Forming a New Sigma Xi Chapter
A "How to" Guide
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society actively promotes the promise of science and technology. The Society's goals are to foster worldwide interactions among science, technology, and society; to encourage appreciation and support of original work in science and technology; and to honor scientific research accomplishments. Neither Sigma Xi, nor any chapter of Sigma Xi, shall discriminate against candidates for election to membership on the basis of race, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation or disability.
Sigma Xi proudly counts nearly 60,000 members and over 500 chapters among its network of groups at colleges and universities, government laboratories, and industry research centers in North America and abroad. New chapters have all the rights and privileges of established chapters and may elect associate members and full members.
Why do we need a chapter? What does Sigma Xi have to offer us?
Having a Sigma Xi chapter at your institution offers:
- The opportunity to honor students, faculty, research scientists, teachers of science and mathematics, and support personnel.
- A vehicle for providing service to local members and your institutional community through seminar series, Google hangouts, awards, social gatherings, etc.
- An opportunity for networking with colleagues across all science, mathematics, and engineering disciplines.
Sigma Xi can offer to you:
- Local support payments from headquarters that will provide financial support for local activities.
- Travel payment for one delegate from your chapter to attend the Society's Annual Meeting each year.
- Eligibility for grants of up to US $1,000 for projects aimed at the improvement of pre-college science and mathematics education.
- Eligibility for subsidies from Headquarters to defray the expenses associated with hosting a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer.
- Access to Sigma Xi Communities, a great tool to share discussions, communicate with chapter members and much more.
What is required to receive approval for a chapter charter?
A letter of intent to petition for a chapter charter, signed by one of more members providing leadership in the process, should be directed to the Director of Membership and Chapter Programs at headquarters.
The signatures of at least 18 active (dues-paid) members, of which 1/2 must be full members, should accompany a statement of interest in affiliating with the proposed new chapter. A list of members residing within a specific zip-code range or country will be provided by headquarters.
A petition, including the following major items of information, should be prepared and directed to headquarters:
- A brief summary describing the sponsoring institution(s), especially the research environment. Brochures, catalogues, etc. may be appended.
- Letters of support from administrators (CEO, VP for Research, Graduate Dean, etc.)
- A proposed 3-year schedule of activities
- A proposed plan for recruiting new and inactive (non-paid) members
How is the petition reviewed?
- Following the receipt by headquarters of a letter of intent to form a chapter, the petitioner will be assigned an advisor from the Committee on Qualifications and Membership.
- With the guidance of the advisor and headquarters staff, the preparation of the petition should be completed within 6 months and directed to the Director of Membership and Chapter Programs at headquarters. (For groups outside North America, the International Committee will initially review the petition and send comments to the Committee on Qualifications and Membership.)
- The petition will be forwarded to the Committee on Qualifications and Membership for review.
- Petitions approved by the committee are then reviewed by the Sigma Xi Board of Directors for final approval.
- The final step in the process involves a formal installation ceremony, often occurring at a dinner meeting, during which the chapter will be presented with its charter from a member of the Board of Directors.
What follows the approval of a petition?
During the ensuing three years, the Committee on Qualifications and Membership will monitor the activities of the new chapter to determine whether it maintains "good standing," as defined below, for all chapters as a minimum level of activity:
- Groups must notify headquarters of the names of their officers each year by July 1st.
- Groups must submit an annual report summarizing activities and financial expenditures for the previous year by July 1st.
- Groups must be represented at least once every three years at the Society's Annual Meeting.
- Academic groups must elect at least one new member every two years, and non-academic groups may provide evidence of an activity that encourages students to seek careers in science and engineering as an alternative to electing new members.
How do we get organized?
- Identify 3-5 members to serve on an "organizing committee."
- Reserve a room to hold an organizational meeting, and invite all Sigma Xi members in your area to attend. Headquarters can provide a file of mailing addresses that may be used to address the program announcements, if requested. Your agenda might include a discussion of activities that members would support and the particular role(s) that a Sigma Xi chapter could play within your institution and community.
- Ask members to sign a statement of support for the establishment of a new chapter. Refreshments donated by members of the organizing committee or your institution may increase your attendance.
- The preparation of the petition could be broken into smaller sections for each organizing committee member to draft. A sample petition may be obtained from the Chapter Services Manager at headquarters.
- Mail 1 copy of the petition to headquarters.
For more information contact:
Chapter Services Department
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
P.O. Box 13975
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
Telephone: 800-243-6534 or 919-549-4691