"Psychology...is not becoming a global profession at a very rapid
pace. . . . Exciting developments are taking place in scientific and
applied psychology all over the world, and we have much to learn from
them. . . . More than ever we are all citizens of the world" (Fowler,
|Internationalizing Psi Chi
|Slater E. Newman, PhD, Psi Chi President, North Carolina State University
In this column I will propose several ways that Psi
Chi chapters can become active (1) in educating its members and others
about developments in psychology and related fields that are occurring
outside the United States, and (2) in fostering communication between
and among students and scholars from different countries (including our
own). I suggest, also, that chapters might become involved in a service
project, international in emphasis. I believe that the time has come for
Psi Chi to become continuously, internationally engaged.
are five parts to this column. First I will describe briefly my
development over the years in international psychology so that you have
some idea about "where I'm coming from." Then I'll review some of the
internationally related activities sponsored by Psi Chi since 1962. Next
I will suggest several activities that chapters can undertake and some
activities that can be done at the regional and national levels.
Finally, there is a short concluding statement.
Here are some of the
factors that I believe helped internationalize me: a two-semester course
in History and Systems of Psychology during my master's program in
industrial psychology at Boston University; completing the foreign
language requirement (in my case, French and German) in the PhD program
in experimental psychology at Northwestern University; the continuing
exchange of reprints over the years with psychologists in a number of
countries; three sabbaticals at the University of London's Birkbeck
College; attendance at the annual meetings of the Tactile Research Group
where, in an informal setting, researchers from several countries
report their latest completed and proposed experiments; and, contact
with students, both graduate and undergraduate, as well as faculty from
outside the United States, who are studying or working on our campus or
at neighboring institutions. Each of these (plus, of course, reading the
literature and attending other scientific meetings) helped me to become
aware of and to appreciate the valuable work being done by
psychologists around the world.
Some Psi Chi International Activities
Chi was founded in 1929. Examination of its history (Hunt, 1979)
indicates that there was very little (if any) international activity
until 1962. Then, however, 1962-63 was designated as Psi Chi's
International Year by the National Council of which Roger Russell was
president. Thus, there were articles in the Psi Chi Newsletter
that year by students from seven countries; several chapters had
colloquia with speakers from abroad; psychology textbooks were shipped
to colleges overseas; funds were raised to sponsor a young psychologist
from abroad to attend the Washington meeting of the International
Congress of Psychology; and Otto Klineberg, president of the
International Union of Scientific Psychology, was Psi Chi's main speaker
at its annual meeting.
During his tenure as Psi Chi national
president (1980-83), Charles Spielberger ". . . was influential in
providing information to assist U.S. psychology students who desired to
study or conduct research abroad . . . and worked to establish student
affiliate status . . . for Psi Chi members in the International Council
of Psychologists" (Cousins, Tracy, & Giordano, 1992, p. 417). Other
international items appearing in the Newsletter were reports of
psychology-related trips abroad by Executive Director Ruth Cousins,
President Florence Denmark, and Vice-President Raymond Fowler; talks by
Psi Chi-sponsored speakers from Lebanon, South Africa, and the United
Kingdom; and an excellent article on participating in international
psychology (Rosenzweig, 1983, Summer) which still has much relevance
today. In 1994, President Joseph Horvat appointed an International
Committee. It has been chaired by President-Elect Harold Takooshian and
has been working to determine the interest in and feasibility of
establishing Psi Chi chapters outside the United States. (Psi Chi's
bylaws were amended in 1984 to permit the inclusion of such chapters).
Finally, in 1994, a program of service projects of one or two years in
duration was initiated by the National Council. The first two, the
collection of pens and pencils for schoolchildren in Malawi and of
eyeglasses distributed worldwide, were both international in emphasis.
What Chapters Can Do
activities might be sponsored alone or in collaboration with a
Psychology Club, or with honor societies or clubs from related
disciplines. Your chapter may wish to have an International Committee
that would have the responsibility for arranging one or several
activities during the year. Here are some suggestions:
- A reception for students and faculty from psychology and perhaps
from related disciplines who are visiting your campus from other
countries. Visitors from neighboring campuses might also be invited.
Early during the academic year would be a good idea for the first one,
with others possibly to follow. The main purpose would be social, though
perhaps some type of orientation program to the department(s),
college(s), and/or community might be arranged.
- Talks by students or faculty visiting from other countries or
by local students or faculty who have recently visited another country.
Such speakers might, for example, describe the educational system of a
country, or the research in which they or others are engaged, or the
various types of professional practice in the country.
- Talks by local or visiting faculty or students engaged in international research.
- One or more sessions providing information about opportunities
to study and to do research abroad, and possible sources of support. The
session(s) might also include information about obtaining work abroad.
- One or more sessions describing the various international
organizations that have students as members (e.g., International
Association of Applied Psychology, International Council of
Psychologists, Interamerican Society of Psychologists).
- Participation in an international service project.
Regional and National Activities
similar to several of those mentioned above might be arranged at
regional (e.g., Eastern Psychological Association) and national (e.g.,
American Psychological Society) meetings. For example, at this year's
annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Psi Chi
cosponsored a symposium, "International Psychology in the United States:
Past, Present, Future," and a poster session, "Psychology
Worldwide--Research, Teaching, Practice," and hosted a reception for
international guests. The establishment of chapters outside the United
States and the publication of articles of international interest or of a
column on international psychology in our quarterly magazine, Eye on Psi Chi, are two others domains of national-level responsibility.
My hope is that through
international programs at the chapter, regional, and national levels,
our members (and others) will become more broadly educated and that
international communication will concomitantly be fostered. I hope, too,
that international psychology will soon come to be a continuing part of
the program of each chapter and region and at the national level.
welcome your comments and suggestions about what I've said here. I'm
interested in learning about any international programs your chapter has
had and/or may be planning. Feel free to contact me by regular mail
(Department of Psychology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
27695-7801), telephone (919/515-1728), fax (919/515-1716), or e-mail (email@example.com). I look forward to hearing from you!
Cousins, R. H., Tracy, C.,
& Giordano (1992). Psi Chi and Psi Beta: The two national honor
societies in psychology. In A. E. Puente, J. R. Mathews, & C. L.
Brewer (Eds.), Teaching psychology in America: A history (pp. 403-427). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Fowler, R. (1998, May). Sampling psychology's international flavor. APA Monitor (pp. 29-30). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Hunt, T. (1970). Five decades of Psi Chi, 1929-1979. Washington, DC: Psi Chi.
Rosenzweig, M. R. (1983, Summer). Participating in international psychology. Psi Chi Newsletter, 9(3), 2-3.
Copyright 1998 (Volume 3, Issue 1) by Psi Chi, the
International Honor Society in Psychology
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