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Eye on Psi Chi: Fall 2016

Connecting Across Chapters Across the World

Jon Grahe, PhD, Psi Chi President, Pacific Lutheran University (WA)
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The real value of Psi Chi membership goes beyond access to awards, grants, and scholarships; it surpasses the opportunity to publish in an Open Access research journal; and it fully eclipses the effect of adding the recognition of hard work on a resumé. The real value in Psi Chi is captured in the resources that emerge from making connections with new people. Although the monetary and scholarly recognitions of our Professional Organization are important, remember the final words of the induction ceremony, “We welcome you to Psi Chi’s fellowship of common interest, mutual assistance, and high endeavor.”  
Your chapter provides opportunities annually to engage with your peers, but Psi Chi International provides richer possibilities. Each year, over 22,000 new members join Psi Chi from all across the United States and increasingly from other countries. These lifetime members share one thing in common—they pursue psychology rigorously at a 4-year institution. When one considers all the various parts of our social and biological selves, sharing good grades in at least three courses on a single topic is a small commonality. Consider instead the variation among our membership. With over 1,100 chapters with at least one in each of the 50 states plus chapters in 12 countries, Psi Chi members reflect a rich geographical and cultural diversity. Psi Chi members attend small colleges and large institutions, both public and private. There are many ways to take advantage of our organizational diversity; consider these four ways.
Partner With Other Chapters
Using the online chapter directory and some investigative skills, identify the chapter president or advisor at another Psi Chi chapter and make a connection. If the other chapter is just across town (or maybe there is a Psi Beta chapter across town at a two-year college), pool resources and bring in a speaker neither chapter could afford alone. With two or three chapters, there may be enough interest to do a bigger philanthropy event or just add another layer to the benefits of doing service. Any event would be augmented with a social event that allows members to interact and converse. If the chapter is across the country, an online connection is more likely. Using video conference tools, members could share ideas for making the chapter better or exchange research talks. With chapters around the world, there are so many interesting questions that might emerge because, as cultures diverge, conversations get more interesting. For this reason, I hope to see sustainable international growth in our organization in the coming years.
Connect With Psi Chi Programming
For individuals who prefer more individual connections, take advantage of Psi Chi convention activities. There are sessions and topics directed to benefit members in career, educational, and personal arenas as well as some fascinating research talks. However, there are also opportunities to connect with members directly at Psi Chi poster sessions. Better yet, attend the Psi Chi Chapter Exchange and sit with people from other chapters. When I was Western Vice-President, I gave prizes to people who sat with strangers and learned something about them. Conventions are about sharing ideas and making connections. After 25 years of attending conventions, I have dozens of professional and personal relationships that emerged from these events.
Connect in Cyberspace
Another way to connect is through social media. In addition to the official Psi Chi Central Office social media, many Psi Chi chapters have their own Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Additionally, there are a large number of members who follow and contribute to Psi Chi LinkedIn discussions. The potential diversity of posts and discussions in social media is limited only by good judgment and relevance to psychology. Questions about careers, graduate school, and research programs are asked and answered by members of various ages and career trajectory. Here, interest might guide connection, but there is still rich diversity beyond that starting interest. My own social media presence is modest, but I see the possibilities for individuals who fully embrace this interaction style early in its development.
Connect Through Research
My personal preference for making connections across chapters is through large scale collaborative research projects. For various reasons, pooling research resources across locations is beneficial: increased statistical power, better generalizability, improved publication opportunities, and the ability for diverse voices to contribute to scientific discourse. To help Psi Chi members benefit from this new form of science project, the Research Advisory Committee reviews and recommends collaborative projects on our Conducting Research Resource on the Psi Chi website. Of course, there are many other free resources on our website covering topics such as Careers in Psychology, Graduate School, Attending and Presenting at Conventions, and Chapter Leadership. Be sure to take advantage of all the free information resources we provide.
Connect This Year
As we start the new academic term, consider these four ways to connect as part of a strategic planning initiative at your local chapter. The Board of Directors developed the Psi Chi 2020 Strategic Plan to identify goals for the organization that will bring greater benefits to our members. Maybe your chapter’s strategic plan can include actions to connect in each of these four ways.

Jon Grahe is a professor of psychology at Pacific Lutheran University (WA) with 18 years teaching experience. He also serves as a councilor in the Psychology Division of the Council for Undergraduate Research and is the managing executive editor for The Journal of Social Psychology. He is a passionate advocate for increasing undergraduate participation in crowd-sourcing science opportunities such as the Collaborative Replications and Education Project and the International Situations Project and a general supporter of open science initiatives (see his posts to the Open Science Collaboration Blog http://osc.centerforopenscience.org/).

When not pitching the benefits of undergraduate research to anyone within earshot, he likes to play music with his two teenage children. The family band, "Maggie and the Greys” played at a recent open mic for the first time ever. Most other free time is spent outdoors, often camping or hiking at nearby Mt. Rainier.

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Copyright 2016 (Volume 21, Issue 1) by Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology


 
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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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