After long application process, CAS receives Phi Beta Kappa chapter

AU's College of Arts and Sciences will soon be joining the likes of 249 well-respected colleges and universities nationwide with its own chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, a national liberal arts and sciences honor society.

Applying for Phi Beta Kappa membership was a multi-year process organized by CAS Associate Dean Naomi Baron. The society voted to give American University a chapter on August 13 of this year. Phi Beta Kappa faculty members are now establishing the guidelines for the chapter.

CAS Dean Betty Bennett said the planning process is well under way.

"What we need to do now is develop bylaws and a constitution, submit those to Phi Beta Kappa and get their approval," Bennett said. "Once those are approved ... we will be official."

Phi Beta Kappa is considered by many to be the most prestigious arts and sciences honor society in the country, and chapters must meet strict qualifications.

Membership in American University's chapter will be granted to a select few students in the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as students from the School of International Service and the School of Public Affairs.

Bennett said AU's acceptance into the society is a tribute to the quality of education at American University and the College of Arts and Sciences.

"It is a real validation of the caliber of the faculty and the students at The American University who study and pursue arts and sciences education," she said.

Bennett said she hopes to make the chapter an active part of the AU campus.

"We really think Phi Beta Kappa should be a living symbol, not just a goal token," she said.

CAS Professor Jeff Reiman, head of the Phi Beta Kappa faculty committee, is helping to plan the implementation of the chapter. He said the committee is considering hosting a Phi Beta Kappa forum open to the entire campus.

Reiman agreed that the chapter is a significant step.

"I think it confirms the dramatic improvement in the College of Arts and Sciences that has taken place over the last ten to 15 years and the process of self improvement"

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