Vol. 11, No. 1
ISSN: 1546-2676

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Kappa Omicron Nu FORUM,
Vol. 11, No. 1. 
1546-2676. Editor: Dorothy I. Mitstifer. Official publication of Kappa Omicron Nu National Honor Society. Member, Association of College Honor Societies. Copyright © 1999. Kappa Omicron Nu FORUM is a refereed, semi-annual publication serving the profession of family and consumer sciences. The opinions expressed by the authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of the society. Further information: Kappa Omicron Nu, PO Box 798, Okemos, MI 48805-0798. Telephone: (727) 940-2658 ext. 2003

Interested in submitting an article to KON FORUM? Papers are now being accepted for review.


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Kappa Omicron Nu


State of the Society*

Janelle Walter

Chair of the Kappa Omicron Nu Board of Directors; Faculty Member at Baylor University, Adviser of Kappa Gamma Theta Chapter


*This message was delivered to the Leadership Conclave, Dallas, Texas, August 9, 1997.

It is my pleasure to report on the state of Kappa Omicron Nu. This message will tell you why I am impressed with the dynamics and vibrancy of the Honor Society.

Our governance structure involves continuous strategic thinking and review of policies to assure that the programs and policies remain relevant and responsive to member input. The policy handbook describes the chair as presider of board meetings and Conclave, liaison to the Constitution Committee, ex-officio member of all committees except nominating, and leader of the organization on behalf of members. This means that in all things I represented you. In order to measure progress it is good to remind us all of the purpose of the Society. The mission of Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society is empowered leaders in family and consumer sciences. The ends that provide focus are planned to create empowered leaders. The language of these statements lies in the current governance approach the Board has adopted to govern this organization. Policy Governance® focuses the Board on the mission and policies that guide decision making for Kappa Omicron Nu. The Board, including the Executive Director, makes decisions on ends policies to achieve the mission:

  • Scholarship/Research/Leadership—Skills that enable members to provide direction to the profession and empower others to meet their full potential.
  • Organization—An organizational and management environment that supports mission-driven programming.
  • Affiliation Networks—Strong affiliation networks that develop empowered leaders.

Among the strategies to achieve these ends are the recognition and award programs. Awards totaled almost $55,000 in this fiscal year.

  • Four doctoral and two master’s fellowships were awarded for a total of $11,000.
  • Sylvia Asay - University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Andrea Clark - University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Jessica Mills - University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Sharon Nickols-Richardson - University of Georgia
  • Pauline Samuda - University of Maine
  • Jonathan Sandberg - Kansas State University
  • The Chapter Scholar Program grants local scholarships to chapters once each biennium. Fifty-nine awards totaling $15,000 were distributed to chapters in 1997-98.
  • A new fellowship was announced in connection with the Centennial Celebration of the College of Human Ecology at Michigan State University. A fund-raising effort contributed toward the endowment of a doctoral fellowship in honor of Dean Gilchrist for her role as leader of the founding group of Omicron Nu. Numerous Omicron Alpha members were honored or memorialized in this manner.
  • The recipient of the Undergraduate Research Paper Award, given by the Coordinating Council of Honor Societies, was Katherine Boward, Iowa State University. She presented her paper at a luncheon co-hosted by Kappa Omicron Nu and Phi Upsilon Omicron at the Annual Meeting of AAFCS in Washington, DC.
  • The Conclave Undergraduate Student Paper Award recipients were Leslie A. Bumgardner, Bradley University; Gretchen Feldtman, Baylor University; Amy King, Baylor University; Natalie Moretz, Berea College; Jennifer Vanzee, Baylor University; and Audrey M. Williams, University of North Carolina.
  • Chapter awards for 1995-96 and 1996-97 were awarded to the following chapters: Kappa Chi, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Alpha Mu, Kappa Alpha Phi, Kappa Beta Xi, Kappa Beta Rho, Kappa Gamma Psi, Omicron Theta, Omicron Tau, and Omicron Alpha Gamma.
  • Omicron Tau Chapter received awards for programming in mentoring and cultural diversity.
  • Sixty-two delegate scholarships, totaling $23,000, were awarded for Conclave.
  • Honorary membership was granted to James A. Autry at a ceremony at Iowa State University. Formerly vice president and editor-in-chief of books and magazines at Meredith Corporation, Autry is currently author, poet, and consultant. His books, Life and Work and Love and Profit, feature his philosophy of caring leadership and the role of emotional and spiritual issues in the workplace. In 1996-97 he held the Dean Helen LeBaron Hilton Chair in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences at Iowa State.

