A husband and wife team – who have been pioneers in the fields of learning disability and human resilience – have been awarded Honorary Fellowships by the Society.
Alan and Anne Clarke were bestowed with the honour at the Society’s Annual Conference, along with Professor Hannah Steinberg, a psychologist who helped lay the foundations for the study of how psychoactive drugs act on the mind.
Mr and Mrs Clarke spent a large part of their careers in Hull, with Alan spending 30 years at the city’s university, although they began their partnership more than 50 years ago, having met as undergraduates and worked on their PhDs together.
It was frowned upon for married couples to take up academic posts in the same institution, so they moved to the Manor Hospital in Epsom where they helped many people with learning difficulties who had been compulsorily detained because of their perceived ‘intellectual inadequacies’. They showed that frequently these people did not have innate shortcomings; instead their intellect had been affected by dire childhoods. With stimulation, support and activity, many made startling improvements and many went on to find employment.
In 1962 the Clarkes moved to Hull, where Alan took up the Chair of Psychology before going on to become pro-vice-chancellor. Ann was awarded a Personal Chair, the first woman to be so awarded in the university, in 1985 in the Department of Education. They are both still Emeritus Professors at the University of Hull.
Through their research and publications, they brought a shift in the way learning disability was viewed, making it less of a medical condition. They also challenged the view that a person’s future is determined by their early years in their book Early Experience: Myth and Evidence.
Alan was often the ‘public face’ of the partnership but those who know them have no doubt they are a team. Their final book Human Resilience: A Fifty-year Quest came out in 2003.
Professor Steinberg began her career at what is now University College London. Her earliest experiments were with laughing gas, and she discovered the substance impaired mental abilities – but had the same effect on improving memory as sleep.
She went on to research what happens when drugs are combined, and discovered that using a drug with a traditionally ‘opposite’ effect could enhance another when given in the right dose or combination.
In recent years she studied how endorphins can raise mood and helped to set up the Society’s Sport and Exercise Section. Her work helped elevate this subsystem to a Division and thus a recognised training route for psychologists.
She began her career with a first class honours degree in psychology at University College in 1948, followed by her PhD in 1953. In 1992 she became Emeritus Professor at University College and embarked on a new career at Middlesex University, where much of her work on sport and exercise research was carried out. She has published or edited some 200 research papers, reports and book chapters.
She become a member of the Society in 1954 and took on a host of roles, including editor of the in-house magazine The Bulletin and Honorary Secretary of the Sport and Exercise Section.
NHS psychology posts
A letter drafted on behalf of the Society’s Professional Practice Board has been widely disseminated, with the aim of clarifying the naming of psychology posts advertised in the NHS, encouraging thinking about competencies, and reducing the scope for discrimination on the basis of ignorance of the competencies of others. The letter’s authors – Martin Crawshaw (Chair, Professional Practice Board) and Peter Kinderman (Chair, Standing Committee for Psychologists in Health and Social Care) – argue that, given, the overlap in the skills of psychologists representing the different applied Divisions of the Society, posts in the NHS and other areas of health and social care ‘should be advertised appropriately. This may best be achieved through phrases such as “Clinical or Counselling Psychologist” or “Forensic and/or Clinical Psychologist” or “Health or Clinical Psychologist”. The use of competencies will differentiate between those posts which may be more appropriate for one branch of the profession rather than another, without excluding potential candidates on the basis of an adjectival title.’
A full copy of the letter can be found at www.bps.org.uk/ppb.
Book Award 2007
THIS year’s British Psychological Society Book Award has been given to Dr Andy Field from the University of Sussex for his new edition of Discovering Statistics Using SPSS.
The 816-page book has
a five-star rating on many internet bookshops and was described by Professor Graham Davey as ‘the only statistics text in which you can learn about complex things like multiple regression and logistic regression while at the same time answering bizarre questions such as: When people attend rock festivals does their smell get worse?’
The book, published by Sage in March 2005, is said
to provide everything students need to understand, use and report statistics at every level and comes with a CD-ROM.
It revises the successful first edition (2000) with new material on statistics and analysis, more student-friendly features, such as a glossary, a larger format and online support for lecturers and students.
A review in the British Journal of Educational Psychology also called the publication ‘extremely enjoyable’ and referred to Andy’s style as ‘refreshingly light and encouraging, not the hallowed ground and hushed tones I have come to expect from many statistic texts’.
