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.

Expanding Honors

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.

James Elliott

International President Delaware Technical Community College – Wilmington Campus, Delaware
“Understanding that our alumni have so much to offer, we as a team researched LinkedIn’s programs and what they might offer to alumni. We intend to work alongside LinkedIn to advocate for the implementation of an official Phi Theta Kappa alumni group, which will act a professional platform to extend membership recognition.”

Jenna Santacroce

International Vice President, Division I Bergen Community College - New Jersey
“Understanding that our alumni have so much to offer, we as a team researched LinkedIn’s programs and what they might offer to alumni. We intend to work alongside LinkedIn to advocate for the implementation of an official Phi Theta Kappa alumni group, which will act a professional platform to extend membership recognition.”

Neville Scott

International Vice President, Division II Mountain View College - Texas
“A big part of being an International Officer is engaging members, chapters, and regions. We have traveled to 15 regions to support Phi Theta Kappa programming there. We have also spoken at induction ceremonies and supported struggling chapters through electronic outreach. Along the way, we have been reminded what a difference PTK makes in the lives of our members.”

Tyler McKenzie

International Vice President, Division III Redlands Community College - Oklahoma
“Phi Theta Kappa is an organization that not only embraces diversity but celebrates it. Therefore, we decided to create PTK Inclusion Day 2020, which allow chapters to showcase their work on diversity and inclusion at their campuses and in their communities. I am looking forward to the global-wide unity this day can create.”

Adrian Balaj

International Vice President, Division IV Sacramento City College - California
“In my chapter, some of our strongest contributions come from provisional members. Provisional membership is a great way for students who have not yet met the GPA requirements to be a part of Phi Theta Kappa. As a team, we are focusing on provisional membership and the benefits of increasing its presence in Phi Theta Kappa programming. We understand and value the inclusion of provisional membership and hope to bring more awareness to provisional membership opportunities.”







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.

Under Regional Coordinator Brenda Gee, the Greater Northwest Region’s officer team reached out to chapters in the region that have been dormant or needed assistance, resulting in greater engagement overall and even among their own chapters. 

"My enjoyment serving as the Regional Coordinator is watching these students develop their leadership skills and their confidence to be better leaders."

Brenda Gee

Greater Northwest Regional Coordinator, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

The Minn-Kota Region established its first chapter in South Dakota and, in an effort to engage its more rural chapters, has scheduled fall and spring meetings in more geographically accessible areas.

“By cultivating a community of scholars at the foundation of the region, coordinators establish the expectation that community is essential for all members.”

Dr. Jamie Mahlberg

Minn-Kota Regional Coordinator, Rochester Community and Technical College, Minnesota

The New York Region raised more than $2,500 to sponsor membership for PTK-eligible incarcerated students, some of which paid for 11 students at Marcy Correctional Facility to become members of the PTK chapter at Mohawk Valley Community College in New York.

“I’ve met with several colleges in our state and helped them understand more about what Phi Theta Kappa is, what chapters need to support their students, and ways to help their students grow as scholars and leaders through PTK.”

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. 










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in 2019


in 2019

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.