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Celebrating the Past, Looking to the Future
by Virginia Andreoli Mathie, Psi Chi Chief Executive Officer - Psi Chi National Office
Category: Executive Director's Message
A new academic year has begun, providing a good time to consider the past year as we make plans for the new one. As you will see in this issue, Psi Chi celebrated its 75th anniversary this year with a variety of special activities at regional and nation-al conventions. During these events, we took the opportunity to reflect back on the history of our organization and celebrate the many accomplishments of Psi Chi, its leaders on the National Council, its National Office staff, our chapter advisors, and all of our members. It has, indeed, been a joyous year of celebration. How honored I am to be joining this vibrant and successful organization as your new Chief Executive Officer during this special year. It is a great privilege to be following in the footsteps of my predecessors Ruth Cousins and Kay Wilson. With their visionary, dynamic, and gracious leadership, they served as the heart and soul of the organization for nearly 45 years, and their contributions to the growth and stability of Psi Chi are invaluable. I will do my very best to live up to the high standards they set.
In the spring and summer I began making the transition from my 29-year teaching career at James Madison University (VA) to my new role in Psi Chi. During this period, I had the opportunity to work with members of the National Council and National Office staff. I was inspired by their dedication, energy, enthusiasm, and expertise. I also had the pleasure of meeting many chapter advisors and student members. Their excitement about Psi Chi and the many programs and opportunities it offers was contagious. I found my own excitement growing exponentially as I talked with them about the possibilities the future holds for us.
I am looking forward to working closely with members of the National Council on a variety of projects designed to fulfill the mission of Psi Chi. For example, one initiative deals with professional partnerships. Our goal is to expand existing partnerships between Psi Chi and other professional organizations and to develop new partnerships. These partnerships will help make Psi Chi more visible at the national level and give Psi Chi a stronger voice in national discussions of issues related to higher education and the scientific enterprise. As we pursue partnership initiatives on an organizational level, I encourage students to explore ways their chapter can collaborate with other Psi Chi chapters, chapters of other honor societies at their own institution, and at other institutions. Chapters could also engage in partnership activities by becoming involved in one of the Psi Chi national service projects. These projects offer students invaluable opportunities to contribute to their local community, to the national community, and to the discipline of psychology. You can learn more about these projects in the Glimpses section of this issue.
Another initiative will focus on the recruitment and retention of Psi Chi members. Psi Chi has been very successful in recruiting new members. With more than 467,000 members inducted since its founding in 1929, Psi Chi is one of the largest national honor societies in four-year colleges and universities and the largest student psychological organization in the world. This is certainly an impressive achievement and I will work with the National Council and chapters to continue this success. We will also strive to engage all members more actively in the organization as undergraduate students and after they have received their baccalaureate degree. We will look for ways at the national level to make continued involvement in Psi Chi appealing and beneficial to members. I encourage chapters to consider ways in which they might encourage their members to say involved. Consider inviting Psi Chi members who are graduate students to chapter meetings to talk about their experience applying for and surviving graduate school. Also, consider inviting Psi Chi members who have started their careers to chapter meetings to talk about their work experience and the ways you can make the most out of your undergraduate education to prepare you for the world of work. Both of these groups have a wealth of information, experience, and contacts they could share with your chapter.
A third initiative will focus on increasing members' awareness of and participation in Psi Chi programs. Psi Chi has much to offer its members and we will be making a concerted effort to encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities. For example, Psi Chi offers a wide array of grants and awards, provides many opportunities to develop leadership skills, and can help expand your connections to the scientific and professional communities in psychology. I encourage all members to apply for these grants and awards, pursue leadership positions in your chapter, become involved in research opportunities at your school, and present your research at the Psi Chi programs at regional and national conferences.
These are just a few of the projects that I will be devoting my time to during the coming years. I hope you will join us in our efforts. I welcome your input and involvement and will be ready to assist your chapter in whatever way I can. Anniversaries and new years celebrate the past and speak to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead in the future. I am honored to be sharing the future with you and look forward to working with all members of Psi Chi. I wish you all the best in this new academic year.
At right, Ginny's first visit with Ruth Hubbard Cousins, the Psi Chi Executive Director from 1959 to 1991.
Fall 2004 issue of Eye on Psi Chi (Vol. 9, No. 1, p. 8), published by Psi Chi, The National Honor Society in Psychology (Chattanooga, TN). Copyright, 2004, Psi Chi, The National Honor Society in Psychology. All rights reserved.