Phi Alpha Theta
Phi Alpha Theta > About Phi Alpha Theta
Phi Alpha Theta is a national history honor society open to undergraduate and graduate students who have done exceptional work in a required number of history classes and posted a solid record of academic achievement in their classes as a whole. The society also encourages membership among professors of history. Phi Alpha Theta is a founding member of the Association of College Honor Societies, which is a coordinating agency for 68 different collegiate honor societies.
Dr. Stephen Carls stands by the bronze plaque that recognizes the founding of Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society at the University of Arkansas in 1921. The plaque is located near Old Main on the Fayetteville campus.
Dr. Jack Tunstall is the National Executive Director of Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society.
Dr. Robert Carriker accepts the Phi Alpha Theta spoon of office, the symbol of the society's presidency, from outgoing president Dr. Sandra Horvath-Peterson at the end of the 2012 Phi Alpha Theta biennial convention in Orlando, Florida.
Phi Alpha Theta was created in March, 1921 at the University of Arkansas by Dr. Nels Cleven, an assistant professor of history at the time. The event is marked today by a bronze plaque located outside Old Main on the university's Fayetteville campus. Since then, the society has grown to more than 860 chapters and 350,000 members. Approximately 9,500 new members are initiated into the organization each academic year.
The mission of Phi Alpha Theta is "to promote the study of history through the encouragement of research, good teaching, publication and the exchange of learning and ideas among historians. We seek to bring students, teachers, and writers of history together for intellectual and social exchanges, which promote and assist historical research and publication by our members in a variety of ways."
One of the major ways that Phi Alpha Theta fulfills its mission is by sponsoring a biennial convention where students, both undergraduate and graduate, have the opportunity to present history papers on a national level in a supportive environment. Professors also put together sessions where they present papers at Phi Alpha Theta conventions. The most recent Phi Alpha Theta conventions have taken place in New Orleans, Philadelphia, Albuquerque, San Diego, and Orlando.
Phi Alpha Theta also helps coordinate regional conferences across the country, provides undergraduate and graduate school scholarships, sponsors history paper competitions, offers Best Chapter Awards, sponsors the professional journal The Historian, and encourages interaction among students of history through its Facebook page, e-mails, and The News Letter.
The National Executive Director of Phi Alpha Theta is Dr. Graydon Tunstall, who has served in that position since 1994. He is also Professor of History at the University of South Florida and the author of two books and several articles. His books are: Blood on the Snow: The Carpathian Winter War of 1915 (2010) and Planning for War Against Russia and Serbia: Austro-Hungarian and German Military Strategies, 1871-1914 (1993). Dr. Tunstall has three other books about the First World War forthcoming.
The National President of the society is Dr. Robert Carriker. Professor Carriker is the Alphonse and Geraldine Arnold Distinguished Professor of the College of Arts and Sciences at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where he has taught for more than forty years. He is the author, co-author, or editor of several books, including: "Ocian in View! O! The Joy!" Lewis and Clark in Washington State (2005); America Looks West: Lewis and Clark on the Missouri (co-author, 2002); Great River of the West: Essays on the Columbia River (editor, 1999); Father Peter John De Smet: Jesuit in the West (1995, 1998, 2000); An Army Wife on the Frontier: The Memoirs of Alice Blackwood Baldwin, 1867-1877 (editor, 1975); Fort Supply, Indian Territory: The Kalispel People (1973); and Frontier Outpost on the Plains (1970, 1990, 2000, 2003).
The Chair of the Phi Alpha Theta National Advisory Board is Dr. Sandra Horvath-Peterson. She is an Associate Professor of History at Georgetown University with a specialty in Modern France. She has authored an important book titled Victor Duruy and French Education: Liberal Reform in the Second Empire (1984) as well as articles on the Catholic Church and education in France during reign of Napoleon III (1852-1870). Dr. Horvath-Peterson is presently working on two projects, one dealing with the French church in the nineteenth century, and the other with Christian rescue efforts in France during the Holocaust.