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Volume 48 Number 2
University of South Carolina
Creating Resources and Opportunities
After concluding a very busy SCRA Executive Committee Annual Meeting in February, I came away tired (it’s a lot of work) but also enthusiastic about what SCRA members are doing. The purpose of the meeting is to review activities of the past year, coordinate initiatives, set priorities and plan a budget for the current year. We need to acknowledge the contribution to SCRA that Stephanie Reich, SCRA Secretary, made by compiling and organizing the massive amount of information about SCRA activities into our “Midwinter Meeting Briefing Book”. Thanks also to the chairs of committees, councils, interest groups and EC members for reporting this information. Copies of the Briefing Books, as well as minutes from meetings are available at https://scra27.org/who-we-are/leadership/scra-documents/. We should also recognize the work of our Treasurer, Jim Emshoff, and our Administrative Director, Victoria Scott, in managing the operations of our society that have grown tremendously over the past few years.
Reviewing the Briefing Book reports of 2014 accomplishments, the breadth and depth of SCRA members’ activities are truly impressive. The commitment of many members to provide resources for others interested in community research and action is inspiring. Many of these are also captured on our website. Lest you think that I am exaggerating, take an hour to look through our website and bookmark pages that you can use in your work https://scra27.org/. Better yet, send specific links to colleagues to help spread word of SCRA resources and member accomplishments. Of course, there is not sufficient space in this issue to cover all of our initiatives in this column. However, I want to highlight our inaugural Summer Institute on community research and action and our 15th Biennial Conference in Lowell, MA. I also want to draw your attention to opportunities to get involved in the work of the Council of Education Programs, the Community Psychology Practice Council, and the Public Policy Committee. I am proud of these resources for members and encourage you to consider these opportunities for getting involved.
SCRA will have its first coordinated training institute in two sessions on Wednesday, June 24, 2015 9am – 5pm and on Sunday, June 28, 2015 from 9am-12pm in Lowell, MA. The SCRA Summer Institute will bookend the biennial conference. These sessions will be a tremendous resource for SCRA members and we expect that they will attract others who are interested in community research and action. The SCRA Professional Development Committee, with leadership from Susan Wolfe, organized the 2015 sessions. As described by the Professional Development Committee,
The purpose of the SCRA Summer Institute is to provide individuals with professional development opportunities that will supplement graduate education, provide additional training in the community psychology practice competencies, and provide other topic-specific workshops of interest to SCRA members. Courses will be relevant for faculty, graduate students, early career professionals, and later career professionals who want to learn new skills or update existing ones.
This year sessions include skill development in several areas of community psychology practice: Coalition building, policy, sociocultural competence, community leadership working with citizen groups, strategic planning and organizational development, starting a consultation practice, grant writing, building community organizations. If you have not registered already, please check the SCRA for a link to the Summer Institute registration. Note that the Summer Institute has a separate registration from the biennial conference.
15th SCRA Biennial Conference
We will gather in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA June 25-28 for the regular showcase of SCRA members work. The theme for this conference is “Celebrating 50 Years of Community Psychology: Bridging Past and Future.” This conference will have lively discussion and exchange of ideas. It provides a chance to meet others with similar interests and to get involved with emerging initiatives. As we look to the future of SCRA, I ask that you make a special effort to encourage colleagues, community partners, and students who are not familiar with SCRA to attend to get an introduction to community psychology. Updates about the conference and links to registration can be found on our website: https://scra27.org/event/biennial-conference/2015-biennial/.
Website Resources: Documents Library
The SCRA website now has many documents posted that are resources for our members (https://scra27.org/resources/document-library/). For example, members can now access issues of The Community Psychologist going back to 1975. Many thanks to Sylvie Taylor for making electronic versions of past issues available. Past biennial conference programs are also available on the documents library page as is variety of reports about SCRA functions and resources for promoting the field.
Council of Education Programs https://scra27.org/what-we-do/education/
As described on the website, the mission of the Council of Education Programs is to support and advocate excellence and visibility in education in community research and action. This includes facilitating communication between education programs, creating resources to promote education in community psychology, and maintaining a resource exchange on the website. The CEP intentionally recruits members who represent different levels of training (e.g., undergrad, masters, doctoral) and different foci (e.g., community psych, interdisciplinary community research and action, clinical-community). The SCRA website includes the CEP facilitated exchange of teaching resources such as activities, projects, service learning, syllabi, and videos (https://scra27.org/what-we-do/education/teaching-cp/). It also has links to academic programs, clinical internships with a community psychology emphasis, and postdoctoral training opportunities. A recent CEP emphasis of the past few years has been developing opportunities to support the development of new training programs. The CEP New Program Sub-committee has three goals: 1) to identify and strengthen new programs, 2) encourage students to utilize the SCRA to strengthen their programs; and 3) support the development of practice-focused skills in community psychology training through intentional integration of SCRA practice competencies into the curricula of new programs https://scra27.org/what-we-do/education/new-programs-sub-committee/.
Community Psychology Practice Council
As described on the website, the Practice Council is “working to expand the visibility, reach, and impact of community psychology practice (https://scra27.org/what-we-do/practice/). There are monthly Practice Council calls on the 2nd Friday of the month that provide an overview of current activities. There are also Peer Consultation Calls on the 3rd Friday of each month to encourage an exchange of ideas about current work or issues faced on a project. Both calls include students, recent graduates, and seasoned professionals. Check the website for contact information to get involved in the calls. The Practice Council has created many resources for SCRA members including a regular practice blog and a monthly newsletter, THEory into ACTion which are available on the website. I want to draw particular attention to the SCRA Community Mini-Grants offered by the Practice Council. As described on the website,
The purpose of this program is to support and help catalyze small scale, time-sensitive community interventions, whether action or research-based, which are consistent with the SCRA vision, mission, principles and goals.
In 2014, the Practice Council was able to make 15 grants to SCRA members and their community partners. The SCRA website provides information for applicants and for people interested in reviewing grants: https://scra27.org/what-we-do/practice/community-mini-grants/. The Connect to a Practitioner Guide is a new resource created as a collaboration between the Practice Council and the CEP. The Guide provides contact information and a description of expertise and skills that can be used for linking to persons with similar interests, for consultation, and to supplement training: https://scra27.org/what-we-do/practice/connect-practitioner/.
Public Policy Committee
The mission of the public policy committee includes encouraging
… two-way communication between community psychologists and policy makers; to collaborative relations with other groups to work on policy activities; … to create opportunities for training; and to encourage academicians and others who lack policy experiences to familiarize themselves with the policy process through both traditional (classroom, conferences) and field-based (internship/externship) training experiences. https://scra27.org/what-we-do/policy/
The Public Policy Committee has monthly conference calls and several working groups that are focused on developing policy statements and working to advocate for policy change on issues related to the work of members. Recent areas of work have focused on prevention, children and adolescents, health, employment, housing, substance abuse, and mutual help. Several resources provide particular opportunities for people new to policy and advocacy. As described on the website, Public Policy Small Grants provide initial funding and encouragement to generate new policy initiatives. The website has guidelines for applications and reports from past projects https://scra27.org/what-we-do/policy/policy-small-grant-program/. The Policy Committee has developed a practicum opportunity to engage students in policy and/or advocacy-related activities that are of interest to the student. Supervision is provided by the Policy Committee Chair(s) and some students have received course credit from their respective institutions. Melissa Strompolis is the current chair of the committee and worked with two students this past year. The Committee also has resources on its blog, links o training resources, policy statements and profiles of members on the website (e.g., https://scra27.org/what-we-do/policy/additional-resources/).
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