Fall Update From Executive Director Jim Hall

Sigma Zeta Logo                                                                                     September 10, 2013

Dear Sigma Zetans,

I hope your fall semester is off to a great start and that each chapter has plans for an active academic year. 

Our National Webmaster, Bob Kistler, has posted an excellent Sigma Zeta Activities Calendar at our website sigmazeta.org to help guide chapter officers and advisors.  All the national officers want to thank the chapter advisors, student officers and members for the hard work you put into making Sigma Zeta a meaningful and successful organization. Our strength is in what happens at the local level within each chapter, and it’s important that we share our local successes through chapter reports, postings to our webpage, Sigma Zeta’s Facebook page, our email list or in person at the national convention. 

2012-2013 was another outstanding year for Sigma Zeta, including breaking the record for number of new members inducted! (see details in paragraphs below) One of the highlights for the year was the funding of six Student Research Awards last fall (see sigmazeta.org) with the average award amount $404 ($500 is the maximum award), and five of the six awardees presented the findings of their research at the National Convention in March.  Additionally, two of the four awardees from fall 2011 presented their research at the March 2013 Convention!  The students and advisors who voted in March 2011 to use Sigma Zeta income for funding student research felt that providing research awards fit with the Society’s purpose “to encourage and foster scholarly achievement”, and based on the first two years of excellent applications and the presentations at the convention, I think we all can agree that these awards accomplished our goal.  We encourage even more applications this year -- the deadline for applications (October 21, 2013) and details of the application process, criteria for selecting awardees and timing of the awards are attached to this message and posted on the webpage. 

Last year was Sigma Zeta’s third year to work together on a National Service Project.  At the spring 2013 National Convention the theme of "Facilitating our Youth's Interest in Mathematics and Science Through Hands-on Experience" was selected, so try to put that theme to work on your campus in whatever creative ways fit best with your chapter, school and community.  Please share your activities and projects through the website (sigmazeta.org), through Sigma Zeta on Facebook, and at the spring 2014 convention. 

Continuing on the subject of our 2012-2013 success, we inducted 846 new members into Sigma Zeta last year, surpassing our record breaking numbers from the previous years of 770 in 2011/2012, 787 in 2010/2011, 512 in 2009/2010 and 540 in 2008/2009.  Another highlight from last year was the welcoming of two new schools to our Sigma Zeta family.  On November 27, 2012, Marian University in Indianapolis, IN became our Gamma Eta chapter, and on May 5, 2013, Georgian Court University in Lakewood, NJ became our Gamma Theta chapter. The excitement at both of these campuses was high among students, faculty and administrators, and I hope that we are able to welcome representatives from these new chapters at our spring 2014 National Convention.  For pictures and other details of these new chapter installations, please see our website. 

Our November 10, 2012 meeting of national officers/advisors was hosted by Dr. Glenner Richards of the Beta Eta chapter at Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri.  The meeting was very productive and was dominated by our discussion of the applications for the Student Research Awards.  Other items discussed included initiating a Distinguished Alumni recognition, modifications to the website sigmazeta.org (take a look if you haven’t visited it lately - it’s extremely useful for members AND is a great introduction to our organization for those wanting to learn more about us) and the possibility of adding chapters from Canada and Mexico.  The National Convention in Decatur, Illinois, March 21-23 was hosted by the Pi chapter of Millikin University and led by their advisor, Anne Rammelsberg, and a great group of students.  The convention was most impressive for the number (36) and quality of the student presentations, both oral and poster.  The field trips included visits to the Abraham Lincoln Museum, the Rock Springs Conservation Area, and St. Mary’s Hospital, and a fascinating talk on “An Integration of Chemistry, Electronics, Mathematics and Early Microcomputers” at the banquet by our keynote speaker, a Millikin University alumnus, Mark Matlock.  See sigmazeta.org for pictures and a record of many of these activities.

 The first Sigma Zeta event on this year’s calendar is the National Officers/Chapter advisors meeting in early November – details to follow shortly.  It is at this meeting that national officers with some advisors will begin to make decisions on which student research applications to fund.  I will send out soon the formal invitation asking for RSVP’s to that meeting along with a draft of the agenda.  This fall meeting allows the national officers and advisors within driving distance of the meeting to conduct business that is difficult to accomplish in the midst of all the activities of the spring Convention.  We strongly encourage chapter advisors to attend and welcome ideas for agenda items from everyone, even those who cannot attend.

With the paper and electronic mailings of this letter you will find enclosed/attached information about the Student Research Awards, the annual forms for reporting new officers and updating advisor information, national office supplies and a printed copy of the instructions to accompany the spreadsheet form for reporting new members (all of these are also available in electronic form at the website).  I’ve circled on the enclosed paper copy the instructions to spell out the day of the month (ex. Sixteenth versus 16th) to improve the appearance of the certificates.  Please return your new officers list as soon as possible.  This information is needed to keep communications current.  This letter will also be sent out via the Sigma Zeta email list.  New chapter officers are encouraged to submit their names for addition to this list using the link on the website.  I also encourage all of you receiving the paper mailing of this letter who have not yet gone to the website to add yourself to the Sigma Zeta email list to do this now.  It’s quick and easy and ensures that you get regular updates and communications from other members.  At our March meeting there was some discussion of “going paperless” and just sending out correspondence via the email list and website. 

The Beta Iota chapter at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota will serve as the host for the spring 2014 National Convention.  The meeting will be held March 27-29, and I know we can count on an exciting convention from experienced hosts, because Bethel has hosted the convention several times, most recently in 2007.  Additional information regarding the specific details of the meeting will be coming to you from the Beta Iota chapter advisors, from the national office, and via the website and e-mail list as the year progresses. 

 The national office here at Our Lady of the Lake University is anxious to help you have a good year.  I can be reached by phone at 210-434-6711 ext. 2245 or by e-mail at jhall@lake.ollusa.eduI look forward to working with you again this year!

Sincerely,

Jim Hall
National Executive Director