Professional and Alumni

Adviser's Handbook

Kappa Omicron Nu


Adviser Role


  • The adviser represents the college/university in upholding the high standards of the Kappa Omicron Nu charter and the tenets of the National Constitution and Chapter Bylaws.
  • The adviser monitors chapter procedures to assure fairness, dignity, and equality.
  • The adviser serves as the guardian of the official chapter records.
  • One or two assistant advisers should be appointed so that stability and continuity is maintained when the chief adviser position changes.
  • The adviser teaches leadership through modeling effective leadership.
  • The adviser assesses status of officer leadership skills in order to set realistic goals for advancing student leadership.
  • The adviser facilitates program planning, including the selection of the Required Program (see President's Handbook).
  • The campus chapter is a student organization. The adviser is part of the team but not the captain.


Chapter Management: The following principles and procedures may provide a framework for successful management.

  • Team concept of management
  • Shared leadership
  • Quality, not quantity
  • Balance of enthusiasm and realism
  • Officer training to establish duties and responsibilities
  • Executive Committee review of President's Handbook and Chapter Handbook
  • Annual calendar of events and programs
  • Regular executive committee meetings
  • Regular meetings of president and adviser
  • Phone tree for officers
  • Annual evaluation and needs assessment

Motivation and Participation: Humans are goal-striving and purpose-oriented creatures, and they will participate in organizations that meet their needs and that provide a comfortable atmosphere. Because motivation is an internal force that commits one to goals, the key to participation is managing the organization in such a way that members have an opportunity to meet their personal needs in a climate that is acceptable to a variety of individuals.

"Motivating a person" is a myth. The organization must manage the structure, the climate, and the activities of the organization to give members the freedom and opportunity to get involved and to anticipate meaningful outcomes that will lead to further involvement.

The following practices help build relationships and create opportunities for commitment:

  • Schedule a chapter event very soon after Initiation and publicize at Initiation
  • Review involvement opportunities and encourage participation at Initiation
  • Build relationships through ice breakers and name tags
  • Appoint new initiates to committees at first meeting after Initiation
  • Schedule incoming and outgoing officer planning session
  • Schedule personal success stories at each meeting (e.g., internship appointment, acceptance of a paper for publication or presentation, fellowship announcement)
  • Issue personal notes of congratulations
  • Schedule brown-bag seminars

Eligibility Lists: Determining who is eligible and securing correct addresses are probably the most difficult tasks of advisers. Because college and university procedures vary, there is no tried and true method. Most registrars and administrators of units will be able to assist the adviser in developing a fair and efficient procedure. Advisers who have exhausted local resources should contact the Executive Director for ideas and suggestions.

Each chapter should have a system for managing unintentional exclusions from the list of potential members.

Note: Dr. Frances E. Andrews, University of Tennessee-Knoxville (now University of Montevallo), is acknowledged for some of the above ideas presented in the 1990 AHEA Coordinating Council of Home Economics Honor Societies session, "Advising Student Organizations."


The Kappa Omicron Nu mission, empowered leaders, reflects the intention of the organization. The mission or outcome of the program and activities of the organization is an ambitious one; members are challenged to make this mission a life-long quest. The adjective, empowered, in this connection is defined as "focusing . . . energy in . . . [one's] Circle of Influence. . . . It's acting with integrity to create the environment in which we and others can develop character and competence and synergy (Covey, Merrill, & Merrill, 1994, p. 238). And the ultimate outcome of empowerment is a community "worthy of the best we humans have to offer" (Terry, 1993, p. 275).

Block (1987) refers to the essence of empowerment as enacting the vision. He further explains that definition with his insights that we must develop a personal vision of greatness and must balance autonomy and dependence. It takes courage, too. Although the following discussion is directed for the most part to individuals, these same elements direct the empowerment of organizations and groups.


When we take a stand for a preferred future--something we want, we are creating a vision. We are willing, therefore, to take a risk for that something. Block challenges us to identify a vision of greatness because it forces us to eliminate caution. It also has the effect of implicitly identifying our disappointment with what exists now. This vision of greatness makes us be accountable for acting in congruence with it. When we are driven by a vision of choice, we have to take responsibility--we can't protect ourselves from disappointment and failure.

This first step in choosing empowerment implies that, like it or not, leadership to achieve our vision is solely up to us. If we are unwilling to choose a vision of greatness, we are really saying that we are willing to stand on our laurels. The added benefit of having a vision is that we have given meaning to what we are doing. And meaning seems to be an important component for reclaiming our human capacity.

