Southeastern Psychological Association 

June, 2000

In this issue:

SEPA Travels to Atlanta March 21-24
The Millennium
Convention in Hotlanta
Merv Wagner- Program Chair
University of South Carolina

     This is our first convention of the 21st Century. It is also a time of change for psychologists! In the universities there is an increasing dependence on soft money, faculty members are having less power, applied programs are being de-emphasized, more attention is being paid to Cultural Competence, and generally more attention is being given to the bottom line. In the applied fields there is managed care, manualized treatments, prescription privileges, increasing medicalization, empirically validated treatments, provider networks, de-emphasis on doctoral level providers, etc. Portions of our 2001 SEPA program will address some of these issues while at the same time recognizing that we must be scholarly as well.
      We are extremely fortunate to have as our primary invited speaker Dr. George W. Albee. There has not been a psychologist with a more distinguished career. I can only say a little here, but he has been President or Chair of the following organizations: APA, APA Division 12, American Psychological Foundation, New England Psychological Association, Psychologists for Social Responsibility, American Association of Applied and Preventive Psychology, and the President's Task Force on Prevention (under Rosalynn Carter). Besides all this he has written books and articles, far too numerous to mention. He is going to speak on "The Medicalization of Psychology: Mental Disorders are not Diseases."
      Dr. Lee Sechrest, a Professor at the University of Arizona, is a kind of psychological Renaissance man. He has been president of APA Division 12(Clinical) as well as Division 5 (Measurement) and president of the American Evaluation Association. Having edited or written 15+ books, he has also published more than 200 articles in his distinguished career. His continuing interest in the quality of scientific information serves as the focus of his invited address, "The Meaning of Measurement." Dr. E. Wayne Holden was Director of Pediatric Psychology at the University of Maryland when in 1998 he moved to Atlanta where he is currently Vice President of ORC Macro and the principal investigator for 34 million dollars in grants evaluating mental health services throughout the nation. He has done a lot of research in pediatric psychology, is editor of one journal and is on the editorial board of five others. Most importantly he was one of my very best students. (Probably best, but don't tell him!) His talk is entitled, "The National Evaluation of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children and their Families." Dr. Barbara Rothbaum is an internationally known expert in the virtual reality exposure technology for modifying anxiety. Currently an Associate Professor at Emory University Medical School and Director of the Trauma and Anxiety Recovery Program, she has numerous scientific papers and two books. Her address will be "Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy" and there will also be a hands-on demo in the exhibit hall.
      Dr. Gene G. Abel, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Emory and Morehouse Schools of Medicine, is a winner of the Masters & Johnson Award and the Significant Achievement Award from the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, and has accumulated one of the largest databases describing sex offenders in the world. His presentation will be "New Methods to Assess Sex Offenders." Dr. Steven Lopez was a professor at USC (west) before accepting a position as professor at UCLA. His main area of research concerns how sociocultural factors influence the psychopathology, assessment, and intervention of Latinos and other ethnic minority groups. He has published numerous journal articles and book chapters on cultural issues and has consulted with a number of different agencies on improving cultural competence. His address will be entitled: "Shifting Cultural Lenses in Psychopathology Research." So far we have two Invited symposia. Dr. Lillian Range, Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, along with some of her colleagues will be presenting "A Writing Paradigm for the Treatment of Suicidal Individuals." Dr. David Clement, a past SEPA president and Professor at the University of South Carolina, will be chairing a symposium entitled, "SEPA as Performed by the Four Tops: SEPA Presidents from the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's."
      Dr. Charles Brewer, Professor at Furman University and another past president, is serving as moderator for a debate on the question, "Should Psychologists Prescribe Medications?" We'll have two pros and two cons and then have the audience vote for the winning side. Last year in New Orleans we had 1433 participants from 160 research centers (101 Colleges, 30 Universities) and 29 were from outside of the Southeast. Much of the success of the meeting was made possible by various individuals volunteering to contribute papers and organize symposia.
      Our program will be better if those of you in areas such as cognitive, neuropsychology, personality, community, psychometrics, school, developmental, etc. will present your work and your students' work as well as organize symposia. Special interest groups may also want to use SEPA as place to get together. Last year we had SEIOPA, CUPP, TOPPS, SWIM, and CTUP, and of course you are all invited to come again. The call for papers will be out about September 15th, with a postmark deadline of October 13th. Historically, SEPA has been proud of the fact that our conferences have represented all areas of psychology. My primary campaign promise was to not mess things up if I was elected. Help me keep that promise by submitting your work thereby helping to keep our convention of the highest quality.


