Volume 50 Number 3 
Summer 2017

From the President


Susan McMahon
DePaul University

Reflections on the Past Year

It was an amazing Biennial Conference! I always feel rejuvenated following our conference – in my view, it is the best conference in the world.  What makes it so great?  Our values, passion, actions, tools, research – they are all inspiring, yet I value the people most of all. There were 657 people who registered for the conference, so a success on many dimensions!  Conference attendance is in line with Biennial 2015 in Lowell, which had 656 registrants. The feedback about the conference has been overwhelmingly positive. Here are just a couple of quotes: “It was my favorite conference I've ever been to! Really amazing experience.” and “Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. Feeling academically, emotionally and dancing(ly?) fulfilled. SCRA lifts me up.” I would like to say thank you again to the University of Ottawa and the conference organizers, especially John Sylvestre, Tim Aubry, Manuel Riemer, and Simon Coulombe for their planning prowess, graciousness, and extensive efforts to make Biennial 2017 a historic event. And thank you to all the people who came, presented, and shared their time with us. Hope to see many of you in Santiago, Chile at our next international conference (, October 5th-7th, 2018 and Chicago for Biennial 2019.

For those of you who could not attend my Presidential Address at the Biennial, I focused on schools as one of community psychology’s favorite settings. Schools can be utilized as vehicles to assess experiences, improve outcomes, and effect social change. If we can create more positive, engaging school environments, and reduce issues like violence, we can reduce violence in adulthood and in society more broadly. In order to maximize the effectiveness of our school-based work and to move the field forward, we need to expand our ecological focus (including taking teachers’ and administrators’ experiences and perspectives into account), improve school climate, and work with schools to effect change. I presented ideas based on some of my research over the past 20 years to elaborate on these themes and build upon community psychology theory, research, practice, and policy. If these ideas are of interest, keep an eye out for the publication of my address in AJCP later this year.


As the year comes to a close for me as your current President, I thought it most appropriate to review our progress over the past year. My presidential focus has been on moving the SCRA Strategic Plan forward in order to grow SCRA and the field of community psychology.  We have made tremendous progress in the past year in operations, finance, membership, education, and visibility.  A few of our successes include the following: 1) our journal is thriving and providing financial support for our many initiatives; 2) we have healthy investments that insure our sustainability; 3) we have 3 part-time staff to support our vision, mission, and strategic plan; 4) we have a new public-facing website under development; and 5) we have a record number of active members (1294). I want to thank the many people who have taken a role in SCRA-related initiatives. Here are some highlights of our accomplishments over the last year on each of our 10 strategies that support our 5 priorities.


Strategy 1: Operations - Consolidate and make more efficient EC decision-making and related communication processes.

  • Policy for approving P&P changes developed and approved
  • Policy for annual budget procedures developed and approved
  • Guidelines for approving sponsorships external to SCRA developed and approved
  • Policy for approving formal partnerships/collaborations developed and approved
  • Biennial hybrid model developed and approved
  • Restructured and implemented EC meeting structure to focus more on strategic planning
  • Revised and consolidated procedures for all mini-grant programs
  • Restructured staffing, created new part-time positions (Administrative Assistant, Outreach Specialist), and terminated work with AMC Source


Strategy 2: Finances - Create a long-term revenue plan focused on low effort, high impact strategies. 

Draft plan developed, including an analysis of donation patterns among SCRA members


Strategy 3: Membership - Improve tracking and monitoring of membership, member engagement, and the value members get from belonging to SCRA.

  • Moved to managing our database in-house for greater control
  • Developed a draft membership plan
  • Revised membership application, including gender categories, and implemented new form
  • Early Career Survey distributed
  • Created new Membership Engagement and Professional Development Committee
  • Revised MAL roles to focus more on membership and professional development
  • Revised Leadership Development Fellow (LDF) program to engage diverse members
  • Created Student Membership Circle to increase membership & recognize student members and programs

Strategy 4: Education (Member Data) - Develop processes and capacities to collect data from membership on a regular basis, and to assess key indicators of CP education.

  • Council of Education (COE) survey of graduate programs in community psychology administered in 2016 and planned for 2018 

Strategy 5: Education - Council of Education to develop a detailed plan for increasing the number of students who learn about and engage in CP via undergraduate, masters, and doctoral education.

  • Transitioned COE to include a larger number of SCRA members
  • Convened meeting of master’s and doctoral program directors at Biennial 2017

Strategy 6: Education (Scholarship & Doctoral Training) - Strengthen, support, and promote scholarship and related training.  Take into account advancing and promoting doctoral training.

  • Proposal for a Research Council developed and approved; Chair elected; recruitment of members has begun; meeting at Biennial 2017

Strategy 7: Visibility (TCP) - Re-design TCP to better meet the interests and needs of SCRA members and the field. 

  • Developed plan for integrating TCP with a new e-newsletter and
  • Meeting with Interest Group Chairs at Biennial 2017 to foster TCP participation

Strategy 8: Visibility (Identity) - Develop an integrative identity for community psychology that takes into account the range of programs and disciplines in which the field is taught and practiced, and scholarship is produced.

  • Drafted document with potential vision and mission statements for the field
  • Drafted a process for creating an inclusive and generalizable identity for community psychology

Strategy 9: Visibility (Collaborations) - Develop strong collaborative actions with other like-minded organizations to further the strategic priorities of SCRA

  • Policy for approving formal partnerships/collaborations developed and approved
  • Formal partnerships have been developed and approved with:
  • Global Alliance for Behavioral Health & Social Justice
  • The Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice
  • B-Stigma Free

Strategy 10: Visibility (Website)- Enhance the visibility and accessibility of the SCRA website for internal and external communications.

  • Purchased the domain names and
  • Developed plan for a new, outward facing website to promote the field
  • Developed and circulated an RFP for the development of the new website
  • Approved and hired a firm to design our website
  • Hired a new Outreach Communications Specialist who has:
  • Developed an “Entry Point” form to guide members to develop pieces
  • Collaborated on 3 “Entry Point” pieces with members, including using the new form
  • Sent emails to over 50 past SCRA award recipients inviting them to use the form
  • Created and approved tagline: Community Psychology: Social Justice Through Collaborative Research and Action
  • Created a Community Psychology logo for our new webpage (check it out!)

    /who-we-are/scra-strategic-plan/cp-logo/  (you need to be logged in as a member toview it).  If you have feedback, send comments to me at or Jean Hill at

This plan belongs to you. We will continue to revise the plan, add new initiatives, and reframe existing priorities as needed. We need to grow our field and communicate with the world about the important work we do, and we are in an excellent position to make needed progress. This is an historic time for SCRA, as we now have continuity across years, as well as staff support and financial resources, to build upon and execute our strategic plan that moves SCRA and the field forward. So, if you are willing to give your time, please join our existing efforts or get involved with new initiatives– there are significant pay-offs. It is through this work that you develop relationships with wonderful people who share your values. The time spent is well worth it. What better field could you devote your time to? I would argue this one is the best. Looking forward to serving SCRA as Past-President when Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar takes over as President of SCRA at APA in August.