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Eye on Psi Chi: Winter 2005

Psi Chi Partnerships:
Keys to Future Success

Virginia Andreoli Mathie, Psi Chi Chief Executive Officer

There is something about bringing groups together to work on a project that I find appealing. Perhaps it is the intellectual stimulation and contagious excitement that build when people with different perspectives discuss issues important to them; or the camaraderie and sense of fun that emerge when groups interact; or the comfort of knowing that I am not alone in my efforts to achieve a goal. As I think about it, all of these qualities of working in partnerships appeal to me. It is no surprise, then, that I am delighted that one of the Psi Chi National Council's current initiatives is to foster professional partnerships between Psi Chi and other organizations. In this column, I will outline the National Council's goals in this arena and offer suggestions for ways in which chapters can expand their partnerships.

As we think about expanding partnerships, keep in mind that successful partnerships involve cooperation by colleagues who share a common vision, common goals, responsibilities, authority, and respect for one another's expertise and contributions as they work toward outcomes that are mutually beneficial (Mathie, 2002). Also remember that the benefits of partnerships go beyond the final product of the project itself. Through our participation in partnership activities, we can achieve goals that would be difficult for one organization on its own to accomplish; share the workload to make our efforts more manageable; learn more about the people, culture, policies, and procedures of other organizations; build a network of colleagues across the country who can provide us with information, assistance, and guidance; and form friendships that endure long after the project is complete.

Psi Chi has established many organizational partnerships and the National Council will continue to nurture and expand these relationships. For example, Psi Chi has been an active member of the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS) since 1965 and will continue this legacy of cooperation as we explore opportunities to participate in new ACHS projects. We have partnered with Psi Beta, our sister Honor Society in Psychology for Community and Junior Colleges, to cosponsor programs at regional and national meetings, and we hope to continue this special relationship as we also pursue more collaboration with other ACHS honor societies. Psi Chi has a long history of collaboration with the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Psychological Society (APS). Psi Chi is an affiliate of both organizations and we cosponsor the Edwin B. Newman Graduate Research Award with APA and the Albert Bandura Graduate Research Award with APS. We will continue to work with the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, Psychology Teachers at Community Colleges, and Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools to cosponsor presentations about teaching and learning at national conferences. Psi Chi has a partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to offer grants to members who participate in the NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) summer research program. We hope to explore additional collaborative opportunities with other scientific, educational, and funding organizations.

As National Council members work toward expanding Psi Chi's organizational partnerships, we encourage chapters to pursue their own partnerships. I list some examples of partnerships your chapter might consider in the box on page 6. As the year progresses, the Psi Chi National Council will be devoting attention to creating new partnership opportunities for the national organization. We invite Psi Chi chapters to join us in this initiative by establishing at least one new chapter partnership in the next year. Together we can serve as models for psychology partnerships. We wish you success in your partnership efforts.

Partnership Opportunities for Chapters

  • Psi Chi National Service Projects. Your chapter could hold a fundraiser for the Archives of the History of American Psychology (see Benjamin's article in the Fall 2004 Eye on Psi Chi) or for UNICEF's Children in War relief program. At the local level, your chapter could provide food, clothing, supplies, and services to a local shelter for the Adopt-a-Shelter project, or donate food to a local food bank for the Food Drives project, or help build a house or sponsor a family in the Habitat for Humanity program.
  • Local Community Agency. Members can raise funds for the agency, assist with special agency projects, or help bring the agency's services to the community.
  • Local Elementary, Middle, or High School. Following her participation in the APA Psychology Partnerships Project, Psi Chi Past-President Rebecca Stoddart offered many excellent suggestions for ways in which Psi Chi chapters could form partnerships with local schools (Stoddart, 1999). For example, volunteer to tutor children, help with the school's science fair, or give presentations to inform students about the field of psychology.
  • Local Community Colleges and Other Four-Year Colleges and Universities. Stoddart (1999) suggested cosponsoring career nights, science fairs, psychology week, or research conferences with other colleges. Don't forget that Psi Chi's Undergraduate Psychology Research Conference Grants provide funding for research conferences that include undergraduate student research presenters from at least three schools in your area.
  • Your School's Psychology Club or Other Honor Societies. For all of the partnership projects I mentioned, your chapter could expand the partnership to include other campus groups.

Tips for Partnership Success
Here are some tips you might find helpful in your efforts to establish a chapter partnership.

