The primary function of BKX - the essential reason for its existence is the promotion of high scholarship in pure and applied sciences. Whatever the Society does on both the local and national levels has as its ultimate purpose the stimulation and motivation of intellectual growth and the nurturing of qualities for leadership in the pursuit of scientific advancement.
To best implement these objectives, the chapters must submit to a thorough appraisal and revision of their programs of activities. Information gained from the Beta Kappa Chi Bulletin, regional and national meetings, and chapter experiences, indicates that the Society is beset with problems which prevent healthy pains of normal growth. The purpose of this particular section of the Handbook is to point up some of the major problems of chapter activities and to suggest remedial measures possible of attainment with even limited resources.
The apparent lack of sufficient student members to carry out a worthwhile program seems to be the greatest problem. The question is therefore frequently asked, could not the qualitative and quantitative requirements for membership be reduced? Obviously the answer is, no - certainly from a qualitative point of view. The student members, however few, with the able assistance of the science faculty can carry out, on a comparable scale, a program of activities that will be outstanding and rewarding. Limited numbers of high caliber students should never be a deterrent to an excellent program of activities. Rather, it could mean more team work, less waste of talent in secondary actions, and a finer product in the end. College and university enrollments are increasing, emphasis on science is being accelerated, and the facilities for the study of science are expanding. It appears, therefore, that the number one problem could be solved by time alone, but the Society must face it now.
A problem of equal importance is the lack of well qualified faculty sponsors. This problem is one of long standing. A sponsor must not only direct and supervise the local activities of the chapter, but also correlate the total program with that of the national organization. It is not an exaggeration to assert that the chapter sponsors are the most vital persons behind the BKX movement. Ordinarily their positions are stable, their foresight far reaching and their rich background of science sufficient to equip them to implement the purpose of the Society. Even though the national constitution does not stipulate the scope of the activities of the sponsor, it is recognized that the general demands upon the sponsors time and service are considerable and should be thoughtfully assumed.
Some colleges are top-heavy with extra-curricular activities. Beta Kappa Chi Scientific Society need not be considered as extra-curricular. Except for initiations and the insignificant amount of time required to conduct business, the activities might well be shared with other students in the science area or they might be a part of the honors courses that are being inaugurated by many colleges and universities. In other words, the allotment of time for a single campus organization should not have the quality of overlapping but rather that of correlation or integration - whichever best suits the local situation: Such activities as original investigation and research projects in general are cases in point.
The problem of money is mentioned occasionally. It is well known that initiation fees for BKX represent only a small fraction of those for any social Greek-letter organization. These fees need not exceed ten dollars ($10.00) - which could not be considered prohibitive. Students of BKX caliber could devise ways and means of solving this problem. Banquets, parties and similar social functions are not necessary. Faculty and staff members everywhere are liberal in aiding worthy students in achieving goals indicative of high scholarship.
Even though there is no regulation regarding BKX members whose cumulative average falls below "B;' the awareness of such a possibility should not be overlooked. The same procedures used to improve the scholarship of students who aspire to membership in BKX should be stressed in chapters. Providing tutorial services for potential members would have the effect of reducing the number one chapter problem: too few students qualify for membership. At the same time, this much needed activity dramatizes the purpose of BKX.
Beta Kappa Chi, both through its local chapters and the National officers, structures its programs to include:
- The search for; identification, encouragement, and recognition of students with potential in science,
- The recognition of scientists who are making outstanding contributions in scientific research and/or the teaching of science,
- The development of programs which have high scholarship, and excellence as their central theme,
- The encouragement of basic research and outstanding teaching,
- The activities designed to contribute to public awareness, understanding, and the appreciation of the vital roles of science, and scientists in the "Age of Science"
- The regular dissemination of scientific information,
- The support of and loyalty to National Programs of the Society, and
- The securing of capable, dedicated leaders on all levels.
SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES FOR CHAPTER PROGRAMS
Many of these activities are incorporated successfully in chapter programs throughout the BKX membership.
- Public Induction Program (Fall and/or Spring)
Such a program provides an effective means of acquainting the students, teachers, and community with the history and objectives of BKX.
- Initiation Program and Banquet (Fall and/or Spring)
This activity follows the public induction program. It is necessary in order toadminister the ritual. In addition, each inductee might present a research paper in his major field. Some chapters have a banquet speaker. An informal social period could be substituted for a banquet.
