Letter of Nomination: James L. Spencer, PhD
West Virginia State University
Dear Members of the Regional Faculty Advisor Award Committee:
The Psi Chi Chapter at West Virginia State College, Institute, West Virginia, nominates our Faculty Advisor, James L. Spencer, Ph.D., for the Regional Faculty Advisor Award. Dr. Spencer founded this chapter on June 2, 1984. He became the faculty advisor later that same year. He has served as the Psychology Department chair since 1997
Dr. Spencer provides guidance and support by listing the advantages and disadvantages of the decisions we attempt to make, then allows us to make our own choices. A general meeting for all members of the chapter are held a minimum of twice a month. In addition, a separate officer's meeting is also held twice a month. Though our chapter of Psi Chi is relatively small in comparison to larger colleges and universities, it is active. The chapter conducts hot dog/bake sales and Psi Chi T-shirt sales in order to raise funds for activities. Additionally, with his easy-going manner and love of animals, Dr. Spencer participated in a "Kiss-The-Pig" contest, agreeing to kiss a pig if the chapter raised $100 by April 30, 2001. The contest began the first week of April and the money was collected by April 25. Dr. Spencer will kiss the pig on May 8 at 12:30 p.m.
The activities of the chapter include the Kinderprint program that began in the fall of 1999. Initially, the program provided fingerprints and a photo L.D. of children as a form of protection for lost or kidnapped children. This year, the program has been expanded and is now called "The One Stop Safety Shop." In addition to providing fingerprints of the children, the program also incIudes "The Safe House," which teaches children what to do in the event of a fire; bicycle safety; DARE, which teaches children the dangers of drugs; and FATAL Vision, which uses a special pair of goggles to teach children the effects of alcohol.
The chapter, however, is involved in other programs. During the 2000 Christmas Season, under Dr. Spencer's guidance, our chapter provided toys, clothing, school supplies, and personal hygiene items for the children at the Children's Home Society located in Charleston, West Virginia. In the fall of 2000, the WVSC chapter of Psi Chi began planning a celebration in honor of three former professors at the suggestion of Dr. Spencer. As a result, the Psychology Department Library was dedicated to Dr. Frances C. Sumner, the first African American psychologist, Dr. Herman Canady, and Dr. Paul Crawford.
In the classroom, Dr. Spencer shares his passion and enthusiasm for the field of psychology. Through combining psychological concepts with humor, analogy, and his own experiences, he shares is knowledge of psychology with his students and makes even the most difficult of concepts understandable. He challenges his students and prepares them for graduate school and their future careers in the field.
His dedication to his students is evidenced daily. The door to his office is closed only when he lectures. He keeps himself available not only to the students in his classroom, but to all students at WVSC. He willingly provides additional instruction to students who request it, listens compassionately to the problems students endure and offers potential solutions, or chats easily with them. Former students keep in touch with him; stopping by his office or calling on a regular basis.
Dr. Spencer has also served as the Advisor for Phi Eta Sigma, the Freshman Honor Society, and TKE since 1999. Recently, he was asked to serve on the Ad Hoc committee on the History of WVSC. In 1992, he wrote Recollections and Reflections: A History of the West Virginia State College Psychology Department. He has participated in the Faculty Lecture Series at WVSC with Dr. John Richards on the topic of "Psychological and Sociological Perspectives on Paranormal Phenomena." His research includes "Alternative to Shock When Working With Rats." In the spring of 2000, he was named Professor of the Year by Alpha Kappa Delta, the Sociology Honor Society.
Dr. Spencer's consistent dedication and support of the ideals of Psi Chi can best be demonstrated through the words of his book, "When I arrived at WVSC in the Fall of 1983, one of my primary objectives was to found a Psi Chi chapter. Psi Chi was founded in 1929 for the purpose of 'encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship and advancing the science of psychology.' . . . Such a chapter, I felt, would provide a sense of cohesiveness to the students in the department, and a goal for all psychology majors and minors to strive to attain" (Recollections and Reflections, p 88). Without his dedication and support to Psi Chi and its members, our chapter could not achieve all that we have achieved.
We, the members and officers of the West Virginia State College Chapter of Psi Chi request that you consider Dr. James L. Spencer for the Regional Faculty Advisor Award. He has served with dedication and enthusiasm throughout his seventeen years as our Advisor.
Psi Chi Chapter at
West Virginia State College