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Eye on Psi Chi: Fall 2008
Psi Chi Awards to Recognize Chapters and Chapter Leaders
Melissa Strickland and Virginia Andreoli Mathie, PhD,
Psi Chi National Office Leadership

Psi Chi offers several awards to recognize outstanding chapters, faculty advisors, and chapter presidents. This article’s purpose is to outline the opportunities that are available and present strategies to increase both the number and the quality of submissions received at the Psi Chi National Office.

One of the many benefits Psi Chi offers its members is the Psi Chi grants and awards program. The Psi Chi National Council allocates more than $300,000 each year to fund these grants and awards. In addition to offering individual research awards and grants, Psi Chi offers many awards to recognize outstanding chapters and chapter leadership*. This article provides an overview of Psi Chi’s chapter and leadership awards so that members will gain a better understanding of these awards and the application process. The cover sheet for each award provides more details regarding the eligibility and submission requirements for the award. Table 1 contains a summary of application information and the websites for the cover sheets for these awards.

Awards for Chapters
A successful, productive chapter helps to serve both its members and the campus and local communities to which the chapter belongs. What does it take to be a successful chapter? Successful chapters provide opportunities for members to learn about psychological research, practice, and careers; obtain information about graduate schools; develop leadership skills; attend and present papers at professional conferences; interact with other Psi Chi members and with psychology faculty members; and participate in service and social activities. Psi Chi offers four awards to recognize chapters that meet these goals and thereby fulfill Psi Chi’s mission "to produce a well-educated, ethical, and socially responsible member committed to contributing to the science and profession of psychology and to society in general” (Psi Chi, n.d.). These awards are the Model Chapter Awards, the Regional Chapter Awards, the Ruth Hubbard Cousins National Chapter Award, and the Website Awards.

The Model Chapter Awards offer recognition to each Psi Chi chapter that fulfills the requirements of the award. The award consists of $100 and a certificate suitable for framing. There is no limit to the number of times a chapter can receive the award. The requirements to win the award can be accomplished by every chapter by completing the activities listed below.

  • Vote in the Psi Chi national elections by March 15.
  • Submit one chapter activities report to Eye on Psi Chi by March 15.
  • Conduct at least one induction ceremony during the year.
  • Pay any outstanding debts to the Psi Chi National Office by June 30.
  • Submit your chapter’s annual and financial report to the National Office by June 30. Within the annual report, indicate that your chapter participated in one service project, participated in a regional convention or research conference, and submitted at least one application for a Psi Chi grant or award ("5 Easy Steps”, 2008).

Once a chapter has earned the Model Chapter Award, the chapter’s leadership should consider applying for the Regional Chapter Awards. Each of the six Psi Chi regions is able to bestow two awards. One award is for a small school of less than 5,000 full-time students, and one is for a large school with more than 5,000 full-time students. Applications are submitted online by December 1 and must include:

  • a cover letter from the chapter’s faculty advisor,
  • a statement of why the chapter deserves the award and how the chapter will utilize the $500 prize,
  • a description of the chapter’s membership and induction procedures, and
  • an account of the chapter’s activities for the past three years.

Each winning chapter receives a plaque at the chapter’s regional conference and a check for $500. Sadly, there have been years when no award was presented for certain regions because no qualifying applications were received at the National Office. Help us avoid this situation in the future. If you have an active chapter, apply for a Regional Chapter Award. We want to recognize your chapter’s achievements.

Chapter leaders may also want to consider applying for the Ruth Hubbard Cousins National Chapter Award. Chapters can win this award every four years. The award provides the chapter with $3,500, a plaque, and travel expenses for a chapter officer to attend the APA convention and present the chapter’s essay on how to become a successful Psi Chi chapter. The application requires the same elements as the Regional Chapter Awards in addition to a 750-word essay on how to become a successful chapter, a membership roster, and a chapter calendar. The application must be submitted online by February 1.

Psi Chi’s Website Awards recognize outstanding chapter websites that provide useful, important information about chapter activities, research and career opportunities, Psi Chi resources, and other topics of interest to members in a creative, aesthetic, and user-friendly manner. Applications for these awards are due online on February 1 and simply require a 1-page essay that summarizes the site’s purpose, uniqueness, and philosophy. Three awards of $200 each are presented to the winning chapters, and the sites are featured in Eye on Psi Chi (for examples see page 15).

Awards for Chapter Leadership
Faculty chapter advisors and chapter officers, particularly the president, are the backbone of the chapter. They typically set the standard for the chapter’s activities and ability to engage members in these activities. Psi Chi’s dedicated faculty advisors provide guidance, encouragement, knowledge, and support to chapters. Successful chapter presidents serve as role models for their peers. Psi Chi offers awards to recognize outstanding faculty and student leadership within the Psi Chi chapter. These awards are the Regional Faculty Advisor Awards, the Florence L. Denmark National Faculty Advisor Award, and the Kay Wilson Leadership Award for Outstanding Chapter Presidents.

