Transparency in government—in ensuring accountability, reducing barriers for involvement, and building institutional confidence—is perhaps one of the greatest assets a representative body can provide to its constituents. It can help ensure the dissemination of information, the empowerment of individuals to partake in their governing, and promote societal progress.
Volumes have been written on its importance, and many organizations espouse it as a tenet, including our federal government. And yet, secrecy seems to be an insidious and ever-present danger in most all institutional settings, and examples of misuses of institutional secrecy abound (see Maret & Goldman’s 2011 Government Secrecy for a good review).
The extent to which transparency must be balanced with other elements of good governance—such as privacy, efficiency, and power—remains fervently contested. And yet, it is my belief that transparency is essential to both APA’s and APAGS’s missions. APA’s mission, which emphasizes the broad dissemination and application of psychological principles and practices, mandates transparency to ensure that psychology is seen as a public science rather than a private interest. APAGS’s mission, which emphasizes serving as a united voice to advocate for graduate student development, necessitates transparency in order to see itself as an inclusive enterprise.
Members of the APAGS staff and committee are working hard to improve transparency in our procedures. As one step toward that aim, we are very eager to make our operations documents available online. There, you will find:
- foundational aspects of our constitution and bylaws;
- the proceedings of our meetings;
- the ways we have spoken on behalf of graduate students through position statements;
- our reports to other governing bodies; and
- information outlining committee appointment and election procedures.
It is indeed up to both our organization and to us, as members, to participate actively to promote institutional change. I strongly encourage you to peruse the documents listed on the page as a first step. If, in reading these sources, you’d like to get more involved in APAGS to ensure its success at all levels, please consider running for an elected position or subcommittee chair, applying to be a subcommittee member, serving as an APAGS Ambassador at Convention, writing a blog post, or joining the group I chair—the Advocacy Coordinating Team—as a Campus Representative.
We look forward to hearing your voice.