Preconference Workshops

Pre-conference Workshops

All pre-conference workshops will be held on Wednesday, June 15th.



1. Structural Equations Modeling: An Introduction

Instructor: David McKinnon
Wednesday, June 15th (9am-5pm)
Cost (includes lunch): $50 (students), $100 (general)
Limited to: 40 participants


The purpose of the workshop is to cover the basics of Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) geared toward persons with little or no experience with the technique. Some exposure to graduate level multiple regression analysis is assumed. Participants will learn why SEM is such a widely used technique across many disciplines. SEM models for regression analysis are described along with notation and specification needed to define and test these models. Basic concepts of latent versus measurement models, covariance, correlation, and measurement scale are described. Path models for measured variables are used to illustrate model testing and improvement. Models with structural relations and measurement models are covered. The general idea of advanced methods including latent growth curve models, multilevel SEM models, and models with categorical measures is provided. The Mplus computer program free student version ( will be used to demonstrate SEM models (allows no more than six dependent and two independent variables). Limitations of SEM and alternatives to address these limitations are discussed. Web links and other resources to learn more about SEM are given.

David MacKinnon is a Foundation Professor in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University. He received the BA from Harvard University in 1979 and the Ph.D. in measurement and psychometrics from UCLA in 1986. He was an Assistant Professor of Research at the University of Southern California=s Institute for Prevention Research from 1986 to 1990. He has been at Arizona State University since 1990 and is affiliated with the Prevention Intervention Research Center and the Research in Prevention Laboratory. Dr. MacKinnon teaches graduate analysis of variance, mediation analysis, and statistical methods in prevention research as well as undergraduate psychological statistics classes. He received the 2007 Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award at Arizona State University. He has served on federal review committees including a 5-year term on the Epidemiology and Prevention review committee. He is on the editorial board of the journals Prevention Science and Psychological Methods. He is also a member of the Prevention Research Methodology Group. Dr. MacKinnon has been principal investigator on several National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse and National Institute on Drug Abuse grants. His primary interest is in the area of statistical methods to assess how prevention and treatment programs achieve their effects.

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2. Applications of Hierarchical Linear Models: An Overview and Some Recent Developments

Instructor: Steven Raudenbush
Wednesday, June 15th (9am-5pm)
Cost (includes lunch): $50 (students), $100 (general)
Limited to: 40 participants


Many studies in education, human development, and allied fields are longitudinal or multilevel or both. In longitudinal studies, we may repeatedly observe participants to assess growth in academic achievement or change in mental health status. Multilevel data arise because participants are clustered within social settings such as classrooms, schools, and neighborhoods. These settings form a strict hierarchy, for example, when classrooms are nested within schools that are, in turn nested within districts. But they form a cross-classified structure, for example, when schools draw students from multiple neighborhoods and neighborhoods send students to multiple schools. The nested versus cross-classified organization of these settings call for different analytic approaches. Data that are both longitudinal and multilevel include studies of school effects on student academic growth and neighborhood and family effects on change in mental health. In some cases the participants will migrate across social settings over time. For example, children will experience a sequence of classrooms during the primary years, some residents will move to a new neighborhood. In other cases, the participants will stay put but the character of the neighborhood or school will shift. This workshop will consider the issues of design, analysis, and interpretation that arise in longitudinal and multilevel research settings. Our initial focus will be on basic multilevel designs and models.

We shall begin with two "paradigmatic" two-level models a) persons are nested within organizations; and b) time-series data are nested within persons. Next, we shall consider how these may be combined in a three-level model where repeated measures are nested within persons who are themselves nested in organizations. The aim here is to assess how individual growth varies over organizations. Not all multilevel data involve a pure nesting. In many important cases, observations are cross-classified by two higher-levels of random variation. For example, persons may be nested in "cells" defined by the cross-classification of schools and neighborhoods; time-series observations may be cross-classified by the child and the classroom when repeated measures are collected on children who change classrooms during the elementary years. We shall consider these cases and also cases that involve both nesting and crossing of random factors.

