Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Executive Director's Blog – Too Much Information?

From the Executive Director
Forum, Fall 2016

You’ve probably seen, or said in exasperation, the expression TMI. Too much information! That’s an understandable response in these days of 24/7 cable news and incessant email and text alerts.

As I write, the people of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, are again desperate for information. For the third time in a little more than a month, this community has been challenged by events beyond its control: first, protests in the wake of a shooting; then the killing of three law enforcement officers on a lazy Sunday morning; and now historic flooding, the result of a storm with no name that required the relocation of thousands from their homes. In each case, citizens have been dependent on local television and social media not only for developments but for information about how to stay safe.

And in each case, as we locals watched events unfolding at familiar locations, we learned that the nation was watching as well. In Baton Rouge we watched to avoid roads that were closed or blocked, and we watched the water’s path. The title of a favorite novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, was never so palpable. You watched in empathy and compassion even as you tried to comprehend our situation, possibly feeling as helpless as we. You sought information from us: how had we fared, what did we need, how could you help.

Is it possible in such a tragic situation for there to be too much information? Certainly not in the near term, no matter who or where we are.

There’s a difference, however, between information and learning. Learning is a process in which a learner engages information, culls and considers it, finally integrating it into her knowledge bank before using it to advance further learning.

A study conducted in fall 2015 and released in March 2016 by the Pew Research Center looked at Americans as learners. While we in Phi Kappa Phi like to speak of ourselves as lifelong learners, it turns out most Americans feel they are as well. Pew found that 73 percent of adults consider themselves lifelong learners —74 percent personal learners who have pursued activities to advance their knowledge base, and 63 percent professional learners, full- or part-time workers who pursued work-related training or expertise in the past year.

You may be surprised to read that most of this learning did not happen online. By far, interview respondents reported their personal learning experiences took place at an actual physical locale, such as a school, church, or library. Even those who reported professional learning did so at a work-related venue rather than online, despite possessing appropriate technology to do so.

And while the reasons respondents pursued learning varied, the primary reason cited was to make their lives more interesting or full, or to help them help others. People are looking for opportunities to grow as individuals. In seeking information, they’re expressing curiosity.

The Pew study, with its focus on what they call “the joy and urgency of learning,” is worth a read [Pew Research Center, March, 2016, “Lifelong Learning and Technology”]. Pew concludes: “The rise of the knowledge economy, the growing imperative to learn and the proliferation of educational platforms have combined to make America a nation of learners.” The love of learning really does rule.

Too much information? Not necessarily. It’s what you do with it that counts. What learning might follow the recent tragic devastation in Louisiana?

-Mary Todd, Executive Director

Love of Learning Deadline is October 1

Need funding to attend a conference, support dissertation research, or pay for textbooks? Apply for a Love of Learning Award!
Available to active Phi Kappa Phi members, Love of Learning Awards help fund post-baccalaureate studies and/or career development including graduate or professional studies, doctoral dissertations, continuing education, travel related to teaching/studies and more.
Eighty awards, at $500 each, will be distributed during Session B. The deadline to submit applications is this Saturday, October 1.
Applications are open to all active (dues current) Phi Kappa Phi members who:
  • Have completed their baccalaureate studies by application submission deadline
  • Have not received a Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship
For more information, check out the FAQs and Love of Learning fact sheet. Ready to apply? Click here!
If you have additional questions, contact Kelli Partin, awards manager, at kpartin@phikappaphi.org

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Phi Kappa Phi Member Named 2016 MacArthur Fellow

Photo credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Phi Kappa Phi member Josh Kun, professor of communication at University of Southern California, has been named a 2016 MacArthur Fellow. He is one of 23 fellows named to the 2016 class.

A cultural historian, Kun received the award for his work studying the cultural intersection of art and popular culture. Much of this research focuses on the histories of both music and food with emphasis on their communities of origin.

“I’m interested in what music tells us about the past, how it helps us survive the present, and how it can help people imagine new futures,” Kun said in a video released by the MacArthur Foundation.

To go a step further, Kun makes it a point to take his research beyond the classroom and into the cultures he studies.

“As a scholar, following the rules of doing traditional, conventional, rigorous scholarship is important to me. But it’s only important to me if those conversations move outside of my classroom and move outside of the academic communities that maybe they begin in.”

Most recently, he hosted a series of events in Los Angeles, which included readings, concerts, and even a live mixtape recording.

“I think that this fellowship is going to help me a great deal to be more selective in the projects that I choose. And to have the luxury—and it is a deep, deep luxury—to be able to pursue the things that I love,” Kun said.

