How to Petition to Start a Chapter of Tau Chi Alpha

Step-by-Step Procedure Governing Preparation and Approval

Introduction

Tau Chi Alpha intends that scholarship, ethical character, practicality, and sociability be encouraged. It must also have a thorough understanding of the basic objectives of Tau Chi Alpha and a deeply-seated desire to introduce the idealistic and practical professional benefits of Tau Chi Alpha to the college campus. Accordingly, any prospective chapter on the campus must have the confidence and enthusiastic support of the college faculty.

Eligible Programs

Institutions hosting a Tau Chi Alpha Chapter are expected to graduate at least 20 students per year (See Section 5 Appraisal by The Council) from:

  • an ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology) accredited environmental engineering baccalaureate or masters degree curriculum;
  • an ABET accredited civil engineering curriculum with an environmental engineering option;
  • an ABET accredited chemical engineering curriculum with an environmental option; or, a combination of these.

NOTE: In the rest of this document, the phrase environmental engineering curriculum, program, etc. is used for convenience. This phrase shall be interpreted to mean any of the programs listed above.

Initial Inquiries

Letters of Interest

Institutions interested in establishing a Tau Chi Alpha chapter should send a letter to the Executive Secretary, Tau Chi Alpha, 147 Old Solomons Island Road, Suite 303, Annapolis, MD 21401. This letter must be signed by the prospective student leader(s), the prospective faculty advisor, and the heads of all participating departments.

Official Response

The Executive Secretary will respond by sending a copy of the current Tau Chi Alpha Bylaws and any other appropriate guidance. The Executive Secretary will also inform the potential chapter of the key criteria for selecting individual members consistent with the Bylaws.

Assistance

The Executive Secretary shall arrange for a Councillor to assist the Chapter in preparing its formal petition. If the petitioner desires the Councillor to meet with its representatives, the petitioner shall reimburse the Councillor for any necessary travel expenses.

Petition for Chapter Charter

Petition Content

The Petitioner shall prepare a Petition for Charter containing the following minimum content:

  1. The number of graduates by discipline and degree for the last five years from the program(s) which shall provide the students from which Tau Chi Alpha members shall be elected.
  2. The number of students enrolled for the past five years, by curriculum, by class, and by semester or quarter for the program(s).
  3. Brief professional resumes of each academic member of the faculty who is active in the program or option. The resumes shall not exceed two pages per faculty member. Each resume shall include work history, honors, professional activities, honor society membership, states in which currently licensed as a professional engineer, currently valid certifications and their grade of membership in professional environmental organizations.
  4. The names of other honor groups, local or national, in the College of Engineering. Please identify those which are open to environmental engineering students and include a description of activities of each such society.
  5. The nature and extent of professional activities available to the environmental engineering students.
  6. Excerpts from the current college catalogue describing the environmental engineering curricula.
  7. The length of time the institution has taught environmental engineering.
  8. The petition must contain letters from:
    1. the Dean of Engineering;
    2. the Head of each Department involved, i.e, environmental, civil, chemical, etc.;
    3. a letter from a faculty member who will serve as Chapter Advisor; and
    4. as many letters as possible from the faculty from each department. These letters shall include a statement of the writer's sincere approval of, pledge of active support for, and personal commitment to the proposed Tau Chi Alpha Chapter. Personal, not form-type, letters from each person are preferred.
  9. A list of the names, and academic grade point averages, of each junior and senior student in the environmental engineering program.
  10. A pledge that, if the petition is approved, the newly-authorized chapter of Tau Chi Alpha or some other entity will fund the travel expense of a Tau Chi Alpha Councillor to visit the campus and conduct the installation ceremony.

Petition Submittal

The documents shall be organized and bound into a single document. The petitioner must deliver 8 copies of the petition to the Executive Secretary. Tau Chi Alpha, 147 Old Solomons Island Road, Suite 303, Annapolis, MD 21401.

Appraisal by the Council

The object of the Councillors' appraisal shall be to determine the relative capacity of the petitioning institution to produce environmental engineering graduates equipped to attain true professional stature. In making their appraisal, the Councillors:

  • Will deny the petition if ABET accreditation of the environmental engineering curriculum is lacking.
  • May deny the petition if it is judged that the petitioner's program size is not sufficient to sustain a viable chapter year after year.
  • May deny the petition if upon, upon examination, it is learned that any engineering honor society established at the petitioning institution has ever been suspended or terminated for any cause within the last ten years.
  • May deny a petition if there is evidence that a faculty member of the environmental engineering program of the host institution has ever been judged guilty of violating any engineering society code of ethics.
  • Will ensure that the proposed chapter has the wholehearted approval of the Dean of Engineering and the environmental engineering program chief administrator.
  • Will consider the length of time the institution has given degrees in environmental engineering.
  • Will assess the extent of engineering technical society activity by members of the engineering faculty.

Voting on the Petition

  • Councillors will examine the data independently and send the first ballot with a letter explaining reasons for a "yes" or "no" vote to the Executive Secretary.
  • The Executive Secretary will tabulate the ballots. If the result is unanimously "no" or "yes" the Executive Secretary will declare the voting complete and will announce the results to the Councillors.
  • If the vote is not unanimous, the Executive Secretary shall summarize the positive and negative arguments in a Report. The Report will be transmitted to all Councillors along with a second ballot.
  • The Executive Secretary will tabulate the ballots. If two-thirds of the Councilors vote "yes", the petition will be declared "approved" by the Council.
  • A petition that does not secure Council approval on the second ballot shall be denied. A group whose petition has been denied may present a new petition after the passage of two full years.
  • As soon as the voting is completed, the Executive Secretary will inform the petitioner of the voting result, i.e, approved or denied. If approved, procedures for chapter installation and induction of the first group of honorees will also be provided by the Executive Secretary.

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