Stephen Raudenbush, EdD is the Lewis-Sebring Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago and Chairman of the Committee on Education. He received an Ed.D in Policy Analysis and Evaluation Research in 1984 from Harvard University and was a professor in the School of Education at the University of Michigan from 1998 until 2005. He is a leading scholar on quantitative methods for studying child and youth development within social setting such as classrooms, schools, and neighborhoods. He is best known for his work on developing hierarchical linear modes, with broad applications in the design and analysis of longitudinal and multilevel research. Raudenbush has been the Scientific Director of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, an ambitious study of how family, neighborhood and school settings shape the academic learning, social development, mental health and exposure to violence of children growing up in Chicago. He is currently studying the development of literacy and math skills in early childhood with implications for instruction; and methods for assessing school and classroom quality. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the recipient of the American Educational Research Association award for Distinguished contributions to educational research.

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3. Doing Policy Work as a Community Psychologist

Instructors: Christopher Corbett, Steven Howe, Leonard Jason, Jon Miles, Brad Olson, Beth Shinn, Judah Viola
Wednesday, June 15th (9am-5pm hrs)
Cost (includes lunch): $20 (students), $30 (general)
Limited to: 40 participants


This workshop is designed to offer something to early career community psychologists (including graduate students) and to experienced researchers and practitioners who want to add policy expertise to their tool kits. The faculty for the workshop includes seven highly experienced people with a wide range of policy experiences, each of whom has been recruited in order to present their unique approaches to doing policy work. Several have been recognized for their career contributions to community psychology in general or to policy work in particular. They include Chris Corbett (independent practitioner), Steve Howe (University of Cincinnati), Lenny Jason (DePaul University), Jon Miles (Searchlight Consulting), Brad Olson (National-Louis University), Beth Shinn (Vanderbilt University), and Judah Viola (National-Louis University). The workshop will consist of 7 fast-paced 45 minute segments, each facilitated by a different staff member. There will be a brief introduction, a brief evaluation session at the end, two short breaks and lunch. The components of the workshop fall into three categories. Two sessions (Jason and Olson) will have strong advocacy themes and will broadly address the question of how to advance the values or aims of community psychology by acting within the policy arena. Three sessions (Corbett, Howe, and Shinn) will focus on making the community psychologist effective in working with legislators, executive branch agencies, and non-profits. One session (Viola) will be about advancing policy efforts within SCRA and getting involved in those efforts.

Christopher Corbett is a master's level community psychologist and has been Legislative Chair since 1999 for a nonprofit organized by families of individuals with disabilities who advocate for disabled citizens in New York State. In addition to SCRA, he has been a member of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) and the International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR) presenting research annually at their conferences since graduating in 1994.

Dr. Steven Howe is Professor and Head of Psychology at the University of Cincinnati, Fellow of the American Psychological Association, and winner of the 2009 Special Contribution to Public Policy award from the Society for Community Research and Action. He has done regional, local, and national-level policy work in the areas of housing, Medicaid reform, and health services. His passion is the transition from poverty to self-sufficiency, with special emphasis on employment. He is currently funded by the Veteran's Administration to conduct research on the role of training in improving system outcomes.

Dr. Leonard Jason is a professor of Psychology at DePaul University and the Director of the Center for Community Research. He is a former president of the Division of Community Psychology of the American Psychological Association. He received the 1997 Distinguished Contributions to Theory and Research Award and the 2007 Special Contribution to Public Policy award by the Society for Community Research and Action. Dr. Jason has edited or written 23 books, and he has published over 540 articles and 77 book chapters on ME/CFS; recovery homes; the prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse; media interventions; and program evaluation

As Director of Searchlight Consulting, LLC, Dr. Miles (Jon) helps facilitate communication between researchers, policy makers, and practitioners to improve child health and well-being through effective changes in policy and practice. He has expertise in the area of stress and children's mental health, including the promotion of mental health and prevention and treatment of mental disorders. He recently served as lead author on a monograph entitled, "A Public Health Approach to Children's Mental Health: A Conceptual Framework." Dr. Miles also recently worked with the World Bank to develop "Investing in Young Children: An Early Childhood Development Guide for Policy Dialogue and Policy Preparation." Among other projects, he currently provides customized technical assistance and program evaluation as part of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention's (CSAP) Service to Science initiative. He earned his Ph.D. from Arizona State University in Clinical Psychology, specializing in child and community/prevention psychology.

