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Eye on Psi Chi: Fall 2013

This Is Not Your Parents' Psychology Honor Society: Reviewing a Year of
Innovations in Psi Chi

Jason Young, PhD, Psi Chi Past-President, Hunter College, CUNY 

As I reflect on the past year in which I served as President of Psi Chi, I want to highlight several new developments that will change the way our members interact with and benefit from their psychology honor society. Many of these will enhance the ways that members communicate with Psi Chi and each other, as well as raise the bar for opportunities available to members into the future.

This past year reflected a major effort by Psi Chi's Central Office staff to roll out a new website that better meets the needs of 21st century Psi Chi members.Go to www.psichi.org and you will see that not only has the appearance changed to a much cleaner, more visually appealing format, but many new features also help members and faculty advisors on such basic tasks as online applications for membership and awards and grants.Our new website will also provide a continual rotating display of accomplishments by members, chapters, and alumni; giving more of a face to the thousands of members and chapters that make Psi Chi the largest academic honor society in the world.Our staff continue to make improvements that will help our website provide more interactive ways for members to connect for social, research, and career opportunities. Check back often for new improvements!

Apart from the website, Psi Chi has heard from our members that more funding opportunities are always appreciated. Among the biggest changes in the past year has been an expansion in our Travel Grants program. Both undergraduate and graduate students may apply for funding to travel not only to national and regional conventions traditionally sponsored by Psi Chi, but also to any psychology-themed conference, including the increasingly specialized events that focus on specific, cutting-edge research topics. While we are always reviewing the variety of awards and grants that Psi Chi offers and adjusting programs depending on what members demand, one specific type of award has been notably lacking in Psi Chi's history—the provision of tuition scholarships. Our Board of Directors has increasingly heard from members that, with the increasing cost of higher education, such scholarships would be much appreciated. As a result, this past year, Psi Chi's Board approved the development of a plan to grow a pool of funds to support such scholarships in the future. It will take some time to develop, but the seeds have been planted and the hope is that within a few years, Psi Chi scholarships will be available.

A third area of innovation this past year has been Psi Chi's formal affiliation with the Center for the History of Psychology (CHP) located at the University of Akron in Ohio. Increasingly recognized by major professional organizations as the official archive of the psychology field, CHP will become the repository for Psi Chi's artifacts from its lengthy history, including Psi Chi applications from eminent psychologists and materials from major Psi Chi milestones. CHP will catalog and store Psi Chi materials so that they are securely protected, making them available for future scholars doing research on the Psi Chi organization.

Finally, one of the more visible innovations for Psi Chi that members will encounter when they attend major psychology conventions is our new exhibit booth. In addition to sharing information about Psi Chi to prospective members, we intend this booth to serve as a focal meeting point for members to speak with some of our current officers and staff. One result we hope to accomplish with this exhibit booth and other outreach activities is to enhance our reconnections with our alumni members.

Always remember that you are a member for life and that Psi Chi constantly strives to develop new ways to provide useful programs and benefits even after you graduate. This year we focused on making Psi Chi easier to navigate online and ultimately more supportive of its members through additional travel grants and our upcoming scholarships program. We are creating connections with our alumni through our new exhibit booth and CHP. To continue to better Psi Chi for all, we rely heavily on your input to let us know what we can do for you. Please use the exhibit booth, psichi.org, your relationship with faculty advisors and regional vice-presidents, or any of many other Psi Chi resources as an opportunity to keep in touch.


Jason Young, PhD, is associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY), and is also on the graduate faculty of the School Psychology program at the CUNY Graduate Center. Dr. Young teaches courses in Research Methods, Attitudes and Persuasion, Social Cognition, and Evolutionary Psychology, as well as graduate-level courses in applications of social psychology to social issues. His research focuses on the influence of emotions on various judgment and decision-making processes. Since 1995, he has been faculty advisor to a very active chapter of Psi Chi that has offered major programs to Hunter’s psychology community, including the Annual Hunter Psychology Convention, at which students from Psi Chi chapters from the New York metro area and beyond attend to network and present research. He served as Psi Chi’s Eastern Region Vice-President from 2007–2011.

Copyright 2013 (Volume 18, 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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