Kun has served as a curator for a number of venues including the Getty Foundation, the Museum of Latin American Art, the Skirball Center, and the Grammy Museum. He also co-founded the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation, a nonprofit focused on the study of Jewish history through to music.

Also known as the Genius Grant, the MacArthur Fellowship celebrates individuals who have shown “extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.” The fellows, who span the disciplines, receive a no-strings-attached grant of $625,000 over five years.

For the Love of Literacy

Phi Kappa Phi’s Literacy Grant Program was created in 2003 to mobilize members and chapters of Phi Kappa Phi to champion literacy initiatives near and far. The grants, of up to $2,500, help fund ongoing literacy projects and support the creation of new initiatives.

Read how some of the 2016 Literacy Grant recipients are making a difference across the globe:

Born to Read
Mary Elizabeth Ambery, Ph.D.

Since 2001, the Southeast Missouri State University chapter has been committed to providing a Little Golden Book to every baby born in Cape Girardeau, Mo., local hospitals. As part of the program, local hospitals are provided with books to be given to parents as they leave with their newborn baby. Inside the book cover, a congratulatory note highlights the benefits of reading with very young children and passing the love of learning from generation to generation. To date, Born to Read has given more than 30,000 books, and the first recipients are now teenagers!

Play Your Way to Higher Test Scores
Lisa Owens

Play Your Way to Higher Test Scores is a literacy project that aims to improve reading and critical thinking skills through the use of educational games that stress spelling and vocabulary. As part of the project, literacy kits are created with board games such as Scrabble, Apples to Apples, Scattergories, and more. The kits are provided to students at Homer High School in Homer, La. Additionally, the school’s library has provided a dedicated space, the Literacy Learning Center, furnished with a comfortable seating area with game tables and storage for the kits.

Literacy in Nicaraguan Impoverished Schools
Paulina Erices and Veronique Diriker

Working with La Merced, a volunteer-based nonprofit organization in the U.S., members from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Pennsylvania State University chapters have teamed up for a collaborative literacy effort. In its first phase, the project will evaluate and assess the needs of teachers and administration at a K-12 school in Managua, Nicaragua. After assessment, project leaders will provide teachers with equipment and support to meet the children’s needs.

Books: Candy for the Mind
Norbert Puszkar

Since 2003, the Austin Peay State University chapter has been involved with the safe Halloween trick-or-treating program, G.H.O.S.T. (Great Halloween Options for Safe Trick-or-Treating), held on the APSU campus. The project, Books: Candy for the Mind, is an early literacy initiative that provides books instead of candy to children in the community. As part of the project, chapter members solicit new or gently used children’s books and collect funds that can be used to purchase additional books. 

Read more about the Literacy Grants Program and see what other initiatives are being championed by this year’s recipients.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Phi Kappa Phi Installs Chapter 337 at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott

Phi Kappa Phi will install its 337th chapter at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott today, September 21.

The installation of the Embry-Riddle chapter comes after a thorough chartering process and approval from the Society’s board of directors. To be eligible, an institution must be a regionally accredited four-year college or university with an established reputation of excellence and an expressed commitment to upholding the values of the Society.

“Phi Kappa Phi is pleased to welcome Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott to our growing community of scholars,” said Society Executive Director Dr. Mary Todd. “The university’s commitment to excellence is evident in its undergraduate research emphasis, cutting edge programs in security and intelligence, and community engagement.”

Officers elected by the chartering group to serve the newly installed chapter include President Anne Boettcher, Vice President Melanie Wilson, Secretary Katherine Greene, Treasurer Jonathan Gallimore, Public Relations Officer Curtis James, Awards & Grants Coordinator Ray Newton, and Administrative Assistant Virginia MacGowan.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Highlight Your Phi Kappa Phi Membership

Membership in Phi Kappa Phi is a stamp of excellence. And when it's time to apply for a job, a scholarship or a graduate program, our many resources will help you highlight your membership in the nation's oldest and most selective all-discipline honor society.
  • Logo Graphics: Proudly display your Phi Kappa Phi membership on your résumé by including an official Society logo.
  • Member Verification Letters: Email Deanna Landry at dlandry@phikappaphi.org to request your personalized membership verification letter.
  • Press Releases: Using a program known as Merit, Phi Kappa Phi sends press releases on behalf of members for achievements such as being initiated into the Society, receiving a Phi Kappa Phi award, becoming a chapter officer and more. These press releases are distributed electronically to members’ hometown newspapers and posted to the Phi Kappa Phi Merit Page. In addition, a customizable online profile is created for members to easily share achievements with family and friends on social media. 
For more information about highlighting your membership, contact Jamie Chapman at jchapman@phikappaphi.org or 800.804.9880, ext. 217.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Save 10% on Legal Advice with Avvo

Phi Kappa Phi recently teamed up with Avvo—the largest online legal marketplace connecting consumers and lawyers. With the new partnership, members will have access to 10 percent off all Avvo’s fixed-fee, on-demand legal services in the five most common areas of law: business, estate planning, real estate, family and immigration.

