2003-04 Psi Chi Website Award Winners
Now in its third year, the Psi Chi Website Award annually recognizes and awards the three best Psi Chi chapter websites. As part of the award, Psi Chi is pleased to summarize each chapter's website here. For full information, browse each winning chapter's website below in depth. This year's 2003-2004 Website Award winners, listed alphabetically, are:
University of California, Riverside
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
The Marshall University (MU) Psi Chi website was established one year ago to facilitate communication among current members, increase participation of members, and utilize the most effective means of information distribution to members. This site integrates navigational basics with a fresh and interesting appearance. The site contains deadlines and important announcements for easy access to all Psi Chi members and meeting notes for members to stay up-to-date on events. The website also provides members with information on a variety of psychology-related subjects. Beginning psychology majors can access the site to find out Psi Chi's purpose and qualifications they should strive to meet in order to join MU Psi Chi. The FAQ page answers some of the most common questions about MU Psi Chi, and the feedback form provides a forum for addressing concerns, suggestions, and other questions not answered in FAQ.
The website also includes an excellent variety of content. Users of the site can learn about psychology faculty and their current area of research. The site provides each faculty member's contact information. There is also information about local, regional, and national conferences of interest to students and professors. Notes from previous chapter meetings are accessible to users. Contact information about the chapter's current set of officers, and information about the current roster of chapter active members is easily accessible from the "Officers & Members" link. The site also includes a brief history of the chapter, including information about the chapter's initial officers and members, and interesting historical photos.
MU Psi Chi's website has a unique and distinct quality. The homepage displays a herd of buffalo, Marshall University's mascot. In the main site, there is a graphic of buffalo tracks, reminding chapter members that it is their duty to "leave our tracks all over campus." There is also a photograph of the chapter's officers at the very top, and a very simple, yet informative menu located directly under it. On the left, there is a brown column that displays the next meeting, activity time, and location. The use of green and white throughout the website was necessary to maintain uniformity with Marshall University school colors, yet the tan adds complimentary tone to the site, which distinguishes MU Psi Chi's website from other MU sites.
MU Psi Chi's website strives to achieve several goals. The site provides basic information for students not familiar with Psi Chi and its purposes through the "About Us" page. The site encourages scholarly activities by providing a list of professors, their current research interests, and their contact information so that students may inquire about undergraduate research opportunities. Finally, the site provides information about upcoming research conferences where students can disseminate research findings.
University of California, Riverside
The essential purpose of the University of California, Riverside Psi Chi's chapter website is to serve as an informative resource with easily accessible information for interested parties. The chapter's site revolves around the principle that every Psi Chi chapter website should strive to go beyond the usual pages about officers, information about Psi Chi, calendars, and so on.
To this end, the chapter provides several links to psychology-related sites with information about fellowships, summer programs, job opportunities, grants, and scholarships. The chapter wanted to dispel the myth that the field of psychology is a single-dimensioned profession with most of its majors entering clinical programs. Psychology is an extremely versatile discipline, and the chapter provides information to prove that. The chapter also posts information about all its chapter's activities, which helps facilitate increased attendance at chapter meetings.
Another feature of the chapter's website is its usability. Websites are often constructed with a very complicated interface and several links that lead to other links and even more links. This type of interface creates an extreme memory overload on the viewer and takes away from the content. Thus, the chapter designed its website for excellence in usability, aesthetics, innovation, and creativity. The chapter inserted a video message from its president that addresses the goals of Psi Chi. The chapter also added Flash design that shows pictures of forefathers from the field of psychology. The chapter has made several other additions, such as a link to its newsletter, point system, member of the quarter, printable calendar, and a faculty research page.
The site's philosophy is to be user-friendly, easily accessible, and not just "another chapter website." The unstated objective in the overall educational system is to bring students into the world of academia in an attempt to stimulate academic maturity; however, often the result is disastrous. The chapter believes that Psi Chi can and should function as a catalyst in creating an environment conducive to academic achievement-hence the chapter's website.
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
The website for the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Psi Chi chapter was designed with its members in mind. From the planning stages to the careful layout, creative design, and constant updating, the chapter's website is a manifestation of its goals as a chapter and a testament to member involvement.
The site is a unique design, created especially for the chapter by one of its officers. The design is consistent with the chapter's other media (such as promotion cards, outgoing e-mails, flyers), which creates an instant recognition for members. The homepage provides regularly updated information regarding upcoming events, chapter news, opportunities on campus, as well as useful information, resources, and advice for chapter members. For example, during the graduate school application season, the chapter used the site to remind members about useful resume and vita workshops, provided links to GRE preparation and testing information, and encouraged members to use Psi Chi as a source of advice and support during that challenging time.
Because the site was designed with its members in mind, it contains many useful and unique features especially for the chapter. Some of these features include the following:
- A Study Group Utility: Because introductory psychology courses can be large and impersonal, the chapter offers an opportunity for students to request a specific study group. Students are matched and can share study tips and help each other excel.
- Research Link: Because the school's psychology department is a research giant, there are many opportunities for students to get involved. However, in a department of this size, it can be intimidating for an undergraduate to find his or her way. The chapter uses its site to make this process easier. Utilizing department databases, and adding updates and new research openings, the chapter provides a portal for its undergraduate students to get involved.
- Book Exchange: This is a place for members to trade usedbooks specific to the University of Minnesota psychology courses.
The site's philosophy is focused on making opportunities and resources of the psychology department available to the chapter's undergraduate members. Because Psi Chi meets with the university psychology club, the chapter's resources are not restricted simply to registered members; incoming freshmen can get involved and start on a rewarding career in psychology.