Online Membership = Less Work, More Members for Your Chapter

Rocky Mountain-Cascade Regional Coordinator DeLinda Martin-Huggins and Associate Regional Coordinator Michelle Gietl said there were a few challenges in their path to making online membership available to students at their colleges, but they persevered and were rewarded with increased membership, a more streamlined process for those joining and less work for the chapter advisors.

Michelle, who also serves as an advisor for Alpha Sigma Xi at Columbia Gorge Community College, said her chapter chose online membership acceptance for a number of reasons.

“We took into consideration convenience for our students, especially our distance education students who do not come to campus, but would benefit from Phi Theta Kappa membership,” she said. “Members fill out everything online, pay online and they are done.”

Michelle added that not having to manually enter student information into the website also means fewer errors.

“Our registrar was concerned about FERPA issues,” she said. “But after I was able to put together a presentation with the information, she was willing to do it.”

DeLinda said her college — Portland Community College (PCC) — wanted to offer online membership acceptance as soon as it became available, but it did take some effort to accomplish the transition.

After several meetings with the Student Records office, the Center for Excellence and Phi Theta Kappa advisors from each of the college’s four chapters, DeLinda said PCC was able to work around the FERPA issue by using the following process:

· Student Records sends advisors a list of eligible students at the beginning of each term.
· Advisors send eligibility email to students with a link to a release form to receive an application from Phi Theta Kappa’s Headquarters.
· The link stays live for three weeks, and students have until the last day of the term to join.

Both advisors have some advice for chapters who want to start using online acceptance.

“Once we determined a process that benefitted other college departments, instead of just a benefit to our PTK chapter, then we were all able to work together to come up with a solution,” DeLinda said. “It really is about finding someone within the college who wants to make it happen, and finding a way to engage all parties involved.”

Since making online membership acceptance available, chapters at PCC and Columbia Gorge have seen a significant increase in membership acceptance and ease of payment/application for invited members.

“The advisors are spending much less time on applications and making more time available to spend with members and officers,” DeLinda added.

Michelle encourages chapters that want to implement online membership to communicate with other chapters already using the system.

“During our advisor meetings at regional conferences, we discuss online acceptance and the barriers that prevent chapters from implementing it,” she said. “I encourage all chapters to implement online acceptance as part of their best practices.”

For more information about implementing online membership acceptance contact Melissa Price, Membership Services Senior Specialist, at melissa.price@ptk.org.

16 New Chapters Chartered in 2016

Congratulations to the 15 new Phi Theta Kappa chapters and one new alumni association chartered in 2016!

H. Councill Trenholm State Community College
Beta Phi Phi Chapter
Montgomery, Alabama

La Salle University
Beta Phi Chi Chapter
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ivy Tech Community College
Beta Phi Tau Chapter
Marion, Indiana

Arrupe College of Loyola University of Chicago
Beta Phi Pi Chapter
Chicago, Illinois

Cowley College
Beta Phi Upsilon Chapter
Mulvane, Kansas

SOWELA Technical Community College
Beta Phi Iota Chapter
Lake Charles, Louisiana

Southeastern Technical College
Beta Phi Psi Chapter
Vidalia, Georgia

Northwest Louisiana Technical College
Beta Chi Alpha Chapter
Minden, Louisiana

Tougaloo College
Beta Phi Omega Chapter
Tougaloo, Mississippi

Keiser University
Beta Chi Gamma Chapter
West Palm Beach, Florida

South Central Louisiana Technical College
Beta Chi Delta Chapter
Morgan City, Louisiana

Community College of Vermont
Beta Phi Omicron Chapter
Montpelier, Vermont

Jefferson Community and Technical College
Beta Phi Rho Chapter
Shepherdsville, Kentucky

Brenau University
Beta Phi Sigma Chapter
Gainesville, Georgia

West Hills College
Beta Phi Lambda Chapter
Lemoore, California

Louisiana State University
Louisiana State University Alumni Association
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Welcome to the Phi Theta Kappa Family!

Hallmarks are the tip of the Phi Theta Kappa iceberg

In a lot of ways, Phi Theta Kappa is like an iceberg. We only see the very tip of the good things happening in the lives of our members, chapters and regions. The Hallmark Awards process is a tool, providing us with insight into some of the activities that happen at the chapter and regional levels and into the leadership displayed by members, advisors and regional leaders.

Each year, we are privileged to read stories of chapters who are using research and collaboration to tackle big problems like college completion, food insecurity among their peers and climate change.

Individual award entries remind us of the dedication of our more than 3,000 volunteer advisors and regional coordinators, who carry the mission of Phi Theta Kappa into the lives of our members — and of supportive college administrators and presidents who recognize that Phi Theta Kappa makes a difference on the campuses of almost 1,300 community colleges.

Hallmark Awards also introduce us to the outstanding work of individual chapter members, chapter officers and regional officers, who are living examples of PTK’s Hallmarks of Leadership, Scholarship, Fellowship and Service.

Alumni awards recognize the commitment of dedicated alumni and alumni chapters, who continue to support the mission and vision of Phi Theta Kappa through their support of local chapters and regions.

Our scholarship awards process highlights that Phi Theta Kappa members are more than scholars — they are also hardworking, community-minded and committed to overcoming adversity.

But, as I said, these awards provide only a snapshot of what I consider to be the full picture of Phi Theta Kappa. We know that, for every advisor who walks across the stage, there are dozens more who are making a difference in the lives of their chapter members. For every member who walks across stage in the Parade of Scholars, there are many more who are receiving Phi Theta Kappa Transfer Scholarships to colleges and universities. For every chapter who receives recognition for outstanding College Project Award entries, there are hundreds more doing great work on their campuses and in their communities.

Recognition is a big part of the Phi Theta Kappa mission, and we do our best to find ways to recognize chapters, advisors, college leaders and members — but we recognize that, just like icebergs, there is much, much more to Phi Theta Kappa than meets the eye.

Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner is the President and CEO of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. If you want to get in touch with Lynn, please contact cassie.mendrop@ptk.org.

Honors in Action and College Project Hallmark Award entries are due by 5 p.m. CT on Wednesday, January 25. Nominations for Alumni Awards are due by 5 p.m. CT on Wednesday, February 15.