It is generally agreed that without vision there is no change. Individuals and organizations tend to resist change, especially change as pervasive as a new vision (Nanus, 1992). Recently, Nanus (1995) made a stronger point by saying that even though group members resist change and persist in not rocking the boat, "it can be downright dangerous to your organization's future health and vitality" (p. vi).

Balance Autonomy and Dependence

One of the marks of a professional is autonomy in decision making and action relative to service, i.e., decisions are made and actions are taken based on expertise--knowledge and reason. Because some of us are not operating as authentic professionals (often through no fault of our own), autonomy has not become a universally comfortable behavior. In other words, the power of acting on our own hasn't been experienced fully. Block (1987) believes that our own dependency is a source of interference to empowerment.

Our own dependency grows out of a reluctance to risk or to take responsibility for the future. We are conditioned from childhood to treat people (bosses or colleagues with more experience) with respect and attention. And dependency is increased by the fact that, realistically, our survival is often in someone else's hands. But as organizations change to becoming more participative, more responsibility has not always been welcomed. In a sense, we keep ourselves in bondage to dependency.

In order for organizations to be transformed and empowerment to be actualized, we will need to assure that when control has been offered that we confront our own wishes to be dependent and examine the choices we really have. Block (1987) claimed that "the most popular fictional character in organizational life is they" (p. 154). Dependency is often expressed through talk about "they"--they won't make up their minds, they don't want to hear problems, they just want solutions. This "chorus of nonresponsibility" is understandable--it's learned. But the alternative is available with careful self-reflection.

Dependency is not to be totally rejected because it is useful and functional in certain ways. We are dependent on each other, that's human; a sense of community makes a satisfying work environment. And organizations need cooperation and collaboration to get the work done. Useful dependency helps us clarify the organizational framework, confirms and validates us, helps us feel connected, protects us from unreasonable problems, and helps us learn from others.

Focusing on the negative aspects of dependency does not argue against interdependency in the organizational culture. But teamwork and interdependence are most effective when we operate out of a position of strength. "Being autonomous gives us the freedom to choose whom we want to be with and how we want to be with them" (Block, 1987, p. 174).


To take the empowerment road, we are not choosing the easy route. Because we have the innate sense to take the safe path, we have to become comfortable with danger and unpredictability. The safe paths lie in rationality and data, in following the norms, in simply following the rules. It is true that dependency is often rewarded. So our integrity will be tested when we act with courage to achieve our vision. These acts will include such things as facing the harsh reality of the situation, examining our own contribution to problems, and putting our authentic view into words in a straightforward manner. And, of course, our courage is expressed best when others are treated well.

Enacting the Vision

There is no guarantee that what we have set out to do will work, but we have made the commitment because we chose our vision of greatness with care and with the realization that we had to do it to be true to self. Our doubts and pessimism will sometimes get in the way. But we will carry on because we choose to live in a way that gives real meaning to our lives. "We are most free, and most fully human, when we are faithfully and consistently living in accordance with the highest values we have recognized and noblest aspirations we have embraced. . . . Consistency of the highest sort is empowerment" (Morris, 1994, p. 154).

Enacting the vision in organizations and groups is described by Nanus (1992): "A vision is little more than an empty dream until it is widely shared and accepted. Only then does it acquire the force necessary to change an organization and move it in the intended direction" (p.134). He goes on to say that a vision to be achieved requires empowered people, appropriate organizational changes, and strategic thinking. Strategic thinking throughout the organization will serve as the process for developing strategies to enact the vision and change the organization.

Kouzes and Posner (1995) also connect empowerment to enactment: "Credible leaders choose to give [power] away in service of others and for a purpose larger than themselves. They take the power that flows to them and connect it to others, becoming power generators from which [others] draw energy" (p. 185).

The danger in articulating empowerment as a mission is that the concept will not be supported with the kind and depth of education that will move it from a fad to a sustained behavior. The module, Leadership: Reflective Human Action, is intended as an educative tool. The challenge is, therefore, to make leadership development a priority and reflective human action part of the infrastructure of Kappa Omicron Nu leaders.


Block, P. (1987). The empowered manager. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Covey, S. R., Merrill, A. R., & Merrill, R. R. (1994). First things first. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. A. (1995). The leadership challenge. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Morris, T. (1994). True success: A new philosophy of excellence. New York: Berkley Books.
Nanus, b. (1992). Visionary leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Nanus. B. (1995). The vision retreat: A facilitator's guide. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Terry, R. (1993). Authentic leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Reprinted with permission. Mitstifer, D. I. (1995, October). Empowerment. Kappa Omicron Nu Dialogue, 5 (4), 3-4.

