Hallmark Awards How-To: Academic vs Non-Academic Sources

During the research phase of your Honors in Action Project, your chapter can consult both academic and non-academic sources. However, only academic sources may be listed on your Honors in Action Project Hallmark Award entries.

So, how do you tell the difference? Let’s look at what “academic” and “non-academic” mean, and what qualifies as each.

Academic Sources

An academic source is an article written by a professional in a given field. It is edited by the writers’ peers and may take years to publish. Some characteristics:

  • Formal language
  • Jargon — words and terms associated with the field
  • Multiple authors, with their names and credentials listed
  • List of references

Academic articles are often found in scholarly journals, such as something you might find in the Directory of Open Access Journals. Incidentally, the data found in the DOAJ is freely available to anyone with an Internet connection. Other examples of academic sources include the Journal of Psychology, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and books published by a University Press.

An interview with a subject-matter expert would also qualify as an academic source, but don’t list that interview as both part of your research and part of your action. Your research should lead to the development of the action part of your Honors in Action Project.

Wikipedia should NOT be used as an academic source. This website can be edited by anyone and can therefore not be considered accurate or academic.

Non-Academic Sources

A non-academic source is a newspaper or magazine article, a blog post — something written for the general public. Some characteristics:

  • Informal language
  • May contain slang
  • The author may not be listed
  • No author credentials will be listed
  • No references listed

Non-academic sources are published quickly and can be written by anyone. You’ll find them in places like National Geographic, The Wall Street Journal, and cnn.com.

So, what can you use, and when?

During the initial phases of your research, you can use news sources — both online and print. These can help you see how your project idea works in the world and how it’s being discussed by the media, experts, etc. But, once you narrow down your focus and research question, you should turn to academic sources.

As you prepare your Hallmark Awards applications for your Honors in Action Project, you can only list eight sources, and those need to be academic. We recommend a mix of reliable sources, including scholarly print publications, credible online resources, and individuals and/or organizations who are authorities in their field.

Be sure to pay attention to how you list your sources on the Hallmark Awards application. A suggested format is included in the Honors Program Guide — see the “Explore More!” section of each theme. While you do not have to use APA or MLA formatting, you’ll want to include the author’s name, title of publication, publication year, and a brief annotation explaining why the source was meaningful to your examination of the Honors Study Topic and how it led directly to the action part of your project.

Join our Hallmark Awards experts in a free PTK Live session on November 28 at 4 p.m. CT as they discuss writing tips. Register now.

Hallmark Award applications for your Honors in Action Project and College Project are due January 24, 2018; the application and judging rubrics are now available.

I AM PTK: Adam Dince

Editor’s Note: This post was written and submitted by Adam Dince, an alumnus of the Beta Theta Chi Chapter at Grossmont College in California.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

When I graduated from Grossmont College in May of 2001, I promised myself that one day I’d return to college as an instructor to pay it forward. “Pay forward, what?” you ask. The gift of planting seeds in rich soil. Let me explain.

Early in my childhood, my parents divorced. My mother struggled with a nasty drug addiction and my dad just couldn’t take it anymore. After the divorce, my father took custody of me and the responsibilities of being a single dad. The traumas I suffered in those formative years became the catalyst for a litany of failure, culminating with dropping out of high school after barely completing my junior year.

With no decent job prospects for high school dropouts, I joined the Navy and served aboard aircraft carrier U.S.S. Constellation. The Navy did for me what I hoped it would. It taught me discipline, it gave me independence, and it provided me an opportunity to go to college.

Shortly after my enlistment expired, I reluctantly enrolled in Grossmont College. I say “reluctantly” because I’d never been a good student and didn’t think I had the chops to do well at the collegiate level.

Fortunately, in my first semester I earned a 4.0 GPA and an invitation to join Phi Theta Kappa. My biggest fear about joining Phi Theta Kappa was that, as soon as courses got tougher, my grades would drop — thus costing me membership rights. However, that fear became the motivation I needed to keep pushing hard.

