|Truth or Dare? I Take Truth|
|Betsy Morgan, PhD, Psi Chi President, University of Wisconsin–La Crosse|
I’m a wonk, which means that I really like policy. As I also tend to be an extraverted person, it often surprises my colleagues when I get excited about policy documents such as guidelines and bylaws. I’m bringing this wonkishness to my Psi Chi presidency this year to recommend some major changes to the Organization’s Constitution. The Constitution is the backbone of our Organization in terms of mission and structure; that’s why I believe keeping it up-to-date and concise is crucial to improving our Society.
The Constitution changes are aimed to accomplish three central goals. First, the Constitution is comprised of articles and headings, which we reorganized and renamed to give readers a better sense of the Society as a whole. Second, we wanted the Constitution to be more streamlined. The Central Office and Board of Directors attend to the detail of the organization, and the Constitution exists to communicate Psi Chi’s basic structure and to protect the integrity of the mission of the organization. So, we removed much of the verbiage that was directed toward smaller details such as the type and scope of committees needed for the Board of Directors. Third, we wanted to clarify the expectations for admission to an honor society. Therefore, we have made the language regarding undergraduate criteria easier to follow, and we have added additional detail to the criteria for graduate student qualifications. We hope that all of this will make the document more user-friendly, and we hope that it will result in a document that will not need to be altered for several years.
Have you ever read a textbook where the content is really well-written and easy to follow, and then it feels like someone tacked on a few new sentences or paragraphs? Those of us who have written textbooks know this process well. We write a good structure that works and then, in new editions, we refresh and augment the ideas with new research in the field. However, every "X” number of editions, we have to set out the structure again from the start, much like when some of us clean out the pantry or a sock drawer. Sometimes we can’t just add more stuff. Sometimes old socks need to be thrown out. A Constitution is a similar project. Every few years, a tweaking is needed. However, this time, it is an overhaul of the structure. We really culled through the verbiage to make sure that only the sturdy and warm socks remained.
How did I become a wonk? As an undergraduate, when I was drawn to social psychology due to its clear relationship to real-world problems, I was also taken with how important policy has been to the advancement of a variety of social issues. Think about the issues of desegregation, work-life policy, and same-sex marriage—each of these social issues has been strongly influenced and advanced by legislations and policy. I won’t begin to argue that the Psi Chi Constitution is important at the level of national policy! However, I will argue that clear policy helps lead to a society that is fair to its members. You will hear more about the Constitution in the coming months. You will be asked for feedback and eventually your chapter will be asked to vote on a ratification of the changes. I hope you tune in to the wonkish part of your personalities and give the process your attention.