Reunited in Hotlanta (and it feels so good!!)
Merv Wagner
Program Chair

      The next meeting of SEPA will be at the beginning of the 21st Century. I would like to make the theme "Reunited" and have it be a giant reunion of graduates and their schools. SEPA has arranged to have the rooms used for meetings during the day available for get-togethers Thursday and Friday nights. Everyone who wishes to do this will be assigned a room. The clinical program at Carolina (South) had a reunion at SEPA in Atlanta four years ago and it was a roaring success. We had an old grad from 1967 (our 1st) and one from as far away as Washington State. For SEPA we'll broaden a bit and include all grads. Someone at each school will have to coordinate the effort. If you are in academia and receiving this newsletter, you are the logical one to get things started.
      You have to give possible attendees a specific deadline so that you can notify SEPA first by October 15th that you want a meeting room and then no later than January 1st approximately how many will attend. We will have the hotel contact you and supply you with menus, etc. so that you can order what you would like to have served. If you buy above a certain amount they will usually throw in a bartender.
      Advise your grads to look on the SEPA web site for information about the conference. We have included a SEPA membership application in case you wish to include it in your mail-out to old graduates. (The conference registration will be cheaper for members.) Let's bring in the 21st century with a bang! Wouldn't it be nice if we could have Peaches and Herb play for a dance??


A Preview of Atlanta Attractions
James L. Pate
Georgia State University

      SEPA last met in Atlanta at the Radisson Hotel in 1998 and will meet at the same location in 2001. However, the hotel has been renovated extensively and, now, is a Sheraton Hotel. Although many SEPA members have attended numerous meetings in Atlanta, reminders of the tourist attractions in the city may be useful to them and relatively new members may find the highlights about the city to be helpful. I will mention only a few attractions and restaurants. Science Attractions
      For science activities, one may go to the Atlanta Zoo, where there is a relatively new panda exhibit. The primate exhibit is well known and is both an entertaining exhibit and an important research facility. A visit to the Cyclorama can be combined with a visit to the zoo because both are in the same park. The Cyclorama is the largest painting in the world. The story of the battle of Atlanta is depicted in the painting and the diorama. The exhibits and nature trails at Fernbank Museum of Natural Resources are interesting and informative. SciTrek on Piedmont Avenue, about a ten minute walk from the hotel, is an interactive science museum. Cultural and Museum Offerings
      The Atlanta Symphony will perform Handel's Coronation Anthems Numbers 1 to 4, Fasch's Suite in g minor, Boyce's Symphony No. 5, and Biber's Battalia under the direction of Robert King during the SEPA weekend. The High Museum at the Woodruff Arts Center on Peachtree Street has had outstanding exhibits in recent years, and the permanent collection is worth a visit. The High Museum at the Georgia Pacific Building is very near the hotel and usually has exhibits of photographs and folk art. Other attractions are the Carlos Museum at Emory University, which is relatively close to the Fernbank Museum, Stone Mountain Park, and Kennesaw National Park. A day trip to the river aquarium in Chattanooga either before or after the meeting could be entertaining because the river aquarium is very good and is unusual. Shopping Possibilities
      Lenox Square, a major shopping center with many stores, including Rich's, Macy's, and Neimann-Marcus, is a 20 minute train ride from the Peachtree Center MARTA station, which is about two blocks from the hotel. Phipps Plaza, a large upscale shopping center with Sak's Fifth Avenue, Tiffany, and Lord and Taylor, is across Peachtree Street from Lenox Square, and a shuttle bus provides transportation between the two shopping centers. Fine Dining
      Restaurants in Atlanta change almost daily, but a few persist. Dailey's and the Pleasant Peasant are very good and are in the moderate price range. Nikolai's Roof, in the Hilton Hotel about two blocks from the Sheraton Hotel, is relatively expensive but is exceptionally good. The Sundial, a revolving restaurant at the top of the Peachtree Plaza Hotel, is moderately expensive but affords an outstanding view of the city and the surrounding countryside. Mick's, a diner, has locations on Peachtree Street and in Underground Atlanta. The price is moderate, and the food is good. Sporting Attractions
      Hockey, basketball, and baseball are played professionally with varying levels of expertise. Whether any will be available in late March of 2001 is unknown at this time, but usually tickets are available even at the last minute.


