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What is Phi Theta Kappa?

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society claims to be the world’s oldest and largest honor society in higher education, recognizing the academic achievement of qualified students at its various chapters. Headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, Phi Theta Kappa has 1,285 chapters on college campuses in all 50 of the United States, plus Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, Peru, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions. More than 3 million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 134,000 students inducted annually.


Phi Theta Kappa provides the student-members of its chapters with honors and leadership programs, and assists them with service projects, career and professional development, and scholarship programs. The Society maintains an interactive website with a global network of its chapters' student-members.


What are International Officers?

Phi Theta Kappa selects five student-members of its chapters each year to serve as International Officers during the Society's meetings and annual convention. The International Officers include a president and four vice presidents, representing four geographic divisions. International Officers are elected by the delegate body at the Society's annual convention each year and serve a one year term.


International Officers are expected to attend events and seminars and to visit the Center for Excellence (Phi Theta Kappa Headquarters) at various times throughout the year. International Officers also serve as Phi Theta Kappa representatives and keynote speakers during their terms at various community colleges and universities around the country. Additionally, one International Officer is selected by Phi Theta Kappa’s Board of Directors to serve a one year term on the Board.


Being an International Officer is considered the highest pinnacle of leadership within Phi Theta Kappa, and the campaigning experience for an International Officer has also been called a broadening and learning experience.


What is Phi Theta Kappa’s Mission?

The purpose of Phi Theta Kappa shall be to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students. To achieve this purpose, Phi Theta Kappa shall provide opportunity for the development of leadership and service, for an intellectual climate for exchange of ideas and ideals, for lively fellowship for scholars, and for stimulation of interest in continuing academic excellence. Phi Theta Kappa's mission is twofold: Recognize and encourage the academic achievement of two-year college students and; provide opportunities for individual growth and development through participation in honors, leadership, service and fellowship programming


Who is Dr. Rod Risley?

In 1974, Dr. Rod A. Risley (Mu Omicron Chapter, San Jacinto College in Texas) was elected as the 1974-1975 International (formerly called National) President. In 1977, Dr. Risley joins the Phi Theta Kappa Headquarters Staff as Director of Alumni Affairs. Dr. Risley, elected in 1985 by the Board of Directors, is currently one of only two executive directors to serve Phi Theta Kappa in their nearly 100 year history.


Who are the Board of Directors?

According the Phi Theta Kappa Constitution, the Board of Directors shall be composed of: one chapter advisor; one regional coordinator; one student member; one alumnus member; one international honorary member; one two-year college administrator; and the Executive Director.


Each member of the Board of Directors shall serve a three-year term, with the exception of the Executive Director, who will be a permanent member of the Board, and the student member, who will serve a one-year term. A member of the Board of Directors may not serve longer than two successive terms. The following bylaw conditions were added and supersede this constitutional rule:


  • The Board may, when deemed to be in the best interest of the Society, include additional members not to exceed a total membership of 9.

  • The Secretary shall (among other things) be custodian of the Society's records and perform such other duties as from time to time may be assigned to him by the Board of Directors.

  • Board members elected by the Executive Committee may serve more than two consecutive terms when recommended by the Executive Directors and approved by the Executive Committee.

  • Only a majority of the total number of Directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.


The duties and responsibilities not specifically delegated by the Constitution to the Executive Committee are vested in the Board of Directors.


Ex-Officio (Secretary): Dr. Rod A. Risley

Service: 1985-Present

Occupation: Executive Director, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Jackson, Mississippi


Term: The Executive Director is a member of the Board of Directors by virtue of office.


Alumnus Member (Chair): Everett C. "Kip" Johnson, Phi Theta Kappa 1975-1976 International President

Service:  2008 - Present

Occupation: Attorney at Law, Latham & Watkins, Washington, D.C.


Term: 3 successive terms; The alumnus member shall be elected by the Executive Committee upon recommendation of the Executive Director.


Community College Administrator Representative to the Board: Dr. Walter Bumphus

Service: 2010 - Present

Occupation: President/CEO, American Association of Community Colleges, Washington, D.C.


Term: 2 successive terms; The two-year college administrator shall be elected by the Executive Committee from recommendations made to the Executive Director by the active chapter advisors of the Society.


International Honorary Member representative (Vice Chair): Dr. George Boggs

Service: 2010 - Present

Occupation: Immediate Past-President and CEO of American Association of Community Colleges


Term: 2 successive terms; The honorary member shall be elected by the Executive Committee upon recommendation of the Executive Director.


Chapter Advisor Representative: Dan Bailey

Service: 2012 - 2015

Occupation: Alpha Omega Gamma Chapter, Ashland Community & Technical College (Kentucky)


Term: 1st and only term; the chapter advisor shall be elected by the active chapter advisors present at the International Convention.


Regional Coordinator Representative: Cindy Carbone

Service: 2012 - 2015

Occupation: Oakland Community College, Royal Oak, Michigan


Term: 1st and only term; the regional coordinator shall be elected by the active chapter advisors present at the International Convention.


Student Representative: Varies

Term: 1 year; The student member shall be elected by the Board of Directors from the Executive Committee.




Phi Theta Kappa Website: News, Constitution, About, Board of Directors

Inside Higher Ed Article - Students accuse director of community college honor society of sexual harassment



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