The Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS) is a non-profit organization that represents and advocates for the interests of honor societies in higher education. Founded in 1925, ACHS has grown to include over 70 member societies, representing more than 1.5 million members.
To become a member of ACHS, an honor society must meet certain criteria, including having a clear mission and purpose, maintaining high academic standards, and demonstrating a commitment to ethical behavior and social responsibility. ACHS also provides resources and support to member societies, including professional development opportunities and best practices for governance and operations.
Despite its stated commitment to ethical behavior and social responsibility, ACHS has faced criticism for perpetuating social injustice and systemic bias in its history. Many of the member societies that make up ACHS have historically been exclusive and elitist, with membership restricted to certain races, genders, and socioeconomic classes.
For example, the oldest and largest member society of ACHS, Phi Beta Kappa, was founded in 1776 and initially only admitted white men from wealthy families. It wasn’t until the 20th century that women and people of color were allowed to join. Similarly, other member societies like Omicron Delta Kappa and Mortar Board have faced criticism for their lack of diversity and inclusion.
Despite these criticisms, ACHS has taken steps in recent years to address issues of diversity and inclusion within its member societies. In 2017, ACHS launched a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force to develop strategies for promoting diversity and equity within honor societies. The task force has since released a report outlining best practices for promoting diversity and inclusion, including developing inclusive membership criteria and actively recruiting members from underrepresented groups.
Timeline of Major Events:
1925: Association of College Honor Societies is founded.
1932: Phi Beta Kappa becomes the first honor society to join ACHS.
1961: ACHS adopts a code of ethics for honor societies.
1976: ACHS celebrates its 50th anniversary.
1990: ACHS establishes a scholarship program for honor society members.
2017: ACHS launches a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.
Overall, while ACHS has a long history of promoting academic excellence and ethical behavior, it has also been criticized for perpetuating social injustice and systemic bias through its member societies. However, the organization has taken steps in recent years to address these issues and promote diversity and inclusion within honor societies.
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