Dr Field said: ‘When
I wrote the first edition all
I really wanted to do was write the kind of stats book that
I would enjoy reading. I just thought if I had a reference book that had a few examples in it that amused me, then it would make life easier when
I needed to look something up.
‘I have done a huge update for the second edition – 300 pages compared to the 50 pages that the publishers actually wanted me to write – and seeing some people appreciated the style of the first edition I took it as a green light to include even more stupid examples, more smut and more bad taste. In short, lots more sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll.
I was hugely anxious that I’d stuffed it all up by changing it!’
Dr Field has already been recognised for making statistics accessible with a teaching award from his university in 2001, and the Society’s teaching award in 2005. He has taught aspects of and research methodology and statistics (along with clinical psychology) since starting his DPhil in psychology at the University of Sussex.
After completing his DPhil he became a Research Fellow and Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Sussex. In 1997 he became
a statistician at Princess Royal Hospital before becoming
a lecturer at the University of London in 1998. In 2000 he moved back to Sussex as lecturer. He took up his current post as Reader in 2006.
Accepting the accolade, Dr Field said: ‘I thought the BPS only awarded this prize to proper books, so I’m delighted that they have lowered their standards for a year. It is an enormous privilege to get an award for the piece of work that is closest to my heart. It’s hugely motivating for writing the third edition, which I’m about to start doing.’
From the Policy Support Unit
Important PSU news this month concerns the launch of our redesigned web pages (see above for address). Key changes include:
better search facilities, allowing for consultations to be searched according to keyword and/or consulting body as well as by status (active/completed), year and region;
the option to read or download consultation papers;
the facility for us to include reports from consulting bodies about the outcomes of consultations allowing members to see the impact made by the Society’s responses.
The Society responded to 36 external consultations in the first quarter of 2007. In April, the proposals put forward in a number of consultations prompted concern among members.
In their response to the Review of the Teaching Funding Method carried out by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Joint Council for Psychology in Higher Education (JCPHE) criticised the TRAC(T) methodology used for benchmarking the costs of teaching for its failure to accurately, or usefully, identify ‘true’ or appropriate costs of teaching. JCPHE recommended that a greater emphasis be placed on the maintenance of high standards – the value of teaching – and the calibration of costs to achieve these standards rather than vice versa.
The Northern Ireland Branch expressed disappointment at the Department of Education for Northern Ireland’s failure to build cross-community contacts more forcefully into its Policy for Sustainable Schools.
A response prepared by members of the Psychology of Women Section, the Division of Counselling Psychology and the Division of Forensic Psychology to a second Northern Ireland consultation, Hidden Crimes Secret Pain (put forward by the Department for Health, Social Services and Personal Safety), emphasised the need for the issue of abuse and physical safety to be located as a community, rather than an individual, concern. It also highlighted the importance of critically reflecting on the content and implementation method of initiatives for sexual violence prevention to ensure that problematic ideas, practices and stereotypes concerning sexual violence are not inadvertently reinforced.
The National Occupational Standards (NOS) Steering Committee and the Division of Clinical Psychology’s Professional Standards Unit drew attention to three major flaws in ENTO’s consultation on NOS for Counselling. First, a serious conceptual problem at the heart of the draft standards which failed to make clear whether they were intended to cover just counselling or the whole of psychological therapies; second, a lack of clear structure or model underlying the standards, resulting in all standards seeming to have equal importance; and third, an inappropriate attempt to present a set of generic standards assumed to cover the whole range of activity across all client groups.
o Contact the Policy Support Unit on 0116 252 9926, [email protected].
Welcoming A-level students
Students studying for A-level and Scottish Higher psychology are now welcome to join the Society, receiving a range of benefits for just £20.
The benefits of student membership include receiving The Psychologist each month and becoming members of the Student Members Group (SMG). The SMG has its own quarterly publication, Psych-Talk, which is targeted specifically at students and contains useful careers features. Students members automatically become members of their local Branch and get reduced rates for a range of Society events. They can also subscribe to journals at a discounted rate and have access to Europe’s largest psychology library, housed in the University of London.
Membership of the Society was previously only open to undergraduate psychology students or those undertaking conversion courses.
The annual subscription fee is just £20 for those who do not earn a taxable salary. Application forms are available at www.bps.org.uk/student.
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