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Eye on Psi Chi: Spring 2016

Psi Chi's Big 5:
A Plan for Action

Daniel Corts, PhD, Psi Chi President, Augustana College (IL)
View this issue in PDF and Digital formats.

I joined Psi Chi years ago for the same reasons most members join today: to have a credential for my resumé and apply for an award or grant. I have since learned that we belong to one of the largest and most dynamic honor societies that offers so much more than I had expected. One of the most significant benefits is simply getting to know others who share interests in psychology. In the months ahead, I will represent Psi Chi at a half dozen conventions where I will meet some bright, motivated, and interesting people. Funny how the best part of membership has little to do with a line on my resumé or that research award I received a few years back.
Regretfully, I just had to decline an invitation to a student-run conference last month because of a scheduling conflict. However, the organizers were kind enough to ask me to share a brief message highlighting how Psi Chi serves its members and the discipline of psychology. I managed to generate a list of 19 items before realizing that the message was by no means “brief.” Coincidentally, my class had just discussed how personality psychologists have summarized the vast array of personality characteristics to five main traits that describe the unique personalities of each individual: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. These are known as the Big 5, and they spell out the acronym OCEAN—a very effective mnemonic. Using some of the same reasoning, I determined that Psi Chi has its own Big 5 explaining the array of benefits and services. There is even a mnemonic acronym: PLAN A.
Publications and programming. Psi Chi has two main publications. You already know that Eye on Psi Chi shares news from other chapters and provides advice about education and career development. But how much do you know about our Journal? Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research accepts manuscripts with Psi Chi members as first author, whether that author is an undergraduate, graduate student, or faculty member. It is indexed in PsycINFO and EBSCO, and will be open access (completely free to readers and authors) as of July of this year. In addition to these publications, Psi Chi sponsors programming at conventions about career development, leadership, diversity, and other topics that parallel our publications.
Lifetime membership. One of the biggest misconceptions I encounter is that Psi Chi is for undergraduates only. It is true that Psi Chi emphasizes students, but that is because there are so few other organizations serving that role. However, there are a number of awards and grants for graduate students and faculty, and everyone is encouraged to get involved by publishing in the Journal and serving as advisors or coadvisors. Our partnerships are lifetime benefits as well. As an example, TherapySites provides discounted web services for practicing clinicians, a benefit solely applicable to our advanced members.
Awards, grants, and scholarships. Psi Chi provides members with access to over $400,000 annually in awards and grants. These fund research and convention travel; recognize successful research; and promote leadership, diversity, and chapter engagement. Last year, we were excited to roll out our first scholarships for undergraduate study.
Networking. Psi Chi has a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to keep everyone up to date. The LinkedIn account is especially good for career advice and contacts. To support long-term involvement and engagement, our innovative IT staff members are working on a career board that will include announcements for employment and internships. This will allow businesses, universities, and agencies—especially where Psi Chi alumni are in supervisory positions—to recruit the best and brightest psychology majors. We expect this to be a premier destination for student members and graduates who are looking for employment, internships in business or government, or perhaps a summer research experience at another university.
Action. This last item might be the most important of all. The A for Action is a reminder that it is up to you to take advantage of these opportunities and benefits. There has yet to be a member who received a research grant or a scholarship without applying, or published an article without first submitting it for review. The truth is that, for every member I meet at a convention, there is another who has settled for the line on a resumé. It is unfortunate to see those opportunities missed, but I am happy that you are looking through the pages of the Eye today. That means that you are beginning to take action. I hope you will consider which of the benefits you plan to take advantage of in the upcoming months. The good news is that Psi Chi is a strong, growing organization that you can rely on. Once you have PLAN A, you won’t even need a PLAN B.

Daniel Corts, PhD, discovered psychology at Belmont University where he earned a BS, and then completed a PhD in cognition at the University of Tennessee. After a post doc at Furman University, he went to Augustana College. He has been involved with Psi Chi for over 10 years serving on the Midwestern Steering Committee and Grants and Awards Committee, as a consulting editor for the Journal, and completing one term as Midwestern Vice-President.

Copyright 2016 (Volume 20, Issue 3) 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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