Throughout my second semester at Grossmont, I attended a plethora of chapter events. At one event, our president, Darin Cyr, pulled me aside and encouraged me to run for chapter vice president. Of course, I thought he was joking and laughed it off. Yet, Darin persisted. He told me that he believed I was a perfect for the role. So, I took his advice — ran — and was elected. Darin saw something in me, that I didn’t. He wouldn’t let my lack of self-confidence deter me from achieving something I was capable of doing.

Shortly after getting settled in as the chapter vice-president, our newly elected president transferred to a different college. Our faculty advisor, Israel Cardona, asked me if I’d be willing to take on the responsibilities of president. My response to “Iz” was like my initial response to Darin — I laughed it off.

However, Iz saw something in me that I didn’t. He believed in my ability to do a good job leading the chapter and urged me to get out of my comfort zone. So, I accepted his invitation and took the helm as chapter president.

After completing my term as chapter president, Iz asked me if I’d be interested in running for Nevada/California Regional President. To this, I said no. I told Iz that I had no chance of winning and felt like there were better candidates from our chapter. But, Iz wanted ME to run. He didn’t care if I won or lost — he simply wanted me to represent Grossmont College at the regional conference.

Fortunately, the members of the Nevada/California Region believed in my message and elected me as president. Throughout my year of regional service, I had the honor of working with Headquarters administrators and staff on major projects.

One the most memorable ventures occurred shortly after 9/11. Over 40 chapters from across the Nevada/California region helped raised over $30,000 in donations for the American Red Cross. Our continued pursuit of excellence across the entirety of Nevada and California Phi Theta Kappa chapters helped us win the Distinguished Region Award.

Upon graduating from Grossmont College, I finished my undergraduate degree at San Diego State University with honors, and I recently attained my MBA with a focus in Integrated Marketing Communication from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

What I learned about leadership and dedication to excellence in Phi Theta Kappa has helped me succeed in ways I never thought possible. A few examples:

  • I’ve become a subject-matter expert in digital marketing and have helped some of the most recognized brands in the world with their marketing strategies.
  • I’ve built and led teams for a few of the most prestigious ad agencies and brands.
  • I serve as an adjunct digital marketing instructor at the University of St. Thomas and the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.
  • I sit on the digital marketing technology board at the University of Wisconsin, Stout.
  • In November of 2016, my first book Hopeful to Hired: How to Score the Job You Want Straight Out of College, was published.
  • I speak at marketing industry events and higher-educational institutions across the country.

So, what does it all mean? What’s the takeaway?

Many of us are beds of rich soil. When we’re fortunate enough to cross paths with people who plant seeds of mentorship in our lives, we have the opportunity grow into beautiful gardens.

Phi Theta Kappa and Grossmont College faculty and staff saw leadership potential in me that I didn’t. They pushed me to stretch. The fine chapter and regional officers I served beside helped keep my budding garden alive throughout my community college experience. And I’ve been fortunate enough throughout my career to find people who continue to plant and water new seeds. Everything I’ve accomplished in life is a result of someone investing in me.

I encourage you to find and surround yourselves with people that inspire you to take it to the next level. To achieve more than you think you’re capable of. I also encourage you to plant seeds in others. Being a mentor is one of the most rewarding activities you’ll ever experience.

Fifteen years after graduating from Grossmont College, I am fulfilling my promise to pay it forward to students who are in the same shoes I once wore. I hope to be able to continue to do so for the rest of my career.

Thank you, Phi Theta Kappa! I have so much love for the garden you helped grow.

Connect with Adam on Twitter @AdamDince.

2018 Transfer Honor Roll to Highlight Best Colleges for Transfer Students

Applications are now being accepted for the 2018 Phi Theta Kappa Transfer Honor Roll. This designation recognizes the top four-year colleges and universities for transfer pathway development.

The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. CT on December 1. This national recognition program is open to all regionally accredited baccalaureate degree-granting institutions.

“We know that community college students face significant barriers as they begin the transfer process, so we are proud to honor the colleges and universities breaking down these barriers and meeting the unique needs of transfer students.” said Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner, Phi Theta Kappa President and CEO. “With this designation, we hope to connect students with institutions that value their individual transfer experience and prioritize their success.”

