History Honor Society earns national Best Chapter Award
Members of the Texas Woman’s University’s Phi Alpha Theta donate their $250 national Best Chapter Award prize to the Selwyn College Preparatory School in Denton, so that Selwyn may purchase elementary-level history books for its students.
DENTON — For the fourth consecutive year, the Texas Woman’s University chapter of the national history honor society Phi Alpha Theta has received a Best Chapter Award from the national Phi Alpha Theta organization. TWU joins other prominent universities such as Georgetown University, Louisiana Tech University, Cal-State Fullerton and the University of Nevada Las Vegas, as among only 21 chapters in the U.S. and the only the university in Texas receiving this distinction from Phi Alpha Theta, which has more than 900 chapters in the U.S.
The TWU group was named a “Best Chapter” in the nation for Division IV, which includes colleges and universities with enrollments of 10,001 to 14,999 students. As part of the award, TWU’s chapter will be featured in an upcoming issue of Phi Alpha Theta’s national publication, The News Letter, and the TWU Department of History and Government will receive $250.
According to Jacob M. Blosser, Ph.D., TWU associate professor of history and Phi Alpha Theta adviser, the $250 best chapter prize typically is intended to purchase history books selected by the chapter and department for the university’s library. However, as it did last year, the TWU chapter has obtained special permission to use the prize to purchase elementary-level history books for the Selwyn College Preparatory School in Denton. TWU Phi Alpha Theta students also will volunteer time reading to Selwyn students.
“There is nothing more important than putting a book into the hands of a child,” Blosser said. “We are delighted to use our Best Chapter Award to increase the Selwyn School’s already fantastic collection of elementary-age history books.”
This award culminates several years of growth for the TWU chapter. Since 2008, the chapter has sponsored 85 student-presenters at regional and national conferences. At these conferences, the students presented their original research papers and received important feedback on their research. The chapter also publishes an annual peer-reviewed journal, Ibid: A Student History Journal. Ibid is overseen by four student editors who cooperate with an editorial board composed of TWU students and faculty members from universities across the United States.
Earlier this year, Ibid received the Gerald Nash History Journal Prize — considered the preeminent national award for student history journals.
“The TWU chapter’s large, active membership is committed to fostering academic excellence through participation in national conferences, through our peer-reviewed student journal, through strong community partnerships, and through an active calendar of lectures, service projects, and film screenings,” Blosser said. “This national award recognizes us for doing all the things TWU does best – putting our students first and advancing their career aspirations.”
The chapter collected more than 650 pounds of food for a local food pantry last year, bringing the total amount of food raised in three years to nearly 3,000 pounds.
Also, the chapter partnered with a local preschool to host a History Field Day for 4 and 5 year olds. In this event, children read history stories, dressed up in period costumes, made history themed crafts, participated in a sandbox archeological dig, and took a history adventure walk. Each student went home with a certificate of accomplishment, a bag of prizes donated from across the community, and a folder of history-themed activities.
The chapter also sponsored a successful history essay-writing contest in local community colleges. The winning essays were featured in Ibid.
During the school year, the TWU chapter sponsors a popular monthly lunchtime lecture series and a “History vs. Hollywood” film series that draws large crowds from across the university.
The TWU Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta has won best chapter awards in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Founded in 1921, Phi Alpha Theta has chapters on more than 900 campuses across the United States. Membership in the society is open to undergraduate and graduate students who meet specific academic criteria. Though members once were exclusively history majors, a majority of new members now come from disciplines across the university. For more information on TWU’s Phi Alpha Theta, visit www.twu.edu/history-government/organizations.asp.
Director of Media Relations
page updated 5/9/2016 4:57 PM