CPST: Tracking Human Resources Data in Psychology

What does the current job market look like for scientists? How do professional salaries compare across scientific disciplines? What are the latest trends in research funding and in the hiring of women and minorities? These are just a few of the questions addressed by the Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology (CPST), which recently named former APA staffer Catherine Gaddy, PhD, as its new Executive Director. Dr. Gaddy, who served as APA's Associate Director of Program Consultation and Accreditation, left in February to assume the leadership of CPST, the data-collection arm of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for information on scientists and engineers. Dr. Gaddy met recently with Science Directorate staff to discuss CPST's role in the science community.

When asked how CPST contributes to psychology, Dr. Gaddy began by explaining the Commission's origins. In 1953, Dr. Gaddy said, a number of scientific societies--including APA--formed CPST to determine how the military draft was affecting 'all scientists, including psychologists and engineers.' Although the draft was the rallying issue in CPST's establishment, it soon became clear that the Commission could serve its member organizations in several ways. Most importantly, CPST provided a unified voice for the various scientific disciplines.

Today, the Commission continues to collect and analyze data on human resources in the sciences and engineering. Enduring issues that CPST has focused on include supply and demand--whether too many or too few scientists are available for employment; education and training; salaries across scientific disciplines; statistics on women and minorities; and federal research funding.

Particularly valuable to the science community, Dr. Gaddy noted, is CPST's ability to compare data across federal agencies and societies, providing a broad context for interpretation. Also, because CPST is independent, it can speak from an unbiased perspective with no vested interest in any one field.

Concluding her meeting with Science Directorate staff, Dr. Gaddy explained the importance of APA's membership in CPST. Psychology must be included as a field when data is collected in order for it to be represented in national data collection and analyses efforts. This enables those following human resource trends (such as Jessica Kohout, PhD, Director of the APA Research Offie, and a commissioner of CPST) to compare psychology statistics with statistics from other scientific disciplines. One of the greatest benefits of CPST membership, Dr. Gaddy said, is that APA is part of the forum of scientific societies that come together to research and address issues that affect all scientists.

For additional information about CPST, contact its APA commissioners: Merry Bullock, PhD, at (202) 336-6000, or Jessica Kohout, PhD, at (202) 336-5980.

Note: CPST publishes Comments, a digest of current developments affecting the recruitment, training, and use of scientists and engineers, eight times a year. Other CPST publications include Professional Women and Minorities and Salaries of Scientists, Engineers, and Technicians. Scientific societies, corporations employing scientists, policymakers, graduate schools, and career counselors are the primary users of these resources.

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