The backbone of the Pi Gamma Mu honor society consists of the many dedicated professors who serve as chapter sponsors and secretary-treasurers and thus ensure the continued operation of the chapters.
This Web page seeks to provide suggestions for and assistance to chapter sponsors for the following purposes:
Do not be overwhelmed with the quantity of information that appears on this Web page. Just use whatever you think will be useful. Chapters vary in the kinds of activities that they carry out.
The board knows very well that Pi Gamma Mu’s success depends on our dedicated chapter sponsors. The membership initiation fees that you generate through your initiation activities empower Pi Gamma Mu to deliver "extra" services to you and your students, beyond the membership certificates and pins.
If each chapter were able to initiate 10 more members per year, on average, we could provide an even stronger program of member services and chapter services. And your chapter would provide recognition to even more dedicated students in the social sciences. The Board of Trustees is motivated to provide the leadership to make Pi Gamma Mu an even more beneficial resource to you, your honor students, your colleagues, and your alumni.
The next three sections of this Web page will present some ideas about ways in which you can increase your chapter’s number of initiates.
The chapter officers should try to plan an attractive, dignified ceremony, possibly with a speaker who will attract the students’ attention. If parents are invited, they may actually be the most effective source of encouragement for their children to accept the invitation to join Pi Gamma Mu.
Our suggested ritual for an initiation ceremony appears on a Web page at this URL address:
For ideas about chapter projects, visit the project ideas page.
Some chapter sponsors may have experience with software for creating Web pages, such as Microsoft FrontPage. If not, another member of the chapter may have such experience; as another option, the sponsor may be able to obtain assistance from the computer or information-technology department.
The chapter sponsor may think through what she thinks would be content of the home page that would interest members. One possibility is a list of members--especially the faculty members who are members of the chapter, but also students and alumni who would like to be identified as members of the chapter. Some students at your institution will be curious about the qualifications for membership, so that would be a useful component of your home page. A list of current officers (with contact information), including faculty officers, will be helpful, too.
The international Board of Trustees requests that chapters make an effort to include the following on their chapter home pages:
(a) Link to the international home page
Please ensure that your chapter's Web pages link to the international home page ( http://www.pigammamu.org ). You can do this in several ways, including one or both of the following:
-- If you have Pi Gamma Mu's logo on your Web page, you can cause it to link to the international home page.
-- Write out the instruction, "Click here to visit Pi Gamma Mu's international home page," and cause your selected text to be in hypertext that links to the international home page.
(b) Link to information about the Pi Gamma Mu Listserv
During 2009, Pi Gamma Mu converted the Pi Gamma Mu Newsletter from a paper format to an online, electronic format (for information, see http://www.pigammamu.org/newsletter.html ). The international board would like every chapter home page to alert members about the method for subscribing to the Pi Gamma Mu Listserv.
STAY CONNECTED WITH PI GAMMA MU! Here are two ways in which to stay connected.
Make sure that the international office has your current E-mail address. (We frequently lose track of members after they graduate and their student E-mail accounts are abolished.)
Maintain your subscription to the Pi Gamma Mu Listserv. If you maintain your listserv subscription, you can always receive the Pi Gamma Mu Newsletter, our international newsletter, electronically at no charge. For information about subscribing to the listserv, correcting your E-mail address on the listserv, or unsubscribing, click here.
The hypertext link for the third item would cause the visitor to see the Web page at this URL address:
If you could adapt any of that sample to your own chapter's Web site, as may be appropriate for your chapter, you would greatly support our efforts to improve communication among all members and to promote the idea that all members now have the means to enjoy a lifetime subscription to the international newsletter.
(c) Link to chapter-development Web page
The board and the international
In-house Publications and Web-site Committee endorse the use of the following banner image on as many Web sites
as possible. This includes chapter Web pages and our members' own home pages, if they are willing
This banner image can be set up to link directly to the Web page on our international Web site on which instructions for starting a Pi Gamma Mu chapter appear. More graphics are available for chapter use here.
(d) Link to CafePress storefront
Please consider adding this content to your chapter Web site:
PI GAMMA MU CLOTHING AND SOUVENIRS ARE AVAILABLE ON CAFEPRESS!
You can obtain high-quality clothing and souvenirs on which the Pi Gamma Mu logo appears by visiting the society's storefront on CafePress.
Technology has become a strategic platform for encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration and learning.
One of the modern emphases in higher education involves the creation of "learning communities" of scholars on one or more university campuses. In the definition of Gabelnick et al. (1990, p. 5):
Learning communities . . . purposefully restructure the curriculum to link together courses or course work so that students find greater coherence in what they are learning as well as increased intellectual interaction with faculty and fellow students. . . . [L]earning communities are also usually associated with collaborative and active approaches to learning, some form of team teaching, and interdisciplinary themes.
Because these learning communities tend to be interdisciplinary, participants with a diversity of academic backgrounds can trade ideas and compare a variety of critical-thinking approaches to problem-solving. A Pi Gamma Mu chapter is the perfect base of operations for a social-science learning community at your college.
