A diverse range of people are eligible to join Psi Chi, a fact which is invaluable to the future of our Professional Organization. As Psi Chi’s 2004–08 Executive Director Dr. Virginia Andreoli Mathie recently worded it, “A more diverse membership makes Psi Chi more representative of our society at large and also creates more opportunities for our members.” That is why Psi Chi Central Office has been recently focused on expanding its efforts to seek out and attract individuals from diverse backgrounds.
Because people are eligible to join from so many walks to life, it is possible that your chapter has overlooked one of more groups of individuals who would appreciate and benefit from the opportunity to become a part of Psi Chi. At this time, take a close look at the list below of potential members who occasionally do not receive an invitation to join. Then, please reach out to anyone who might have been accidentally missed.
- Invite eligible undergraduate and graduate students.
- Invite eligible psychology majors and minors.
- Invite eligible transfer students.
- Invite eligible online students.
- Invite eligible nontraditional students.
- Invite eligible students in related fields (e.g., biopsychology or educational psychology).
- Invite eligible interdisciplinary majors with at least as many psychology courses as a minor.
- Invite eligible full-time faculty members.
- Let individuals with diverse backgrounds and identities know that your chapter welcomes and values broad sociocultural representation.
- Reach out to student clubs and organizations across campus that represent different groups of marginalized, underrepresented, and/or other diverse students.
If your chapter officers personally invite students to join in the classroom, then you can imagine how easy it would be for them to overlook inviting online-only students. Likewise, if all of your officers are full-time undergraduates, then you can imagine how their in-class invitations might be less likely to reach graduate students, who are enrolled in different courses entirely, or nontraditional students, who primarily only take night classes. Therefore, consider how the different groups of people above might have unique circumstances and methods of communication. Then, do you best to reach out people in the ways and places that work best for them!
Importantly, new requirements for transfer students have been in effect since March 5, 2019. These changes make it simpler for transfer students to join. For the changes to take place at your chapter, simply update your local Chapter Bylaws document. The latest modifiable template of this document is available on the Faculty Advisor and Officer Admin webpages (login required).
Also, it is a good practice to start promoting your chapter to people who are not currently eligible but most likely will be in the near future. In some cases, you can even attract people to pursue a psychology degree who had not yet considered it before (your Department will surely be impressed by this too!). For example:
- Connect with underclass students during campus-wide orientations and other events in order to teach them about obtaining a degree in psychology and Psi Chi.
- Connect with local high school students who are taking psychology courses in order to share about the benefits of pursuing a college degree in psychology and how your local chapter and Psi Chi can help support this journey.
- Connect with psychology students at nearby community colleges to let them know what opportunities are available for them on your campus.
According to Psi Chi Distinguished Member Dr. Nadine Kaslow, “It is imperative that Psi Chi reflects the rich diversity of our communities. Doing so will lay the foundation for us to transform psychology to a discipline that that is truly inclusive and firmly committed to social justice in all scientific, educational, and applied endeavors.”
We at Psi Chi are passionate about expanding our perspectives through diverse membership in our Honor Society. In the past year or so, many specific strategies and activities to embrace diversity have been added to our new Diversity Matters online resource, which you are welcome to review at any time. You are also invited to use our invitation to membership template, which was specially edited by Psi Chi’s Diversity Committee.
We hope that you will join us at your local chapter in the pursuit of social justice and equal opportunity throughout our Professional Organization. Thank you for your support.