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Eye on Psi Chi: Fall 2007

Strategies for Success: A Doable Dozen for Chapter Officers
Virginia Andreoli Mathie, PhD, Psi Chi Executive Officer

The new academic year is underway and chapter officers are working with chapter members to plan activities for the year. Whether they are trying to revitalize an inactive chapter or make a successful chapter even more successful, chapter officers have an opportunity and responsibility to help their chapter prosper. Members of the Psi Chi National Office are always willing to assist officers with their duties, but there are also several things that officers can do themselves to enhance the success of their chapters. Here are some strategies for chapter officers that will help them build a strong foundation for their chapter’s long-term success. I wish you all the best in the upcoming year.

Strategies for Success
  1. Read Psi Chi’s Chapter Handbook and Officer Handbook. These handbooks (available in the National Office’s fall mailing and on the Psi Chi website) describe Psi Chi’s policies and procedures and offer excellent advice on how to recruit members, keep your chapter organized, and involve members in chapter activities.
  2. Meet regularly with your chapter’s faculty advisor. Biweekly or monthly officer meetings with your faculty advisor will facilitate the exchange of information and provide an opportunity for you to be mentored by a faculty member.
  3. Schedule Weekly or Biweekly Officer Meetings. Regular officer meetings keep the chapter’s leaders informed and organized, provide opportunities for strategic planning, and develop professional and social bonds among the chapter leaders. Chapter officers who work well together in an organized, friendly, professional manner are excellent role models for chapter members.
  4. Read Eye on Psi Chi. This publication contains invaluable information about ideas for successful programming, deadlines for Psi Chi grants and awards, upcoming conferences, and so forth. Chapter officers will find the essays on how to be a successful chapter, written by winners of the Psi Chi Ruth Hubbard Cousins National Chapter Award (page 11), particularly helpful.
  5. Check the Psi Chi Website. The Psi Chi website ( is an excellent resource for all Psi Chi members but especially for chapter officers. You can take care of chapter business (e.g., register members, order merchandise, submit reports); download forms; read the Psi Chi Digest and news postings with deadlines and reminders for officers; use the chapter officers’ resource page (; and much more.
  6. Plan for Success. Ask your members and other psychology students for input on the types of programs they want and check the activity guide on the Psi Chi website for program ideas. Start planning your programs as early as possible. Publicize your events broadly and well in advance of the events. Invite all psychology students to attend your programs. After the programs, publicize the success of the programs. When students associate Psi Chi with successful, useful, enjoyable events, they will be more enthusiastic about becoming involved in the chapter.
  7. Keep Complete, Accurate Records. Chapters must keep accurate membership records, financial records, and minutes of their meetings. It is helpful if chapters also keep records of each chapter event: who did what, when, and how; the expenses involved; the amount of money raised; how many people attended; and recommendations for doing the event again. These records will make it much easier for future officers to plan for success.
  8. Spread the Leadership Around. People are more likely to get involved in your chapter if they feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for the group. Don’t be afraid to create several vice-president or committee chair positions. Ask members to work on specific chapter projects. Identify members with leadership potential and mentor them to help them become future officers.
  9. Prepare a Chapter Officer Handbook. Create a chapter handbook that includes details about how your chapter operates, the responsibilities assigned to each officer and committee chairperson, procedures in your department and on your campus (e.g., how to handle financial transactions, who to contact to reserve meeting rooms, etc.), and chapter events. A chapter handbook helps new officers prepare for their roles, eliminate the need to reinvent procedures or policies, and plan events more efficiently.
  10. Publicize Psi Chi’s Grants and Awards Program. Psi Chi offers over $250,000 in grants and awards to assist members with their research; recognize excellent research; and recognize the success of chapters, chapter presidents, and faculty advisors. Whenever you hold a chapter event or send information to members, encourage members to submit applications for these awards and grants. These resources can motivate members to become more involved in Psi Chi.
  11. Network With Other Chapters. Establish communication with other Psi Chi chapters in your area and consider collaborating with them on activities. Attend Psi Chi sessions at your regional psychological association meetings to talk with other officers and get new ideas for maintaining an active successful chapter.
  12. Attend the 2009 Psi Chi National Leadership Conference (NLC). Encourage a representative from your chapter to attend the next NLC. Participants in the 2007 NLC were very excited about their experience and left the conference with many new ideas about how to be an effective chapter leader and have a successful chapter. Information about the 2009 conference will be available soon.

Ever since her childhood in Toronto, Canada, Virginia (Ginny) Andreoli Mathie, PhD wanted to be a teacher. As the eldest of five daughters born to Thomas and Julia Andreoli, Ginny spent many summer days playing "teacher" in a make-believe classroom, with her sisters Dolores, Frances, Marion, and Donna playing the role of students. During high school Ginny wanted to be a mathematics teacher so in 1967 she entered the mathematics and computer science program at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. She soon became hooked on psychology as well and after completing her BMath and BA in Psychology degrees, she entered the social psychology program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she completed her MA and PhD degrees under the mentorship of John Thibaut.

In 1975, Ginny joined the psychology faculty at what is now James Madison University (JMU) in Virginia. During her 29 years at JMU she taught a variety of courses including introductory psychology, social psychology, research methods, and statistics. Given her love of teaching, she was honored to receive the 1981 JMU Distinguished Teacher Award and to be named the 2000 American Psychological Association (APA) Harry Kirke Wolfe Lecturer. Ginny's research with students and colleagues investigated topics such as factors related to family violence, differences between acknowledged and unacknowledged rape victims, and the effectiveness of instructional technology. Her publications and presentations address these topics as well as issues related to teaching and professional service. Ginny served eight years as coordinator of the JMU undergraduate program and the general psychology master's program and four years as department head. A very special highlight of her JMU career was her recent induction into the JMU Psi Chi chapter!

Among the many leadership positions she has held in professional organizations, Ginny served as a member of the Virginia Psychological Association (VPA) Board of Directors, as the VPA Secretary, and as founding president of the VPA's Virginia Academy of Academic Psychologists. She served on the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (STP; APA Division 2) Executive Committee for several years, was the 1995-1996 STP President, and currently represents STP on the APA Council of Represent-atives. Ginny was awarded APA Fellow status in STP in 1996. She also served on the APA Board of Educational Affairs (BEA) from 1997 through 2000 and chaired the BEA Technology Working Group, the 1999 and 2000 BEA convention programs on technology and education, and the APA Education Leadership Conference Technology Group. She was a member of the BEA Executive Committee, the BEA Education and Training Awards Committee, the APA Board of Directors Technology Applications Advisory Group, and the APA Com-mittee for Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS). One of the highlights of her career was chairing the Psychology Partnerships Project: Academic Partnerships to Meet the Teaching and Learning Needs of the 21st Century (P3), a five-year BEA project conceived by Ginny, Randy Ernst, a former chair of TOPSS, and Jill Reich, the former Executive Director of the APA Education Directorate. P3 produced many new partnerships between psychology teachers in high schools, community colleges, four-year colleges and universities, and research universities as well as a variety of new resources to enhance psychology education. In recognition of her work on P3, Ginny received the APA 2002 Distinguished Contributions to Applications of Psychology to Education and Training Award.

In addition to her professional life, Ginny enjoys the special times she spends with her husband Jim, daughters Jennifer, Shannon, and Allison, son-in-law Ingmar, and grandchildren Mi Mi, Marieke, and Kees.

Copyright 2007 (Volume 12, 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.

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