Empowering Leaders

Leaders in the twenty-first century will need to be articulate, energetic, and empowering. The adviser can inspire, train, and support leaders so they can learn to manage themselves and empower others. An effective adviser therefore guides, not prescribes; suggests, not dictates; and encourages, not demands. The advising role could be described as teacher-facilitator, the guide-on-the-side. The following actions will empower students:


  • Be enthusiastic about the potential of the chapter. Encourage visualization and emotional involvement.
  • View chapter work as an authentic, student-centered activity.
  • Schedule training in team building, planning, and group problem solving. Help students construct their own meaning by fitting new information together with what they already know.
  • Create high expectations and a "can do" attitude. Dig deep. Strive for miracles.
  • Give opportunity for experimentation. Emphasize flexibility in thinking. Beware of rigidity in thinking.
  • Stimulate interest in integration of academic and co-curricular goals, especially supporting and recognizing undergraduate research.
  • Support student's work toward goals and help them find resources.
  • Reward successes and help students learn from disappointments and failures, to accept limitations as challenges.


  • Give feedback when requested.
  • Facilitate decision making by students.
  • Encourage group resolution of problems and conflicts.
  • Check on progress, and listen for ways to support efforts.
  • Show students how to accept diverse points of view and resolve disagreements.


  • Serve as informal educator and mentor.
  • Provide information, equipment, and materials to achieve goals.
  • Keep abreast of new information.
  • Give credit where credit is due. Be positive and supportive.
  • Facilitate the process of leadership.


  • Encourage broad participation.
  • Demonstrate and build trust.
  • Display consistent and caring behavior.
  • Teach by example.
  • Have fun. Love what you do.

Advice from a Seasoned Adviser

Spend time training yourself. Become familiar with the following:

  • KON Website resources - It takes some time, but it will help you facilitate chapter planning and to keep up with available resources, due dates, and new initiatives.
  • President's Handbook, Adviser's Handbook, and Chapter Handbook - The New President's Handbook contains selected parts of the Chapter Handbook; the Adviser's Handbook contains information about the adviser role and includes content of the President's Handbook, and the Chapter Handbook is a compilation but with additional information and resources. "Tips for Successful Chapters" (Chapter Handbook) is a vast resource of ideas.
  • Adviser Role - Read this every year to "re-tool" and "re-energize."

Commit to Officer Training. Prepare an agenda with the President to review the Website and handbooks, paying special attention to officer duties, chapter calendar, and program resources including Required Program.

Set meeting times with President. Monthly meetings help to manage activities and officer responsibilities assures effective communication.

Work with Program Committee. Help the committee to get ideas from members and to involve members in planning and implementing events, including publicity and e-mail reminders. Suggest students, alumni, and faculty resources for presenting programs.

Inform faculty about activities and meeting dates. Make sure faculty members and administrators are invited to events.

Establish record keeping practices. Because retrieval of information is so important, help students by having a file of good examples of minutes, financial reports, initiation plans, etc. Make your own calendar with reminders, such as "Contact registrar office for list of students that meet scholastic requirements." Obtain permanent chapter storage in the unit.

Tell Your Chapter Story. Help chapter officers maintain a bulletin board, develop press releases, etc.

Ask for Help. Call another adviser or the National Office. Attend Conclave to meet advisers and develop a network.

Note: Adapted from survey feedback from Diana Carroll, Carson-Newman College.


President's Handbook

Website Map of Resources

Volumes on Home Page - Organizing categories of information on the KON Website.

Chapter Newsletter - Current volume on Quick Links.

About Us - All about Kappa Omicron Nu, Our Mission, & Frequently Asked Questions

Chapter Volume on Home Page - Links to chapter and member resources.

Fellowships & Grants - Link for announcements and applications found on Quick Links.

National Initiatives - Description of the benefits and priorities of KON -

Quick Links on Home Page - Most popular links on the Website for chapters.

URC Volume on Home Page - All of the links to the Undergraduate Research Community for the Human Sciences and the Undergraduate Research Journal for the Human Sciences.