The interaction that occurs in these learning communities is reminiscent of the way in which college students interacted in a previous era. Gabelnick et al. (1990, p. 10) contrast college life of yesterday and today:
As the number of full-time and residential students declines, community-creating activities, such as late-night dorm sessions, hours spent lingering in a favorite coffee shop, or study break arguments in a library lounge also decline. For many students, the time and spaces for trying out new ideas in the company of peers no longer exists. The college experience is sandwiched between work and family, and the set of classes taken during any given term constitutes the only sustained contact students have with their colleges. In this environment, the curriculum must now assume responsibilities for building community formerly assumed by the college as a whole (emphasis is preserved from the original).
During the vacation between the fall semester of 2000 and the spring semester of 2001, the two students who served on Pi Gamma Mu’s international Board of Trustees--Lisa Contreras and Nilda Pyronneau--initiated their own version of the learning community. They sent an E-mail message to numerous chapter advisors, and invited them to share opinions about the continuing mystery surrounding whether Vice President Al Gore or Texas Governor George W. Bush had won the 2000 presidential election. To the delight of Contreras and Pyronneau, a spirited discussion arose. Pi Gamma Mu members on a variety of campuses were engaging in discussions about issues of social science! This model can be imitated in any number of forms.
Attending our triennial international convention will be a tremendous experience for your students--and for you as well! While our conventions are student-oriented, professors find them to be enjoyable and even energizing.
One issue that a chapter may need to address is how to help students afford the cost of travel and lodging. We want to help you! Here are some ways in which our international office will help.
It is very easy to submit your chapter’s annual report! It will take just a few minutes, and you can do it online! Go to the Web page at this URL address: http://www.pigammamu.org/chapter-reporting.html
New Internal Revenue Service
regulations will now serve to make it much easier for you to submit your chapter’s annual report than not to
submit it!! In order to preserve your chapter’s tax-exempt/tax-deductible status, our international
office will fulfill your chapter’s reporting requirement (Form 990/990-N) based on the information
on your annual report. We’ll take care of it for you, if you submit your annual report!
The mission of Pi Gamma Mu and the mission of most faculty members have a common denominator. Professors are notoriously concerned about the well-being of students. Not much of the modern pressures for research or anything else seems to have tampered substantially with professors’ commitment to students. Not much having to do with pay seems to have the potential to disrupt professors’ commitment to students, either.
Attracting faculty members to serve as chapter officers of an honor society, therefore, can be, and actually must be, anchored to the concept of doing the right thing for their students. This is the principal motivation for our most prominent statewide, regional, and international officers’ sacrifice of time and effort on behalf of the honor society. As-yet-unaffiliated faculty members will not to be informed (or "sold") on the idea that their best students are being under-served if their academic performance is not fairly and publicly recognized and awarded.
You may want to view the content of the Web page at this URL address: http://www.pigammamu.org/professors.html
Presented with a list of benefits like this one, some faculty members may respond to the argument that service to Pi Gamma Mu can help them to make their students’ experience at their universities more valuable.
Preoccupied as they often are with the need to schedule courses, attend committee meetings, and otherwise cope with the demands on university administrators, a department head or dean may not have in the forefront of her mind an awareness of the vital need that honor societies like Pi Gamma Mu serve. The reputation and well-being of a university are influenced to no small degree by the success of its alumni. Pi Gamma Mu and other honor societies help to make a university’s alumni competitive. Students tend to understand the need to become competitive; often, an honor society serves as the stimulus to a student to work more diligently to become an honor student. Perhaps these questions need to be submitted to the department head or dean:
-- Is it fair to our best students to send them into competition in the work force without honor-society memberships, when their peers at other universities enter the competition with honor-society memberships?
-- Is it healthy for our university to provide no (or few) recognition opportunities to our most capable students? Wouldn’t this lack of recognition suppress the level of achievement of our most capable students--thus driving down the overall level of academic excellence among our student body?
If you participate in some of Pi Gamma Mu’s other activities, that can create entries to your annual-activity report to your department head. Here are some examples:
If you contact our international office, the executive director will be very happy to send a letter to your department head or any administrator of your choice to acknowledge your invaluable contributions to our organization.
The backbone of the Pi Gamma Mu honor society consists of the many dedicated professors who serve as chapter sponsors and secretary-treasurers and thus ensure the continued operation of the chapters. With experience, such officers may develop innovative ways to operate chapters more effectively, more efficiently, and so forth. The experience of these volunteers may be helpful to professors who are in the process of creating new chapters, professors who have just been elected to chapter office, or chapter officers who are re-evaluating their approach to operating a chapter.
The volunteers listed in the table below have indicated their willingness to participate in conversations about or to answer questions about productive ways to operate a chapter. Feel free to call them or to send them an E-mail message!
You might want to make an inquiry to them about these kinds of issues:
There are many benefits to honor society membership to promote. Pi Gamma Mu's membership of the Association of College Honor Societies, which establishes certifiable criteria for honor society membership, even gives our members a potential boost in entrance grade for some federal government positions. Consider adding this poster to your recruitment notices.
C. Laurence (Larry) Heck, Ph.D.
(316)942-4291 ext. 2224 • [email protected]
Gordon E. Mercer,
Cullowhee, N. C. Chapter
Gabelnick, Faith; MacGregor, Jean; Matthews, Roberta S.; and Smith, Barbara Leigh (1990). Learning Communities: Creating Connections Among Students, Faculty, and Disciplines. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Inc.