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Psi Chi

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Psi Chi

Psi Chi
Abbreviation ΨΧ
Formation 1929
Type Honor Society
Membership over 600,000

Psi Chi (ΨΧ) is the International Honor Society in Psychology which was founded in 1929 for the purposes of encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship, and advancing the science of psychology. Psi Chi is one of the largest honor societies in the United States having more than one thousand chapters. Psi Chi has inducted over six hundred thousand lifetime members from chapters in the United States and Canada. Famous members include B.F. Skinner, Philip Zimbardo, Jon Stewart, and Dr. Phil.

Psi Chi is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies and is an affiliate of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Association for Psychological Science (APS).


Psi Chi was founded by Frederick Howell Lewis and Edwin B. Newman, psychology students at the American Psychological Association's annual meeting. Psi Chi's original name was Sigma Pi Sigma, but it was learned that the name was already in use by an honor society in physics. "Psi Chi" was chosen as the honor society's official name at its second annual meeting in 1930 because of the name's similarity to the word "psychology."


Membership is open to graduate and undergraduate individuals who are making the study of psychology one of their major interests and who meet the minimum qualifications. Membership is attained through application and acceptance at the local chapter level. Psychology majors who attend two-year junior or community colleges may join Psi Beta, Psi Chi's sister society.

Undergraduates must meet the following criteria in order to become members of Psi Chi:[1]

  • Must be at least a second-semester sophomore
  • Must be enrolled as a major or minor in a psychology program (or a program psychological in nature that is equivalent to a psych major)
  • Must have completed 9 semester hours (or 14 quarter hours) of psychology courses
  • Have an overall GPA in top 35% of their class (based on rankings within sophomore, junior, & senior classes); note: if the cutoff for the top 35% in their class is below 3.0, the applicant must have an overall GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4-point scale). Calculations for the GPA must be based on the largest group that houses the psychology department.
  • Have a psychology GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

To join Psi Chi as a graduate student, one must be enrolled in a psychology graduate program and have an overall GPA of at least 3.5 (on a 4-point scale) in all graduate courses.

Psi Chi chapters may also induct full-time faculty who have a doctorate in psychology (or a psychology-related field).

Psi Chi chapters may elect (as allowed by the international [1]) to have higher academic standards for membership in their chapter and may optionally elect to add a local chapter membership fee.

The current one-time membership fee is $55.00 ( There are additional chapter fees which are determined at the local level. No further fees are necessary as membership is for life. Past fee increases were as follows:

Fee Date Began Date Ended Notes
$1.00 Sep 1929 Aug 1945 Aug 1945 is an approximate is unclear exactly which month the fee changed (it did occur in summer/fall '45)
$2.00 Aug 1945 Jan 1952 specifically Jan 14, 1952
$3.00 Jan 1952 Nov 1954 specifically Jan 15, 1952
$5.00 Dec 1954 Aug 1961
$7.50 Sep 1961 Aug 1968
$10.00 Sep 1968 Dec 1974
$15.00 Jan 1975 Dec 1978
$20.00 Jan 1979 Dec 1981
$25.00 Jan 1982 Aug 2000
$35.00 Sep 2000 Jun 2009
$45.00 Jul 2009 Aug 2013
$55.00 Sept 2013 current

Awards and grants

Psi Chi rewards its members annually with over $300,550 in various [2] programs.


Psi Chi members may attend national and regional conventions, held yearly. Some chapters provide information on graduate study in psychology and assist members in the graduate school application process. Tutoring, community service, and social events are also common activities of Psi Chi chapters.


Psi Chi, a federally recognized, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is governed by the Board of Directors [3]. The Board of Directors is composed of three presidents (President, President-Elect, Past-President), six regional vice-presidents (East, Midwest, Rocky Mountain, Southeast, Southwest, West), an executive director, and an executive officer. The presidents and regional vice-presidents are elected by Psi Chi chapters. The current President (2014–15) is Betsy Morgan, PhD, University of Wisconsin–La Crosse; President-Elect is Dan Corts, PhD, Augustana College (IL); and Past-President is Maria Lavooy, PhD, Florida Institute of Technology.

Regional vice-presidents serve two-year terms and may serve up to a total of two terms (four years). Regional vice-president elections are held in odd-numbered years for the Eastern, Rocky Mountain, and Western Regions, and in even-numbered years for the Midwestern, Southeastern, and Southwestern Regions. The term of office for regional vice-presidents begins on July 1.

President candidates must have served at least one full two-year term as a regional vice-president. If elected by chapters to become president, the candidate becomes the society's President-Elect for one year, President the following year, and then the Past-President the year after. Presidents' terms of office begin at the close of each year's Board of Directors business meeting held at the Psi Chi/APA National Convention.

Psi Chi's fiscal year is from July 1 - June 30.

