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Eye on Psi Chi: Summer 2007

A Matter of Ethics
Virginia Andreoli Mathie, Psi Chi Executive Director

In 2004 the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS) instituted its national project A Matter of Ethics. The purpose of this initiative is to promote honesty, trustworthiness, integrity, and ethical behavior in young adults, not only in the classroom but also in life. As a member of the ACHS, Psi Chi embraced this project. The Psi Chi National Council incorporated the project's objectives in Psi Chi's national and regional activities. Psi Chi included sessions on teaching, practice, and research ethics in regional conference programs; published articles about research ethics in Eye on Psi Chi (Prieto, 2005; 2006); and made the theme of the first Psi Chi National Leadership Conference Ethical and Socially Responsible Leaders in Psychology. The Psi Chi National Council will continue to support and promote the objectives of A Matter of Ethics in its future activities. Additionally, Council members encourage all Psi Chi chapters to participate in this national project.
Why Promote A Matter of Ethics?
Ethical behavior is the foundation of education and society. Academic integrity fosters ethical behavior. The Center for Academic Integrity (CAI; 1999) defined academic integrity as a commitment to five core values: honesty, trustworthiness, fairness, respect, and responsibility. If our education system and the administrators, teachers, and students in the academe do not make a commitment to these core values, how can we trust the accuracy and value of what we learn in our schools? Only through adherence to these core values can we acquire real knowledge, skills, and the pride and self-esteem that come with honest achievement. People who violate these core values not only demean themselves and lessen the value of their accomplishments (and in the case of the academe, the value of the degrees awarded), but they also pose a potential threat to the integrity and well-being of our society. After all, would you want a doctor who cheated throughout his or her medical training to perform surgery on you? As members of an honor society and as campus leaders, Psi Chi members have an opportunity and a responsibility to be models of ethical behavior both in and out of the classroom. Psi Chi chapters can take the lead in promoting academic integrity and ethical behavior on campuses.
How Can Psi Chi Chapters Promote Ethics?
The ACHS (see and the CAI (see provide many program ideas, activities, and resources for chapters seeking ways to participate in A Matter of Ethics. Here are a few examples of activities, some of which are variations on the ideas presented on the ACHS website.
  • Sponsor a departmental program to discuss case studies that raise ethical issues in an academic context. Three sites that provide excellent case studies are listed below.
    – CAI website:
    – Kappa Omicron Nu website:
    – Society of Physics Students website:
  • Sponsor a departmental program that focuses on research ethics. The program could include a panel discussion by students and faculty members doing different types of research. Invite the chairperson of the campus's Institutional Review Board to participate in the discussion.
  • Devote a chapter meeting to discussing ethical issues that arise in leadership positions. Include issues or problems confronted by leaders in Psi Chi chapters and discuss how to address these issues or problems in an ethical manner.
  • Collaborate with other honor societies on campus to sponsor a program on ethics in daily life. The program could include a panel discussion by people representing various professions in the community.
  • Collaborate with other honor societies to sponsor a movie night featuring a movie in which characters must confront ethical issues. After the movie, discuss the ethical issues and ethical ways to deal with the situations portrayed in the movie. The perspectives offered by the various disciplines will add interest to this discussion.
  • Collaborate with other honor societies to sponsor a program on professional ethics. Representatives from the various disciplines could discuss how the ethical codes from their disciplines are similar and how they are different.
The Psi Chi National Council encourages your chapter to devote some time at a chapter meeting to generating ideas for other programs that would promote ethics on your campus. The benefits of participating in these activities, for your chapter as a whole and for individual members, are well worth the effort invested in organizing and implementing the activities.

ACHS Objectives for Honor Societies Participating in A Matter of Ethics
(quoted from ACHS, n.d.)
  1. Commit to a leadership role in increasing campus and community awareness of ethical standards.
  2. Engage in a dialogue between student groups regarding ethical issues.
  3. Promote, encourage, and strengthen commitment to ethical behaviors at all levels of the campus community.
  4. Serve as role models of ethical behavior.
  5. Pursue the art and practice of making ethical decisions and provide learning opportunities for ethical leadership among peers.
  6. Learn, share, and follow ACHS guidelines for resolving ethical dilemmas.
  7. Increase knowledge of and appreciation for professional codes of ethics within your discipline.
Association of College Honor Societies. (n.d.). A matter of ethics. Retrieved March 20, 2007, from

Prieto, L. R. (2005, Spring). The IRB and psychological research: A primer for students. Eye on Psi Chi, 9(3), 24-25.

Prieto, L. R. (2006, Winter). Research ethics and the APA code. Eye on Psi Chi, 10(2), 26-27.

The Center for Academic Integrity. (1999). The fundamental values of academic integrity. Retrieved March 20, 2007, from

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 11, Issue 4) 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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