Arrupe College in Chicago was founded only two years ago; but just this fall, it chartered the Beta Phi Pi Chapter and inducted 100 percent of its eligible students. And even better — the students were able to join for free.
“Student success is our mission across the board, and Phi Theta Kappa is an opportunity for us to celebrate that,” said chapter advisor John Buethe, who also serves as the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs. “We’re proud to be a partner with them in the growth and the opportunities for these young men and women.”
Thirty-two students in Arrupe’s sophomore class qualified for Phi Theta Kappa membership, but none knew what the Society was. To address this, Buethe and his co-advisor, Dr. Jennifer Boyle, built a program to share the history and benefits with students at various points throughout the semester.
The chapter was officially chartered October 25, and the induction ceremony was held the next day.
“Our ministry and our calling is to help students achieve, so when we have 32 students who are doing that so well, we want to throw them a party,” Buethe said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to honor students’ hard work and aptitude. We as an institution would not be able to offer that same sense of ceremony that Phi Theta Kappa can.”
The college uses non-restricted funds to cover all costs associated with Phi Theta Kappa membership for every student inducted. Buethe foresees this continuing as the chapter continues to grow — there are just under a hundred sophomores who may be eligible for membership before they graduate, and there are 187 freshmen who will be meeting eligibility requirements soon.
He said the current members are already telling their peers about the membership benefits and that he has received a number of emails from sophomores and freshmen alike asking how they can join.
“The benefits side incentivized students to accept membership, so we wanted to remove any impediment that might prevent these students from becoming members,” he said. “This was an opportunity that invited the use of these funds.”
Advisors plan to hold their second induction ceremony as soon as possible in January 2017.
Arrupe College is Loyola University Chicago’s associate degree-granting institution. It was established as a result of a comprehensive needs assessment conducted as part of Loyola’s 10-year plan, which found that with the rising costs of higher education there was a need to offer high-achieving, low-income students with a pathway for an education.
The college is located on Loyola’s Water Tower campus in downtown Chicago. It’s a commuter campus, which helps keep the costs down.
“The fall-to-fall graduation and retention rates for community college students are relatively low,” Buethe said. “We wanted to provide the benefits students find at a four-year college to these students for a lower cost.”
Arrupe College students are able to use all facilities on Loyola’s Chicago campuses, including the Lake Shore campus, which will host Phi Theta Kappa’s 2017 Honors Institute June 5-10.
One unique feature of Arrupe College is that its entire faculty is full time. These professors have come from community college systems and also act as students’ academic advisors. Many of these faculty members were familiar with Phi Theta Kappa from previous teaching posts.
“They thought it would be a good thing to provide for our students,” Buethe said. “All of our students are low-income, so the scholarship opportunities Phi Theta Kappa provides offers a tremendous benefit to them.
“It ensures that the second half of their college education is kept affordable, which helps them complete this goal.”