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Eye on Psi Chi: Fall 1997

The Best Is Yet to Come
Karen A. Jackson, Psi Chi President, Texas Woman's University

It is hard to believe that my presidential year is at its end. Serving in this capacity has been one of my greatest honors and has provided the most exciting opportunities I've experienced in the past decades of my professional life. During this year many new programs have been planned for Psi Chi, and some new programs have begun. New Psi Chi award programs initiated during the 1996-97 year were the Thelma Hunt Awards, the Regional Chapter Awards, and the National Research Awards for presenting at APA and APS. New programs slated to begin during the 1997-98 year are the Psi Chi Faculty Advisor Research Grants, the Undergraduate Research Grants, and the Regional Faculty Advisor Awards. In addition to these new award programs, the Psi Chi National Council is developing guidelines for a new national organizational structure, to be called the Regional Steering Committees, and it approved a Reserve Policy Statement, which will help to guide the Council in saving for "rainy days." The last two programs will have far-reaching effects on the Society as a whole, as well as the Council members of the future. I would like to discuss each briefly.

The Council is developing plans to implement a substructure in the form of Regional Steering Committees made up of volunteer faculty advisors and student members in selected regions. Regional Steering Committees in the Midwestem and Rocky Mountain Regions have been approved for this year as a pilot program to study the effectiveness of such committees. This pilot program will provide opportunities for Psi Chi faculty advisors and student members to help with the Psi Chi regional programs, to assist in organizing the regional paper and poster competitions, and to serve as reviewers for the regional best chapter awards and the regional research awards. Everyone involved will thus gain experience at the regional level and may then wish to become active at the national level. Psi Chi looks forward to having student members serving in these regional capacities. The Council has been looking for opportunities to involve students in such Council activities. We are all waiting with anticipation for the outcome of the steering committee's pilot program.

The Psi Chi Reserve Policy, adopted during the 1997 Psi Chi Council meeting held this past August at the APA Convention in Chicago, was developed for the benefit of Psi Chi with the assistance of financial advisors. This policy will serve as a guideline to the National Office, future National Councils, and the Executive Officer in developing budget statements that reflect the conservative nature of the Society, and the Council's desire to ensure continued support of national and regional programs that directly benefit members. It was also during these discussions that the Council discussed the benefits of establishing an endowment or foundation. The Psi Chi Executive Committee began exploratory discussions with financial and legal advisors during the APS Convention in Washington, D.C., bringing information to the entire National Council during the APA Convention in Chicago. The Council has been made aware of financial resources which the Society has accumulated through conservative and strategic management of investments. With this information, the National Council is preparing itself to provide increased opportunities to its members in ways that will advance their academic careers and add to the knowledge base of the profession. Existing programs, such as scholarships and grants, as well as new programs in scholarships and grants might be part of the program's funding sources. These ideas are only just being discussed and much study will need to take place before either an endowment or foundation is adopted in policy.

If you missed the Psi Chi Miniconvention, you missed a wonderful program planned and executed under the guidance of Dr. Norine Jalbert, Psi Chi Past-President, and Dr. Rebecca Stoddart, Psi Chi Midwestem Vice-President. The program workshops were divided into three areas: personal, chapter, and national development. Lively sessions were held on each. Students had opportunities to attend personal development sessions on writing research grant proposals, on publishing and presenting research papers, and on developing professional portfolios to use in graduate school applications and job interviews and for self-assessment. At the chapter level, informative and invigorating sessions were held on chapter programming, chapter vitality, and fundraising. Lastly, at the national level, new ideas for national programming and suggestions for national and regional involvement were shared by students, advisors, and Council members. At each session, the best ideas in each area were awarded prizes of books and Psi Chi regalia. An award ceremony and a reception were held at the end of the~day where the session winners were recognized.

