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Eye on Psi Chi: Fall 2012

Outgoing President Shares ‘Behind Scenes’ Appreciation
Susan Amato-Henderson, PhD, Michigan Technological University

My year serving as President of the Psi Chi Board of Directors has been invigorating, challenging, and eye opening. As I move comfortably to my new role as past president, I recognize just how much I will miss my day-today involvement in Psi Chi. In this column, I hope to enlighten you on the amount of work done "behind the scenes” by the staff, executive staff, and the Board of Directors to keep Psi Chi on track to achieve the goals of our strategic plan.

The Central Office in Chattanooga, TN, is abuzz with a flurry of activity every day. Our staff, although small in number compared to other honor societies and nonprofit membership organizations, are the most committed, caring, and compassionate people that I have ever had the pleasure to work with. If not for them, Psi Chi’s ability to serve the needs of our members would suffer. Our phenomenal staff include Susan Iles and her interns in Communications; Kat Bozeman and Linda Williams in Membership Services (and merchandise); Jennifer Baldwin and her intern in Awards and Grants; Kevin Germain and Chris Smith in IT; Dael Hoyt in Finance; and Debbie Garvich who provides administrative assistance.

These people are truly amazing, and their commitment to Psi Chi is clear in all that they do. EVERY STAFF MEMBER has stepped up into new roles or is new to our organization during the past year. Times of transition can be quite disruptive, so I wish to publicly thank each and every staff member for his or her willingness to take charge, transition into new roles, and work in, sometimes, less than ideal conditions. The next time you have the pleasure to interact with any of them, I encourage you to give them your thanks and appreciation. I have learned a lot about the inner workings of Psi Chi during the past year, and will forever be grateful that these wonderful people are part of our family!

Our organization maintains its operation and vision through the hard work of Executive Director Martha Zlokovich, PhD and Chief Operating Officer Michele Rumpf. Both Martha and Michele work hard every day to maintain the vision of the Board of Directors, of which they are nonvoting members. Martha is Psi Chi’s liaison to universities and psychology organizations around the world, and Michele manages staff in the Central Office. Their time is spread thin, and their efforts are relentless. The dynamics of their jobs change annually, as new Boards come in with new visions and priorities. Both executives also deserve public recognition for their ability to keep "the ship sailing” through the rough waters of transition and the ever-increasing demands of providing quality services to more than 660,000 members.

Finally, my colleagues on the Board of Directors are driven, ambitious, goal-oriented individuals. It is clear that their primary concern is to enhance membership benefits while being fiscally responsible. The strategic planning that was conducted a year ago is in place, and much of this past year was spent reframing priorities and directing efforts toward the following strategic initiatives:

  1. Raising Central Office capacity
    This goal focuses on our ability to continue offering quality services to our members through IT infrastructure, website redesign, staffing demands, and increased/improved services.
  2. Improving the logistics of internationalization
    This goal focuses on developing new processes and changing old ones in an effort to be sensitive to the needs of ALL members, including those from other countries. This initiative is far reaching and includes things as simple as updating our process for mailing (we now mail internationally) to programming online forms to allow for various phone number and zip code formats. It also involves developing methods to assess our progress with internationalization and laying the foundation for long-term goals.
  3. Enhancing and promoting value of Psi Chi to both current members and potential new members
    This has kept the Board of Directors busy enhancing existing benefits (such as increased travel grant funding), designing new opportunities for members (such as new research grants), and communicating these to members in different ways (such as Facebook and Twitter).
  4. Encouraging and providing support for faculty advisors
    Providing support, recognition, and incentives for faculty advisors allow them to better support their student and alumni members.

As Psi Chi continues to grow and become a premier international honor society, please remember that the Board of Directors and staff are open to hearing your suggestions, ideas, and needs. While we have not changed Psi Chi’s mission, we are always open to ideas for improving the route through which we achieve that mission!

Susan Amato-Henderson, PhD, received her PhD in experimental psychology from the University of North Dakota in 1996. She joined the Psi Chi family as an undergraduate student, and served as the Rocky Mountain Regional Vice-President from 1999–2001 while a faculty member at Boise State University (ID). She is currently an associate professor in the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences and Psychology Program Director at Michigan Technological University (MTU). She has spent much of her time at MTU building and directing a major and minor in psychology. Dr. Amato continues to serve as a mentor to students through the MTU Psychology Club, whose submission for a Psi Chi Chapter was recently approved. Her recent research, funded by over $500,000 in NSF funds, has focused on the assessment of educational outcomes. Dr. Amato has received numerous awards and recognition for her teaching and service at both Boise State and Michigan Tech Universities.

Copyright 2012 (Volume 17, 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:
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Summer (April)
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