Chapter Leadership Calendar


  • Review President's Handbook
  • File Chapter Officers & Addresses Form (updates to June list)
  • Plan programs including initiation date(s)
  • Check supplies and order needed supplies from National Office


  • 10/1 - Scholar Program Recipient List due


  • 11/1 - Form A, Chapter Annual Report due



  • 1/15 - Doctoral Fellowship Application due


  • 2/1 - Scholar Program Eligibility Form due
  • 2/15 - Research/Project Grant Application due


  • 3/15 - Adviser Award Application due


  • 4/15 - Master's Fellowship Application due
  • Distribute Award of Excellence
  • Election of Officers
  • Officer Training and Advance Program Planning


  • 5/1 - CCHS Undergrad Research Paper due
  • Chapter & Officers Addresses Form due

June 1

  • Financial Report due
  • Form B Chapter Annual Report due
  • Undergraduate Research Papers for URC Research Conference due (uneven years)
  • Application for Student Board Member Elected Office due (uneven years)

June 15

  • Certification of Conclave Delegates Form due (uneven years)
  • Conclave Registration Form and Room Reservation Form due (uneven years)

These tasks will vary according to chapter and university schedules.

Chapters will make a decision whether there will be 1 or 2 initiations per year.

National distributes Scholar Program money September 1 and Chapter Dues on October 1. Money is distributed IF the Financial Report and Officers and Addresses Form are on file at the National Office.

Duties of KON Officers

The following officers form the executive committee, the nucleus of chapter leadership; they should be elected in March or April and start service following officer training and installation. Each office shall include the traditional duties outlined in the chapter bylaws. Suggestions for duties are listed below.


  • Bring all official correspondence to the attention of members either by means of business meeting, newsletter, or bulletin board
  • Appoint standing committees and special committees
  • Plan meeting agendas with Vice President and Adviser
  • Coordinate work of officers and committee chairs

Vice President

  • Chair program committee and coordinate program activities


  • Compile Officers and Addresses Form (Form 1)
  • Record proceedings of chapter meetings
  • Chair membership committee and coordinate recruitment and initiation activities
  • Compile Chapter Annual Report (Form 10)


  • Issue receipts for all income
  • Pay all bills in a timely manner
  • Keep accurate records of receipts and expenditures
  • Report financial status at regular business meetings
  • Have financial record audited at end of term
  • Compile Chapter Financial Report (Form 8)


  • Chair publicity committee and coordinate activities that recognize members and promote Kappa Omicron Nu
  • Submit articles for Chapter News on the Website

Collegiate Membership


1. The Collegiate category of membership includes undergraduate and graduate students duly enrolled in the institution represented by the chapter.

2. Eligibility:

Undergraduate students shall:

  • have declared a major in human sciences or one of the specializations,
  • have completed 45 semester hours or equivalent,
  • rank in the top 25% of their class in the unit.

Graduate students shall:

  • be enrolled in a graduate program in human sciences or one of the specializations,
  • have completed 12 semester hours of graduate work or equivalent, and
  • have a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.

Any chapter, at its discretion, may establish higher collegiate eligibility criteria.

Membership: Majors and specializations in the human sciences include but are not limited to the following areas: child development, community development, consumer business, consumer economics, consumer resource management, design, exercise science, family and consumer sciences education, financial planning, food science and human nutrition, gerontology, health and wellness, human environment and housing, individual and family development, institution/hotel/restaurant management, kinesiology, leadership, merchandising management, policy analysis and management, social work, textiles/apparel and clothing.

Election of Members: Chapter policies for election of members must comply with the provisions in the National Kappa Omicron Nu Constitution and Chapter Bylaws. Membership in Kappa Omicron Nu is open to qualified candidates including persons with disability, without regard to age, color, gender, national origin, race, religion, and/or sexual orientation.


Recruitment: As part of the recruitment process, an informational session is recommended for those interested in membership.

Invitations: Potential members are invited to membership. Chapters are urged to use the official materials to maintain uniform content and quality for recruitment of members. Invitation letterheads with envelopes and two brochures, "Kappa Omicron Nu" and "A Matter of Honor" are available (see Order Form).

The image of the chapter and the standards of the honor society are reflected through the quality of the locally prepared invitation letter.

Invitations should be issued about one month in advance to assure adequate time for a response. This will allow time to call non-respondents to encourage acceptance and to make arrangements for those who need to pay the fee at a later date.

The Handbook for New Members is also available. See Order Form.

Initiation: Attendance of candidates, though not mandatory, is encouraged. The Kappa Omicron Nu initiation ceremony shall have three elements:

  • Dignity and beauty in setting and apparel,
  • An impressive ritual, and
  • The pledge of loyalty to the ideals and objectives of Kappa Omicron Nu.

Each chapter in accordance with its needs and desires may plan other aspects of initiation.

