How to become an Advisor
If you are interested in becoming a chapter advisor of an existing Psi Beta chapter at your college, please click here to contact Jerry Rudmann, 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 Beta, update contact records, and access other password-protected information. If your college does not have a Psi Beta chapter, see information on Starting a New Chapter.
Benefits of Becoming a Psi Beta Faculty Advisor
A message from Executive Director Jerry Rudmann
Much has been said and written about students’ benefits through membership in Psi Beta. Much less has been said or written about the faculty advisors of Psi Beta. Two-year college 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, Psi Beta 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 Beta at a college, there will be no chapter if no one comes forward to be an advisor. Obviously, chapter advisors are Psi Beta’s lifeblood. There are now more than 100 Psi Beta chapters at the nation’s 1,086 two-year colleges.
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 have listed the areas in which I feel Psi Beta provides personal benefits for advisors.
- Making the classroom connection. Having been a department chair charged with evaluating teachers, I’ve 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. Establishing the classroom connection is much easier when you have Psi Beta 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. Many Psi Beta chapters traditionally attend the annual regional psychology conference. Every regional psychology conference (in my area, the Western Psychological Association) 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). I’ve used many of the teaching suggestions.
- Network with winners. I get a real lift when I’m around upbeat, positive folks. Since becoming associated with Psi Beta, I have met many winners. Psi Beta and Psi Chi chapter advisors and psychology faculty who attend regional and national conferences are the cream of the teaching crop. These people really care about students and teaching effectiveness; they are good people to know and have as friends.
- More informed academic advising. An important, additional side benefit of regional and national conference attendance is the academic information one can acquire. Through interactions with faculty from transfer institutions, one can learn a great deal about their programs, even how your former students are doing at the four-year colleges and universities. Workshops presented by Psi Chi faculty advisors are another important feature of the regional and national conventions. Psi Chi advisors frequently present excellent sessions on strategies students can use in preparing for graduate school, and getting into and surviving graduate school. This information has enabled me to better advise many students at my college. We’ve incorporated much of this information into a careers-in-psychology course at my college.
- Contributing to transfer. Psi Beta helps the college fulfill its transfer mission. Many Psi Beta activities (e.g., guest speakers from transfer institutions, field trips to transfer institutions, conference attendance, doing and presenting research) help promote transfer. Indeed, Psi Beta students transfer so quickly that maintaining some sense of continuity among the chapter’s officers can be a real challenge.
- Bringing positive, well-deserved recognition to both the advisor and the college’s psychology program. At two-year institutions across the nation, active Psi Beta chapters continually give psychology, the college’s psychology program, and the Psi Beta advisor positive attention. For example, at some chapters, the Psi Beta advisor presents scholarships to Psi Beta students at the college’s annual scholarship awards ceremony. At many colleges, well-known psychologists are invited to speak during the chapter’s induction ceremonies. Psi Beta students at many chapters conduct meaningful, high-profile service projects (e.g., “adopt-a-family” in which presents and food are distributed to needy families during the holidays, or Heather’s Bears in which teddy bears are provided to paramedics and firefighters to give to children undergoing a trauma such as a car accident). Psi Beta students are distinguished at graduation by wearing honor cords, stoles, and/or medallions. Psi Beta students are praised for placing among the top three in the national Psi Beta research paper competition. In a good year, my college’s public information officer is constantly placing Psi Beta events and achievements in the local newspapers!
- Resume enhancement. If a Psi Beta advisor should ever write a grant proposal, or seek a teaching position at another institution, Psi Beta advising experience will certainly help bolster the application’s strength. Through conference attendance, Psi Beta advisors have many opportunities to present talks or posters on teaching techniques or their research. I expect there is a significant competitive edge for those submitting a resume reflecting experience in advising an active, vital Psi Beta chapter, as well as those who can cite presentations at professional conferences. Because of the contribution of the generous men and women serving as chapter advisors across America, Psi Beta students reap many benefits. But as you can see, Psi Beta advisors themselves enjoy many positive benefits. Clearly, Psi Beta is a win-win experience for students and faculty.
This message is dedicated to the Psi Beta faculty advisors across America. They are Psi Beta’s lifeblood!