Information About SEPA's Annual Meeting
W. Harold Moon
Augusta State University

      Many members know that SEPA's primary reason for existence is to hold an annual meeting through which they may present professional works, learn from their colleagues, and share social experiences. Participation in the annual meeting is of such size that it can be held in one fairly large hotel when the hotel has a sufficient number of meeting rooms. Several sessions occur simultaneously across most hours of a meeting day, thus the need for multiple meeting rooms.
      SEPA's contract with a hotel is one which allows the organization to use some number of meeting rooms per day without charge if SEPA participants occupy a minimum number of hotel rooms. SEPA must pay for use of meeting rooms when the minimum number of hotel rooms are not occupied. Paying for meeting rooms represents a substantial outlay.
      The SEPA executive committee uses a number of factors in choosing convention sites. Among them are hotels, transportation costs, and member preferences. Periodically members are polled in order to determine your interests. However, you do not have to await a poll in order to let the administrative office know your preferences. Your feedback is useful, especially when it comes in advance of decisions. There are a few sites that are inexpensive; there are a few that are a little less expensive. The less expensive places tend not to be those that are most preferred by the membership.
      So, as you think about SEPA's annual meeting, remember that it is there for you. Your participation is what makes it go. With few exceptions, those being a small number of invited speakers, an occasional G. Stanley Hall and/or Science Directorate lecturer and a few invited symposia participants, the content of the program is dictated by the types and quality of proposals you forward. If there are under represented areas in the program, you can change this by your submissions and your encouraging submissions by your associates whose work is germane to the under covered area.
      Psychology is an extremely diverse discipline. An annual meeting typically provides an attendee the opportunities to gain depth in a specialty domain while exposing her/him to other subsets of the field. This broadening experience surely has significant implications for one's perspective. See you at SEPA in Atlanta in 2001.


Graduate Student Research Competition

      At the New Orleans meeting, the chair of the Graduate Student Research Awards Committee, Chizuko Izawa, was pleased to preside over a session devoted to papers given by a group of outstanding graduate students. Due to the success of this effort, the Executive Committee has agreed to continue supporting these awards which were originally funded under grants from the Science Directorate at APA by funding them in the operating budget. The awards are intended to encourage superior scholarship in areas which have been underrepresented at SEPA meetings.
      For 2001, the designated areas are: developmental, cross cultural and animal biological. As many as two winners in each area may be awarded a check of $200 each following the presentation of their papers in a special session to be held at the Atlanta meeting. Details for submission will be included in the regular call for papers in September. In the meantime, faculty members of SEPA are asked to distribute/post information about this competition to interested graduate students. We are also extending an invitation to persons who might wish to serve on the selection committee. Please direct inquiries to Steve Hobbs at Augusta State University (706 737-1694 or


CEPO Needs Your Support and Input Now
Valjean Whitlow
CEPO Chair
Belmont University