National Reports: Within two (2) weeks of initiation, each chapter shall file the following forms with the Kappa Omicron Nu National Office:

  • Membership Cards (national portion of duplicate card) OR
  • Alternate form (to include name, maiden name if applicable, permanent address, gender, graduation month/year, status [undergraduate, graduate, professional], degree candidacy, and major)
  • Initiation Remittance Form (Form 7)

Kappa Omicron Nu Professional Membership

The Professional category of membership includes faculty and other alumni not previously initiated into Kappa Omicron Nu or its predecessor societies.

Eligibility: Professionals shall

  • have made a distinctive contribution to the profession,
  • have earned a degree in human sciences or one of its specializations or have earned a degree
    qualifying them to work in the field, and
  • have a minimum 3.5 GPA in graduate work or rank in upper 25% in undergraduate work.

Kappa Omicron Nu Recruitment

The following chapter activities are recommended to promote Kappa Omicron Nu membership, recruit members, and increase membership acceptances. In addition, the recruitment process should be evaluated and revised to correct deficiencies.

  • Informational sessions and/or brochures for incoming freshmen and transfer students
  • Information booths at student activities fair
  • Informational sessions or receptions for prospective members
  • Invitations to parents, spouses, and children of candidates to attend initiation
  • Announcement of potential candidates to department heads and faculty with encouragement to recognize candidates
  • Involvement of administrators, faculty, and alumni in Initiation and chapter activities
  • Bulletin board display of chapter and society activities
  • Publicity regarding new initiates and chapter activities in college/university newspaper, hometown newspapers, and unit newsletter
  • Participation in college or university honors convocation
  • Sponsorship of awards event for unit
  • Co-sponsorship of educational programs or recognition events
  • Honor cord for graduation caps and gowns
  • Medallion for recognition of service

Each activity should be planned to honor excellence and the high standards of scholarship, research, and leadership that Kappa Omicron Nu represents.

National Kappa Omicron Nu supports chapters with

1. Recruitment supplies (see order form):

  • Invitation letter and envelope
  • "Kappa Omicron Nu" brochure
  • "A Matter of Honor" brochure

2. Family announcements (see Family Announcement Request Form)

National Kappa Omicron Nu will assist chapters by communicating with families of prospective members to announce the election of their sons or daughters to Kappa Omicron Nu. The announcement gives a brief description of the national recognition, and a customized invitation to the initiation is enclosed. There is no cost to the chapter, but facts about the initiation and university labels (to the Family of________________) must be supplied.

Kappa Omicron Nu Financial Accounting


  • Maintain records of financial transactions
  • Chair finance committee to prepare budget
  • Submit budget for chapter approval
  • Monitor budgetary income and expenditures and report financial status
  • Pay bills and submit fees and reports to National


  • Chapter and National Dues: National Kappa Omicron Nu collects chapter dues from active members and annually returns dues and a membership list to the chapter on September 30. Active chapter membership status requires payment of national and chapter dues.
  • New members do not pay dues until two years after graduation (a 2-year gift membership is granted upon graduation). Most chapters, however, require payment of chapter dues.
  • Each chapter sets the chapter dues.
  • Initiation: Prior to initiation, each chapter shall collect the following fees:
  • National Initiation Fee=$65.00 (2020-21)
  • Chapter Dues specified by your chapter
  • At the time of initiation, new members shall complete the duplicate membership card.
  • Within two (2) weeks of initiation, each chapter shall file the following forms with the Kappa Omicron Nu National Office:
    • Membership card (national portion of the duplicate card) or
    • Alternate form [including name, maiden name if applicable, permanent address, gender, graduation month/year, status (undergrad student, grad student, professional), degree candidacy, major].
    • Chapter Remittance Form (Form 7)
  • Insignia: Kappa Omicron Nu insignia may be ordered through National Kappa Omicron Nu (see Order Form).
  • Chapter Financial Report: This annual report (Form 8) must be filed on or before June 1. This report is necessary to maintain good standing (national funds are not distributed if this report has not been filed).
  • Orientation of Incoming Treasurer: Review chapter financial accounting system as well as national procedures and report forms.
  • Storage of Campus Chapter Financial Records: Arrange with adviser for safe storage.

