Phi Theta Kappa Induction at Palomar College

Last week I was able to attend the Phi Theta Kappa induction ceremony for this year.  The event was hosted by our very own Katy French & Katie Townsend-Merino “The two Katy/ies”.  It was really inspiring to see the current PTK members welcome new students into our honor society. The main speaker for the event was our very own Bill Jahnel from who did a poignant, funny, and really interesting presentation teaching us a little history and inspiring us simultaneously.  A great way to start the event!

The purpose of Palomar’s honor society, Phi Theta Kappa, Alpha Omega Rho chapter, is to recognize and encourage scholarship. Students engage in leadership and service, work in an intellectual climate, make time for lively fellowship with other scholars, and are stimulated to continuing interest in pursuing academic excellence.  It is a competitive society to qualify for (requiring an impressive 3.5 GPA or higher) and is attended by some of Palomar’s top scholars.


This year’s Honor’s in Action project examined factors that increase the likelihood that students will be successful in class and in transfering to other institutions. Research by Carol Dweck and others, as well as Palomar PTK’s own survey research, suggest that students have either a growth mindset about their learning, believing that their own hard work increases their learning, or a fixed mindset believing that if a class is hard, then they will be unable to be successful in class as they have no natural capacity for that learning.  Students with a growth mindset have been shown to be more likely to pass their classes and transfer.

Encouraging a growth mindset is also clearly related to how faculty design their classes, assignments and assessments as well as how they communicate their own beliefs about learning to students.   I was able to see this growth mindset ‘in action’ when chatting with a few of the members after the event.  Their excitement for learning, dedication and commitment to studying and preparing, and excitement for the future, literally gave me goose bumps (In fact, one student just popped by my office to get ideas on her transfer essay- these students are serious!).  The students recently received a NCHEA grant to expand this work with other local colleges.  Thank you Katie/ys for your very important work with our students!

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