The New Orleans SEPA Convention has come and gone, but the good memories linger. If you missed it, you missed an important meeting. It was a time of fellowship, reflection and change. Several committee chairs retired after the completion of their terms, and a lot of important decisions were made regarding the future of CEPO.
      CEPO owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to outgoing committee chairs Dr. Mary Lou Bryant - Frank (Undergraduate Research Program), Dr. Elise Labbe (Student Research Awards), Dr. Patricia Donat (Visiting Scholars Program) and Dr. Donna Webster (Graduate Student Network). Their years of service have been invaluable to the continued growth of CEPO. Fortunately, Dr. Rosemary Phelps from the University of Georgia in Athens, has agreed to stay on as chair of the Minority Interest Group for another term. In addition, a select group of very capable individuals have agreed to serve as replacements for outgoing committee chairs. Drs. Pamela Scott-Johnson and Angela Farris-Watkins of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia have agreed to serve as co-chairs of the Undergraduate Research Program. Dr. Lugenia Dixon of Bainbridge College in Bainbridge, Georgia has agreed to chair the Student Research Awards, and Dr. Natalie Cote of Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina has agreed to chair the Graduate Student Network. We welcome these women with open arms, and remind others of you that more volunteerism will be necessary in the coming years if CEPO is to continue thriving. It's also time for some men to "step up to the plate" and volunteer for some of these positions. The CEPO chairs position will become available after the 2001 convention. If interested in this position or in any other CEPO position, please contact Dr. Valjean Whitlow at Belmont University. You should also forward any CEPO program ideas to Dr. Whitlow at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.
      At the New Orleans meeting, CEPO's role as a constitutionally defined committee of SEPA was noted by the Executive Committee. Discussion covered CEPO's role in addressing issues of concern such as declining membership in SEPA and decreasing conference attendance by professional members, cost effectiveness, and the quality of programming. The current CEPO chair (Valjean Whitlow), two past CEPO chairs (Ellen Kimmel, Jennifer Friday), and the SEPA secretary/treasurer (Richard Tucker) were convened by SEPA past president (Rosemary Lowe) to evaluate CEPO's success in addressing its original charge, whether any new directions might be developed and whether the organization was operating as cost effectively as possible in light of the SEPA budget concerns. Out of that meeting came the following recommendations:

  • Eliminate the Visiting Scholars Program because its use has declined. Instead CEPO/SEPA will maintain a list of scholars to be distributed annually in the SEPA mailing. All expenses of Visiting Scholars would need to be covered by the inviting institution.)
  • Retain two time blocks for undergraduate poster sessions (eight sessions).
  • Scale down the size of the booklet of student abstracts in order to reduce costs, or charge students for the printing costs associated with the booklets.
  • Examine new areas of "equal professional opportunity." Reevaluate whether CEPO's current focus on minorities and women's issues continues to be appropriate for the new millennium. Analysis of paper submissions across a ten-year time span has revealed an increase in submissions from these areas to the regular SEPA programming. Other areas suggested for a possible focus for CEPO were: Black Men, Physically Challenged Persons, and Gay/Lesbian issues.
  • Charge a nominal mem-bership fee for CEPO Membership. (This would allow CEPO greater financial independence and would eliminate some of CEPO's dependency on SEPA for funding.)
  • Develop and implement a study to assess the quality of CEPO submissions. The Executive Committee also suggested developing an oral history project focusing on CEPO.

      Members, CEPO is moving into a critical time period of re-assessment. The numbers of black men and white women participating in CEPO are dwindling, and there has been a decline in attendance at CEPO programming by the larger SEPA membership. Thus it is imperative that current and past CEPO members assist with the reexamination of CEPO's goals and programming. The Executive Committee and the CEPO Chair need to hear your opinions about the afore-mentioned recommendations and where CEPO goes from here. Please forward your ideas to Dr. Valjean Whitlow and the Executive Committee at the SEPA office. The email address for the SEPA office is
      It is also important for CEPO members to vote in SEPA and CEPO elections andto volunteer for nomination to run for leadership positions in CEPO and SEPA. Two of our current members, Dr. Chizuko Izawa from Tulane University and Dr. Mary Lou Bryant-Frank of North Georgia College and State University, are interested in being nominated and supported for SEPA President in the upcoming election. Other CEPO members, women and/or minorities who are interested in this or other SEPA or CEPO positions should make this known to the CEPO chair as well. Please set your sights on Atlanta, Georgia, in 2001. We have much to do, and all hands, bodies, and ideas are needed if we are to remain a strong force in SEPA.


