The National Circle is a circle (chapter) of Omicron Delta Kappa (OΔK) that seeks to engage collegiate leaders at institutions where we have not yet established a campus-based circle. The National Circle is open to students, faculty, and staff who are not eligible to join Omicron Delta Kappa because they are currently enrolled or work at a college or university where there is no currently chartered and active circle. Check here to see if your campus has an OΔK circle.
Students must have achieved sophomore or higher class status and meet the grade point average criteria for undergraduate or graduate/professional studies.
Faculty or staff members must have distinguished themselves as leaders in their profession and on campus.
To Join the National Circle, click here.
To learn more about the National Circle, read on . . .
More than 109 years later, Omicron Delta Kappa faces ever-increasing competition from other honor societies and leadership recognition organizations and a general decrease in interest in honorary organizations in general. New memberships in the past fiscal years, without the coronavirus crisis, were already at a ten-year low. The international pandemic only intensified a weakened position. Our society needs to seek new ways to maintain and expand membership actively.
When reflecting on the founding statement above, it is clear that the founders of O∆K sought to recognize and engage leaders on the campus of Washington and Lee University. They spread their message and method to additional campuses. Since the Society’s founding, 432 institutions have hosted circles.
The concept of a National Circle is not new. It has been discussed at varying levels in the Society for many years. Because OΔK historically has chosen to acknowledge leadership on a specific campus, the concept of allowing individuals to apply from institutions without an installed circle has not been adopted. However, with a rapidly changing collegiate climate, OΔK needs to consider new approaches to membership.
Other prominent national recognition organizations have “national chapters” reserved for individuals at institutions where there is no established chapter. National chapters usually have slightly different criteria than campus chapters because of who determines the selection of members and the difference in institutional rules about grade point average, class status, etc. National chapters have shown to be a good option for building long-term memberships.
A national chapter, by its very nature, cannot do the things a campus chapter can. It will not have all of its officers from the same campus, in-person meetings, and in-person ceremonies. However, in the 21st century, a national chapter could meet virtually, members could participate in virtual programs, attend conferences, and potentially expand the organization by helping establish on-campus chapters (circles), particularly in states where the Society has few circles.
The National Circle Advisory Team shall be appointed by the President and Chief Executive upon the recommendation of the Mission Committee as determined by the ODK Policies and Procedures Handbook.
The NCAT shall have the following members:
- 1 Member of the Mission Committee
- 1 Member of the Student Advisory Board
- 1 Member from a currently active circle
- 2 Members-at-large
- Vice President for Membership and Operations or designate (ex-officio and voting)
The NCAT shall meet no less than four times a year to discuss the status of the National Circle. The NCAT will have the responsibility to recommend any changes to the ODK Policies and Procedures Handbook directly related to the National Circle and to approve National Circle advisors.
The NCAT will determine the criteria and process for the selection of members to the National Circle. The NCAT will review these criteria not less than every two years from the date of the passage of the first set of criteria. The Mission Committee must approve all criteria recommended by the NCAT and may not take effect until the beginning of the next fiscal year after passage.
Lifetime membership in Omicron Delta Kappa is granted to those individuals who have excelled in scholarship, leadership, and service. The National Circle seeks individuals who meet these qualities on campuses where there is no currently chartered OΔK circle.
Undergraduates must be enrolled full-time in a degree-seeking program at an accredited four-year college or university. They must have a minimum of 30 credit hours of coursework completed, with not less than 15 hours of coursework on the campus in which they are currently enrolled. Prospective undergraduate members must all have a 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) or higher grade point average (or its equivalent).
Graduate and professional students must be enrolled in a degree-seeking program at an accredited four-year college or university. They must have a minimum of the equivalent of one semester of coursework completed on the campus at which they are currently enrolled. Prospective graduate student members must have a 3.75 (on a 4.0 scale) or higher graduate grade point average.
Faculty and staff of an institution are eligible for membership in the National Circle under the same conditions as stated in these policies and procedures for a campus circle. Faculty and staff members may be nominated by current members of the National Circle or individuals currently associated with the campus.
NOTE: National Circle membership is open only to individuals registered at institutions based in the United States, although membership is open to international students enrolled on US campuses.
Members of the National Circle have all the same benefits as members initiated through on-campus circles. This includes access to national leadership training and development, connections to over 200,000 members, and discounts for products and services.
The application process for the National Circle shall be similar to that of the campus circles. All individuals seeking members in Omicron Delta Kappa must complete the national lifetime membership application. Deadlines for the fall and spring application and initiation process shall be published no later than August 1 each year for the immediately following academic year.
The selection of members into the National Circle will be managed by the National Headquarters. The criteria for membership shall be clearly stated in all printed and electronic materials. If a candidate completes the application form and meets the minimum criteria for membership, the candidate shall be offered membership.
All individuals invited to join Omicron Delta Kappa through the National Circle must pay the Lifetime National Membership Fee by the established deadline. No individual shall participate in the National Initiation Ceremony or be provided the emblems of membership (certificate and pin) until they have paid the National Lifetime Membership Fee.
Applicants for the National Circle are eligible for a Gift of Membership grant of a maximum of one-half the National Lifetime Membership Fee. The rules and procedures for the awarding of Gift of Membership grants will be established and approved by the Mission Committee.
Fees for Spring 2024
National Lifetime Membership Fee = $94.00
National Circle Operational Dues = $10.00
Membership Emblem Shipping, Handling, and Processing Fees = $20.00
Total Fees = $124.00
National Circle Members may also purchase graduation cords or stoles at a discounted rate at the time they pay their membership fees with no additional shipping fees. The savings are approximately $11.00 per purchase.
- Honor Cords = $15.00
- Honor Stole = $35.00
Chartering and Initiation
Chartering and Initiation for the National Circle will be held on Thursday, April 18, 2024,
The National Initiation Ceremony will be a live-stream broadcast where each initiate is required to sign a digital record book at the start of the program. After the initiation ceremony, the new initiates will be sent their membership certificate, lapel pin, and any graduation regalia they have ordered. Applicants must attend the ceremony and sign the record book to be considered members and receive their emblems of membership.
Immediately following their official initiation, members will be eligible for all benefits, including scholarships, discount registration to conferences and online programs, and discounts on merchandise and services.
The National Circle shall operate as closely to a campus circle as possible.
- The National Circle Advisory Council will select the circle coordinator and faculty advisor and shall be selected from among the members of the Society.
- The Circle Coordinator must be a member in good standing and vetted by the National Headquarters through the Volunteer Application process. The Circle Coordinator should be a current or former faculty/staff member at a four-year college or university. The Circle Coordinator shall have a term of three years that may be renewed once.
- The Faculty Advisor must be a member in good standing and vetted by the National Headquarters through the Volunteer Application process. The Faculty Advisor should be a current or former faculty/staff member at a four-year college or university. The Faculty Advisor shall have a term of three years that may be renewed once.
- A member of the National Headquarters staff will serve as the director and treasurer.
- The National Circle student president and student vice president will be chosen annually from among the circle’s collegiate members.
- The National Circle will meet virtually no less than twice between July and December and January and June in accordance with OΔK minimum standards.
- The National Circle will participate in leadership and service programs as planned and approved by the circle leadership. These may include online leadership courses, webinars, and seminars.
- The National Circle will participate in the National Day of Service by conducting a digital or virtual service program.
- The National Circle shall be eligible to nominate an individual for Circle Leader of the Year honors.
- The National Circle will have its own channel on the OΔK Discord Server. We will encourage National Circle members to connect through the channel.