- Science Day (or Science Emphasis Week) Concluded with a Convocation Program.
The choice of activity would obviously depend upon the science offerings and the resources of the institution.
- Research Projects (Student, Student-Faculty, and Faculty)
All participants need not necessarily be BKX members, but the Society could employ the various media available to publicize the activity.
- Intercollegiate Science Competition Teams
This type of communication in the science area is new and has the possibility of stimulating and motivating scientific research in general. The method of conducting the competitions could be agreed upon by the participating chapters.
- Science Lecture Series
This activity is necessary in those institutions whose limited budget cannot finance such a program. The BKX Chapter can recruit lecturers from BKX alumni and other qualified local persons.
- Science Seminars
Each science department could be responsible for one or more of the seminar programs to which all interested persons would be invited.
- Sponsor (or Co-Sponsor) Science Fairs or a Science Institute on the High School or Collegiate Level.
This would be relative to those school systems that do not have such an activity. Even so, occasionally BKX chapters could participate in setting up exhibits and providing prizes or other types of recognition.
- Field Trips and Excursions
The sponsorship and extensive planning which are necessary can be provided for by the BKX Chapter. All participants need not be BKX members.
- Exhibit Films and Film Strips (or Other Audio Visual Materials)
This might be a part of a larger program as the science seminars, lecture series, science day, etc. Frequently, these materials are available free of charge.
- Surveys for Publication Purposes or Otherwise
This could be an individual or a group project. The statistical treatment of such a project should be of particular interest to mathematics BKX members.
- Science Panels
A chapter with limited resources could make effective use of this type of activity either on the campus or in the community.
- Participation in a Joint Honors Day Program on the Campus (or Any Established Program of This Type)
If this is not already an established activity on the campus it is an excellent one to sponsor.
- Science Information Service
The established programs of the various science foundations, as the National Science Foundation; available scholarships and fellowships; employment in schools, college, government service, business and industry, for example, should be made available to interested students and teachers through effective media. Careers in science and mathematics should be included. This activity in no way interferes with the institution's guidance services.
- Exchange Programs (Intercollegiate or High School)
An excellent way to stimulate and motivate interests in scientific careers.
- Television Programs Which Chapters Present or Utilize from Other Sources
Chapter participation is probably limited but viewing and reporting many of the excellent televised science programs is particularly valuable for small institutions and for the communities in which they are located.
- Chapter Meetings Devoted to Business, a Study of the Constitution and Organizational Structure of BKX, and Program Planning
The needs for sending delegates to regional and national meetings, for example, originates in chapters that embrace the total program of BKX. These activities, therefore, are indispensable for implementing the national program.
- Sponsor Student Affiliate Groups of Well-Known National Scientific Organizations
If the institution is eligible, BKX could assume the initiative in getting these organizations established on the campus.
- Cooperate with Other Honor Societies for the Improvement of Scholarship
A tutorial system is an excellent cooperative continuing plan; also special programs for the recognition of scholarship.
- Recruitment of Inactive Members
Usually inactive members are graduates. Since reinstatement fees and dues are not required by the national office, the purpose of recruitment is based on the need for talent.
- Campus-Wide Search for New Members
Too often potential members are not well informed about the requirements for membership in BKX.
- Sponsor Activities (Social and Academic) for Honor Students in Science and Mathematics
The reference is to honor students who do not have the required number of hours in a science for membership in BKX. Such potential should be encouraged by various means.
- Encourage Participation in National and State Scientific Organizations
The emphasis is participation in these organizations if chapters of these organizations are on campus. Many good students never quite make BKX, yet they constitute some of our best leaders in the sciences.
- Science Open House in the Spring
Any BKX Chapter, as a result. of cooperative activities with the departments of science and mathematics, could sponsor open house at the end of the school term. Commercial exhibits, films, and other materials will add interest.
- Awarding Citations, Plaques, Etc., for Outstanding Achievement in the Science Recognized by BKX.
This could be done as a part of the science convocation, the public induction program, or any appropriate occasion.
- Give Wide Publicity to Chapter Activities in the Daily and Weekly Press, the BKX Bulletin, and Other Means of Communication
It is not only a part of the public relations program of the institution but also a means of stimulating scholarship and an interest in science. Pictures of outstanding events, including the initiation, should be included in the institution's yearbook and the BKX Bulletin, among others.