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2014 President's Welcome

The SPSP President’s Report
The first of each year marks the annual shift in SPSP leadership. David Funder, who has done a masterful job as SPSP President transitioned into the Past President role and Mark Leary became the official President Elect. Trish Devine, who has been a significant force in the rebuilding of the Society, is now off the presidential treadmill. It is my honor to begin my one-year term as President.
This is a vibrant time for the field of social and personality psychology as well as for our professional society. The reach of our field is extending further than ever before into computer science, medicine, business, and other areas. Traditional area structures within psychology departments are beginning to blur the distinctions among personality, social, developmental, cognitive, and clinical psychology, as well as neuroscience. Alternative publishing models are promising radical new ways of reviewing, publishing, and payment schemes. All of these changes have major implications for our discipline and, more directly, for SPSP.
Fortunately, the SPSP leadership has begun working to address some of these cultural shifts. Due, in part to recent issues related to the management of funds, we realized that we had to change from a mom-and-pop organization to a small corporation. There have been some growing pains and, in the months to come, there will be more. With a growing membership base, increasing and possibly unstable income from journals and other sources, and the changes in communication and publication patterns of the discipline, SPSP is better-equipped to handle the future.
As outlined in earlier messages from David Funder, SPSP has now hired a full time Executive Director who will oversee a staff of 3-4 people in our new Washington, DC office. Until recently, SPSP was administered by a dedicated group of volunteers. We are thrilled to welcome Chad Rummel as our first Executive Director. His background with APA and his extensive knowledge of nonprofits makes him the ideal choice.
It’s hard to appreciate the significance of hiring a full time executive director. If you are like me, you thought that the SPSP presidency was an incredibly powerful position that ran the society with unquestioned authority. Sadly, no. The real power behind the throne has always been the executive officer. Traditionally, executive officers have had multi-year terms allowing them to provide a broader perspective, both long term and day-to-day guidance, and intensive training for the president-of-the-year.
SPSP has been blessed to have Jack Dovidio as its executive officer. The reorganization of SPSP is largely his brain child. Fortunately, Jack will be working closely with Chad in the months ahead so that the transition to our new system will run smoothly. When the history of SPSP is written, Jack’s name will figure prominently in its growth and evolution.
My goal for this next year will be to continue in the footsteps of David Funder, Trish Devine, and dozens of other leaders in the society. I look forward to helping SPSP adapt to the cultural shifts in scientific thinking and publication. I am also deeply committed to expanding the influence of social and personality psychology across disciplines and within society. I look forward to working with all of you in continuing to build a dynamic intellectual and social society.
Jamie Pennebaker
2014 SPSP President