Monday, August 18, 2014

Member Benefits Highlights – August 2014

It’s that time of year—back to school! Whether you are a faculty or staff member, student, or parent, don’t miss out on these great back-to-school specials available exclusively for Phi Kappa Phi members.

Make sure you keep your course files and study guides safe this semester with leading online backup provider, Carbonite. With Carbonite, you can rest easy knowing your files are backed up securely and automatically to the cloud. In addition, you can access these important files from any computer, smartphone or tablet. Unlimited backup space is only $59.99 a year, and Phi Kappa Phi members can receive 10 percent off (with additional discounts for multiyear purchase). Visit and enter promo code PKP2014 to get started today!

Looking for a new computer to help keep up with coursework and studying? Save up to 25% on select Lenovo laptops, PCs, tablets and more as a Phi Kappa Phi member. Visit the Phi Kappa Phi – Lenovo site and begin shopping today! (Offer ends August 31.)

Whether you are a parent or student, heading back to school involves a lot of preparation and a hectic schedule. But for identity thieves, the busy back-to-school season provides a wealth of personal information that can easily be accessed. Make sure you remain watchful during this time and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and family from becoming a victim of identity theft. As a member, you are eligible to receive a 20% discount on a LifeLock membership. Click here to enroll using the Phi Kappa Phi discount.

Phi Kappa Phi Graduation Gear
Graduating this fall? Receive a free Phi Kappa Phi tassel when you purchase the Phi Kappa Phi honor cord, medallion and stole! Visit the Online Store to purchase today. Please note that protocol for wearing items at commencement varies from school to school. Be sure to check with your college or university before ordering.

The Princeton Review
Even though it’s only August, it’s never too early to start your test preparation! Phi Kappa Phi members can receive $150 off classroom courses, online courses and tutoring through The Princeton Review with promo code PKP150 when enrolling online or by calling 800.2REVIEW.

What better time to get organized than the start of the new academic year? Take advantage of Shoeboxed and ensure all of your important files are organized. Shoeboxed provides a fast, easy way to turn your important paper documents such as receipts, bills, business cards, and more into organized digital data. With Shoeboxed, your documents will be carefully sorted and scanned into a secure online account and accessible anytime, anywhere. Take advantage of 20 percent off your first six months when you subscribe. Sign up using this link to receive the discount and begin eliminating your paper clutter today!

Friday, August 15, 2014

2014-2016 Board of Directors Elected

Voting for the Society's 2014-2016 Board of Directors was held Saturday, August 9, at the Biennial Convention in St. Louis. Convention delegates—175 in total—voted to elect the following offices: President, President-Elect, Vice President for Fellowships and Awards, Vice President for Finance and Vice President for Marketing and Member Benefits. Voting delegates also elected the five regional vice presidents.

Three positions, Vice President for Chapter Development, Vice President at Large, and one Vice President for Students, were presidential appointments with board approval. In addition, the newly named Council of Students elected two members to serve on the Board of Directors as Vice Presidents for Students. Two additional Vice Presidents at Large were elected by an electronic vote of the active membership.

2014-2016 Phi Kappa Phi Board of Directors

Timothy L. Hulsey, Ph.D., The University of Tennessee

Gypsy M. Denzine, Ph.D., West Virginia University

Past President
Diane G. Smathers, Ed.D., Clemson University

Vice President for Finance
Steven Rock, Ph.D., Western Illinois University

Vice President for Marketing & Member Benefits
Jake McNeill, Ph.D., Kennesaw State University

Vice President for Fellowships & Awards
Angela Lumpkin, Ph.D., Texas Tech University

Vice President for Chapter Development
Missy Hopper, Ph.D., Mississippi State University

Regional Vice President
Kirk Armstrong, Ed.D., Georgia College & State University

Regional Vice President
Dan Sandweiss, Ph.D., University of Maine

Vice President at Large
Capt. Wendy Lawrence, USN (Ret.), United States Naval Academy

Vice President at Large
Rodney P. Hughes, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University

Vice President at Large
Maire Simington, Ph.D., Arizona State University

Vice President for Students
Eryn Jager, North Dakota State University

Vice President for Students
Gina Colaianni, Kennesaw State University

Vice President for Students
Tyler Dufrene, Nicholls State University

Regional Vice Presidents

Northeast Regional Vice President

Dan Sandweiss, Ph.D., University of Maine

North Central Regional Vice President
Robert C. Intrieri, Ph.D., Western Illinois University

South Central Regional Vice President
Randy Winzer, M.E.T., Pittsburg State University

Southeast Regional Vice President
Kirk Armstrong, Ed.D., Georgia College & State University

West Regional Vice President
George Randels, Ph.D., University of the Pacific

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Volunteer Spotlight – August 2014

Cynthia Surmacz
Bloomsburg University

Name: Cynthia Surmacz

Chapter Position: Secretary

Years of Service to the Chapter: 29 years

University Position: Professor, Department of Biological and Allied Health Sciences

Degree(s)/Discipline: B.S., Biology; Ph.D., Physiology

How did you become involved as a chapter officer? I was initiated into Phi Kappa Phi as an undergraduate at Penn State University in 1978. Upon arriving at Bloomsburg University as a new faculty member, I was pleased to find a relatively new chapter of Phi Kappa Phi on campus. The group was looking for a secretary and I was honored to become involved.

What has your chapter done that has made you proud? Over the years, our chapter has obtained Chapter of Merit status, had Graduate Fellowship winners, and received three Literacy Grants. I am proud to be associated with such talented and accomplished students and colleagues.

What does Phi Kappa Phi mean to you? Phi Kappa Phi provides a way for me to celebrate and recognize our top students and to promote the importance of academic excellence.

