Justin “Doug” McDonald, Ph.D. University of North Dakota

Justin McDonaldGreetings to my relatives!

Well, the year begins cold on the outside but warmly in our spirits as our focus turns from the holidays to the tasks, opportunities and challenges ahead for our division, our family. I’d like to begin by saying again what an honor it is being in this position and how profoundly I desire to help us achieve a solid and productive year for our members. I opened our Mid-winter Executive Committee (EC) Meeting in San Antonio by encouraging the EC and committees to always remember, even when the stress mounts and the work beckons, that our membership is counting on us to not only achieve, but exceed our goals. As elected and appointed leaders, we are all in key positions and the work of each individual is crucial to the success of our tribe. If you are an Arrow-maker, make the straightest and strongest arrows ever. Shield-makers create the best shields to protect us. Hunters nourish us and Warriors protect us and ours as never before. As to our Leaders, I called upon our wise D45 EC to guide us into and throughout a year that will be remembered fondly.

At our mid-winter meeting we addressed several goals:
• Finalizing the Strategic Plan. There are a few minor clarifications to be made to finish the task so masterfully assumed by Jean.
• Establishing the Policies and Procedures and the Orientation Manuals.
• Policies for: Budget construction and Finance Committee, Presidential Initiatives, Internet EC voting, among others.
• Clarification of Member-at-large roles.
• APA Convention Planning. To include new officer slates, Fellows and Awards, Hospitality Suite, Dance, etc.
• Discussions for 2013 NMCS and Second Biennial D45 Conference.
• Our public presence, in the form of CDEMP, our newsletter, website, relations with APA, etc.

As you all can see, we had a busy agenda! Our meeting was very productive and challenging and I was extremely proud of the entire EC for their patience, humor, and motivation. We’re focusing on presenting a very informative, professional convention program, Biennial conference (thanks to Rob!) and the run-up to the NMCS (thanks to Debra!) [see E-FOCUS Column for links to their websites].

Presidential Initiative
I’d like to close by clarifying my Presidential Initiative. As many of you know, I’ve long been a strong advocate for greater representation of Ethnic Diversity within APA governance. My theme for the convention, as well as my initiative is “Putting Diversity into Leadership Action”. Those of you who’ve served on COR and/or boards and committees are well aware of the “recycling” that takes place in which the same faces simply rotate around from one to another over the years. This occurs with Majority Culture folks too, to be sure. This phenomenon occurs for a variety of reasons, and partially because some of our leaders are very wise and strong and find it hard (because they are both humble and committed) to say “no”. It has always been my belief there’s strength in diversity, and in numbers. While the wisdom of our more senior brothers and sisters is invaluable, I also feel we should encourage, and even hard-wire, in-roads for different and particularly younger ethnically diverse psychologists to assume leadership roles.

American Indian Men of Division 45: (L to R) Casey McDougall (Mississippi Band of Ojibwe; Bear Clan), Joseph Gone (Gros Ventre); Doug McDonald (Oglala Lakota); Joseph Trimble (Lakota); John Gonzales (Anishinaabe).

With Jean’s Leadership work so freshly in our minds, I plan to recruit a task force of senior, experienced D45 psychologists to brainstorm at least four specific actions the division can directly support or influence to make this so. While this initiative has always been a dream of mine, it also directly responds to Goal 3 of our Strategic Plan. As one of the EC members to help craft the initial Strategic Plan, you can imagine where some of those ideas expressed in Goal 3 came from! If I’m lucky enough to achieve a positive legacy as president, I want to come full-circle and bring those ideas to life. We also need to assume the important, albeit touchy issue of our name – and whether or not we want it to change. Many have (understandably) shied away from this issue over the years. I will do my best to tackle it head-on and pursue a solution that all sides may consider an acceptable consensus. Division 45 embraced me (as it has all of us) and accepted and took me under its wing as an isolated, awe-struck graduate student. Its leaders and members nurtured and supported me throughout the tough early years and I am determined to give back more than I got, which is a great deal.

Finally, I want to reiterate my humble thanks to this EC, for which I’m so proud to be a part. Never has a more talented and competent group been assembled to lead our family, and I am thrilled it occurred during my presidential year. Please feel free to contact me anytime with thoughts or concerns (justin_mcdonald@und.nodak.edu) . If there are complaints – I will gladly forward them to President-elect Vazquez!

Hanta Yo! (“Clear the Way!”)

What does the Division 45 mean to you?