WMU’s Phi Beta Kappa Chapter
- Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honor society, founded at the College of William & Mary in 1776.
- Western Michigan University is among 10% of American colleges and universities to host a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.
- Our chapter, Theta of Michigan, was founded in 1997 after more than a decade of efforts by WMU faculty and administrators. We are a WMU “point of pride.”
- Phi Beta Kappa celebrates and advocates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences.
The Problem: PBK’s Low Profile on Campus
1)Low student response rate:
- Students at a large public university are not aware of PBK, especially amid a sea of Greek-lettered organizations and honor societies.
- PBK invites students to membership at the end of their undergraduate careers; no chance for on-campus involvement.
2) Low faculty participation
- Structural issues: fewer TT hires; aging professoriate; higher workload.
- Most active chapter members have been involved for more than 10 years, and retired faculty fill several key roles.
- The same small group takes on responsibilities each year, risking burn-out (& not attractive for new participants).
WMU ScholarWorks Citation
Wirtz, Kristina, "Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society: Raising Visibility on Campus." (2016). Academic Leadership Academy. 65.