Brad Olson, Ph.D., is Co-Director of the Community Psychology Ph.D. Program at National-Louis University in Chicago, IL. He is a social-community psychologist who has been involved in a wide variety of policy-related projects around torture, immigration, LGBT and other issues at state and federal levels. He has been chair of Divisions for Social Justice (a collaborative of 12 Divisions with the American Psychological Association), is on the operating committee of Psychologists for Social Responsibility and co-founder of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology. He teaches Community Organizing and Advanced Community Development: Policy and Planning. His research and action-related interests focus on nonviolence, community organizing, ethics, corporate corruption and human rights.

Marybeth Shinn (Beth) is Professor and Chair of the Department of Human and Organizational Development at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. Her primary research focus is homelessness, including cross-sectional and longitudinal studies to understand the precursors of homelessness for families and older adults, experimental interventions to understand what combinations of housing and services end it for families and for individuals with serious mental illnesses. She has also worked on targeting prevention programs, evaluated the coverage of street counts, examined the consequences of homelessness for children, and written about what we can learn about preventing homelessness from international comparisons. Beth serves on the Research Council for the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and has served on a Research Advisory Panel for the New York City Department of Homeless Services and as a faculty member for State Policy Academies run by the Federal Interagency Council on Homelessness. She has served as president of the Society for Community Research and Action and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, and received SCRA's award for Distinguished Contributions to Theory and Research. She also studies how social settings affect individual well-being. Her edited book Toward Positive Youth Development: Transforming Schools and Community Programs won the 2010 Social Policy Edited Book Award from the Society for Research on Adolescence

Judah Viola Ph.D., Co-director of the National-Louis University Community Psychology Ph.D. Program is currently Chair of the SCRA Policy committee and Treasurer of the Chicagoland Evaluation Association. Recent project have included: evaluating a managed care pilot program for Medicaid recipients in Illinois, documenting City taskforce and school-based efforts to lower childhood obesity, helping to build museum community partnerships, and evaluating community-based violence prevention coalitions. He recently authored the book- Consulting and Evaluation with Non-profits and Community-based Organizations. For more info see:

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4. GIS Tutorial and Workshop for Community Research and Action

Instructor: John P. Gant
Wednesday, June 15th (9am-5pm)
Cost (includes lunch): $125 (all)
Limited to: 30 participants


The course will be a full day instructor-led workshop learning GIS using hands-on tutorials and case study. The workshop will offer a GIS Clinic where participants can discuss their research projects and how GIS can be used in their research. Participants will be contacted ahead of the conference and asked to share their research projects. The cost of the workshop will be $125 per person and Includes the book for $79.95, case study materials and data from the instructor, and snacks for breaks and GIS Happy Hour. Each participant will need to bring a laptop computer and will install a trial version of ArcGIS 10.0 for the workshop. Each student will receive a copy of "GIS Tutorial 1: Basic Workbook" by Wilpen Gorr and Kristen Kurland. The tutorial includes a 180 day trial version of ArcGIS 10.0. Each participant will need to register in advance in order to receive the workbook. For the laptop computers that participants will bring:

  • Minimum hardware and software requirements:
    • Operating system (
      • Windows 7 Ultimate, Enterprise, Professional, Home Premium (32-bit and 64-bit (EM64T))
      • Windows Vista Ultimate, Enterprise, Business, Home Premium (32-bit and 64-bit (EM64T)) SP1 SP2
      • Windows XP Professional Edition, Home Edition (32-bit) SP3 SP3 Windows XP Professional Edition, Home Edition (64-bit (EM64T)
    • Hardware Requirements
      • CPU Speed 2.2 GHz dual core or higher
      • Processor Intel Core Duo, Pentium 4 or Xeon Processors
      • Memory/RAM 2 GB or higher
      • Display Properties 24 bit color depth
      • Screen Resolution 1024 x 768 recommended or higher at Normal size (96dpi)
      • Swap Space Determined by the operating system, 500 MB minimum.
      • Disk Space 2.4 GB
      • In addition, up to 50 MB of disk space maybe needed in the Windows System directory (typically C:\Windows\System32). You can view the disk space requirement for each of the 10.0 components in the Setup program.
    • Apple Macintosh Users
      If you have a Mac with the Intel processor, you can run install Windows and run ArcGIS 10.

