For the Beta Delta Chi Chapter, It’s Personal

The Beta Delta Chi Chapter from Cabarrus College of Health Sciences in North Carolina had a 91 percent membership acceptance rate in 2015 — by far the highest in the entire Society — putting them at the top of Phi Theta Kappa’s 2016 President’s List.

The President’s List was announced in April and is a ranking of the top chapters by membership acceptance rate.

Yes, Beta Delta Chi is a small chapter from a small school, but there are lessons behind their success — and they’re surprisingly simple.

Perhaps most importantly, faculty and staff members at the college actively encourage their students to become Phi Theta Kappa members. Chapter advisors Zinat Hassanpour and Tiffany Brunson are in key roles to promote the chapter — Hassanpour chairs of the Associate of Science Degree program, so nearly all of the approximately 600 students at the college must take her courses.

Likewise, Brunson is an instructor in the nursing program — one of the largest programs at the college — which puts her in front of many eligible students as well.

“We see the students in and out of the classroom, so we’re able to make more of a personal connection with them than anything else,” Hassanpour said. “Everybody knows everybody.”

When Hassanpour gets her list of eligible students each semester, she shares it with all department and program chairs at the college so they can see which of their students are on the list. She and Brunson also make sure their fellow faculty members know the benefits and opportunities available to Phi Theta Kappa members.

“The program chairs of the other departments are really instrumental in encouraging their students to join Phi Theta Kappa if they are eligible and to become active,” Brunson said.

The chapter has moved away from sending letters to eligible students and instead relies on emailed invitations and word of mouth. They also switched to online acceptance, which they said is more convenient for the students.

They recruit new members twice each semester. They draw a crowd to their orientation meetings with free food and use the opportunity to give a PowerPoint presentation on the benefits of Phi Theta Kappa membership. The chapter maintains an active Facebook page, and the officers run a community on Canvas, the school’s online learning platform.

Current members promote the chapter heavily to their peers, and the chapter tries to select officers that represent each of the different academic programs on campus.

One other personal touch: Hassanpour personally delivers certificates and white roses to new members who weren’t able to come to the induction ceremony.

The chapter also participates in all college events and designs its service projects to appeal to the college community as a whole. Past projects include Hats for Hope, Project Graduation and a Big Brother-Big Sister mentoring program.

“The fundraisers that we host tend to get the entire college involved, which increases visibility as well,” Brunson said.

See the 2016 President’s List and look for stories about other chapters on it coming soon.

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