Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Sciences' response to COVID-19 has been swift and includes both innovation and opportunities for students.
Winfield, KS -- (ReleaseWire) -- 10/22/2020 --Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Sciences' response to COVID-19 has been swift and includes both innovation and opportunities for students. Founded in 1924, the honor society has adapted to many challenges over the years, although none quite like COVID-19. Judith Tilton, Executive Director of the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS), said, "In a matter of months, education as we knew it was turned upside-down: from grading (many colleges moved to pass/fail options) that helps determine honor society qualification and scholastic excellence, to chapters no longer being able to meet in person, to campuses shutting down permanently." These challenges have had an enormous impact on both higher education and academic honor societies alike.
Pi Gamma Mu responded quickly to the pandemic by launching a new online member registration system in March of 2020. The system allows invited students to register online for the first time in the Society's almost 100-year history. It went live just in time to help chapters with their spring membership drives as campuses around the globe began shutting down due to COVID-19. The system is revolutionary for chapters of Pi Gamma Mu and advisers have been pleased with its ease of use. Dr. Brad Tennant, Chapter Adviser at Presentation College (South Dakota) and Pi Gamma Mu Chancellor of the North/Northwest Region, used the system for the first time this fall. Tennant said, "As with many campuses, we have been impacted by quarantined students and an increase in students who participate by synchronous online classes. This also affected our induction of new members to Pi Gamma Mu this fall. Nonetheless, the students were able to complete their membership information and pay online, which made the process much easier for the inductees and for me as the Chapter Adviser." The system also provides a long-term solution for chapters as colleges and universities continue to move toward more online solutions.
Campus closures also led many chapters to hold meetings and initiation ceremonies online. The University of Maryland Global Campus held its first-ever online-only initiation ceremony on May 12, 2020. The Chapter Adviser and Pi Gamma Mu Chancellor of the Northeast Region, Professor Katherine Im, mailed out an initiation kit to each student before the ceremony. Following the ceremony, Professor Im stated that "Students contacted us with words of thanks and appreciation. Many were feeling disappointed because their commencement exercises had been canceled. The online ceremony was a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy graduation season."
The pandemic also impacted Pi Gamma Mu Conventions. During an April 19, 2020 meeting of the Board of Trustees, the Trustees decided to postpone the 2020 Triennial International Convention. The Convention has been rescheduled for November 4-6, 2021. It will be held either in-person in Washington, D.C. or virtually, depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the postponement of the Convention, the Society remains dedicated to providing opportunities to its members and is currently holding a "Call for Student Papers" with a submission deadline of November 20, 2020. Up to the top ten rated papers will receive consideration for publication in the Society's keystone journal, the International Social Science Review, and, if published, will be accepted for oral presentation at the 2021 Convention. The Convention will include student paper presentations, a Student Leadership Development Program, a keynote address, an awards ceremony, student elections to the Board of Trustees, and more.
About Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Sciences
Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Sciences, (http://www.pigammamu.org), based in Winfield, Kansas, provides recognition and opportunities to high achieving Social Science students at chapters located on college and university campuses around the world. Pi Gamma Mu was founded in 1924 and has been certified by the Association of College Honor Societies since 1953. Our mission is to encourage and promote excellence in the Social Sciences and to uphold and nurture scholarship, leadership, and service. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.