Chapter Forms
find at Quick Links or

  • Chapter Officers and Addresses Form (Form 1)
  • Scholar Program Recipient(s) (Form 2)
  • Kappa Omicron Nu Chapter Supply Order Form (Form 3)
  • Family Announcement Request Form (Form 4)
  • Collegiate Chapter Remittance Form (Form 7)
  • Chapter Financial Report (Form 8)
  • Chapter Annual Report (Form 10a)
  • Chapter Annual Report (Form 10b)

Kappa Omicron Nu Mission


The mission of Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society is empowered leaders through scholarship, research, and leadership development.


  • Scholarship
  • Research
  • Leadership Development


  • Competencies for scholarship, research, and leadership
  • Skills to empower others to reach full potential
  • Strong affiliation networks to develop scholars, researchers, and leaders
  • Collaboration among boards that share philosophy, values, and mission

These ends will enhance the ability of the organization and chapters to prepare scholars and researchers as leaders for the 21st century.

To accomplish this mission, Kappa Omicron Nu shall:

Promote scholarship and encourage intellectual development, promote research and foster the spirit of inquiry, confer distinction for high achievement, promote leadership development, stimulate student and faculty dialogue, enrich the intellectual environment of higher education institutions, encourage high standards of practice and ethical behavior, and promote attitudes of professional responsibility for the public good.

Kappa Omicron Nu Leadership Development


  • Each chapter, in order to maintain and strengthen its effectiveness and to promote leadership development, conducts leadership training sessions based on the needs and interests of officers and members.
  • The adviser and outgoing officers plan and implement a training session prior to the term of office of newly elected leaders.
  • Each collegiate chapter is encouraged to use the available college/university and unit resources for leadership development. A cooperative effort with other student organizations is recommended.


  • Needs Assessment, Goal Setting, and Cooperative Planning: Each chapter should involve the adviser, officers, selected members, faculty, and administrators in a process to identify short-term and long-term leadership needs, set goals, and cooperatively plan to operationalize the goals.
  • Leadership Mentoring: Each chapter is encouraged to identify professionals (faculty and alumni) who will serve as role models and mentors and to initiate a structure to facilitate mentoring.

Suggested Components for Officer Training:

  • Review of Chapter Annual Report prepared by outgoing officers
  • Review of recommendations of outgoing officers
  • Review of the Chapter Handbook, including, but not limited to, (a) national resources and awards, (b) Kappa Omicron Nu Mission, (c) article "Honor Societies Promote Excellence Among Students and Faculty" (Mitstifer, 1986), and (d) Risk Management Policy
  • Review of Officer Duties in Chapter Bylaws
  • One-on-one interaction of outgoing and incoming officers for each leadership role
  • Preliminary decision-making (who, when, and how) regarding
  • Specific duties and responsibilities of each officer
  • Communication process
  • Meeting schedule for adviser and president
  • Meeting schedule for executive committee
  • Chapter meeting calendar
  • Involvement strategies and committees
  • Collaborative relationships
  • Chapter image and visibility
  • Needs assessment, goal setting, cooperative planning processes
  • Program planning and evaluation
  • Responsibility for chapter review of Risk Management Policy

Guidelines for Program Development

  • Policies
  • Inasmuch as the mission of Kappa Omicron Nu is empowered leaders, it is incumbent upon each chapter to develop a balance of activities to accomplish the mission.
  • Quality, not quantity, should govern chapter program decisions.
  • Chapters are encouraged to
    • Use national themes and initiatives to guide program planning and
    • Contribute to the educational mission of the academic unit - Academic & Co-Curricular Activities for Chapters -
  • Half of the criteria for judging the Chapter Annual Report (Form 10) for the Chapter Award of Excellence relate to chapter programming.


  • Selection of Required Program: See next page.
  • Selection of Program Theme: The biennial theme and other national initiatives are resources for
    identifying the annual chapter program theme. The nature of the theme will determine whether the
    program objectives focus on a topic in depth or explore related topics.
  • Selection of Chapter Program Objectives: Each chapter should determine the local concerns and
    needs within the scope of the selected theme. A membership needs assessment process would help
    the program committee to respond to member concerns and needs and promote participation in the
    chapter activities.
  • Implementation of Chapter Program Objectives: Chapters are encouraged to involve members in
    programs through reports, symposia, panel discussions, workshops, etc. and to plan open meetings
    for other students within the academic unit or university.
  • Motivation and Participation: Humans are goal-striving and purpose-oriented creatures, and they will
    participate in organizations that meet their needs-and that provide a comfortable atmosphere. Because
    motivation is an internal force that commits one to goals, the key to participation is managing the
    organization in such a way that members have an opportunity to meet their personal needs in a
    climate that is acceptable to a variety of individuals. "Motivating a person" is a myth. The
    organization must manage the structure, the climate, and the activities of the organization to give
    members the freedom and opportunity to get involved and to anticipate meaningful outcomes that will
    lead to further involvement.

