The International Honor Society in History, Phi Alpha Theta, was organized at the University of Arkansas on March 17, 1921. Since that time it has grown to over six hundred and fifty chapters in fifty states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and the Philippine Islands. It is the largest, in number of chapters, of the accredited honor societies holding membership in the Association of College Honor Societies. The total number of its initiates, since organization, is more than 150,000. A viable society, Phi Alpha Theta is composed of chapters in properly accredited colleges and universities. All students in these institutions, who have completed the required number of History courses and are maintaining high standards in their college or university studies, are eligible for membership. At the same time, Phi Alpha Theta is a professional society the objective of which is the promotion of the study of History through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication, and the exchange of learning and thought among historians. It seeks to bring students, teachers, and writers of History together both intellectually and socially, and it encourages and assists, in a variety of ways, historical research and publication by its members.
ACTIVITIES OF THE SOCIETY
Phi Alpha Theta performs many services for its members. At its biennial convention, usually held near the locale of the American Historical Association convention, students, undergraduate and graduate alike, are provided an opportunity to meet with distinguished historians and to present papers which they have written. Phi Alpha Theta is one of the few honor and professional historical societies to encourage the presentation of papers by students on its programs. At the same time, a number of outstanding historians also appear on the program of every biennial convention, so that members of the Society have the opportunity to hear their contributions to historical scholarship. Through these meetings students and professors have the opportunity to get to know others interested in the field of History and to enjoy the social and intellectual dialogue that takes place. Each biennial convention is also the occasion for an active social program, which generally includes a reception, and tours of various kinds. Phi Alpha Theta helps to underwrite the cost of transportation of a delegate from each chapter attending its conventions. The Society also presents special programs of its own at the annual meetings of the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the Southern Historical Association, the Western Historical Association, the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association and many of the State Historical Associations.
Local and Regional Activities
On the local level, each chapter of the Society carries on many activities for the benefit and enjoyment of its members. The local chapter sponsors speakers, forums, debates and seminars of a scholarly sort, book reviews, and many other programs in cooperation with local and area historical societies. It serves in many ways as an adjunct to the Department of History in its college or university and often is a helpful outlet for the expression of the opinions and wishes of the students of History in their relations with the department, the library, and the college. Through the local chapter's promotion of social activities for all the students of History in the institution, students and faculty meet in such a manner that they get to know each other in ways other than the more formal relationships of the classroom. Another very beneficial aspect of the Society's work is the regional activity of groups of chapters conveniently located in fairly close regional juxtaposition. Many regional meetings are held each year, usually for one day each, at which papers are presented and the members of many chapters are brought together. Approximately 50 regional meetings are held each year and more than 700 student papers are presented.
Phi Alpha Theta maintains a placement bureau for the benefit of its members; the services of this bureau are available to the members of the Society without charge. Members who are available for college teaching positions in the field of History are invited to register with the International Secretary, who administers the bureau. Information concerning available personnel will be forwarded to any department chair in the country who requests it; all such requests and all the information involved are handled on a strictly confidential basis. The Society points at many occupations now being opened to those with a background in History. Members interested in availing themselves of this service should visit the Society's website for further information. Requests from the Chair of the History Department for information relative to available personnel for positions should also be directed to him.
CIVIL SERVICE BENEFITS
Membership in Phi Alpha Theta is recognized by the U.S. Civil Service Commission as a credit qualifying the member for grade GS-7 rather than GS-5. For further information contact the headquarters office.
ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGE HONOR SOCIETIES
As part of its commitment to academic excellence Phi Alpha Theta has played and continues to play a very active role in the Association of College Honor Societies. In 1945 the first departmental honor societies were admitted to the association, and Phi Alpha Theta was one of the three initial members in this category.
Phi Alpha Theta
University of South Florida
SOC 107, 4202 E. Fowler Ave.
Tampa, FL 33620-8100
Executive Director, national Phi Alpha Theta: Graydon A. Tunstall, Jr.