This is the blog of Beta Zeta Nu. We are a chapter of Phi Theta Kappa from CaƱada College, in Redwood City, California. Phi Theta Kappa is the International Honor Society of two year colleges.

Visit us on Facebook!
or go here:

Check out our website at http://www.ptkcanadacollege.org/

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Honors in Action Breakout Session

By Courtney Caldwell

*Note* A PTK student in this meeting mentioned that Harvard, having lost $6B with Madoff, is no longer accepting transfer students.

• A 10 page Honors in Action Essay to replace the Hallmarks individually-they’re all being combined into one essay.
• Bring materials back to your chapter to help train officers, members
• Hallmarks = academic excellence recognized. What’s the #1 reason students don’t accept membership? They don’t know what PTK is, so try to spread the word to students and teachers.
• PTK about building servant leaders through Honors in Action.
• 1) Set goals down on paper—name of who’s in charge of it, the project details and the timeline (steps to get it done). You can also do this to teach.
• Make sure you set SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Realistic, Timely.
• If you’re not a 5 star chapter, set 5 star development goals
• Figure out what issue from the Honors Guide you’ll address
• Comprehensive HIA projects should be clear about which level they’re applied to (can be more than one) – chapter level, college, community, outer community, region, international, etc.
• The scholarship hallmark—1) Honors Topic 2) Recognize academic excellence in students & faculty
• Service Hallmark – you’ll see needs pop up as you do research on a topic, maybe your projects should deal with these needs.
• If you choose to work with an organization, which organizations fit with your passions?
• “Operation Green”—International Service Program
• Leadership Roles –break down projects & delegate
• Teaching leadership roles—in chapter meetings, at campus level (through speaker series, workshops, etc) in community (girl scouts, other orgs) regional and international level
• Fellowship Hallmark is incorporated into other hallmarks
• HIA-- start with honors topic, use it as a lens to look at other things then RESEARCH a lot
• Ask around to see if any of your students are already studying a topic for the project, book special speakers on the topic, plan field trips to related places.
• KEEP DETAILED RECORDS! Journaling is recommended. Write down the steps, hours, #s (people, money, facts, lots of detailed records, and also anecdotal things like responses you got. This can also go on your blog.
• Talk to leader members to see how it affected them (Butte) after every meeting we delegate a member to post to our blog.
• Fill out the project form to help you track your progress
• Ch. Officers tab, then link to Project Planning, model, sheet to plan projects & track affects
• Hallmark Awards – HIA Project, but can be multi-dimensional (could take a day, could take a year)
• College Project – 3 pages max – project you do for the college, you can write an entry about this (responding to AOAE in writing)
• To be considered an excellent chapter you have to have an entry in both categories.
• Why should we spend time writing about this? These are the same skills that you need to apply for grad schools, writing grant proposals, scholarship entries
• HIA at International Convention – right now, top 25 chapters get called up on stage and recognized, and we find that the same chapters are there accepting awards.
• The new HIA will have up to 5 awards in each of the issues, 10 issues so a total of 50 awards given (therefore awards for 50 chapters)
• Some issues are more “sexy” than others- ie the environment, but not many about rise in civilizations, so you could go with a less sexy topic to be more competitive.
• 25 awards in College Project Category
• Jan –Dec = academic year, so that is the timetable in which projects will be considered
• Questions to make you think about the projects will be up on the website in a few weeks. Look at these questions when you’re dealing with your projects. It will help you write responses to your project.
• Don’t do so many projects that you spread yourself too thin, b/c you can’t do it all. Find out what your chapter members are passionate about b/c those projects are more likely to get done.
• Good entries  Advice
• 1) READ! Instructions and rules and FOLLOW the rules (mind your deadlines or you will be disqualified)! Example: most entries didn’t address the first question in the Hallmark so they were docked points.
• 2) GIVE SPECIFIC DETAILS – quantifiable amounts – 15 members walked 4 miles raised $4K, or whatever. Your choice of language matters  “supported relay 4 life” = fundraising = not strong enough, doesn’t suggest that you took enough initiative, or that you did any original work to help the project/organization. Versus “spearheaded a relay 4 life event, where we rallied volunteers to….”= this word choice actually conveys the qualities that are important, not just that you participated.
• 3) Impact—what difference did it make? In chapter members lives? In community? In region/world?
• 4) Well written—do lots and lots of editing b/c you will have errors and notes you leave to yourself, etc. Treat it as you would a cover letter or a resume, where you have lots of eyes look it over for different angles (grammar and spelling and form, etc) With cover letters and resumes, spelling errors and lack of clarity would get your resume thrown in the trash, so be mindful.
• How many essays were submitted? This year 421 chapters entered different essays, out of about 1280 chapters. This is part of why they’re trying to simplify the entry process, to get more participation from chapters.
• There is no such thing as luck—just hard work.