Secretary’s General report
José M. Prieto
Two years have elapsed since we met in Singapore during the 25th ICAP. During this two years a room has been allocated by the University of Madrid to host the office of the IAAP secretariat in the Faculty of Psychology.
This period has been very active as a consequence of the fact that all BOD members except one have been in the mailing list and it has allowed us to exchange information and discuss specific questions and matters on a regular basis. It has introduced a fast way of approaching issues by sharing views via e-mail and by obtaining feedback or assistance in the decision making process.
The IAAP directory is available online in a safe server that may be reached through a link from http://www.iaapsy.org/, that is our homepage. This directory is updated every three months, as soon as we receive the updated file from Blackwell. The directory may be searched typing the name of a person, for instance, and the output an individual record showing information regarding how to contact this person. Also corrections may be introduced and send directly to Blackwell staff to have changes added to the IAAP database. The online directory is protected and cannot be copied illegally. This is a quite advanced service that only a few psychological associations do have all around the world. Jose Ramon Correas has supplied technical assistance in the background as system administrator.
In a similar vein it has been changed the information we have online regarding names and addresses of BOD members. We have eliminated email adresses and generated a system that allows sending a message to a specific BOD member. In this way BOD members may be reached via email and marketing firms or spammers cannot copy their email. These changes were introduced after indications received from several colleagues
Another related innovation has been the electronic application form to become a member of the IAAP. An average of 125 people have submitted their application electronically and a copy was sent to Blackwell secretariat and another was kept in our homepage for control purposes. Staff from the Spanish Psychological Association has supplied technical assistance in the background. From time to time technical problems technical problems have been faced when people try to connect but the server does not allow them to proceed. This is an Achilles heel of online administrative systems. The reference number is the critical element since it indicates that the renewal or subscription procedure ended successfully.
The secretariat office of IAAP has two email addresses, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org where email messages received have been answered at least once every week and often twice every week. A graduate in Psychology, Lucia Palacios, has been working in the role of assistant, evidencing a good profile in English and NICT. As an average about 15-20 email messages have been answered every week during the last two years. As a consequence of a radical increase in junk mail and spams reaching these email address, a filtering system was studied and finally it was decided to operate through http://www.mailblocks.com/ and the procedure selected has obtained recently a 2004 World Class Award by PC World. It means that the choice was a good decision.
Another related innovation has been the online availability of the electronic version of the IAAP newsletter during the last two year. Elizabeth Nair produces the document and sends two copies one to Blackwells to start the printing and distribution procedure and other to the SG office to make the document available online in the homepage of IAAP. It means that each newsletter has been at the disposal of our member about 3-4 weeks before the hard copy.
During the BOD meeting held in Stockholm 2004 we decided a 3 level structure in IAAP membership rates: standard (60 US$), reduced (40 US$) and subsidized (20 US$) fee. During the last two years 1 out of 3 members get the benefit of the subsidized fee category. A four category has been introduced specific for students: US$ 10 and it is valid for the first year. Under an organizational pespective fee structures must remain as simple as possible and changes must be monitored. After some mishaps things operate now satisfactorily.
Seven out of sixteen divisions sponsor a homepage devoted to making available online divisional information concerning plans and activities and keep independent URL address located in several universities’ servers:
· Division5: Educational, Instructional & School Psychology
· Division 8: Health Psychology
· Division 13: Traffic Psychology
In Stockholm (2000) it was decided to change the targeted beneficiary of Action 100 program: from individuals to organized units such as libraries, departments or associations of Psychology in low-income countries. There are still vacancies in this program. The main requisite is supplying an institutional address related to a department or an association of psychology. The benefit is a free copy of our journal and newsletter.
A site visit was carried out to the Australian Psychological Association in April 2003 and after an inspection of facilities it was agreed an institutional contract to host the 2010 ICAP in Melbourne. As a consequence of problems detected in bidding procedures the SG of IAAP was requested to generate a new manual for organizing ICAP and submitting proposals in due time, specifying a deadline for submissions and the availability online of bid packs. A new draft document has been written and is under study by an ad hoc committee that includes BOD members who organized past ICAP (Nair, Fowler and Prieto) and organize the 2006 ICAP (Georgas).
Every semester the list of each division members has been supplied electronically or printed to division presidents. Past presidents and secretaries of divisions to proceed in the election process of each division officer for the 2002-2006 term after the guidelines produced by the IAAP officers have used such lists. A updated guidelines document has been produced by the SG to be discussed and enacted during the BOD meeting in Beijing.
During the elections held in Singapore it was evidenced cross-cultural differences in the terminology used and in the understanding of what is meant by an adequate voting procedure. So the SG has produced a document that analyses four different procedures: a) first-past-the post system, b) instant runoff voting system, runoff voting system and single transferable vote system. In each the document analyses how voting takes place, counting the votes, potential for tactical voting, where it is used. One or two voting system must be fixed for the election of colleagues and congress sites.
During the last two years a climate of close cooperation and good will has prevailed among IUPsyS and IAAP relationships maintaining regular contacts between secretary generals via email and maintaining formal and informal meetings during international congresses (Vienna 2003, Montreal 2004, Peru 2004). Also information has been circulated and exchanged to facilitate the attendance of IAAP members in the 28th ICP held in Beijing August 8-13, 2004.
Contacts have been initiated with the World Federation of Mental Health and it is under study the affiliation of IAAP to be decided by officers in Beijing.
The production of an online agenda for the BOD meeting has required careful attention to differentiate between first drafts and updates circulated through the discussion list and to make these documents available online as soon as possible. A deadline will be suggested for our BOD meeting in Athens to make things feasible. At present it requires quite a lot of time during the 4-6 weeks preceding the opening ceremony.