Six Regional Faculty Advisor Awards are available each year to excellent faculty advisors who have not won a Regional Faculty Advisor Award within the last three years and who have not won a Denmark Award. Chapters may nominate one faculty advisor or coadvisor per year by submitting an application online before December 1. The application consists of a nomination letter of less than 1,000 words describing the advisor’s chapter contributions, length of chapter service, and state, regional, or national contributions to Psi Chi and the field of psychology. Each winner receives a plaque presented at the chapter’s regional conference and a check for $500.

The Florence L. Denmark National Faculty Advisor Award recognizes one outstanding advisor or coadvisor each year. This award pays for the winner’s travel expenses to attend the APA convention to receive the award and a plaque. The submission is due online by December 1 and requires a letter of 1,000 words or less similar to the letter to nominate an advisor for the Regional Faculty Advisor Awards. 

Psi Chi also offers a leadership award to honor successful chapter presidents. The Kay Wilson Leadership Award for Outstanding Chapter Presidents provides the winner with $500, travel expenses to attend the APA convention, and a plaque. Chapter officers who wish to recognize a great chapter president should submit a nomination letter online by April 1. Once all nominations have been received, the National Office will send an email to the nominated chapter presidents and ask them to submit a two-part personal statement detailing what they learned during their term as chapter president and their future career and educational goals. The president’s personal statement must be submitted online before April 30.

We encourage all chapters to submit nominations for these prestigious Psi Chi awards as well as for Psi Chi’s many other grants and awards. For the most recent information about award and grant opportunities and guidelines or for answers to your questions about the Psi Chi grants and awards, please visit the Psi Chi website HERE or contact the National Office.

References
5 easy steps to becoming a Psi Chi model chapter … and getting $100 for your chapter. (2008, Spring) Eye on Psi Chi, 12(3), 48.
Psi Chi (n.d.). Purpose & mission statements. Retrieved June 3, 2008, from http://www.psichi.org/about/purpose.asp
Website Awards. (2007, Summer). Eye on Psi Chi, 11(4), 13.

Melissa Strickland is the Director of Finance/Awards for Psi Chi. She began working at the National Office in April of 2006 after working for 10 years in management and administrative positions at a large home-improvement retailer. Ms. Strickland graduated magna cum laude in 2002 with a BA in psychology and a BS in finance from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She is a member of Psi Chi, Beta Gamma Sigma, Pi Gamma Mu, Golden Key, Phi Eta Sigma, and Alpha Lambda Delta.

Virginia Andreoli Mathie is the former Executive Director of Psi Chi. She received her BMath in mathematics and computer science and her BA in psychology from the University of Waterloo (ONT) and her MA and PhD in social psychology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Prior to joining the Psi Chi staff in 2004, she taught at James Madison University (VA) for 29 years where she regularly supervised undergraduate student research teams. Dr. Mathie has held leadership positions in the American Psychological Association (APA), Society for the Teaching of Psychology (Division 2 of the APA), and the Virginia Psychological Association. In addition to receiving teaching and service awards from James Madison University, in 2000 she was named the APA Harry Kirke Wolfe Lecturer and in 2002 she won the APA’s Distinguished Contributions of Applications of Psychology to Education and Training Award. At the 2008 Psi Chi National Convention, Dr. Mathie received the honor of becoming a Psi Chi Distinguished Member.

*International affiliate chapters are not eligible for Psi Chi chapter or advisor awards.

Table 1 | Summary of Application Information for Chapter Awards

Who Should Apply:
Current chapter officers should nominate their
chapter, advisor, or chapter president.

When to Apply:
December 1
Regional Chapter Awards
Regional Faculty Advisor Awards
Florence L. Denmark National Faculty Advisor Award
February 1
Ruth Hubbard Cousins National Chapter Award
Website Awards
April 1
Kay Wilson Leadership Award for
Outstanding Chapter Presidents
June 30
Model Chapter Awards

Where to Apply:
All applications are submitted online at www.psichi.org

For More Information:
Regional Chapter Awards
HERE
Regional Faculty Advisor Awards
HERE
Florence L. Demark National Faculty Advisor Award
HERE
Ruth Hubbard Cousins National Chapter Award
HERE
Kay Wilson Leadership Award for Outstanding Chapter Presidents
HERE
Model Chapter Awards
HERE


Copyright 2008 (Volume 13, Issue 1) 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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