How to become an advisor
If you are interested in becoming a chapter advisor of an existing Psi Alpha chapter at your high school, please click here to contact Elizabeth Shabazian, Executive Director, to request an advisor account, username and password. Chapter advisors must have an account in order to register new student members of Psi Alpha, update contact records, and access other password-protected information. If your college does not have a Psi Alpha chapter, see information on Starting a New Chapter.
Benefits of Becoming a Psi Alpha Faculty Advisor
A message from Psi Beta Executive Director Jerry Rudmann,
Much has been said and written about students’ benefits through membership in honors societies like Psi Alpha and Psi Beta. Much less has been said or written about the faculty advisors of Psi Beta. Teachers have plenty to keep them busy. Teaching a full slate of classes, serving on various committees, and maintaining office hours provides a sufficiently busy schedule. Club and honor society advising is a completely voluntary activity; there is no financial compensation and such work falls outside of the teacher’s contractual obligations. And most, if not all, advisors have experienced the frustrations of red tape and bureaucratic procedures encountered while trying to help their students put together a fundraiser, conduct a service project, or do some other worthwhile activity. Regardless of the number of students eligible for Psi Alpha at a school, there will be no chapter if no one comes forward to be an advisor. Obviously, chapter advisors are Psi Alpha’s lifeblood. There are now more than 150 Psi Beta chapters at the nation’s 1,086 two-year colleges. I expect to see the similar numbers with Psi Alpha as it grows.
My Psi Beta story began while I was attending the annual American Psychological Association conference in San Francisco about ten years ago. My wife and I stumbled into a Psi Beta chapter exchange meeting. Within minutes we were welcomed into a group of faculty and students. As we sat in a large circle, different people shared how their chapters had raised money, gone on some educational field trip, recruited new members staged a successful social event, and so on. While the group was exchanging stories, I realized just how much the students in the group were gaining from Psi Beta and how their learning experiences simply couldn’t be provided through the regular classroom experience. The very next academic year, I started a Psi Beta chapter at Irvine Valley College.
Years of Psi Beta involvement has rewarded and enriched my professional life in a number of ways, many of which were totally unexpected. Below I list the ways I thank all those taking on the responsibility and privilege to advise a Psi Alpha chapter at your school, and hope advising brings you a renewed energy as you lead your students towards a greater understanding and appreciation of psychology.
This message is dedicated to the Psi Alpha and Psi Beta faculty advisors across America. Thank you for your contribution.
Making the classroom connection
Experience as a department chair charged with evaluating teachers, Jerry Rudmann always felt that successful instructors are able to establish a certain connection or rapport with each classroom of students. While such a connection might not always develop, no matter how good an instructor is, effective instructors frequently achieve it. Unconnected students are aloof, distant, and show little excitement for learning, while connected students are just the opposite. In his experience, establishing the classroom connection is much easier when you have Psi Alpha members sprinkled around the room because they tend to be among the better students in the college. Psi Beta students take their courses very seriously, attend classes regularly, and participate appropriately in class. Psi Beta students constitute positive role models for students who are not in Psi Beta, encouraging them to be serious students. This positive modeling works to increase the advisor’s teaching effectiveness.
Opportunities to learn about and try new teaching strategies and techniques
We encourage our Psi Alpha advisors and students to attend regional conferences if possible and will be working to create connections to facilitate Psi Alpha members to attend at discounted rates where possible. Many Psi Beta chapters traditionally attend the annual regional psychology conference. Every regional psychology conference offers an impressive array of presentations on the teaching of psychology. Presentations and poster sessions on teaching methods are sponsored by Psi Beta, PT@CC, Psi Chi, the APA’s Division Two, and the Council of Teachers of Undergraduate Psychology (CTUP).
Bringing positive, well-deserved recognition
Advisors and students help each other stand out in their schools and communities by continually striving for excellence by facilitating community and school service activities. Psi Alpha opens doors for notoriety for high achieving students and the teachers helping them. Connecting with parents/ guardians at induction ceremonies and having honor regalia at graduation adds another layer of well deserved recognition.