Prof named to International Council for Science

J. Bruce Overmier, a 40-year veteran of the University of MinnesotaâÄôs psychology department, has spent the last decade moving up the ranks in international psychology study and now heâÄôll get to influence the physical sciences as well. Recently elected to the International Council for Science (ICSU), an organization based in Paris that acts as the governing body of the international science community , Overmier will be the only social scientist on a board dominated by physical sciences like biology and chemistry. For Overmier, his election is a âÄúcapstone âÄú event thatâÄôs beyond his own profession. âÄúIt’s a special opportunity to play a role in how big science gets done, âÄú he said. Because his expertise is in psychology rather than other social sciences like anthropology and political science, Overmier said the job of representing all of the social sciences will be a challenge. The job will require Overmier to be a âÄúconduit, âÄú someone whoâÄôs able to go out and seek information and guidance about a particular project, he said. âÄúIâÄôm told itâÄôs an awful lot of work, âÄú Overmier said. American Psychological Association Director of International Affairs Merry Bullock worked with Overmier for several years while they were both on the International Union for Psychological Science (IUPsyS), a member union of the ICSU. Overmier served as president of the IUPsyS for four years before the committee nominated him to be a member of the ICSU board, Bullock said, so in that sense Overmier is in a position to have the âÄúbroadest overview. âÄú She said Overmier is ideally suited to assume the role because he understands how psychology can contribute internationally. Bullock said it was exciting for psychology to have a âÄúplace at the table âÄú on a global level. She said many of the issues that global sciences need to address have strong behavioral social science aspects to them âÄî something Overmier agrees with. âÄúIf you don’t have that involvement, your solutions or efforts to understand a problem are doomed to failure, âÄú Overmier said. Psychology department Chairman Gordon Legge knew about OvermierâÄôs âÄúinternational reach âÄú in scientific relations, so at some level, he said he wasnâÄôt surprised to hear about OvermierâÄôs election to the ICSU. âÄúObviously it’s a huge honor, and a big source of recognition that he was selected to this international union which cuts across all areas in science, âÄú he said. âÄúItâÄôs a feather in his cap, and a feather in the departmentâÄôs cap. âÄú Legge said the University as a whole has been trying to have greater international outreach, and the psychology department is slowly developing that. With OvermierâÄôs election, he said, thereâÄôs a possibility of having more student exchange and developing relationships with psychology schools abroad. âÄúItâÄôs the kind of thing that our university wants us to do with our expertise, âÄú Overmier said.