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The
Community
Psychologist

Volume 50 Number 1 
Winter 2017

From the President

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Susan McMahon

smcmahon@depaul.edu

DePaul University

A Time for Collaboration to Effect Social Change

Given the many issues going on in our country and around the world, this is an especially important time for assessment, organization, and thoughtful action that promote equality and social justice. I encourage you to volunteer and get involved with issues that you feel passionate about, whether it be at the local, regional, state, federal, or global level.

Whether you are a student, faculty, practitioner, or have another primary role, there will always be another paper to write, deadline to meet, or task to finish. Yet finding the time and energy to engage in social change efforts is more important than ever. Some of us may be able to do this through our work, and others may need to reach beyond work settings and get outside of our comfort zones to effect change. Given our organization is committed to social justice, we would like to invite and encourage you to use SCRA as a vehicle to effect change. If we collaborate and pool our knowledge, skills, and resources, we can make more substantial progress on the issues we care about.

Changes will funnel down from the national level to our nearby communities, so we need to be proactive, promote positive behaviors and communication, and respond as issues arise.  As a first step, SCRA invited people to propose video calls on the conference line on issues of interest. This invitation led to a brainstorming conference call in December to discuss concerns raised by election outcomes, and several suggestions were made that we are working to implement. Second, we invited webinars that promote dissemination of information and enhancement of our skill sets. Our first webinar was held in December, with Nicole Buchanan, on interrupting street harassment, and she provided many helpful strategies that can be utilized and taught across various situations (http://scra27.org/current-events/current- events-scra- actions/). We hope to have a series of video calls and webinars that enable SCRA members to discuss, brainstorm, learn, plan, and act to address issues that are important to us. If there are individuals or groups of people interested in leading a call or hosting a webinar on a particular issue, please let us know. Third, we created space on our website to share SCRA actions, resources, and personal stories (http://scra27.org/current-events/) – please send us any material you believe would be useful to post.  Many are likely to be searching for solutions to issues that arise, and effectively using social media may promote positive action.  We have a lot of talented members, so let’s share our knowledge and skills.  Email me (smcmahon@depaul.edu) or Jean Hill (jeanhill@scra27.org) with ideas for calls and webinars, material for our website, or for more information and support.

People may be interested in collaborating with others to create and propose action plans to address issues of concern. You can submit your plans through the SCRA rapid response action process; SCRA may adopt public positions and develop action plans on public policy issues of a time-sensitive nature (http://scra27.org/what-we- do/policy/rapid-response-actions/). SCRA policy statements can also be drafted and submitted to assert our position on pressing social issues (http://scra27.org/what-we- do/policy/policy-position-statements/). 

As we work toward our vision of having “a strong, global impact on enhancing well-being and promoting social justice for all people by fostering collaboration where there is division and empowerment where there is oppression,” I would like to update you on the significant progress we have made on our strategic plan. In terms of operations, we have streamlined our approval process for our policies and procedures manual, improved our annual budget development process, created guidelines for sponsorship, and restructured our Executive Committee meetings to provide more time and focus on strategic planning initiatives. Regarding membership, the renewal form and membership database have been re-designed, and we have integrated membership renewals with biennial registration. In terms of education, the Council of Education Programs changed its name to Council on Education (COE), changed their meeting structure to encourage participation across the membership, and completed the biennial survey of graduate programs. Great progress has been made on visibility, with the purchase of a new website (communitypsychology.com), development and distribution of an RFP for website development, creation of an Outreach Communications Plan, and development of guidelines for collaboration with like-minded organizations. The new website is intended to be more focused toward the public and work in conjunction with our existing website that is more directed toward members. Communitypsychology.com presents us with some exciting opportunities to showcase our work and engage broader audiences. I see one of my primary roles as promoting the development of, and progress on, our strategic plan, and I think we are well on our way to achieving our goals; yet, there is much work to be accomplished. If you are not involved with a strategic planning team and would like to get involved, we would love to have you join our efforts. Please contact me or Jean Hill and we will be sure to link you with initiatives that are a good fit with your interests.

Finally, I want to shout out a few thanks yous. As we prepare for the upcoming biennial in Ottawa, I would like to thank our colleagues on the planning committee, especially co-chairs Tim Aubry and John Sylvestre (University of Ottawa), and Manuel Riemer (Wilfrid Laurier University) for the planning and preparation of the conference. It is exciting to hear that we have a record number of biennial submissions – it is going to be a great biennial conference! I want to thank all of our members who have participated in strategic planning, as well as those who are engaging in important social change efforts. I also share my thanks to Jean Hill, our Administrative Director, who is contributing significantly to our steady progress on our strategic plan and the many initiatives we are engaged in. As we usher in the new year of 2017, SCRA is open to ideas, strategies, and initiatives, so let us know how we can be helpful.