Minutes of the 26th Fall Meeting of The Board of Directors

Saturday, October 12, 1996, Chicago, Illinois

Back to: The meeting minutes page | GE Fall 1996 (Vol. 24, No. 4)

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Present: David Bearison, Thomas Bidell, Terry Brown, James Byrnes, Michael Chandler (presiding), Dante Cicchetti, William Gray, Patricia Greenfield, Susan Goldin-Meadow, Melanie Killen, Cynthia Lightfoot (recording), David Moshman, Gil Noam, Larry Nucci, Robert Selman, Elliot Turiel.


    1. Michael Chandler expressed thanks and appreciation for the good work of those members who will be cycling off the board - David Bearison, Harry Beilin, Susan Gelman, and Robert Selman.

    2. Thomas Bidell, Dante Cicchetti, Patricia Greenfield, Geoffrey Saxe, and Jacques Voneche were welcomed as new members.


    1. The minutes of the June 6, 1996 meeting were approved as recorded.


    1. Presidents Remarks (Chandler)

      1. The Society has been very well represented at the various centennial celebrations of Piagets birth, and was able to respond generously to requests for speakers and presentations.

      2. The new Standing Committee structure is working well, particularly in the case of the Symposium and Nominations committees. Overall, the work load is better distributed. There are, however, a few rough edges that seem mostly associated with defining committee goals, and orchestrating group efforts. Notwithstanding the expectable rough spots, the transition appears to be well underway.

      3. Sundry initiatives

        1. Onloading a corporate logo. Chandler has been negotiating with the Piaget watch company regarding a possible sponsorship that would enable scholars from third-world countries to participate in our annual Symposium. There was some discussion about what we might provide in exchange for their sponsorship. We could, for example, display their logo on some of our publications, or provide a display table at our annual Symposium book sale.

        2. Updating the Blue Book. Chandler circulated revisions to the Bylaws pertaining to the Presidents terms of office, and revisions to the Policies and Procedures manual pertaining to Scholnicks composition of the mission statement for the Genetic Epistemologist. A working draft of the Symposium Manual - the how to book developed by the Symposium Program Committee - is also now included in the Blue Book.

    2. Past Presidents Report (Brown)

      1. Brown called attention to a number of our recent accomplishments, including the restructuring of the Societys governance, the direction and scope of next years Symposium, the financial good health of the Society, the strength of the slate of Board candidates, and the international visibility of JPS at the recent centenary events. He congratulated all of those involved, and noted that these accomplishments are both indices of growth, and promises of continued success.

    3. Vice President's Report (Byrnes)

      1. The call for program proposals is out. As a time-saving device, and in order to more easily assemble the final program, submitters are being encouraged to send abstracts on diskette or by electronic mail. Byrnes has circulated, via e-mail, guidelines for reviewing the proposals. He also expressed concern about meeting deadlines, and receiving information from program organizers in a timely fashion. He will inform organizers of his time constraints. There was discussion about how to further reduce the time and expense involved in the program proposal process.

      2. In an effort of relieve the workload of Board members, Brynes is attempting to recruit others into the roles of session chairs and discussants.

      3. Greenfield advocated for sending out a second wave of the Call for Program Proposals in order to reach a larger audience of those interested in cultural issues - the ISSBD membership, for example. Byrnes reminded us of the time constraints, and the need to do a first class mailing. Gray noted that although the call for proposals is available on the website, and presumably, a very large audience, he would be willing to make copies of the flyer if individuals were interested in launching their own outreach efforts.


    1. Finance Committee (Moshman, Gray)

      1. Finance Committee Report. Moshman circulated a proposal for modestly enhancing the financial status of the Society by introducing an optional higher dues rate. There was some discussion about the need for more ambitious plans, for example, raising membership fees, structuring dues according to level of income, and/or initiating different levels of membership. Noam reminded us of the memberships positive response to Browns letter of several years ago that requested donations. Turiel noted that Grays new Membership Renewal Form makes for a more efficient process, and asked that some consideration be given to the timing of the request for renewals. It was generally agreed that four levels be used to structure membership dues: (1) student - $30; (2) regular - $70; (3) $100; (4) $150.

      2. Treasurers Report. Gray reported that we number 431 members as of 10/11/96, and have between $30- and $35-thousand in the bank, with outstanding bills from the printer, as well as bills associated with board meeting travel costs. Gray distributed a document in which the history of JPS Symposium (attendance, hotel registrations, book sale proceeds, expenses, income, etc.) is traced from 1980 to the present. Remarking on both the thoroughness of the report, and its potential utility for future Symposium organizers, Chandler requested that the document be prepared as a resource and included in the Symposium Manual. On the matter of dues and fees, Gray recommended against increasing membership fees, and in favor of a substantial increase in symposium registration fees for non-members (the fee for members would be unchanged - $85). Gray explained the importance of individuals renewing their memberships on time. There was a discussion of possible incentives, including a late fee, or multiple-year memberships. The Membership Committee was called upon to consider the issue, and to present a plan to the Board.

    2. Membership Committee (Berkowitz, Lightfoot)

      1. Membership Committee Report. A summary of committee activities was distributed previously by Berkowitz. Much effort has been put into contacting former members who failed to renew their memberships. A letter writing campaign seems to have been reasonably effective, and is recommended as standard procedure. The mock-up of the new Membership Brochure was reviewed enthusiastically. Brown emphasized the importance of the Brochure for advertising the Society and recruiting new members, and urged that we do more to ensure its availability at relevant conferences. Other ideas generated include advertising the Symposium in journals (Selman), and giving students a greater voice by, for example, creating an association of graduate students (Noam), and organizing opportunities - conversation hours, receptions, lunches - for student-faculty interaction (Killen, Chandler).

