Best Practices of Honor Societies


Academic honor societies are widely available within university communities. These student organizations can fill valuable roles within engineering departments. The inception of engineering-related honor societies followed the establishment of engineering education within American universities. Honor societies with their student focus grew as complementary organizations to the professional societies for engineering disciplines. The national or international structure of honor societies generally provides considerable resources for professional education, leadership training, and service activity. For departments, an honor society chapter can provide engagement with students, alumni, community, etc. However, the existence of an honor society chapter at an institution does not necessarily mean that the chapter is effectively serving the host department(s) and its engineering students. This paper describes commonalities among engineering honor societies, the possible roles of an honor society within an engineering department, and some best practices for effective honor society chapters. Specific examples from the operation of IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu (IEEE-HKN), the honor society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), are given.Cockrell School of Engineerin

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