Central Office

The Central Office [4] fulfills the needs of the society as directed by the leadership of the Board of Directors. The current Central Office staff is composed of an executive director, executive officer, membership director, publications director, information systems manager, and awards director. As needed, the Board of Directors creates new staff positions to help better meet the needs of and provide benefits to members of the society.

A list of Psi Chi's executive directors follows. The title of the "executive director" position has changed over the years: Secretary-Treasurer (1929–54), Executive Secretary (1954–68), Executive Director (1969–91), Executive Officer (1991–2003), Chief Operating Officer (2004–present). The current position of Executive Director did not exist before 2004.

(1929–1958) Secretary-treasurers

  • 1929–30: Paul E. Martin
  • 1930–34: Ruth B. Guilford (Ruth also served briefly in 1951 between Miriam Crowley and Lucille Forer)
  • 1935–40: E. Louise Hoffeditz Porter
  • 1941–42: Louise T. Grossnickle
  • 1942–46: Dorothea W. F. Ewers
  • 1946–48: Katharine M. M. Maurer (née Cobb)
  • 1949–51: Miriam E. Crowley (née McCue)
  • 1951–55: Lucille K. Forer
  • 1956–58: Meredith J. Marks

(1958–1991) Ruth Cousins

Ruth Hubbard Cousins (born May 21, 1920) was one of the society's most famous executive directors, serving for more than 33 years (December 1958 – October 1991). She died on January 11, 2007. Read more about Ruth Cousins, her life, and her service to Psi Chi [5].

(1991–2003) Kay Wilson

After Cousins retired as executive director, (born September 21, 1939) took over as executive officer (the title changed, but her position still functioned as executive director) from October 1991 until her death in June 2003, of cancer.

(2003-2007) Executive Officer Paula Miller

Paula Miller, who was the organization's previous membership and awards director (1997–2003), was hired as the executive officer in 2003, and served in that position managing the Central Office in Chattanooga, TN until 2007. In March 2007, Lisa Mantooth, formerly of the Cleveland, TN Red Cross Chapter, began as executive officer and served through November 2009.

(2010-present) Chief Operating Officer Michele Rumpf

In 2010 Michele Rumpf began in the position now called Chief Operating Officer.

(2004–2008) Executive Director - First in the Newly-Defined Position - Virginia Andreoli Mathie

When Wilson died in 2003, the National Council reviewed the position of executive officer and decided to split the position's function into two positions: executive director (a new position with broader outreach and strategic planning functions) and executive officer (the position with office management functions that had been in place since the beginning). A search began in 2003, and Virginia Andreoli Mathie, PhD, a professor of psychology at James Madison University (VA) previously, was hired as the first Executive Director in the newly created position and began on July 1, 2004. Dr. Mathie served until June 30, 2008. As ED Dr. Mathie was responsible for coordinating with other psychological organizations, long term strategic planning, and assisting universities applying for a Psi Chi chapter.

(2008-present) Executive Director - Second in the Newly-Defined Position - Martha S. Zlokovich

Beginning July 1, 2008, Martha S. Potter Zlokovich, PhD, from Southeast Missouri State University and a former Psi Chi National President, began serving as Psi Chi's second Executive Director.

Current staff members

Executive Director: Martha S. Zlokovich, PhD (2008–present)
Chief Operations Officer: Michele Rumpf (2010–present)
Director of Communications: Susan Iles (2004–present)
Director of Awards & Grants: Jennifer Baldwin (2012–present)
Director of Membership Services: Lisa Norman (2012–present)
IT Manager: Kevin Germain (2011–present)
Merchandise Coordinator: Linda Williams (2011–present)
Systems Administrator: Chris Smith (2011–present)
Database Administrator: Jeremy Stephens (2012–present)
Finance Administrator: Dael Hoyt (2012–present)
Administrative Assistant: Debbie Garvich (2012–present)

Past staff members

Executive Officer: Lisa Mantooth (2007–09); Paula Miller (2003–07)
Interim Executive Officer: Melissa Strickland (2009–2010)
Director of Awards: Melissa Strickland (2006–2011); Jennifer Lopez (2005); Brian Welsh (2004); Paula Miller (1997–2003)
Director of Membership: Amie Austin Hearn (2000–2012); Paula Miller (1997–2000); Laura Senecker (199?-97); Donna Bolin (198?-9?)
Director of Publishing: Daniel P. Bockert (1989–2003)
Information Systems Manager: Mark Cobbe (2007–09); Scott Gast (1998–2007)


  1. ^ "Becoming a Member". Retrieved 13 September 2013. 

External links

  • Psi Chi: official website
  • Psi Beta: Psi Chi's sister honor society - for psychology majors at two-year junior and community colleges
  • American Psychological Association (APA): Psi Chi is an affiliate of APA and holds programming each year at APA's annual conventions
  • Association for Psychological Science (APS): Psi Chi is also an affiliate of APS and holds programming each year at APS's annual conventions
  • Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS): Psi Chi is a member of ACHS, the nation's only certifying agency for college and university honor societies (founded in 1925)
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