Best Practices Article – Recruiting New Members!

Note to readers: A few weeks ago the chapter at Community College of Allegheny County, North Campus submitted an induction order for over 130 students! We asked the chapter advisors to share their recruitment strategies. Their excellent, informative  response follows. – Jerry Rudmann, Psi Beta National Office

RECRUITING NEW MEMBERS OVER 30 YEARS–SOME STRATEGIES WORK BETTER THAN OTHERS

Psi Beta is at the heart of much of what the Psychology Program does at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), North Campus Chapter.  CCAC has four campuses and seven centers geographically disbursed in Allegheny County, PA. To assist students in participating in Psi Beta, the members and advisors have used many recruiting strategies since the first students joined in the 1981-82 academic year. The North Campus Office of Student Life supports these strategies and provides campus-wide recruiting programs for other campus organizations as well. Psi Beta participates in the campus programs, too.

In 1981-82, psychology faculty announced in North Campus classes that students who met the criteria for membership were welcome to join. This strategy is still used.  Additionally, a Blackboard site for psychology majors and a separate one for psychology faculty have been added. These two sites afford communication with psychology faculty and psychology majors system-wide about Psi Beta opportunities and programs.

However, the greatest response to a strategy occurred in fall 2011 when letters were sent via US mail to all students on three of the campuses who qualified academically to join. South Campus has a separate Psi Beta chapter so that campus’ student body was not included.  The letter provided information about Psi Beta, the qualifications for membership, the membership fee and benefits of joining, contact information for receiving a registration form along with a deadline for submitting it and the date of the fall induction.  The response to the letter was overwhelming in terms of students who expressed interest in joining.  Over 200 students requested registration forms and ultimately, one hundred thirty-five were inducted this fall.   Many others who waited too long to complete registration are being deferred until spring 2012.  Traditionally, we inducted between 10 and 15 members using the old method of announcing Psi Beta in our classes.  We were obviously missing literally hundreds of qualified students using this technique.

The response, both by email and phone calls/messages, was overwhelming to the advisors and Student Life secretary because of the unprecedented number of students who requested registration forms, most of which were sent electronically via email.  The North Campus chapter asks all students to submit their applications and payment to the Office of Student Life prior to registering with the Psi Beta National Office.

This invitational strategy required much coordination with the national office and the North Campus Office of Student Life. Both were extremely helpful.

We have learned much from this new strategy.  In the future, including the registration form in the invitational letter is paramount. This will help students return the registration forms and their checks to the Office of Student Life prior to the deadline and will eliminate the need for them to contact us to request a registration form, thus reducing the work load for all of us. In addition, we will be working with the IT department to exclude current members if possible from future invitational mailings, and have asked the advisors of the South Campus chapter to include students from one of the other campuses in their recruitment process, which would result in each chapter being responsible for two campuses, evening out the load.

North Campus Psi Beta officers, advisors and members are excited to have so many new members for the many activities on their fall and spring calendars. They will also be adding new chapter activities as they become active.  We look forward to the new ideas these new members will bring along with them.

Anne Louise and Allison

Anne Louise Dailey, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology Emeritus CCAC North Campus Chapter Psi Beta Advisor
8701 Perry Highway
Pittsburgh PA 15237

Professor Allison Caveglia Barash
CCAC North Campus Chapter Psi Beta Adisor
8701 Perry Highway
Pittsburgh Pa 15237


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