(April 10, 2014) - Hagerstown Community College’s Pi Theta chapter was recently recognized as a Gold Chapter at the 27th Annual Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Regional Convention in Galloway Township, N.J. The Gold Chapter distinction is earned through the completion of service learning projects intended to aid both the college community, as well as community members in the surrounding area.
As the international honor society for two-year colleges, Phi Theta Kappa holds regional meetings once a year to recognize chapters and individuals that have done outstanding work, as well as to allow student members to attend workshops and presentations by experts in related fields. This year’s convention was attended by more than 250 members from PTK chapters throughout the Middle States region, which includes the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. Four PTK members represented HCC’s Pi Theta chapter at the conference. Student representatives included Samantha Baldwin, of Boonsboro; Allen Calvert, of Rohrersville; and Michael Ecton and Tony Holweck, both of Hagerstown.
HCC’s Pi Theta chapter was also given the Middle States Hallmark Award for its 2014 Honors in Action Project. The objective of this year’s Honors in Action project was to better understand why some students are driven to succeed and others are content to “just slide by,” and the student psychology behind those decisions. To answer that question, PTK members surveyed students on campus to determine which groups of students “maintained a vision throughout the semester that correlated with their success.” Though their study, PTK members found that burnout was a major contributor to poor student performance and that successful students frequently set goals to keep themselves on track. PTK members then began an advocacy and information campaign, reaching out to students during final exam weeks to offer information about campus resources and provide suggestions on how students could develop long-term goals and avoid burnout.
“I am very proud of the chapter members and all that they accomplished with this project,” said Ashley Whaley, PTK co-advisor at HCC. “I think the students truly captured the essence of ‘honors in action’ in their work. ‘Completion’ is an important buzz word for community colleges, so I was very pleased that they chose a project that not only aligned with HCC’s goal of helping students succeed, but with PTK’s commitment to completion.”
The Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society is the largest honor society in American higher education with 1,270 chapters on college campuses across the United States and in various other countries around the world. More than 2.5 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 125,000 students inducted annually. To learn more about Phi Theta Kappa, go to www.ptk.org.