Posted on July 19th in News

Phi Theta Kappa to Expand Honors Program through Mellon Foundation Grant

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK) has received a $350,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support undergraduate research opportunities for community college students through its custom honors program.

Approximately one-third of community colleges in the United States have an official honors college. In the other two-thirds of colleges, Phi Theta Kappa is the honors program, giving students the opportunity to apply learning and practice real-world problem-solving skills by developing an in-depth, action-oriented project addressing a need in their community.

For students looking to get the most out of their community college experience, PTK’s honors program, called Honors in Action, serves as a research primer by providing experience for coursework requiring deeper investigations that comes in their junior and senior years. It also submerges all students into the practice of many skills needed by today’s employers — critical thinking, leadership, problem solving, communications, and the ability to work effectively with others.

“Preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s jobs requires a breadth of knowledge strongly rooted in the liberal arts,” PTK’s President and CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner said. “Without it, students will not be able to adapt to the changing requirements of today’s jobs or transition into new careers.

“This is particularly important during the first two-years of college, as these ‘thinking’ skills are so vital to community college students taking their next steps, whether that is going directly to work or transferring into a more specialized degree field at a four-year college or university.”

The Mellon Foundation grant will allow Phi Theta Kappa to make its honors programming available and more accessible to all colleges — not just those with budgets for honors programs. New Honors in Action curriculum will be developed that meets the needs of both transfer- and workforce-bound students.

“This generous grant will enable us to bring a successful and high-quality honors program experience to all community college students, particularly those in underserved areas,” said Susan Edwards, PTK’s Associate Vice President of Honors Programming and Undergraduate Research. “We are so grateful to the Mellon Foundation for this opportunity.”

About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Founded in 1969, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation seeks to strengthen, promote, and defend the centrality of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse, fair, and democratic societies. To this end, its core programs support exemplary and inspiring institutions of higher education and culture. Learn more at

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