This issue’s column comes at the height of Psi Chi’s travel season. For me as President, this means scheduled travel to several regional conferences to participate in Psi Chi programming as well as to our Central Office in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This rapid succession of meetings, including many opportunities to visit with individual members, combined with discussions with office staff, has made me realize a few things that should be of general interest to all members, which has prompted me to share them with you in this forum.
First, it is clear to me that you are being extremely productive, both collectively as chapters and individually as members. As tiring as frequent travel can be, it has been a real pleasure for me to talk with members at regional meetings about their various chapter activities as well as their ongoing research projects. To my delight (as a psychoacoustician), I even found some budding auditory perception researchers with interests in the processing of music. These meetings have afforded me the chance to revel in tales of your recent triumphs while also gaining a deeper appreciation for personal and chapter-wide challenges that you are facing.
One traditionally challenging area for chapters that represented a common theme across meetings is fundraising. Yet, some chapters are particularly successful in their fund-raising efforts. Groups in attendance at any given regional meeting were able to share successful fund-raising strategies with each other in the context of a chapter exchange event as well as during specialized sessions dedicated to Psi Chi activities. This represents yet another good reason for chapters to send one or more representatives to such meetings. In fact, I left with a host of ideas for possible future fund-raisers for my chapter. However, it occurred to me that I was probably one of only two or three people who is currently aware of activities of the most successful chapters across regions.
Eye on Psi Chi has traditionally tried to bridge this gap by publishing in the back of the magazine a summary of chapter activities for all members to review. Unfortunately, such summaries often (a) go unnoticed by the majority of readers and (b) exist simply as a list of activity titles rather than as a detailed description of either how they were implemented or an assessment of their relative success. Such description is needed for struggling chapters to rapidly identify optimal alternative strategies. I therefore am using this month’s column to call on any chapter that has been particularly successful in fund-raising activities to consider submission of a brief article in the Eye that documents the development of those activities. If anecdotes from the submitting chapter were combined with a bit of literature review (e.g., in the Eye on Psi Chi archives), then a template would exist for how to transfer one group’s fund-raising success to others. To those who would consider submitting such an article, please know that this would represent a tremendous service to your fellow Psi Chi members while also potentially providing the authors with a published writing sample for their respective academic records.
Of course, the logic of this argument extends well beyond the issue of fund-raising. However, this issue represents one of the most common points of discussion amongst chapters. If this call for article submission proves productive, then a similar approach could be extended to other areas of chapter-wide concern.
Another important realization grew out of conversations I had about electronic communication with individual members at regional meetings and with Psi Chi staff. As you probably know, Psi Chi recently has moved to direct electronic communication with individual members. This means that each member should be receiving e-mailed news digests and links to the current digital issue of the Eye. Messages are being sent to almost 300,000 e-mail addresses that we have on file. However, when I asked members for feedback at regional conferences about how this process has been going, it became clear that many of you are not regularly receiving either variety of e-mail. While it is remotely possible that some of the messages from the Central Office might simply not have been seen by the receiving member(s), this is unlikely given the fact that the students and faculty advisors I spoke with represent some of our most dedicated members. We are sure that some members are not receiving these messages at all. (This also means that we need to depend on dedicated chapter officers and members to share this information with affected members at your next chapter meeting because otherwise they will continue being unaware of this message as well).
Luckily, this issue should be easily resolved. If you are not receiving Psi Chi e-mail messages, or are graduating/ moving and want to be sure to continue to receive information from the organization, then you should be able to log on to psichi.org directly and update your information in the member database. You will need your member number to log on. If you do not remember your member number and have misplaced your member card, then simply contact Jennifer Baldwin in the Central Office to verify your information and obtain your number. She can be reached online for this purpose HERE. We also are interested in other forms of electronic communication and will be soliciting opinions from you about various forms of social networking that Psi Chi might be able to use to more quickly and effectively inform its members about upcoming events and information.
So let us hear from you about these issues. Ultimately, these simple steps will help us all to stay connected to the network of information and opportunity that is Psi Chi, and we should all reap the benefits. And to all those I spoke with at regional meetings, thanks for making me leave better informed. Your helpful suggestions should prove to be of great benefit to my local chapter in the coming year.