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Eye on Psi Chi: Spring 2007
Utilizing Psi Chi's Programs to Maximize Leadership Skills
Christopher Koch, PhD, George Fox University (OR)

In a previous article (Koch, 2005), I suggested a timeline for utilizing Psi Chi's programs to help enhance your educational experience and maximize your potential for success as a graduate school applicant and in building the skills necessary for an academic career. I suggested that the timeline could be used along with the Waters and Jacobs (1975) timeline for preparing for graduate school. There are two limitations to my previous timeline.
First, it essentially includes only half of Psi Chi's programs. Second, it does not take into consideration students who wish to enter the business world instead of entering graduate school. Therefore, I would like to suggest a second timeline to address these issues. Once again, this timeline is somewhat idealized but outlines how you can use all of the chapter and leadership-oriented programs available through Psi Chi. The timeline is also based on the assumption that Psi Chi's programs are progressive in that a Model Chapter Award is a stepping stone to a Regional Chapter Award which is a stepping stone to the Ruth Hubbard Cousins National Chapter Award.
By utilizing these leadership-oriented programs, you will be able to develop some of the skills highly valued by employers (e.g., ability to work with others, taking initiative, etc.; see Appleby, 2000) and have experiences that you will be able to draw upon to help illustrate those abilities to potential employers during an interview. For instance, you will be able show clear evidence of your leadership ability by talking about how your chapter won a regional and national chapter award and how you won the Kay Wilson Leadership award. You will be able to show that you value leadership and learning how to improve your skills by attending a leadership conference. You will be able to give concrete examples of your organizational skills and how you handle difficult situations by talking about the service projects and research conferences you helped organize. The research conference is also an example of how you are able to work with outside groups. The Website Award shows that you are able to use technology and have an understanding of how to communicate effectively within an organization and how to market to outside groups. Finally, the Model Chapter Awards demonstrate a consistent drive for organizational excellence. In addition, you will be able to look back on these experiences to help you succeed on the job. Take advantage of these opportunities by planning for them.

Sophomore Year
  • Become a Psi Chi member. Get involved in chapter activities and start gathering information about the different officer positions available.
  • Help organize a chapter service project.
  • Help your chapter become a Model Chapter. The Model Chapter Award is presented to chapters that maintain outstanding records of membership inductions, chaptercorrespondence, service projects, and other criteria associated with being an outstanding chapter (e.g., voting). To be considered for the award, all chapter material must be received by the National Office by June 30.
  • If possible, run for an officer position in the spring so that you can hold that position during your junior year.
Junior Year
  • Begin examining your chapter's website in the fall. Develop goals for your website and modify the site accordingly. Compete for the Website Award. The award is given for innovative, aesthetic, and useful websites that advance or support Psi Chi's purpose. The submission deadline is February 1.
  • Help organize a chapter service project.
  • Help your chapter earn a Model Chapter Award.
  • Talk with other chapters in your area about a research conference. Prepare an Undergraduate Psychology Research Conference Grant to aid your chapter in developing or expanding an undergraduate research conference on your campus. The application deadline is October 1.

  • Enter the Regional Chapter Award competition. Two chapters from each region can win this award which identifies role model chapters within regions. The deadline for this award is December 1.
  • Also consider entering your faculty advisor in the Regional Faculty Advisor competition. As with research, working closely with a faculty member allows that faculty member to know you better which results in better letters of recommendation. Working closely with your faculty advisor will allow you to learn from him or her; recognizing his or her strengths as an advisor will have long-term benefits to your chapter's success. The deadline for the Regional Faculty Advisor Award is December 1.
  • Run for chapter president (or another office) in the spring so you hold that position during your senior year.
Senior Year
  • Help organize a service project. With three years of experience organizing service projects for your chapter, your chapter could nominate you for a Service Award Certificate.
  • Help your chapter earn a Model Chapter Award.
  • Assuming you won the Regional Chapter Award the previous year, submit your chapter for the Cousins National Chapter Award (February 1 deadline) which is presented to the chapter that best achieves Psi Chi's purpose. If your chapter did not win the Regional Chapter Award, consider applying for both awards.
  • Consider nominating your faculty advisor for the Florence L. Denmark National Faculty Advisor Award. The deadline for this award is December 1.
  • Attend the Psi Chi National Leadership Conference. This conference is currently available for chapter presidents and faculty advisors and is held on an every-other-year basis.
  • Enter the competition for the Kay Wilson Leadership Award for Outstanding Chapter Presidents. The award is presented annually to one outstanding chapter president. The submission deadline is May 1.
References
Appleby, D. (2000, Spring). Job skills valued by employers who interview psychology majors. Eye on Psi Chi, 4(3), 17.
Koch, C. (2005, Fall). Utilizing Psi Chi's programs to maximize learning and success. Eye on Psi Chi, 10(1), 22.
Waters, J., & Jacobs, M. (1975, Fall). Advice on graduate school admission procedures. Psi Chi Newsletter, 1, 3-4. Retrieved January 9, 2007, from http://psych.hanover.edu/handbook/advice2.html

Chris Koch, PhD, received a BS in psychology with honors from Pennsylvania State University, a MS in experimental psychology, and a PhD in cognitive-experimental from the University of Georgia. He is currently in his 12th year at George Fox University (OR) where he has served as Director of Undergraduate Studies in Psychology, Director of External Scholarship, and headed University Assessment. During that time, he has also promoted research in psychology by planning a biannual undergraduate research conference, editing the Journal of Undergraduate Research in Psychology, and working with youth organizations and local high school classes on psychologically-based research projects. He has served as a councilor for the Psychology Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research and the President and Western Region Vice-President of Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology. He has held a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities at the University of Virginia, was a Fulbright Scholar to Russia, and is a fellow of the Western Psychological Association. His primary research interests focus on the interaction between attention and cognitive and perceptual processes.

Copyright 2007 (Volume 11, Issue 3) by Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology



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Eye on Psi Chi is a magazine designed to keep members and alumni up-to-date with all the latest information about Psi Chi’s programs, awards, and chapter activities. It features informative articles about careers, graduate school admission, chapter ideas, personal development, the various fields of psychology, and important issues related to our discipline.

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