|Taking Care of
|Martha Zlokovich, PhD, Psi Chi Executive Director
Psi Chi’s Constitution is the overarching document that guides all Society business and chapter functioning. With Constitutional amendments on the horizon (see President Betsy Morgan’s column), now is a good time to take care of Psi Chi business on your campus by reviewing and updating your current chapter bylaws.
I strongly encourage each chapter to discuss and adopt its own chapter bylaws. The process of approving (or updating) chapter bylaws is a good one for officers and members to work on together, and it creates an important task for at least one Executive Committee meeting and two chapter meetings (discuss it during one or more chapter meetings, vote on it at the next). The entire chapter should be invited to vote on accepting the bylaws at a publicized chapter meeting.
Your Society provides a Chapter Bylaws Template to make customizing your own bylaws easy. Advisors and officers (if advisors have updated the names of current officers online) can view and download the Chapter Bylaws Template upon logging in to the Psi Chi website. Simply log in to the website and select your Faculty Advisor or Officer role, and you will see Chapter Bylaws Template under the orange Chapter Materials heading. You may also notice a link to the Constitution, located under Chapter Materials for your convenience.
There are several important reasons for making sure that your chapter has current bylaws in place, many of which I wrote about in a previous column (Zlokovich, 2009). These include optional changes such as increasing academic requirements for eligibility, specifying how many of the nine hours of psychology must be completed on your campus, specifying eligibility of students in other undergraduate departments (e.g., neuropsychology majors) or graduate departments (e.g., marriage and family therapy master’s program), and allowing transfer students to join before completing 12 hours of coursework on your campus. In addition, your chapter may wish to specify whether course credits earned by methods such as AP or CLEP exams may be counted toward the minimum of nine psychology credits needed for membership eligibility.
Changes since 2009 add to these reasons, including Psi Chi having become international. All chapter documents, websites, social media, logos, T-shirts, etc. should now refer to Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology. If you still have old references to the National Honor Society in your current Chapter Bylaws or anywhere else, please update them!
Another change is that the current template includes a two-step process for the removal of officers. It would be a good idea to have this process approved before there are any problems with an officer. This will make coping with an unfortunate situation easier and provides a method of treating everyone involved fairly. The old bylaws template did not include a process for officer removal.
Some aspects of the bylaws template cannot be changed (displayed in blue text in the document). For example, all inductees must have established a GPA at the new campus. Thus, before writing any bylaw addressing transfer student eligibility, psychology hours, or psychology or cumulative GPA requirements, your faculty advisor should check with the registrar to determine whether transfer students establish a GPA when they begin classes or after completing their first semester.
There are also many aspects for which your chapter must make a choice as outlined below. Chapters may add anything they wish to the bylaws, provided it does not conflict with the Constitution. For example, I recommend that details about chapter dues, if any, be specified. However, it is not necessary to add anything new. If your chapter decides to accept the basic template, officers will need to
- remove the optional academic requirements for the undergraduates paragraph,
- choose Option 1 or 2 for transfer student eligibility,
- remove the optional academic requirements for the graduate students paragraph,
- specify when officer elections will be held,
- enter the term of office,
- enter the number of members required to call an Executive Committee meeting, and
- enter the number of faculty coadvisors.
After your chapter votes to accept new chapter bylaws or update existing ones, upload the document on the Chapter Admin webpage by selecting "View or upload your Bylaws here” under Chapter Bylaws Template. This will make it easy for next year’s officers, future advisors, and Psi Chi staff to find them.
The current Chapter Bylaws Template is based on the current Constitution. If Constitutional amendments proposed by the Board of Directors are adopted next spring, this bylaws template and your chapter’s bylaws will need to be updated to reflect those changes. Updating next year will be much easier if your chapter has reviewed and approved Chapter Bylaws this year, and your chapter’s functioning will be improved now.
Zlokovich, M. S. (2009, Summer). Why are chapter bylaws important? Eye on Psi Chi, 13(4), 5. Retrieved from https://www.psichi.org/?134EyeSum09dZlokovi
A high school
teacher in Pensacola, Florida, inspired Dr. Martha S. Potter Zlokovich
to pursue psychology as a career. She completed her BA in psychology at UCLA,
and MS and PhD in developmental psychology at the University of Florida.
Zlokovich joined Psi Chi in 2008 as its second Executive Director, leaving
Southeast Missouri State University after teaching there for 17 years. This
move, however, was not her first involvement with Psi Chi. She served as
chapter advisor since 1993, as Midwestern Region Vice-President (1998-2000),
and as National President of Psi Chi (2003-04). In 1996, Southeast’s chapter
won the Ruth Hubbard Cousin’s National Chapter of the Year Award, and several
chapter members have won Psi Chi Regional Research Awards at MPA and/or had
their research published in Psi Chi's Journal.
Southeast, Dr. Zlokovich taught Child Development, Adolescent Development,
Lifespan Development, Advanced Child Psychology, and Introductory Psychology
for Majors. She also served as chair of the department. Her research interests
have focused on student study habits, study beliefs, and persistence to
graduation as well as adolescent and young
adult contraception and sexuality.
Zlokovich and her husband Neil have two sons and a daughter-in-law. Aaron
(Truman State University, 2010) and Stephanie live in Lexington, KY and Matthew
is a senior civil engineering major at the University of Alabama.
Copyright 2014 (Volume 19, 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: