VC's Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society receives five-star status

May 5, 2012 at 12:05 a.m.

Matt Wiley

Matt Wiley

For the first time in Victoria College's history, the Zeta Gamma chapter earned the respected five-star status among Phi Theta Kappa chapters.

Zeta Gamma, recognized last month at the international PTK Annual Convention in Nashville, Tenn., also received the distinguished chapter officer team award and the Honors in Action Award.

Zeta Gamma's high participation and activity at the local, regional and international level earned their five-star status. According to, such participation includes organizing a chapter, developing projects, involvement in international PTK activities and events, and more.

"Achieving a five-star level puts us in the top third of all Texas chapters and the top fourth of all international chapters," said Associate Professor Matt Wiley, one of the chapter's advisors.

In addition, VC's chapter was just one of 26 chapters internationally to earn the distinguished chapter officer team award based on the officers' outstanding achievements and teamwork.

"The award is internationally recognized," said Brandy Garrett, the chapter's president. "That puts us in the top 10 percent of the international society. Our officers put a large amount of effort into this."

To be considered for the award, Wiley and two other advisors, Anita Brunsting and Margaret Janowski-Bell, nominated the officers by writing an essay describing their demonstration of exceptional teamwork, leadership, promotion of events and campus and community engagement.

"Our officers didn't know they were nominated for it until they won," Wiley said.

Projects the officers were involved in that led to the awards include the Hispanic oral history project under Karen Hagen, fundraisers, and the creation of a VC PTK Facebook page that allows the members to connect with each other online.

The chapter also organized a TEST Workshop, where faculty guest speakers share how to succeed in their courses.

The most recent TEST workshop in February featured a live webinar by Cal Newport - author of "How to Win at College" - as part of the chapter's focus on encouraging community college completion.

The Honors in Action award was received for their work on the honors topic "Democratization of Information," a biannual topic determined by the PTK headquarters. For their project, the Zeta Gamma officers organized a faculty lecture series titled, "Cryptography: The puzzle palace and how gentlemen read other gentlemen's mail."

Afterward, the officers wrote a 2,000-word essay of what their project was, the leadership involved to organize it and how the community benefited from it.

Phi Theta Kappa, an organization that recognizes and encourages academic achievement and student development among two-year community colleges, was founded in 1918.

PTK's purpose is to give students opportunities for individual growth and development in honors, leadership, service and fellowship. According to its website, about 125,000 students are inducted internationally each year.



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