What do you enjoy most about being a chapter officer? My favorite moments each year in the life of our chapter occur during our initiation ceremony. It is a great joy to watch the faces of family members glow with pride as their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, etc. are initiated. I also enjoy being part of a group that brings together students and faculty from so many disciplines to celebrate academic excellence.

What advice would you give to a new chapter officer?
Don't hesitate to contact the folks at headquarters. They are great! They have lots of practical information and are willing to go to great lengths to help you. I would also suggest attending cluster meetings to learn more about Phi Kappa Phi to bring home ideas for your chapter and to get inspired.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy cooking, reading, listening to music, theatre, and traveling.

Where are you from? I was born in Trafford, PA, near Pittsburgh, grew up in Schuylkill Haven, PA, and have lived in central Pennsylvania in the Bloomsburg area for 30 years.

See Cindy's bio.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Remarkable Strides

The Society's 43rd Convention officially commenced yesterday, August 8, at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch. Dr. E. Gordon Gee, president of West Virginia University, kicked off the Convention as the keynote speaker.

Dr. Gee, who has served as president at five universities over the past 35 years, addressed the state of higher education during his speech. "We cannot afford to not change. And America must change. And of course, higher education must initiate that change," he said.

Continuing, he emphasized that higher education administrators—including those serving as Phi Kappa Phi chapter officers at the more than 300 colleges and universities—must bear the responsibility to further advance the institution of higher education.

"We have to understand the power of higher education in this nation," he stressed.

Following Gee's inspiring address, chapter delegates, other chapter representatives, board members and staff moved into the first governance session of Convention.

"We have made remarkable strides," declared Society President Dr. Diane G. Smathers in her State of the Society Address.

During the session, Dr. Smathers and Society Executive Director Dr. Mary Todd highlighted the key achievements of the Society from the past biennium. An echoing theme, "Everything connects to everything," was reiterated throughout the breakdown of the successes, which included:

  • The announcement of two new award programs—a doctoral dissertation award and a $100,000 Excellence in Innovation achievement award to be given to a deserving institution
  • The installation of nine new chapters including a tenth to be installed August 18
  • The creation of a "Healthy Chapter" initiative designed to strengthen Society chapters nationwide
  • The acquirement of a membership marketing agency to assist with a large-scale reinstatement and awareness campaign

The session closed with Dr. Todd reporting on the strategic plan for the Society moving forward. Dr. Todd explained in depth the four guiding principles on the agenda for Phi Kappa Phi's near future: identity, members, chapters, and resources.

Voting for the 2014-2016 Board of Directors takes place today. Stay tuned to the blog for results and additional Convention highlights.

Friday, August 8, 2014

From One Generation to the Next

The 2014 Phi Kappa Phi Biennial Convention kicked off yesterday, August 7, in St. Louis at the Hyatt Regency at The Arch. Keeping with tradition, this year’s Convention was preceded by Partnering for Success—an interactive workshop that provides strategies for chapter enhancement.

To start things off, generations expert and founder of XYZ University Sarah Sladek provided the plenary address. Sarah’s engaging speech to the nearly 175 attendees of Partnering for Success addressed how chapters can reach all generations: from boomers to millennials.

Sarah posed the question, “What does Phi Kappa Phi do better than anyone else?” Knowing that answer—whether it is our awards or grants programs, service opportunities, or leadership and networking offerings—and using it, is the way to generating an engaged and meaningful membership across all generations, explained Sarah.

“We must strive for must-have membership,” she said. “If you have must-have membership, people will never question if they want to be a part of your organization.”

The rest of the first day involved a variety of other Partnering for Success sessions that offered tools, tips and resources to chapter officers. Topics for the sessions ranged from handling basic chapter administration skills to enhancing public relations to creating service initiatives and more. A panel including four chapter officers from across the nation also convened at the end of the day to discuss best practices for chapter management.

The official kickoff of Convention 2014 happens today at 12 p.m. Central time as Dr. E. Gordon Gee, President of West Virginia University, delivers the keynote address to all Convention attendees.

Check back on the blog or Phi Kappa Phi social media for the latest updates!

Monday, August 4, 2014

See You in St. Louis!

Convention boxes packed and ready to ship from
Society Headquarters in Baton Rouge
Staff from Society Headquarters will head to St. Louis tomorrow, August 5, to prepare to welcome 2014 Phi Kappa Phi Convention! The Convention marks the 43rd gathering since the Society’s founding in 1897 at the University of Maine.

Taking place Thursday through Saturday, the Convention boasts an exciting agenda including a keynote address from West Virginia University President Dr. E. Gordon Gee, a plenary address generations expert Sarah Sladek, a panel discussion with three university provosts, presentations form Society award winners and more. In addition, the 2014-2016 Board of Directors and Regional Vice Presidents for the Society will be elected during the Convention.

Partnering for Success, which precedes the two-day Convention, will provide 175 chapter officers from across the nation with best practices, strategies and tips for enhancing Phi Kappa Phi chapters.

Stay tuned for all Convention happenings to be posted here on the Phi Kappa Phi blog.

And for those heading to St. Louis, we’ll see you there!

2014 Spring Graduation Photo Contest Winners

Congratulations to Shelby Frantz from the University of Florida, for being named the first place winner in the Phi Kappa Phi Spring Graduation Photo Contest! As first place winner, Frantz will receive a $100 cash prize.

Second place and $50 was awarded to Caliesha Lavonne Comley of Georgetown College.

Third place and $25 went to Venkata Prashant Valluri of Rochester Institute of Technology.

Watch for the winning entries, along with other submissions, to appear in various Society marketing and promotional materials. And don't forget to stay tuned for information about the Fall 2014 Graduation Photo Contest!

To see all entries, click here.