Many community psychologists in practice careers work in areas associated with other disciplines, such as public health, social work, or evaluation. We often lose touch with them when they leave SCRA to join organizations more directly relevant to the work they are engaged in. Which leaves the question, how can we re-engage them and maintain their connection with SCRA and community psychology?
One strategy is to build bridges with other professional organizations that will promote maintenance of a community psychology (CP) professional identity. For example, the American Evaluation Association (AEA) has topical interest groups (TIGs), each devoted to specific professional or methodological niches. Last week the AEA board approved a new Community Psychology TIG. All AEA members are allowed to join up to five TIGs at no extra cost. Each TIG develops its own programming for the AEA annual conference.
Why is this important? First, it allows community psychologists an opportunity to network with others with similar academic background and values orientations who are working in the evaluation field. Second, through programming and other events it increases awareness of CP as a discipline among evaluators. Maybe some day we will no longer need to explain what CP is. And, third, it provides us with a common venue to showcase our work to other evaluators, and potential employers or future students.
What can you do for now? First, if you belong to professional associations other than SCRA, look for opportunities to create your own subgroup, or find avenues to bring community psychologists who are part of the organization together and increase awareness of the field among other members. If you are an AEA member, the next time you renew your membership and have the opportunity to check which TIGs you want to join, be sure to check the box next to the Community Psychology TIG. The CP TIG will be holding its first business meeting this fall at the AEA conference in Anaheim, CA. There will be many opportunities to become involved in a meaningful way. Please join us!
Susan M. Wolfe