Kappa Omicron Nu
The Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society is dedicated to empowering leaders through scholarship, research, and leadership development and to preparing scholars and researchers to be leaders in society. Kappa Omicron Nu aims to bring leadership to a sizable scholarly community in the human sciences and to emphasize the responsibility of scholars to the family and consumer sciences/human sciences professions and society. By enriching the intellectual environment through its local and national initiatives, Kappa Omicron Nu has provided leadership for collaboration among various organizations within the human sciences in leadership development, in strategic thinking about the future of the field in higher education, and in undergraduate research.
Kappa Omicron Nu was established on February 21, 1990, by the consolidation of Kappa Omicron Phi and Omicron Nu. Following a successful three-year collaboration as an Administrative Merger, Kappa Omicron Nu was structured to realize the synergistic benefits of the two organizations. Kappa Omicron Nu is headquartered in East Lansing, Michigan, close to the Michigan State University campus, which was the founding institution of Omicron Nu.
Omicron Nu was founded in 1912 at Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University). Faculty members were familiar with other honor societies, so Dean Maude Gilchrist and the faculty decided to recognize home economics scholarship. Promoting scholarship, research, and leadership motivated the expansion of Omicron Nu to campuses across the country.
Kappa Omicron Phi was formed in 1922 at Northwest Missouri State Teacher College, Maryville (now Northwest Missouri State University), with an emphasis on intellectual and scholastic excellence as well as personal development, including intellectual, spiritual, ethical, and aesthetic qualities.
Kappa Omicron Nu has adopted a governance model, by which the board of directors achieves its directives and avoids unacceptable circumstances and actions by stating what it will not accept. Policy categories include: (1) ends, (2) executive limitations, (3) board process, and (4) board-staff linkage. The effects of the model are clarity of values, a focus on results rather than administrative process, empowerment of executive authority, and an enhanced board-member relationship.
The Kappa Omicron Nu board includes the chair, chair-elect, vice chair for programs, vice chair for finance, secretary, and three student board members. The executive director is a nonvoting member of the board. The board is elected by active members, and the Biennial Conclave Assembly of Delegates sets authority for organizational affairs.
To be considered for membership, undergraduate students must have completed forty-five semester hours (or the equivalent), have a minimum grade point average of 3.0, and rank in the top 25 percent of their class. Graduate students shall have completed twelve semester hours of graduate work (or the equivalent) and have a minimum grade point average of 3.5. Professionals not previously initiated into the honor society and those with degrees outside the profession are also eligible.
Kappa Omicron Nu awards scholar program grants of between $150 and $500 to each chapter once each biennium. In total, fellowships and grants in excess of $30,000 are awarded each biennium. Chapter programming focuses on a national program theme and scholarly priorities, including undergraduate writing, ethics, mentoring, cultural diversity, leadership, and undergraduate research. The society's website is designed to support the development of a learning community. The Leadership Academy sponsors innovative programs and leadership development, including online courses. In collaboration with the Undergraduate Research Community for the Human Sciences, Kappa Omicron Nu sponsors an annual undergraduate research conference.
The society publishes Kappa Omicron Nu FORUM, a refereed, thematic scholarly journal, and Kappa Omicron Nu Dialogue, a substantive newsletter containing issue discussion, program themes, announcements, and awards. FORUM has featured a series titled "Legacies for the Future," which tells the stories of leaders who helped to develop the field of human sciences. Other stories have focused on the concepts of community, collaboration, empowerment, and leadership. FORUM is also available online, and an online newsletter, Kappa Omicron Nu Spotlight, serves as the annual report of Kappa Omicron Nu activities.
KAPPA OMICRON NU. 2002. <www.kon.org>.
DOROTHY I. MITSTIFER
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