By increasing support to our volunteer chapter advisors, Phi Theta Kappa has seen increased levels of member engagement and greater participation in our programs. It’s a domino effect of the greatest kind — better informed and trained advisors lead to more engaged chapters, which lead to students gaining valuable research skills, leadership experience, and community involvement that they can highlight in scholarship, job, and transfer applications.
In July, PTK received a $350,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support undergraduate research opportunities for community college students through the expansion of Phi Theta Kappa’s Honors in Action program. The grant will enable PTK to develop new curriculum that meets the needs of transfer and workforce-bound students.
As part of the grant, PTK will award 100 mini-grants of $1,000 each to chapters that need funding to complete their Honors in Action projects. The application will open in May, and grants will be awarded competitively. The goal is to help more chapters participate in the honors program so that more students will benefit from a rigorous undergraduate research experience.
Leadership Development Studies
In 2019 we worked to scale Phi Theta Kappa’s Leadership Development Studies – A Humanities Approach, taking this flagship program from a textbook-based train-the-trainer model to an open-access model with a modernized curriculum. We placed it directly in the hands of the members, advisors, and alumni; and also made the program accessible and affordable to non-PTK members ($10 access fee).
The goal of these efforts is to provide colleges with a high-quality leadership curriculum to be taught in honors programs and leadership courses across the sector. It provides a cost-effective way to have the award-winning course in the hands of more students on any campus. Over 2,000 members have taken advantage of this next-level leadership experience since its launch in late 2019 — a great sign that we are filling the leadership gap.
Our Student Leaders
International Officers represent the larger student membership by serving as spokespersons for Phi Theta Kappa and as liaisons between members and the organization. They produce content for Phi Theta Kappa’s official media channels and lead large-scale service projects such as Inclusion Day to ensure equity. They also participated in research on how to utilize LinkedIn as a peer-mentoring network and how to connect chapters at our annual convention.
Our Regional Leaders
The college faculty and staff who serve as PTK Regional Coordinators are integral leaders among the chapters in their regions. They facilitate the relationship between PTK Headquarters and the chapters of their region; are responsible for the financial health of their region; and oversee the quality of programming at regional events. Twenty-three of PTK’s 29 Regional Coordinators came to Headquarters in 2019. They received training in the areas of events, membership, scholarships, financial services, marketing, and student engagement.
Greater Northwest Regional Coordinator, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Dr. Jamie Mahlberg
Minn-Kota Regional Coordinator, Rochester Community and Technical College, Minnesota
Dr. Annie Tuttle
New York Regional Coordinator, Onondaga Community College, New York
Our Advisors are Champions of Student Success
We know that stronger chapter advisors equal stronger chapters. During 2019, we awarded more PTK advisor certifications than ever before. These champions of student success are learning not only the nuts and bolts of a successful chapter; they are learning to be transfer and workforce coaches and how to increase chapter diversity.
College presidents continue to recognize the value of multiple PTK advisors per chapter. In 2019, total advisor counts rose to 3,377 a 7% increase from 2018.
FIVE STAR ADVISOR TRAINING
COMPLETED ALL LEVELS
Increasing Chapter Engagement
Few things create a stronger chapter than attending PTK Catalyst, our annual convention. In 2019, we hosted 3,775 members, advisors, alumni, and friends from 600 chapters for three unforgettable days in Orlando, Florida. Keynote speakers included former inmate-turned-celebrity chef Jeff Henderson and best-selling author and now-talk show host Mel Robbins
In addition to the inspiring general sessions, there were educational breakout sessions on topics ranging from applying for scholarships to getting into medical school. More than 100 four-year colleges and universities sent admissions representatives to recruit attendees in our Senior College Transfer Fair, and our first-ever Career Fair featured employers such as Walgreens and GEICO.
PTK Catalyst culminates with the Hallmark Awards Gala, where we recognize and reward the hard work of our chapters. In 2019, the Alpha Epsilon Phi Chapter at Bergen Community College in New Jersey was named the Most Distinguished Chapter.
“Transforming Health Through Music Therapy”
For its Honors in Action Project, Bergen Community College’s Alpha Epsilon Phi Chapter studied how health conditions can be transformed by art and music — specifically, they looked at how Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) impacts anxiety.
Chapter members were trained on how to conduct electroencephalographic (EEG) brainwave monitoring and conducted 86 EEG sessions on volunteer participants. The project is the most comprehensive study conducted on ASMR to date and the largest research project organized in the college’s history.
You can read more about the project in Civic Scholar: Phi Theta Kappa Journal of Undergraduate Research.