Honor society receives excellence award

A University of Houston-Victoria honor society recently received an excellence award from its national organization for the first time.

The UHV chapter of Phi Kappa Phi achieved Circle of Excellence Gold status for 2019-2020 for its work promoting excellence at UHV. This is the first time the chapter has received the award in the 37 years it has been at UHV.

Dmitri Sobolev

“We are honored to have our achievements recognized by the national office,” said Dmitri Sobolev, a UHV associate professor of biology and the chapter president. “We will strive to keep up the good work in the future.”

Each year, the Circle of Excellence Award program recognizes chapters of the society for work being done to promote excellence on campus as well as engaging the community of scholars.

In order to be considered for a Circle of Excellence Award, chapters must show commitment and sustainability annually through a criteria that include issuing a certain percentage of new members initiated into the chapter, submitting required annual reports on time and attending at least one training workshop.

Sandy Venneman, professor of psychology and biology and vice president of the chapter, has been an officer for nearly 20 years and said the group just about doubled its enrollment this year.

Venneman attended the Phi Kappa Phi 2018 biennial convention, where she learned recruitment strategies and applied those approaches at UHV, including mailing personalized letters of invitation to students.

Sandy Venneman

“I’m excited that our chapter received this award,” Venneman said. “It was nice to bring back a tool from convention that worked well to reach students.”

In addition, the chapter was given a $200 award, and the group will vote on how best to use the money, she said.

The UHV chapter of the society has been in existence since 1982. Phi Kappa Phi is an international society and is the nation’s oldest multidisciplinary collegiate honor society. Each year, the UHV chapter invites students to join who have demonstrated academic distinction in each of UHV’s schools: Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development.

To be invited to join, students must complete 72 credit hours and rank in the top 7.5 percent in their class as a junior or the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students in their school. Phi Kappa Phi members are eligible to apply for scholarships and grants. Students are invited in early spring and are initiated in April.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Amber Aldaco