Dr. Jon Gant is an associate professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Gant is a leading scholar of the strategic management and planning of information systems in public-sector and non-profit organizations. Dr. Gant's has extensive research and teaching experience on how to leverage information and communication technologies to improve the services, operations and performance of organizations. Dr. Gant is currently studying electronic-government internationally and assists developing countries through his research, consultations, and executive education training.  He has published widely on research examining investment models for e-government and digital identity management, e-government web portals, and user acceptance of e-government services.  Dr. Gant is an expert in the adoption and diffusion of information technology, especially in understanding how to increase access to IT and Web 2.0 applications in communities and developing countries. Dr. Gant is also an expert in geographic information systems with over 20 years of experience. He is developing an innovative approach to build a spatial data infrastructure to support public engagement in issues of poverty and inequality and economic growth in local communities and developing countries. Dr. Gant's efforts will improve how community members can participate in the local planning and use of broadband services. Dr. Gant is an award-winning instructor with a teaching portfolio that includes service-learning projects for over 120 organizations, extensive executive education, and online teaching. Dr. Gant earned MS and PhD degrees from the Heinz School of Public Policy of Carnegie Mellon University in Public Policy and Information Systems; and, undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan.

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5. The Able Change Framework: Applying a Conceptual and Methodological Tool for Promoting Systems Change

Instructors: Pennie G. Foster-Fishman and Erin Watson
Wednesday, June 15th (half-day - afternoon only 1pm-5pm)
Cost: $20 (students), $30 (general)
Limited to: 40 participants


There is growing body of evidence to suggest that efforts aiming to transform communities and service delivery systems and organizations often fail to achieve what they promised (Kubish, Auspos, Brown, & Dewar, 2010). This disconnect has been attributed to several causes such as a limited focus on first-order shifts, lack of capacity in applying systems thinking to addressing problems, and insufficient attention to implementation and process issues underlying change (Foster-Fishman, Nowell, & Yang, 2007; Smith & Wilson, 2008; Trochim, Cabrera, Milstein, Gallagher, Leischow, 2006). To address these challenges, we have developed an alternative conceptual and methodological approach called the ABLe Change framework to facilitate the transformative change process. Drawing upon theories from the fields of implementation, complexity, action research, and change, the ABLe Change framework offers an adaptive, contextually grounded systemic action learning process that simultaneously focuses efforts on the content and process of systems change. Within this framework, community members work in multi-layered action teams where they engage in numerous systemic inquiry, problem solving, action, and learning cycles. These cycles are designed to promote insight into system patterns and behavior, motivate action across diverse system parts and layers, and generate small wins constructed to leverage systemic change. To facilitate coherence across these diverse efforts, these teams co-create and implement shared systemic theories of change and action, and identify and follow a set of simple rules. This framework can be applied to any comprehensive change effort that targets transforming organizations, service systems, and/or whole communities.

The purpose of this workshop is to train participants in the conceptual and methodological tools within this framework. Participants will learn the theories behind the ABLe Change Framework and its core conceptual components. They will learn how to: design and facilitate multiple systemic action learning teams; identify and develop an effective climate for implementation, including multi-level readiness and capacity elements needed to support the ongoing change work; think systemically and identify and address systems change targets without losing momentum; successfully implement and diffuse change throughout a community or system; develop coherent change processes across multiple vertical and horizontal layers within the system; and ensure change efforts are adaptive to the shifting conditions within the ecological context. This workshop will enhance participants' learning by providing conceptual and methodological frameworks, practical examples of how we have utilized the framework in real community change efforts, and opportunities to practice applying these concepts during the session.

Pennie G. Foster-Fishman is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and a Senior Outreach Fellow with University Outreach and Engagement at Michigan State University. She received her Ph.D. in organizational/community psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research interests primarily emphasize systems change, particularly how organizational, inter-organizational, and community systems can improve to better meet the needs of children, youth, and families. She has also worked with a variety of public sector agencies, not-for-profit organizations, and community and state-wide coalitions, aiming to improve their effectiveness, strategic alignment, and collaborative capacity. In most of her work, she designs and leads innovative facilitative processes that aim to promote critical dialogue, learning, and mindset change.

Erin Watson is a Ph.D. student in the ecological-community psychology program at Michigan State University. Her interests center on the implementation and sustainability of systems change efforts, community and coalition capacity, structural oppression and power, and citizen participation within community-based research and action. She has applied her interests to a variety of research areas including comprehensive community initiatives, citizen advisory boards, community organizing, system of care efforts, program evaluation, and community coalitions.

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