Division Focus: Division 27


By Roger P. Weissberg, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago, President of Division 27
Division 27 (The Society for Community Research and Action--SCRA) is devoted to advancing theory, research, and social action to promote positive well-being and prevent the development of problems in individuals and their communities. The action- research agenda of the field is guided by four broad principles: (a) Community research is an active collaborative enterprise between researchers, citizens, and consumers. (b) Human competencies and problems are best conceptualized by viewing people within their social, cultural, and historical context. (c) Change strategies are needed at both the individual and systems levels for effective competence promotion and problem prevention. (d) Multiple methods of research, including quantitative and qualitative, are needed to develop the knowledge base for the field.

Division 27 was established in 1967 and was originally called the Division of Community Psychology. However, members voted to change the name in response to the growing emphasis on multidisciplinary approaches to community research and action. Although most SCRA members are psychologists, our membership includes researchers and activists from related fields such as public health, psychiatry, social work, education, anthropology, sociology, nursing, and political science. Interests of SCRA members include prevention and health promotion; empowerment and social change; culture, race, and gender; human diversity; and community mental health.

Purposes

SCRA is an educational and scientific organization established to (a) encourage the use of social and behavioral sciences for the well-being of people and their communities; (b) promote theory development and research that increase understanding of human behavior in context and in all its diversity; and (c) foster the exchange of knowledge and skills in community research and action.

Publications

The American Journal of Community Psychology (AJCP) publishes empirical research, theoretical papers, literature reviews, and reports of interventions in the area of community psychology. AJCP encourages manuscripts concerned with underrepresented populations and issues of human diversity.

The Community Psychologist, the Society's newsletter, is published 6 times a year. It complements AJCP by providing a less formal venue for the exchange of ideas. Brief reports and reflections on the practice of community research and action are the major focus. The Society also publishes The Community Student, which is written by and for students.

Special Projects

The Biennial Conference on Community Research and Action is a major international forum where participants present their latest and best work. The next conference, which features more than 500 presenters, takes place June 14-17, 1995, in Chicago. SCRA members also present their work at the annual APA Convention.

Other projects include a Regional Coordination Network with 25 regional coordinators around the world, which sponsors regional conferences, workshops, resource exchanges, and informal discussion groups about community issues; an e-mail network; and ten interest groups that have emerged out of the varied interests of SCRA members.

Membership

SCRA memberships are $29 for professionals and $15 for students, which include free subscriptions to AJCP and The Community Psychologist. We encourage student members; currently, more than 400 students belong to the Division. For more information, please contact:

William Davidson II

Department of Psychology
129 Psychology Building
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1117
Phone: (517) 353-5015
FAX: (517) 432-2476
E-MAIL: william.davidson@ssc.msu.edu
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