    3. Outreach Committee (Noam, Selman)

      1. Outreach Committee Report. A report was distributed that detailed the chief functions of the committee vis a vis (1) expanding international connections, and (2) further developing relationships with individuals and organizations that are concerned with linking theory and practice. In light of the theme of the upcoming Symposium, Greenfield suggested that we obtain the mailing lists for The Growing Mind and the Sociocultural groups. Brown suggested that we have Symposium sessions in French or Spanish. Selman proposed that some Symposium time be slotted for Outreach contact and organization. Noam emphasized the importance of continuing our efforts to subsidize travel for international, especially third-world, scholars.

    4. Publications Committee (Scholnick, Reed, Lalonde, Chandler)

      1. Symposium Volume Report. The Renninger/Amsel volume is ready to be copyedited, and the Killen/Langer volume is near completion. Authors are currently submitting manuscripts to the Scholnick/Nelson/Miller/Gelman group.

      2. G.E. Report. Due to substantial delays associated with the printer, both the Spring and Summer issues of the GE (vol. 24 #2 and vol. 24 #3) are ready concurrently for mailing. The process of identifying a qualified printer was discussed.

      3. G. E. on the Web. Scholnick and Reed recommended against an electronic version of the GE on the grounds that such public access reduces membership benefits. It was suggested that previews, or "teasers", be made available on the Web, along with directions on how to join the Society. It was also suggested that archival issues be made available electronically.

      4. The Web Site. Lalonde's report notes that the Web Site has logged in excess of 11,000 visits. It includes the Membership Directory, minutes of Board meetings, past issues of the GE, a listing of events and conferences, and the Call for Program Proposals. Lalonde hopes also to include the text from the Membership Brochure, when it becomes available, as well as accounts of Piaget's theory and works.

    5. Translations Advisory Committee (Brown)

      1. Translations Advisory Committee Report. Remarking on the difficulty of identifying translators, and his own desire to be done with it, Brown raised the question of who might carry on the task of translating Piaget's works. Les Smith was mentioned as someone who might be interested. Chandler asked Brown to consider future of the Committee.

    6. Nominations Committee (Brown)

      1. Officers and Board Nominees for the 1997/98 - 2000 term. Brown distributed an impressive list of nominees ordered by rankings provided previously by Board members. There was a candidate by candidate discussion of the first four on the list, as well as some discussion about travel expenses for international members. Five candidates were approved: Ackerman, Garcia, Lourenco, Parker, and Smetana. Larry Nucci was unanimously and enthusiastically approved as President Elect.

    7. Symposium Committee.

      1. Symposium Committee Report. Turiel reported that efforts are ongoing to identify a new Committee chair and new members. Much work has gone towards developing the Symposium Manual. We are again urged to review the draft and provide feedback to Milbrath, Turiel, and/or Greenfield. As the current chair of Local Arrangements, Greenfield praised the usefulness of the manual.

      2. Symposium 1997: Organizers' Report (Nucci, Turiel). The Committee is in the process of contacting plenary speakers. Moving the date of the conference further into June has created problems for some potential speakers who have made prior travel or vacation plans. The Committee is working to recruit speakers for seven plenary sessions and four invited symposia. In order to more quickly assemble a mock-up of the Program, Brynes requested information regarding numbers of slots for plenaries, symposia and so forth, as soon as it becomes available.

      3. Local Arrangements 1997 Report (Greenfield). Greenfields diligent efforts have paid off. We will stay at the Holiday Inn, each with a view of the ocean (and for a reasonable rate). She is currently finalizing the contract, and settling the details of room requirements, catering, easels for posters, and so forth. There will be a free shuttle from the airport and to the beach.

      4. Symposium 1998 (Bearison/Selman). A list of possible speakers on the topic of theory and practice was distributed. There was some discussion about increasing the scope of the topic by expanding into the area of aesthetics, or experience generally defined. Killen suggested inviting speakers from outside developmental psychology who may be engaged already in their own sort of theory-practice dialogues. Noam observed that such speakers could be readily found among the ranks of psychoanalysts. The issue of how knowledge of psychopathology might inform knowledge of normative development, i.e., the importance of comparative analysis, was raised by Cichetti. There was also some interest in inviting speakers from outside the social sciences - art and literary criticism, for example. Speaking for the majority, Bidell praised the potential of the general plan.


    1. Folk Theory and Science. Chandler expressed interest in formulating a Symposium proposal built around the topic of folk or commonsense psychologies and their relations to the specialist theories generated by the scientific community. Anyone interested in helping to devise a more coherent proposal by June is encouraged to do so.

    2. Reductionism. Prompted in part by the recent ground swell of work in neuropsychology and connectionism, Brown distributed a proposal on the topic of the role of reductionism in science in general, and the epistemology of psychology in particular, especially as it bears on the concepts of mechanism, explanation, and cause. We are urged to review the proposal, and provide feedback.

    3. Miscellaneous themes or topics.
      • Greenfield - the relation between culture and biology
      • Killen - social interaction and social knowledge
      • Lightfoot - time
      • Cichetti - early experience and developmental plasticity: Insights from developmental neurology, psychology, and psychopathology.
      • Bidell - cognitive development and education

      Noam sounded a cautionary note about symposia themes that may be too esoterically theoretical.


    1. The Winter Executive Committee meeting will be February 22, 1997.

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