It’s hard to overstate how important it is to recognise people’s achievements, and to help them reach their career goals. Over the last month I’ve had this point reinforced to me a number of times in different settings. In terms of recognition, we’ve recently announced several recipients of Society awards and also opened nominations for others. The Professional Practice Board makes three awards each year and the latest winners were announced recently. Congratulations go to Emma Donaldson-Feilder, Rachel Lewis and Dr Hamilton Fairfax who were the joint recipients of the award for Practitioner of the Year. Dr Guy Homes’ received the award for Distinguished Contribution to Psychology in Practice, and Professor Neil Frude was awarded the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award.
There are a number of other awards currently open for nominations, and I hope you might consider nominating colleagues for one or more of these (see www.bps.org.uk/whatwe-do/awards-grants/awards-grants). The range of work recognised by Society awards has expanded in recent years and it was particularly good to see Ian Harrison being given the first award for Technical Support in Psychological Research in 2014, awarded jointly by the Society and the Association for Technical Staff in Psychology. In particular the Research Board’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Presidents’ Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychological Knowledge are both currently inviting nominations with closing dates on 30 April 2015.
Whilst many members probably already know about these awards, I’m less sure that the awards available from the International Union of Psychological Science are so well known. As we have committed to a more coordinated international presence recently, it would be excellent to see UK psychologists being recognised more on this wider stage, reflecting the genuinely world-leading work that is done by psychologists here. Professor Annette Karmiloff-Smith (nominated by us and Société Française de Psychologie) was the last UK winner of their ‘Major Advancement in Psychological Science’ award in 2012, and nominations are now open (until 31 March) for their Young Investigator Awards, the Major Advancement in Psychological Science Prize, the Achievement Against the Odds Award, and Lifetime Career Award. Details of these awards can be found at www.iupsys.net/about/awards/index.html. As a member organisation of IUPsyS, the Society is currently preparing nominations for several of these awards.
In terms of supporting colleagues to develop their careers I recently attended a day in the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education’s women-only ‘Aurora’ programme (tinyurl.com/osv87jy), where the message coming across loud and clear was how important building and maintaining supportive networks is, especially, but not only, in the early stages of a career. I know that for many within the Society this is one of the most important functions of our member networks, and one that tends to be very successful, through annual conferences and local meetings for example. The Aurora programme extends such networking opportunities by also building in a mentoring scheme that matches up volunteer senior mentors with those who would like support and advice, often from a completely different specialism. I suspect that within the Society we haven’t yet found the best ways of linking people across different areas as we might, but we can keep working to improve that.
Recently, discussions within the Partnership and Accreditation Committee, the Ethics Committee and with the Association of Heads of Psychology Departments have led to the establishment of a group to develop supplementary and good practice guidelines in the area of diversity and difference. The group is being co-chaired by Mark Forshaw (Chair of the Membership Standards Board) and Kate Bullen (Chair of the Ethics Committee). We are asking them to take forward the Society’s equality and diversity work in the short term, with one of the outputs to be a series of recommendations about areas that need further work, which will then go the appropriate boards, committees and staff for development. I would hope that some specific new ideas (perhaps such as a cross-network mentoring scheme?) will emerge from these discussions to help us support colleagues and members, particularly those who are in the early stages of their careers.
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