The following practices help build relationships and create opportunities for commitment:

  • Schedule a chapter event very soon after Initiation and publicize at Initiation
  • Review involvement opportunities and encourage participation at Initiation
  • Build relationships through ice breakers and name tags
  • Schedule personal success stories at each meeting (e.g., internship appointment, acceptance of a paper for publication or presentation, fellowship announcement).

Required Program

Purposes: The purposes of the Required Program are

  • To make a national impact on an issue of importance to the educational and professional preparation of members,
  • To aid chapters in accountability for achieving the Kappa Omicron Nu mission, and
  • To demonstrate the value of honor societies to the educational mission of each higher education unit.

Chapter Obligation: Each chapter shall choose one of the Required Program alternatives that fits the interest and needs of members.

Selection of program: National Kappa Omicron Nu shall offer Program alternatives each year for chapter selection.

Program Planning: Each chapter shall use member input in program selection to ensure ownership and participation. The programs below may be used as designed or modified to fit the needs of the group.

Program Implementation: Each chapter may select the program presenter, including but not limited to chapter undergraduate members/officers and graduate student members.

Accountability: Each chapter shall file a description of the activity and assessment of outcomes in the Chapter Annual Report (Form 10).

Required Program Alternatives

  1. Professionalism and Career Networking - (see also Notes)
  2. Writing for Success Workshop - (Three short PowerPoint programs)
  3. Leadership 105: Making Change on Campus -
  4. Developing a Research Project - (see also Notes)
  5. Kids & Careers -
  6. A Matter of Ethics -

Criteria for Chapters in Good Standing

In order to maintain good standing in the Society, Kappa Omicron Nu chapters shall

  • Comply with the National Constitution,
  • Elect a full slate of officers,
  • Maintain current chapter bylaws in the National Office,
  • Conduct an annual initiation according to national guidelines,
  • File Officer and Addresses Form (Form 1)
  • File Chapter Financial Report (Form 8),
  • File Chapter Annual Report (Form 10a & 10b),
  • Submit fees and accurate reports in a timely fashion, and
  • Designate a member as official representative to Conclave.

Kappa Omicron Nu Reasonable Measures of Chapter Success

Induction of New Members: The chapter issues invitations according to affirmative action guidelines and schedules initiation activities to give adequate time for responses. The chapter informs prospective members of the benefits and obligations of membership. The Initiation Ceremony is solemn in nature, rich in meaning, and a challenge to all who participate. It reveals the meaning and vitality of Kappa Omicron Nu. Each person who has earned the privilege of membership is entitled to the perfection of detail, which reflects thoughtful preparation by the officers. The ceremony should impart dignity, inspiration, and a lasting impression. The successful chapter improves the membership acceptance rate. (Though the membership acceptance rate is a function of many factors, the chapter has some control over the chapter's perceived image and vigor.)

Programming: The program of work implements high quality educational programs or activities that achieve the mission of Kappa Omicron Nu. Quality rather than quantity is the hallmark of a successful chapter.

Chapter Management: The chapter schedules an officer training session to ensure that Kappa Omicron Nu officers increase their competence in their roles. The chapter conducts the business of the chapter in an efficient and effective manner and uses an action planning process to involve the membership in setting goals and carrying out the program of work. The chapter bylaws comply with the National Constitution. The chapter evaluates the chapter work at the end of the year, makes recommendations for strengthening the chapter, completes the chapter records, and arranges for safe storage.

Participation: The chapter uses the principles of motivation to enlist the participation of members in the work of the chapter. Expectations for involvement should consider the variety of interests, needs, and time constraints of members.

Climate: The organizational climate is comfortable and satisfying. The atmosphere is one of acceptance, respect, trust, and warmth. The setting facilitates the development of important relationships and meaningful outcomes from the chapter program

Positive Image: The chapter image as a prestigious organization is derived from its good works. In other words, the chapter is known for high quality, important activities that recognize and encourage excellence in scholarship, research, and leadership. The chapter is recognized for its role in the educational program of the unit.

