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Eye on Psi Chi: Winter 2008
Beyond Chapter Advising: Faculty Involvement in Psi Chi
Merry J. Sleigh, PhD, Winthrop University (SC)

Although students are the heart of Psi Chi, one might argue that faculty are the backbone of the organization, providing structure and support at the local and national level. Perhaps the most familiar role that faculty members play is to serve as chapter advisors. However, there may be several reasons why a particular faculty member is unable to fill that role.

Sabbaticals, teaching abroad, research programs, or course assignments may reduce a person’s availability. Departmental issues may also impact advisors. New faculty may be offered leadership of Psi Chi as an ideal vehicle for incorporating them into student life and bringing a fresh perspective to the organization. Some departments opt to rotate chapter advisors in order to keep all departmental faculty actively engaged with their top students.

Fortunately, being a chapter advisor is not the only way for a faculty member to contribute to Psi Chi. Here are some ideas for other ways faculty members can stay involved, beyond the role of chapter advisor.

Department Activities:
  • Become a coadvisor by sharing advising duties with another faculty member.
  • Take on advising responsibility for a particular Psi Chi function or event (e.g., webmaster, recruitment and membership, fundraising advisor).
  • Assume responsibility for alumni relations, maintaining contact with former members.
  • Mentor a new chapter advisor.
  • Provide training sessions for incoming chapter officers.
  • Attend and actively participate in Psi Chi events. (Faculty presence can be a powerful motivating factor in student participation.)
  • Lend expertise to help create a Psi Chi project or event. For example, a faculty member with strong writing skills may lead a session on writing personal statements for graduate school.
  • Advertise Psi Chi events (national and local) in class. A simple way is to wear Psi Chi merchandise—available HERE).
  • Recognize Psi Chi members, member achievements, and organizational accomplishments in class.
  • Target Psi Chi students for research collaboration or other professional experiences.
  • Nominate or help nominate outstanding advisors, officers, or chapters for Psi Chi national awards (HERE).
  • Serve as a liaison between the local Psi Chi chapter and other student groups with which you are affiliated in order to facilitate collaboration on service projects or social activities.

Professional Activities:
  • Encourage Psi Chi students to attend and/or submit their work to professional conferences.
  • Ensure that Psi Chi student coauthors participate in awards programs at professional conferences.
  • Volunteer to assist with Psi Chi events (e.g., the hospitality room) at professional conferences.
  • Help students submit research to the Psi Chi Journal of Undergraduate Research ().
  • Serve as a reviewer for the Psi Chi Journal of Undergraduate Research (contact Dr. Christopher Koch, Editor, at
  • Submit, or encourage students to submit articles to Eye on Psi Chi (HERE).
  • Conduct research directly related to the betterment of Psi Chi (e.g., recruiting techniques, member expectations, leadership, group cohesion).
  • Contact the Psi Chi Regional Vice-President in your region and offer to serve on your region’s Psi Chi Regional Steering Committee.
  • Consider being a candidate for the Psi Chi Regional Vice-President in your region.
  • Help start a chapter where one does not currently exist.
  • Consider making a financial contribution at the local or national level (e.g., sponsoring a scholarship, establishing an award endowment, funding an event).
Psi Chi offers faculty members an avenue to serve their students, department, honor society, and field. Any contribution is appreciated. Whether the time commitment is minimal or extensive, the rewards will be great.

Merry Sleigh earned her BA in psychology and English from James Madison University (VA). In 1996, she received her PhD in developmental psychology from Virginia Tech, with a specialization in prenatal and infant development. She first served as faculty advisor to Psi Chi at George Mason University (VA), where she received the Regional Faculty Advisor Award in 2003. Dr. Sleigh currently teaches at Winthrop University. She serves as the Psi Chi faculty advisor and as a reviewer for the Psi Chi Journal of Undergraduate Research.

Copyright 2008 (Volume 12, Issue 2) 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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