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Building Upon Psi Chi's Strong Foundation
by Karen A. Jackson, 1996-97 Psi Chi National President - Texas Woman's University
Category: Presidents' Messages
Thank you for electing me to serve as your national president for the 1996-97 year. It is a great honor to serve in an office that has been filled by so many distinguished presidents. The current Psi Chi National Council is introducing many new and exciting programs for students and advisors and has many others in the works. It is most exciting to be on the Council with all of these individuals who have distinguished themselves in countless ways. I hope to follow in the footsteps of all those before me.
I would like to take time to thank especially the "pioneer" in my background, who is known well by many of you. If it were not for Ms. Ruth Cousins (Psi Chi's executive director from 1958-91), I would not have accomplished what I have today. I have been a Psi Chi faculty advisor in my own department for many years, and Ruth was always ready to give me help on many chapter matters whenever I called the National Office. Kay Wilson followed closely in blazing the next trail as executive officer, and a week does not go by that I don't benefit from her knowledge as well. You should know that the executive officer, along with the national staff, is our valued resource. And, before I even had any contacts with the National Office, I found the newsletter especially helpful to me as a Psi Chi member and longtime advisor.
Your current Council members are carrying on the tradition of building a strong foundation for all those future members of our dynamic organization. As your national president, and as chair of the recent midwinter Council meeting, I helped orchestrate our revision of the mission statement and our discussion of additional awards and recognition for chapter members and advisors, regional conference participants, and national conference participants. For close to 70 years Psi Chi has worked from the grass roots up to the Council to provide opportunities for members to increase scholarships, research awards, and national honors. You have read about many of these in the newsletters and have received calls for submissions to Psi Chi research awards and chapter hondrs. More is yet to come! The motive behind these efforts is to encourage scholarship and to advance the science of psychology through the achievements of our members (you may recognize these words as those from the purpose statement in Psi Chi's Constitution).
In addition, one of the major goals of Psi Chi that is perhaps more immediate and viable in your chapter is the provision of recognition for your chapter members. The Society has made available honor cords, medallions, and pins to be wom on special academic and professional occasions. I wear these insignias on my university regalia and am always stopped by students who want to know what Psi Chi is and how they can be involved. Each day I wear my gold and blue Psi Chi button to my classes on campus and actively advocate for my chapter and the ideals of the organization. Many of our college honors program. Others hold research award competitions on their local campuses and in conjunction with nearby universities and colleges or through university consortium activities. Other chapters sponsor student travel to professional meetings to help members network, meet important contacts, present research, and attend various sessions that may lead to opportunities for future work or graduate programs. Thus, the local chapter and the recognition and assistance it provides to students is vital in helping members realize their professional and academic goals.
Also, remember that one of the first and most immediate goals of Psi Chi is to invite to membership students who the chapter believes will be the future scientists and leaders in our field. The recognition provided by attaining membership speaks for itself. When Psi Chi is viewed on student resumes by potential employers and graduate admission officers, it speaks well of the professional accomplishments of the student. Active membership conveys a clear message of high academic standards, organizational abilities, and future orientations. These are the precise characteristics listed as "second order" criteria deemed important for admission to graduate programs in psychology and allied fields, and are also the traits desired by potential employers.
So, where do we go from here? The Council is now organizing all regional and national programs for your pleasure and professional development. As you know, Psi Chi sponsors programs in all regions at the annual meetings of the regional psychological associations, and at the national level at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in August, during which Psi Chi holds its National Convention, and also at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Society in May. We will again hold our one-day Miniconvention the day before the APA meeting (August 14), and we invite all of you to come to Chicago. It will be an exciting time, and the Council promises to provide wonderful opportunities for each of you and your advisors. Our programs are chosen based on what we know will be of greatest value to members, advisors, and chapters. A special effort is being made to recognize faculty advisors at the regional meetings and at the National Psi Chi meeting. If I could lapse back into my southern drawl, I would say "Y'all come."
Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Look for later messages on a variety of topics, including "The Twenty-First Century: So, Has Humankind Changed?"
Have a wonderful year! Students, study and play hard. Your university and college life will leave you ever changed and using more than the usual 10% of your brain. Think of this time in your life as having a "light" turned on and realizing how clearly you can see. Peace and prosperity to each one of you, and I will be talking with you soon.
Winter 1997 issue of Eye on Psi Chi (Vol. 1, No. 2, p. 64), published by Psi Chi, The National Honor Society in Psychology (Chattanooga, TN). Copyright, 1997, Psi Chi, The National Honor Society in Psychology. All rights reserved.