Presidency

The Presidency, which includes the President, President-Elect and Past President, meets on a monthly basis in preparation for the Executive Committee meetings and to consult with the Executive Director regarding the short- and long-term objectives of the Society. The former includes the organisation’s day-to-day functioning and the latter involves its strategic planning and growth initiatives to ensure PsySSA’s position as the leading professional psychology association in the country and the continent.

President: Prof Tholene Sodi

Tholene Sodi is a Registered Clinical Psychologist, currently employed as Full Professor and Head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Limpopo. He is also a part-time Professor at Sefako Makgatho University (SMU) where he teaches ethics to Clinical Masters students. He holds an Honours Degree in Psychology from the University of the North (now University of Limpopo), a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of the Witwatersrand, and a PhD (Psychology) from the University of Cape Town. Prof Sodi is an NRF rated researcher and has numerous publications, mostly in the area of culture and mental health. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Psychology in Africa. He has served as a reviewer for a number of local and international journals. He has also received a number of awards in recognition of his scholarly achievements. These include: the University of Limpopo (UL) Vice-Chancellor’s First Place Award for “Best Established Researcher in the School of Social Sciences”; the UL Dean’s First Place Award for “Best Established Researcher in the Faculty of Humanities”; and, the PsySSA award for Mentoring and Developing the Careers/Studies of Students, Psychologists or Colleagues.

President – Elect: Dr Helen Dunbar-Krige

Dr Helen Dunbar-Krige is a registered educational psychologist and senior lecturer in the Department of Educational Psychology. She has been with the University of Johannesburg (previously RAU) since 1997 and Head of the Department since 2011. Her teaching responsibilities involve the ETHICAL professional practice development of school counselors on BEd Hons and educational psychologists on Master’s level.

She has supervised about 50 master’s students. Her main research focus is on community engagement in the form of service learning and professional practice supervision within this area. She has presented her and other’s research on national and international level and has published in books and journals.

Dr Dunbar-Krige was the secretary of the educational psychology division of the Psychological Association of South Africa as well as the secretary of the Educational Psychology Forum that focused on the change of focus in the Scope of Practice for educational psychologists. She was a co-opted member of the committee for preliminary inquiry for the Board for Psychology from 2012 until 2015.

Past President: Prof Sumaya Laher

Sumaya Laher (link to http://www.wits.ac.za/staff/sumaya.laher.htm) received her PhD in Personality Psychology from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She is currently an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of the Witwatersrand where she teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses in research design, psychometrics, psychological assessment and statistics. Sumaya frequently consults with and mentors students in terms of their research and careers. She is supportive of emerging scholarship and plays an active role in getting students and staff to undertake and publish research. A number of her students now hold positions in business, NGO’s and academia.

Sumaya’s history with PsySSA stems back to 2000 where Sumaya was amongst the students who petitioned for a student division at PsySSA. Since then she has been an active member of PsySSA serving at various occasions on the Executive for the PsySSA Division of Research Methodology (DRM). In 2014 she served as an additional member on the PsySSA Executive and in 2015 Sumaya served as President-Elect of the Society. For the 2015-2016 term, Sumaya will serve in the position of President.

Sumaya is a psychologist specializing in the field of psychological assessment. She holds a dual registration with the HPCSA in the categories of research psychologist and psychometrist (independent practice). Her doctoral and subsequent research into personality, psychometrics and assessment is instrumental in pioneering the usage and interpretation of key instruments in South Africa. She recently co-edited a book titled, ‘Psychological assessment in South Africa: Research and Applications’ (www.psychologicalassessmentinsouthafrica.com) that is fast becoming a seminal text in the area. Aside from psychological assessment, Sumaya contributes actively to research on indigenous knowledge systems with her work on traditional healing systems particularly those proposed by Islam, Hinduism and African approaches. Sumaya was awarded a youth rating by the National Research Foundation in 2013 in recognition of her research outputs.

Sumaya is an Associate Editor at the South African Journal of Psychology and serves as reviewer for a number of local and international journals. She served on the scientific and organizing committees of various conferences. Sumaya chaired the Emerging Psychologist Programme at the ICP 2012 conference in Cape Town. Presently Sumaya contributes actively to the annual PsySSA conferences as well as the biennial Southern African Psychology Students Conferences.

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