Services range from general advice sessions to document review (business contracts), document creation (lease agreements), and some full services such as creating an estate plan or a living will. The services are fulfilled by lawyers local to the consumer, who have been selected based on qualifications from Avvo’s active lawyer base of more than 250,000 attorneys.

Click here to get started today. To take advantage of the discount, use promo code PKP2016.

Questions? Contact Jamie Chapman at jchapman@phikappaphi.org or 800.804.9880, ext. 217.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Read it Forward: 5 Ways to Promote Literacy

In honor of National Literacy Month, check out the ways you can promote literacy both on campus and in your community.

Host an event.
One of the best ways to promote literacy is to host an event in your local community. There are a number of events that you or your chapter can host such as an informational booth, public forum on illiteracy, tutoring program, book drive, monthly read-alouds and more. Whatever you choose, consider making it an annual event each year during National Literacy Month.

Spread the word.
Use fliers, posters, bookmarks, brochures and other printed materials to celebrate literacy. You can also create informational packets combining many of these printed materials to be distributed at events. Consider running a PSA or campus newspaper ad for an upcoming chapter event. Social media is another great way to spread the word while encouraging others to do the same.

Give a gift.

Clean off your bookshelf and donate books to a local library, school or organization in your community. Or, host an event to raise funds to make a monetary donation to a local organization that supports and promotes literacy in your community.

Apply for a Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant.
Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grants are available to help you champion new or ongoing literacy initiatives. The grants of up to $2,500 are available each year for chapters and individual members. Learn more about the program here and watch these podcasts created by past winner Dr. Paulette Harris (Part 1 and Part 2) for tips on a successful application

Look beyond September.
Even though National Literacy Month is one month of the year, make it a priority to do something—big or small—to encourage literacy on campus and in your community throughout the entire year. For example, consider participating in Phi Kappa Phi’s Annual Book Drive Competition. The competition, open to all chapters, kicks off in February of each year.

Have a tip to share? Post it in the comments below or tweet us @PhiKappaPhi using #PKPLovesLiteracy.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Upcoming Award Deadlines

Takami Kowalski, 2016 Study Abroad Recipient (Session A)
Applications are currently being accepted for Session B of the Study Abroad Grant and Love of Learning Award programs. Learn more about each program including how to apply and the upcoming deadlines:

Study Abroad Grants
Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grants are designed to help support undergraduates as they seek knowledge and experience in their academic fields by studying abroad. Twenty-five $1,000 grants will be awarded during Session B. The deadline to apply is September 15.

Love of Learning Awards
Love of Learning Awards help fund post-baccalaureate studies and career development for active Phi Kappa Phi members to include, but not be limited to, graduate or professional studies, doctoral dissertations, continuing education, career development and travel related to teaching/studies. Eighty awards, at $500 each, will be distributed during Session B. The deadline to apply is October 1.
If you have questions, please contact Kelli Partin, awards manager, at kpartin@phikappaphi.org.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Today is International Literacy Day

This year marks the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day. The event, held September 8 each year, was established by the United National Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a way to promote awareness around the issue of illiteracy.

Since its creation in 1966, the day has been celebrated internationally each year. Many organizations, including Phi Kappa Phi, extend the celebration beyond this day to devote the entire month to literacy awareness.

This year, at its half-century mark, the day will honor the past five decades of efforts made to increase literacy rates around the world through innovative solutions.

In honor of International Literacy Day, we challenge you to join us and other organizations and communities across the globe to raise awareness around the importance of literacy. We also encourage you to educate yourself about the statistics and facts surrounding illiteracy. To do so, check out the 2016 International Literacy Day infographic created by UNESCO.

And don’t forget to tell us how you are celebrating by using #PKPLovesLiteracy on social media.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Member Benefits Highlights – September 2016

Fall into savings with these special offers exclusively available to Phi Kappa Phi members throughout September.