Kappa Omicron Nu Chapter Benchmarks

The following benchmarks recognize the elements that contribute to achieving chapter excellence:

Institutional Support Benchmarks

  • Student Affairs commitment to registered student groups
  • Institutional commitment to a support system and recognition of advisers
  • Academic unit commitment to staffing of advisers for student groups
  • A centralized system for maintaining records and supplies
  • A financial system for banking and paying bills

Chapter Development Benchmarks

  • Registration with appropriate institutional office
  • Participation in institutional training for student groups
  • Procedures for election of officers
  • A plan for officer training
  • Structure for selection and initiation of members
  • Structure for member input into setting goals for chapter activities
  • Process for planning annual activities to respond to goals
  • Participation in Conclave

Learning Benchmarks

  • Co-curricular activities that enhance academic goals
  • Educational activities that respond to shared goals
  • Participation in Required Program initiative

Faculty Support Benchmarks

  • Value for the role of student organizations
  • Professional/technical support for student organizations
  • Participation in chapter activities

National Support Benchmarks

  • Technical assistance for operational procedures
  • Guidelines for maintaining chapter excellence
  • Effective distribution of orders and supplies
  • Awards and recognition for excellence
  • Minimum standards for quality
  • Standards for Chapters in Good Standing
  • Program resources
  • Officer training
  • Adviser training
  • Training for chapter development
  • Legal structure for protecting the rights of members

Evaluation Benchmarks

  • Yearly evaluation of chapter activities
  • Plan for improving chapter based on evaluation

National Awards
find at

  • Adviser Award of Excellence
  • Chapter Award of Excellence
  • Kids & Careers in Human Sciences: Career Awareness for Schoolchildren, ages 9-12 Award
  • Ethics Award
  • Scholar Program
  • Undergraduate Papers - awards for presentation at Undergraduate Research Conference
  • Undergraduate Papers - CCHS Call for Papers for presentation at AAFCS

Complete List of Website Programs

A Matter of Ethics -

Gripe & Glee Activity -

Ethical Dilemmas activity

Ethics: 101 -

Chapter Planning session -

Developing a Research Project - (see also Notes)

In Search of Excellence Activity -

Empowerment - www.kon.og/ppt/Empowerment2.ppt

Gingerbread Activity -

Kids & Careers -

Leadership 101: Attributes of Vital Organizations -

Leadership 102: Orientation for Chapter Presidents -

Leadership 103: Core Principles of Reflective Human Action -

Leadership 104: Making a Leadership Community -

Leadership 105: Making Change on Campus -

Leadership 106: Adviser Empowerment of Officers -

Officer Orientation Program -

Online Self-Managed Mentoring Course -

Online Reflective Human Action Course -

Open Space Process -

Open Space Conveners Kit -

Professionalism and Career Networking - (see also Notes)

Writing for Success Workshop - (Three short PowerPoint programs)

Winning Scholarship Applications -

Preparing and Delivering a Presentation -

Writing Project Reports -

Risk Management Policy

The Risk Management Policy of Kappa Omicron Nu includes the provisions that follow and shall apply to all honor society entities and all levels of honor society membership.

Alcohol and Drugs

  • The possession, use, and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages, during an official event, or in any situation sponsored or endorsed by the chapter, must be in compliance with any and all applicable laws of the state, county, city, university, and other institutions.
  • No alcoholic beverages may be purchased through the chapter treasury nor may the purchase of same for members or guests be undertaken or coordinated by any member in the name of or on behalf of the chapter.
  • No chapter members, collectively or individually, shall purchase for, serve to, or sell alcoholic beverages to any minor.
  • The possession, sale, and/or use of any illegal drugs or controlled substances at any chapter sponsored or endorsed event, or at any event that an observer would associate with the honor society, is strictly prohibited.
  • No chapter may co-sponsor an event with a charitable organization, alcohol distributor, or tavern where alcohol is given away, sold, or otherwise provided to those present.
  • No chapter may co-sponsor or co-finance a function where alcohol is purchased by any of the host chapters, groups, or organizations.


  • All chapters shall comply with local fire and health codes and standards for ceremonial and food functions.


  • No chapter may conduct activities that create embarrassment, harassment, ridicule, or any other activities, which are not consistent with the regulations and policies of the educational institution.

Civil Rights

  • Membership in Kappa Omicron Nu is open, without restriction as to race, creed, sex, national origin, conditions of handicap, and sexual orientation.


  • An annual review of the Risk Management Policy of Kappa Omicron Nu is required of each chapter.

Supplemental Information in Chapter Handbook
(access Chapter Handbook in Quick Links)

Fund-Raising Suggestions

"Honor Societies Promote Excellence Among Students and Faculty" -article

Initiation Ritual and Guidelines

IRS/Tax Information

Publicity/Press Releases

Tips for Successful Chapters

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