There are five areas of evaluation, as determined by research regarding support for community college transfer students:

1. Institutional Partnerships and Community College Collaboration
2. Pre-Transfer Institutional Support: Outreach, Admissions and Access
3. Post-Transfer Student Engagement and Support
4. Community College Data Tracking and Institutional Priorities
5. Transfer Innovations

“Phi Theta Kappans bring a wealth of leadership, involvement and commitment to college campuses,” said Neal Richardson, Associate Director of Admissions at Georgia Southern University, a 2017 honoree. “They will not just be numbers; they will be leaders and impact campus both in and out of the classroom.”

Winners will be notified in January 2018 and will receive the following:

  • A Phi Theta Kappa Transfer Honor Roll Award Press Kit
  • National recognition through various media channels
  • Use of the official Phi Theta Kappa Transfer Honor Roll Seal for marketing and promotion
  • Inclusion and recognition as a 2018 Phi Theta Kappa Partner in Excellence
  • Phi Theta Kappa website, press release and social media acknowledgement
  • Commemorative award and certificate of recognition

“Recruiting high-achieving transfer students is an important goal for our institution, and Phi Theta Kappa transfer students are a highly motivated, engaged, and diverse population,” said Dr. Nicole Kontak, Senior Director, Transfer Curriculum and Transfer Student Center for the University of Arizona, a 2017 honoree. “The designation, which we proudly display on our transfer admissions website, promotes our institution’s commitment to recruiting and retaining PTK transfer students at The University of Arizona.”

Learn more and apply today. Email ptktransferhonors@ptk.org with questions. View a list of the 2017 honorees here.

Middle States Region Launches 100 For 100 Service Initiative

Editor’s Note: This post was written by the Middle States Regional Officer Team.

Phi Theta Kappa will commemorate its 100th birthday in 2018 and is planning the Party of the Century this spring. But, the Middle States Region just can’t wait to celebrate, so they’ve put a project in motion to honor the Society’s history of service. We’ve asked the Regional Officers (Tito Caballero, Phoebe Perkins, Jesci Strange, Elda Pere,Tiffany Nyugen, and Jennifer Knee) to tell us more about their efforts.

What is the Middle States Centennial Project?

The 100 For 100 Centennial Project is a service initiative the 2017-2018 Middle States Regional Officer team created to commemorate Phi Theta Kappa’s Centennial. The purpose was simply to inspire regional chapters to give back to our community. Completing 100 projects in honor of each year since the society’s inception will improve communities and inspire future Phi Theta Kappans.

When will it take place?

The 100 For 100 Centennial Project is happening from now until March 1, 2018. Chapters have until then to submit documentation of their projects.

Our Inspiration

“I fell in love with my PTK family through service. We love service initiatives in our region and how it brings us all together; so, what better way to celebrate our Society’s 100th year?” — Tito Cabellero

“Our Region thrives on service. What better way to celebrate the 100-year inception than working together to complete projects in honor of our Society, which continues to inspire its members?” -— Phoebe Perkins

“Each of us campaigned to bring the region together, and service promotes unity. We opted to utilize this hallmark to promote the region and fulfill our campaign promises.” — Jesci Strange

“What I love about our Centennial Project is that it encompasses our motto in every way. ‘I Am Because We Are’ is our region’s way of using teamwork to influence individual lives around us.” — Elda Pere

“Service brings people together, especially in the Middle States Region, and helps us achieve our regional goals. We motivated our chapters to get together and give back to our society.” —Tiffany Nguyen

Implementation and Action

Social media outlets have been vital to the success of these service projects. As a team, we have been able to promote our goal, feature participating chapters, and encourage collaboration. This is possible because of the ability to personally connect with members.

Finally, a Service Project Report was created for chapters to submit documentation of projects. Following the deadline, regional officers will compile all projects and submit them to Phi Theta Kappa Headquarters.

What is your chapter or region doing to celebrate Phi Theta Kappa’s Centennial? Let us know at news@ptk.org.