The Psi Chi program presented during the APA annual meeting showcased outstanding psychologists. The focus of the program was career opportunities in psychology and littleknown secrets for success in graduate school and in one's professional life. Dr. Robert Steinberg, Yale University, who presented the Lewis Distinguished Lecture, made us all aware of how small our world really is. [See the article based on this lecture, "The Cognitive Costs of Physical and Mental Ill Health" on page 20 of this issue.] Dr. Charles Brewer and Dr. Roger Thompson gave excellent forecasts on the need for teachers and researchers in the 21st century. The audience was spellbound about the possibilities involved in pursuing careers in academia and in research. A popular presentation about programs leading to the masters' degrees in applied and nonapplied areas was the focus of a standing-room-only session that featured Dr. Rosemary Lowe of the University of West Florida, Dr. Larry Alferink of Illinois State University, and Dr. Gary Hanson of Francis Marion College. Dr. Steven Lambert and Dr. Julie DeGalan from Plymouth State College shared tips from their experiences and from their book during the session on "Getting A Good Job With a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology." One of the most popular sessions provided advice on getting into the graduate school of your choice, with faculty perspectives by Dr. John Norcross of the University of Scranton and Dr. Patricia Keith-Spiegel of Ball State University (both authors of a book on the subject) and student perspectives by Ann Judge of the University of Maryland, College Park, and Matthew Burden of Ball State University. In my own presidential address, I tried to give a message of hope and belief in the immense potential of our students and to encourage faculty and students to believe in themselves as teachers and learners. Overall, the whole Psi Chi program was wonderful, and I thank all those professionals who gave of their time for the benefit of the students and faculty who were lucky enough to attend the sessions.

The Psi Chi Journal of Undergraduate Research is progressing successfully under Psi Chi's able managing editor, Dr. Stephen Davis of Emporia State University, and the Society's magazine, Eye on Psi Chi, has that wonderful polished look I am sure all of you are enjoying. In my chapter, I cannot keep enough copies for students, with even my office copy disappearing from time to time. Both publications are fine examples of the work of the National Council, the editors, and the ever capable national staff, most especially Dan Bockert, Psi Chi's director of publishing. Watch for future articles on career paths in psychology and for the publication of selected invited presentations given at regional and national Psi Chi programs.

The Council has been considering the development of a Psi Chi videotape presentation. The video would be made available to chapters and regions that wished to use it as a recruitment tool and as an orientation for new members. The Council reviewed videotapes from other honor societies and felt that such a product would be useful to the members and chapters.

In the 1996-97 year, our Society continued the outstanding growth it has enjoyed in the past, giving it the distinction of having more chapters than any other honor society in the world. In the past fiscal year alone, 22 new chapters were chartered and 19,300 new members were inducted, bringing the grand total of lifetime members of Psi Chi to over 325,000 since our founding in 1929. And as our membership has grown, the list of benefits to our members has grown as well. The Society's many new programs initiated during this past year, as outlined at the beginning of this message, provided numerous new opportunities for awards to students and faculty advisors.

One of the most important tasks during my past presidential year, and one I will continue to work on during this current year as past-president, is the development of a new Mission Statement for Psi Chi. At the January business meeting, Dr. Dorothy Mistifer, secretary-treasurer of the Association of College Honor Societies and executive director of Kappa Omicron Nu, provided a training workshop for the Psi Chi Council on "purpose building" for our society. During this workshop, Council members begin to reconceptualize the mission of the Society from one of not only "honor," but also of increased member information and career-enhancing opportunities. It was during this meeting that I began to reflect on my own experiences as a Psi Chi member, advisor, and National Council member. It seems to me that the Society I once knew has changed markedly from one providing honor and distinction to its members to an expanded organization that has a vested interest in each and every one of its members as potential professionals and contributors to world harmony and mental health. During this January workshop, the Mission Statement was updated so that in now reads, "The mission of Psi Chi is a well-educated, ethical, and socially responsible member committed to contributing to the science and profession of psychology and to society in general."

It is with this statement in mind that the current Council continues to support the Society's purpose with the development of programs and the investigation of needs of our members, their institutions, and their faculties. In the spring issue of Eye On Psi Chi, the new Thelma Hunt Award was described, and five different research questions were proposed by the National Council on items discussed during the Mission Statement workshop. These research questions are of great interest to the Council members and to faculty advisors all over the country. The ideas were published with the hope that students and faculty advisors would apply for funding from this new grants program and that students would conduct research to publish in Psi Chi publications. The National Council also decided that the Adopt-A-Shelter project was a great success and would be extended for a second year as Psi Chi's national service project. In the future, national projects will be two years in length and will be announced a year before implementation. This year's project is in keeping with our new mission statement by encouraging members to be socially responsible.

I leave the office of Psi Chi National President in the capable hands of current President Slater Newman and President-Elect Harold Takooshian, both of whom have served Psi Chi faithfully and energetically for many years. They will carry on Psi Chi's mission in the years to come. It has been my experience this year that all Council members are like-minded in their desire to assist Psi Chi members to succeed.

Best wishes in your future academic work and may all your fondest dreams of professional success come true. Take our mission to heart, and become that person who contributes not only to the profession, but to our society as well. Psi Chi is poised to help you achieve these goals.


Copyright 1997 (Volume 2, Issue 1) by Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology



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.

Eye on Psi Chi is published quarterly:
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Summer (April)
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