Society publications included four Dialogues and two FORUMS. Future issues of FORUM will feature “Legacies for the Future,” “Making Community,” “Leadership: Up Close and Personal,” and “Advanced Information Infrastructures.” Calls for papers for two collections of essays have been distributed: “Reflective Leading in the Public Interest” and “Toward a Theory of Family Well-Being: #2.”

Kappa Omicron Nu joined the information age and the World Wide Web. In 1996 members could tap into KON’s Web site <> and e-mail the national office. Other enhancements are contemplated.

Membership continues to grow. In 1996-97, 2768 new members were initiated. Our membership acceptance rate of 57 percent compares favorably with other honor societies, but the Board is not satisfied with this statistic. Active life, alumni, and campus members in 1996-97 totaled 13,000+, including more than 4500 gift memberships to recent grads. Members over time total almost 113,000. Although renewal efforts are extensive, active membership retention is lower than desired.

A membership survey appeared in the February Dialogue. Results of the survey indicated that the number one benefit of membership was to broaden horizons. Next in value were “stay well informed about critical issues” tied with “renew my commitment to excellence.” The top resource was scholarships/fellowships/grants, followed by Dialogue and Kappa Omicron Nu FORUM.

Terms for national officers coincide with the calendar year, except Student Representatives who serve from one conclave to the next. Board members whose terms will expire in 1997 were Janelle Walter, Chair and Merry Jo Dallas, Vice Chair for Finance.

The Society was served by our standing committees. Sincere thanks to the following committee members whose elected terms expire at the end of 1997: Editorial, Gwendolyn Newkirk and Francine Hultgren; Nominating, Betty Church, Charlotte Edwards, and E. Katrina Rivers.

Committees provide a valuable governance function and assist the organization in achieving its mission. Committees for 1997 included the following members: Awards I, Barbara Amundsen, Geraldean Johnson, Lynette Olson, and Mary Rainey; Awards II, Gwendolyn Paschall, Deborah Fowler, Jane Reagor, and Marilyn Swierk; Awards III, Virginia Clark, Kathleen Bands, Beth Goudge, and Virginia Vincenti; Constitution and Bylaws, Kaye Boyer, Karla Hughes, Susan Poch, and Mary Pritchard.

Kappa Omicron Nu has continued to collaborate with Phi Upsilon Omicron in the Coordinating Council of Honor Societies (CCHS). In addition to sponsoring the undergraduate research paper competition, CCHS presented the Graduate Program Showcase at the AAFCS Annual Meeting.

As part of the Leadership Academy, Kappa Omicron Nu joined with the Coalition for Black Development in Home Economics, the Council of Administrators of Family and Consumer Sciences, and the Family and Consumer Sciences Administrative Leadership Council to sponsor a preconference workshop at the 1997 AAFCS Annual Meeting. The “Taking Charge of Change” workshop featured the Reflective Human Action leadership model. Fran Andrews and Dorothy Mitstifer conducted a workshop, “Making a Leadership Community,” at the international meeting of the Society for Nutrition Education in Toronto.

This Conclave, held August 7-10, 1997 at the DFW Hyatt Regency, Dallas, Texas, features “Leadership for the New Millennium” workshops in two tracks: students and professionals. Members who contributed to programming were Wilma Griffin, Frances E. Andrews, Virginia Clark, Mary E. Pritchard, and Gladys Gary Vaughn. Student Board Members Elizabeth DeMerchant and Scott Ketring complete their terms at this Conclave. The following Student Board Members will serve until the 1999 Conclave: Norene Cochran of East Tennessee State University, Carrie J. Fuller of Bradley University, and Kevin M. Taylor of University of Maryland-Eastern Shore.

Financially speaking, the fiscal year was changed to July 1 - June 30; therefore, in order to change from the previous September 30 closing date, the 1997 report represents a nine-month transition year. One of the Board’s main concerns is that membership benefits have been a priority to the detriment of creating a general fund reserve large enough to maintain current programs in harsh economic times. In other words, benefits have outranked cash reserves. The endowed funds and restricted funds are well protected with a balanced mix of equity and income investments.

Liabilities and Fund Balances



General Fund

General Fund

$ 54,232

$ 56,323

Restricted Funds

Restricted Funds



You can be proud of the great care and vision that drive all those who serve Kappa Omicron Nu. And the Society is to be commended for its unselfishness and desire to contribute to the welfare of the profession. In summary, I am pleased to say that our vital signs are very good; our prognosis great.