Dan Corts, PhD
Psi Chi has built a reputation on its support of undergraduate research; this is exactly what got me excited about becoming a chapter advisor as a freshly minted assistant professor in 2002. Our chapter has benefited greatly from this support by winning research grants and Regional Research Awards, and by attending conferences supported by the Society. Psi Chi rightly values scientific research, and so its reputation is well-deserved and worth maintaining. However, the Society also promotes leadership and social responsibility—values that a discipline focused on human behavior is uniquely positioned to support.
What if Psi Chi built an equally strong reputation for psychology-based service and other forms of experiential learning? The awards program could fund chapter advisors who develop innovative experiential learning, recognize chapters for completing unique, high-impact service projects consistent with our mission, and provide competitive grants to find stipends for student internships with non-profit mental health organizations.
Psi Chi also recognizes that excellence is not tied to geography or income, and that we all benefit from diversity. Could we be more inclusive honor society, or are we doing enough already? Recent boards of directors have done great work to internationalize the Society. Continuing efforts may include increasing financial support for chapters and members in developing countries, and opportunities for members worldwide to connect with each other, perhaps through a "big brother/big sister” program in which a model chapter in the United States provides encouragement and advice to new chapters abroad.
I discovered psychology at Belmont University where I earned my BS, and then completed a PhD in cognition at the University of Tennessee. After a post doc at Furman University, I came to Augustana College. I still recall hearing about a liberal arts college needing someone to teach cognition and statistics—someone with a commitment to undergraduate research. It sounded like my dream job, and I have been here ever since. I continue to study cognition in the lab, but spend more time on interventions designed to improve academic performance and behavior in public schools.
As a graduate student, I would never have guessed that Psi Chi would play such a significant role in my career. However, reflecting on the past ten years, I feel very proud of our chapter’s growth. In 2003, we had one student-authored poster at MPA; more recently, our chapter members have 10–11 presentations each year, usually with at least one Regional Research Award winner. And where else but in Psi Chi would I find students asking me if we could get a small group together between classes to learn multivariate statistics?
Beyond chapter activities, I have served on the Midwestern Steering Committee and Grants and Awards Committee, served as an associate editor for the journal, and I completed one term as Midwestern Vice-President. These experiences have shown me that it takes a team of dedicated individuals to make Psi Chi the effective organization it is, and I would welcome the chance to join that team as President-Elect.