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Online Membership Leads to 500 Percent Increase
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Advisor Jennifer Kattman will do almost anything for her Phi Theta Kappa chapter, including taking a pie in the face to raise money for charity. But she feels one of the best things she has done is allowing students to accept membership online, which in one year increased induction numbers more than 500 percent.
The Beta Mu Zeta Chapter, at Sierra College in California, grew from 68 members in 2009 to 423 in 2010, earning five Pinnacle Scholarships and becoming one of the most engaged organizations on campus. The chapter now participates in regional and international meetings and programs as well.
The chapter added the online acceptance option as part of a recruiting program managed by Phi Theta Kappa Headquarters.
"What a wonderful opportunity," Kattman said. "We did not allow online acceptance before that time. That has definitely caused a great increase in membership acceptance and serious reduction in my workload. I was processing all paper applications by hand every weekend!"
The chapter leaders worked with Headquarters to implement other recruitment strategies, displaying posters and distributing brochures multiple times during the year.
The increase in membership has boosted student success for Sierra students, Kattman said. Chapter member Daniel Copeland received a 2011 Hites Transfer Scholarship, and past chapter officer Houman Akbari is Nevada/California Regional President.
The chapter pays all expenses for members traveling to regional and international meetings, and due to chapter growth, more members have sought leadership roles. Leadership development is perceived as an outstanding benefit of membership in Phi Theta Kappa, Kattman said, almost at the level of scholarships.
The chapter now hosts Competitive Edge and CollegeFish.org workshops for new members, and has become more visible on campus. After returning from the 2011 Annual Convention, chapter members created a giant commitment banner for students to sign.
"Membership in Phi Theta Kappa contributes to success in many areas," Kattman said. "First and foremost, membership makes them take pride in their academic achievements, which is a great motivator to continue to do well.”
“Second, I see many of them making lifelong friends that they never would have met outside of Phi Theta Kappa. We have a very diverse group that most people would never think would have anything in common, yet they have a great deal in common and truly enjoy working and having fun together.”
“Finally, after a student becomes a member and becomes active in our chapter, I've witnessed immense growth in leadership skills."
Kattman, who became chapter advisor in 2008, also chairs the Sierra College Honors Committee and is co-chair of the college's New Legacy Committee, which works to reverse the trends in education for historically underrepresented students. She is a professor of Sociology at Sierra.
As for the pie in the face, this annual college fundraiser for the Diabetes Association is also a draw for prospective members, Kattman says. "This shows students that honor society members have a lot of fun."
Advisors, you can learn more about online acceptance and Headquarters recruiting opportunities from your designated Phi Theta Kappa contact, based on the region in which your chapter is located:
Regional and Chapter Development Manager Luke Davis, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma/Arkansas, Michigan, Kentucky and Missouri
Regional and Chapter Development Manager Phylliss Duvall, Greater Northwest, Rocky Mountain-Cascade, Indiana, Georgia, Pacific and the Carolinas
Key Services Specialist Kristi Johnson, Arizona, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska/Wyoming
Regional and Chapter Development Manager Barb Murray, Nevada/California, Minn-Wi-Kota and New England
Key Services Specialist Stacy Nelson, Florida and New York
Key Services Specialist Melissa Price, Colorado, Ohio, Texas and Middle States
Regional and Chapter Development Manager Garon Tate, Alabama, Mississippi/Louisiana, Tennessee and Virginia.
Headquarters contacts are also found on the “HQ Contact” tab on the advisor dashboards at ptk.org.