New Award
SEPA and APA Science Directorate Outstanding Paper Award
Steve Hobbs
Augusta State University

      With funding under a grant from APA's Science Directorate, the Executive Committee has initiated a new award to encourage the oral presentation of high quality science by our professional members. The Outstanding Paper Award, which comes with a $500 prize, will be given for a scholarly paper which is presented by a non-student member as the first author. Primary research and theoretical papers with clear empirical foundations are eligible. Posters, symposia and other types of submissions, regardless of focus, will not be included, at least at this time.
      Senior authors of papers judged most outstanding by the convention's regular review process will be invited to submit an expanded paper to a special selection committee for additional scrutiny. Members of the selection committee will attend paper sessions at the convention and will consider the quality of the presentation in their deliberations. In addition to a principal award winner, the selection committee can give up to two runners-up cash awards. If possible, the award recipient(s) will be announced at the business meeting. The winner(s) will also be announced in the SEPA newsletter. If you plan on attending next year's meeting and would like to be a member of the selection committee, contact Steve Hobbs at Augusta State University (706 737-1694 or


SEPA Presentations: By Whom and to What End?
W. Harold Moon
Augusta State University

      I have just completed a six year term on SEPA's executive committee. I have, during these years occasionally been informed that SEPA caters too much to students, allowing them to make too many presentations. Presentations at SEPA's annual meeting, with few exceptions, are determined by the proposals for the annual meeting. Most submissions are received from professional members and student members. Submissions from the latter and from non-members must be sponsored by a professional member. Proposals are evaluated by the Program Committee. A submission is included or excluded based on the evaluations by members of the Program Committee. On occasion, a submitter may be asked to convert a paper into a poster. SEPA has long been a student friendly regional professional organization. Even prior to the efforts of Psi Chi and CEPO to encourage and sponsor presentations by students who submit quality proposals, SEPA accepted such submissions. Students have regularly offered worthy contributions to the program.. While it certainly is possible for one to experience a less than sterling presentation at a meeting, either by students or professionals, the remedy is to focus on the quality of proposals. SEPA's leaders are interested in assuring that all presentations meet high professional standards. To this end, reviewers will be reminded of their responsibilities toward quality assurance. The ultimate source for quality, though, rests with those who make proposals and their sponsors, when appropriate.
      Students of psychology are tomorrow's professional psychologists. In an era of specialization and attendant specialized professional organizations, an organization such as SEPA offers all who participate an opportunity to gain both depth and breadth in their discipline. Are we not all advantaged by such experience, whether learning from a professional or a student?


SEPA Seeks Reviewers and Nominees
Rosemary Hays-Thomas,
Past President and Election Chair

      Are you interested in becoming more active in SEPA? This newsletter contains several suggestions. Steve Hobbs will need reviewers to assist in implementing the Outstanding Paper Award and the Graduate Research Competition. You'll find other opportunities in Valjean Whitlow's article about CEPO. In the fall President-elect Merv Wagner will also be recruiting reviewers for the program. This year, we will be electing a Member-at-Large, Secretary-Treasurer, and President. Please use the enclosed ballot to nominate colleagues who would make good officers. If you are interested in running, nominate yourself and call some of your SEPA friends and ask them to nominate you as well. The newsletter is another forum for interested candidates to let others know of their desire to be nominated. So far, members who have indicated an interest in being nominated include Drs. Mary Lou Bryant-Frank, Chizuko Izawa, and Richard Tucker for President, and Dr. Slater Newman for Member-at-Large. At next year's meeting we will gather names of those who are interested in being nominated for the following year.