  • Find a partner. Often, the most difficult step is the first one but do not be afraid to initiate contact with a potential partner. In many cases other groups are just waiting for someone to show interest in working with them. Take the initiative to get the partnership started.
  • Get to know your partner. The more you understand and respect your partner's needs, organizational culture, policies, and procedures, the easier it will be to move forward on the partnership project.
  • Communicate with your partner. Good communication is vital to partnership success--communicate often, clearly, and respectfully.
  • Develop leadership. Coordinating the communication and work of several groups requires good organizational and interpersonal skills. Appoint a project leader with these skills, but keep in mind that to be successful the project requires everyone's time, energy, creativity, and commitment.
  • Be patient. It may take a little longer than anticipated to complete the partnership project, but the rewards will be well worth the extra time.

Benjamin, L. T., Jr. (2004, Fall). Psychology's national treasures. Eye on Psi Chi, 9(1), 16-17, 39.

Mathie, V. A. (2002). Academic partnerships: Old friends and new beginnings. In W. Buskist, V. W. Hevern, & G. W. Hill, IV (Eds.), Essays from e-xcellence in teaching, 2000-2001, Vol. 1(chap. 8). Retrieved November 11, 2004 from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology Website:

Stoddart, R. M. (1999, Fall). Psi Chi chapter partnerships: Modeling psychology's future. Eye on Psi Chi, 4(1), 47-48.

Ever since her childhood in Toronto, Canada, Virginia (Ginny) Andreoli Mathie, PhD wanted to be a teacher. As the eldest of five daughters born to Thomas and Julia Andreoli, Ginny spent many summer days playing "teacher" in a make-believe classroom, with her sisters Dolores, Frances, Marion, and Donna playing the role of students. During high school Ginny wanted to be a mathematics teacher so in 1967 she entered the mathematics and computer science program at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. She soon became hooked on psychology as well and after completing her BMath and BA in Psychology degrees, she entered the social psychology program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she completed her MA and PhD degrees under the mentorship of John Thibaut.

In 1975, Ginny joined the psychology faculty at what is now James Madison University (JMU) in Virginia. During her 29 years at JMU she taught a variety of courses including introductory psychology, social psychology, research methods, and statistics. Given her love of teaching, she was honored to receive the 1981 JMU Distinguished Teacher Award and to be named the 2000 American Psychological Association (APA) Harry Kirke Wolfe Lecturer. Ginny's research with students and colleagues investigated topics such as factors related to family violence, differences between acknowledged and unacknowledged rape victims, and the effectiveness of instructional technology. Her publications and presentations address these topics as well as issues related to teaching and professional service. Ginny served eight years as coordinator of the JMU undergraduate program and the general psychology master's program and four years as department head. A very special highlight of her JMU career was her recent induction into the JMU Psi Chi chapter!

Among the many leadership positions she has held in professional organizations, Ginny served as a member of the Virginia Psychological Association (VPA) Board of Directors, as the VPA Secretary, and as founding president of the VPA's Virginia Academy of Academic Psychologists. She served on the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (STP; APA Division 2) Executive Committee for several years, was the 1995-1996 STP President, and currently represents STP on the APA Council of Represent-atives. Ginny was awarded APA Fellow status in STP in 1996. She also served on the APA Board of Educational Affairs (BEA) from 1997 through 2000 and chaired the BEA Technology Working Group, the 1999 and 2000 BEA convention programs on technology and education, and the APA Education Leadership Conference Technology Group. She was a member of the BEA Executive Committee, the BEA Education and Training Awards Committee, the APA Board of Directors Technology Applications Advisory Group, and the APA Com-mittee for Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS). One of the highlights of her career was chairing the Psychology Partnerships Project: Academic Partnerships to Meet the Teaching and Learning Needs of the 21st Century (P3), a five-year BEA project conceived by Ginny, Randy Ernst, a former chair of TOPSS, and Jill Reich, the former Executive Director of the APA Education Directorate. P3 produced many new partnerships between psychology teachers in high schools, community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, and research universities as well as a variety of new resources to enhance psychology education. In recognition of her work on P3, Ginny received the APA 2002 Distinguished Contributions to Applications of Psychology to Education and Training Award.

In addition to her professional life, Ginny enjoys the special times she spends with her husband Jim, daughters Jennifer, Shannon, and Allison, son-in-law Ingmar, and grandchildren Mi Mi, Marieke, and Kees.

Copyright 2005 (Volume 9, Issue 2) 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.

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