Avvo *New Benefit
As a Phi Kappa Phi member you have access to 10% off all fixed fee legal services from Avvo, the largest online legal marketplace connecting consumers and lawyers. Services are available in the practice areas of family, immigration, business, estate planning, real estate, landlord & tenant, employment & labor, criminal defense, and bankruptcy & debt. Click here to select the practice area you need help in, choose a service from the menu of services and select your lawyer. Use promo code PKP2016.

Back up your irreplaceable computer files securely and automatically to the cloud with Carbonite—the leading online backup provider. Phi Kappa Phi members receive a 10% discount, with additional discounts available for multi-year purchase, on all business and personal plan subscriptions. Members can also try Carbonite free for 15 days! Visit Carbonite.com and enter promotional code PKP2015 when signing up for your free trial or when purchasing a subscription.

Take advantage of exclusive discounts from Dell on computers, accessories and much more! To start shopping, visit the Phi Kappa Phi – Dell Member Purchase Store. Please note your discount is automatically calculated and will appear in red at checkout. And click here for more details on the new Member Exclusive Store, where members can save an additional 20% on the latest technology!

Continue your journey of lifelong learning by taking advantage of the exclusive discounts available to you from JPASS by JSTOR. Gain access to more than 2,000 academic and professional journals and receive an exclusive 25% discount when you purchase the annual JPASS individual access plan. Click here to redeem your 25% discount today.

Lumosity offers members an exclusive 25% discount on individual yearly and lifetime subscriptions. Lumosity is available on iPad, iPhone and Android, and in several languages on the web including French, German, Japanese and Spanish. To take advantage of the exclusive discount, visit Lumosity.com and set up your free account. Once you’ve created your account, click here to activate the 25% discount.

Phi Kappa Phi Visa® Rewards Credit Card
Did you know that each purchase made with the Phi Kappa Phi Visa® Rewards card helps to support Phi Kappa Phi awards? The card also provides your FICO® score for free on your monthly credit card statement so you can monitor your score closely and build credit. Click here to learn more about the Phi Kappa Phi Rewards Visa® card and take advantage of the great benefits today!

Questions? Contact Jamie Chapman at jchapman@phikappaphi.org or 800.804.9880, ext. 217.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Phi Kappa Phi Celebrates National Literacy Month

September is National Literacy Month! This month-long international celebration brings together organizations, communities, educators and students both near and far to promote literacy as a foundation for lifelong learning.

Throughout the month, we plan to celebrate literacy on our blog, website and social media. But we also want to know how you are celebrating. Send us your stories or post below about a literacy initiative being championed by you or your chapter. You can also join the conversation using #PKPLovesLiteracy.

And if you haven’t already, read about the 2016 Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant winners who are leading a number of literacy initiatives both nationally and internationally.

Volunteer Spotlight – September 2016

Alex Bolinger
Idaho State University

Chapter Position: Past President

University Position: Associate Professor, Department of Management

Years of Service to the Chapter: 4 years

Degree(s)/Discipline: Ph.D., Business Management; Master of Business Administration; M.A., Political Science

How did you become involved as a chapter officer? I originally took over the role of President-Elect in 2013 on the recommendation of our then-President, Mike Rowe, and the support of the chapter's executive board.

What has your chapter done that has made you proud? We have tried a lot of new ideas, the most successful of which has been the GMAT/GRE prep webinars in partnership with The Princeton Review. Those webinars have now reached over a thousand non-members from as far away as Uganda and introduced them to what Phi Kappa Phi can offer.

What does Phi Kappa Phi mean to you? Phi Kappa Phi is about embodying the ideal of learning as something that is intrinsically valuable in itself. In a world that is increasingly market-driven and commercialized, we need organizations like Phi Kappa Phi that remind us that education is not only profitable and useful, but that learning can also be fun and fulfilling.

What do you enjoy most about being a chapter officer? I enjoy the people I get to work with. Phi Kappa Phi members are among the most accomplished and genuinely nice people at Idaho State University and in the Pocatello community. They are also among the busiest, which creates its own set of challenges.

What advice would you give to a new chapter officer? Don't try to go it alone. I have been incredibly fortunate to work with a dedicated leadership team. They never hesitated to pitch in to share the workload for our events and I leaned heavily on their connections and skills to shore up my areas of weakness (e.g., several of our executive board members and Student Vice Presidents were terrific at publicizing via social media, whereas I am terrible at publicity).

What are your hobbies? Running, bicycling, playing tennis and basketball, cross-country skiing, singing, playing the trumpet, and reading about American history.

Where are you from?
American Falls, Idaho

Read Alex's bio.