Engage on International Level for a Strong Chapter

Connecting with your peers at the international level can be key for developing a robust Phi Theta Kappa chapter on your campus – and, it can help fulfill the final level of the Five Star Chapter Plan.

A NerdNation 2014 Educational Forum

“It’s important for students to meet others like themselves, to think about topics and to challenge their own points of view and biases,” said Paul Roscelli, advisor to the Beta Zeta Nu Chapter at Canada College in California.

A general session during NerdNation 2014

With registration for NerdNation 2015 – April 16-18 in San Antonio, Texas – now open, your chapter can start planning the myriad ways it can connect with Phi Theta Kappa members, advisors, alumni and partners from all over the world in one big weekend. This is also a golden opportunity for your chapter to complete a portion of the Five Star level for the 2015 calendar year.

The Five Star Chapter Plan runs on a January-December timeline, and all activities for 2014 must be reported by January 28, 2015. Levels completed in 2015 will be reported in late January 2016.

“In the same way that classroom instructors provide students with a syllabus at the beginning of each semester, Phi Theta Kappa provides chapters with the Five Star Chapter Plan, which serves as a blueprint for success,” said Courtney Lange, Phi Theta Kappa’s Director of Regional and Chapter Development. “And, it’s common knowledge that students who are engaged and active on their campus are more likely to succeed and complete their course of study.”

In addition to submitting at least three entries in the 2015 Hallmark Awards – including the Honors in Action Project Award, the College Project Award and at least one other individual award – chapters may choose to attend NerdNation or Honors Institute to round out the Five Star requirement. However, an additional option is available if international travel isn’t possible or if international events have already been held for the calendar year.

Here’s how your chapter can still meet the requirement:

  • all chapter officers must participate in CollegeFish.org by completing a profile and putting at least one college in the fishbowl;
  • all chapter officers must complete at least one level in Competitive Edge;
  • all chapter officers must watch a minimum of three Convention and/or Honors Institute videos found at my.ptk.org under “Presentations”; and
  • the chapter must submit an entry in the 2014 Honors Case Study Challenge.

So if you’re working toward the Five Star level for 2014 but missed this year’s international events, the options above will help. And as you set your chapter’s goal for 2015, plan and budget for an international event if possible. As any chapter member or advisor who has attended an international Phi Theta Kappa event will attest, it’s well worth the effort it takes to get there.

Will Alexander, advisor to the Kappa Alpha Chapter at Holmes Community College – Goodman in Mississippi, said his chapter regularly sends representatives to international events and has found great success by doing so. The chapter has been named a Top 10 chapter for seven consecutive years and has been named Most Distinguished Chapter twice.

“We feel as though our participation has been a significant contributing factor in our success on the international level,” he said. “The impact of these kinds of opportunities extends way beyond the lectures and sessions.”

Opportunities for advisor and student engagement resulting in long-term chapter and student success are abundant at NerdNation, beginning with the Phi Theta Kappa Academy. Educational Forums allow for small-group discussions on topics ranging from Honors in Action and scholarship opportunities to college transfer tips and professional development.

Honors Institute, to be held June 15-20, 2015 at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, is another international event offering opportunities for growth and engagement for both members and advisors. The event is limited to around 500 attendees, giving it a more intimate feel from the start. Students and advisors stay in dormitories and eat in a common dining room, which encourages fellowship and interaction.

General session speakers address the current Honors Study Topic in their presentations and allow time for a Q&A with the audience. Following the general sessions, students break into their smaller seminar groups, where further discussion on the speaker’s presentation is held.

“It gives the students the opportunity to grow academically without the stress of a grade, so they can learn and express their opinion in a safe environment,” said Dr. Mary James, advisor to the Upsilon Eta Chapter at Florida State College at Jacksonville. “Since it is an open discussion format, it allows the students the chance to develop a technique to express themselves. I have seen some personal growth in students as well as in myself.”

View full Five Star Chapter Plan requirements. The deadline to report your progress and receive recognition for 2014 activities is January 28, 2015.

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