Professor Halpern Begins APA Presidency

Professor Diane F. Halpern assumes the national presidency of the American Psychological Association on January 1. Halpern, professor of psychology and director of CMC’s Berger Institute for Work, Family and Children, is an internationally recognized expert in critical thinking, behavioral and cognitive psychology, and gender issues.

“I am a passionate advocate for psychology because I believe that applications of psychological research through practice, education, and other interventions can alleviate suffering, advance knowledge, and elevate the human condition,” said Halpern in her candidacy letter.

With more than 155,000 members and 53 professional divisions, the Washington, D.C.-based APA is the largest professional organization in the field of psychology. Halpern’s goals as president include a wide range of public and professional issues, such as: developing a structure for retired psychologists to use their skills for the betterment of the community; producing multiple-language materials on racism and prejudice, with region-specific materials designed for international use; and continuing her work in the application of the science of learning to education. Other issues include prescription privileges, the psychological root of certain major illnesses, and parity for mental health issues as a basic health discipline.

Upcoming events include an address to the International Psychology Union in Beijing; participation in the 10th anniversary of South Africa’s democracy this summer; meetings and speaking engagements with colleagues in Turkey; her presidential address at the APA annual meeting this July in Hawaii; ongoing Congressional testimony and meetings; and the official “gavel handoff” in February.

“I am deeply honored to have been selected by my peers,” Halpern said. “This represents one of the highest honors within my field, and brings a unique opportunity to use my professional skills and knowledge for the greatest positive impact.

“Virtually every physical problem has behavioral components,” Halpern said. “We are an empirically based, scientific discipline. As a profession, we should better communicate to the public about our work.”

Halpern received the 2002 Outstanding Teacher of the Year award from the Western Psychological Association, of which she is past-president, and has been honored by numerous other organizations including the Rockefeller Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, and the California State University system, from which she received the Outstanding Professor award. She has testified before the United States Congress and has briefed the White House staff on the science of learning and assessment. She is the author of numerous journal articles and more than 15 textbooks, including Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking (4th ed. 2003); Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities (3rd ed. 2000), and States of Mind: American and Post-Soviet Perspectives on Contemporary issues in Psychology.