Research;
  • doubling the size of travel awards offered to graduate students and diversity travel award winners;
  • creation of a task force to examine new ways to serve our members who work in nonacademic settings;
  • new award for applied psychology;
  • ongoing discussions of diversity in the field and new measures to track the diversity of SPSP members;
  • creation of a Strategic Planning Task Force that will develop a five-year plan for SPSP.

And, of course, SPSP did all of the normal things that it does in terms of publishing its journals, hosting the Summer Institute (SISPP), managing the personality and social psychology program at APA, and being the public face of the discipline. (Along those lines, our media coverage was at an all-time high, and the Character and Context Blog had nearly 50,000 page views).  I also take it as a positive sign that we saw a growth of almost 700 new members during 2015 and expect to close the year with a membership of around 7200.     

I want to thank all of you who have been involved both in these important changes and in carrying out the day-to-day activities of the society. SPSP plays a central role in the health and vibrancy of personality and social psychology, and hundreds of our members have contributed during the past year.  I also thank Chad Rummel and the Central Office staff for their hard work, as well as the SPSP leaders who took the bold step of creating the Central Office two years ago.

Wendy Wood assumes office as SPSP President on January 1, and I wish her—and you—the best in the coming year.

Best wishes,

Mark Leary
2015 SPSP President

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