The purpose of Phi Alpha Honor Society is to provide a closer bond among students of social work and promote humanitarian goals and ideals. Phi Alpha fosters high standards of education for social workers and invites into membership those who have attained excellence in scholarship and achievement in social work.
The concept of a national social work honor society came from a group of undergraduate social work students at Michigan State University in 1960. Investigation revealed that local chapters existed at three schools. Those three schools along with a few other schools formed a National Honor Society Committee in November of 1960. For more than a year, this committee worked on the constitution and other administrative matters. The name Phi Alpha was adopted from the local chapter existing at Florida State University.
The constitution and formal organization were completed in 1962, and six chapters qualified to become "charter chapters".The charter chapters were Florida State University, Michigan State University, Ohio North University, Central State College, University of Dayton, and the University of Tennessee. Over 380 chapters are now in existence, and the addition of new chapters is continuing.
Phi Alpha offers membership to social work students, faculty, and practitioners. Each chapter is free to develop a program to meet local needs. The National Council is the policy-making body and meets each year at the time and place of the annual program meeting of the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE). Each chapter has one voting representative on the national council.
Benefits of Membership
- Membership to a nationally recognized organization that supports high standards in social work education
- Participation in scholarly activities and social action events
- Working alongside student colleagues and professors to create a scholarly environment
- Individual Scholarship Opportunities
- Being honored with a certificate and honor cord at an induction ceremony prior to graduation
- Chapter Service Award participation with monetary recognition
- Potential recognition in the New Social Worker Magazine
- Access to a list-serv to allow networking with Phi Alpha members across the country.